According to a New York University press release, a new study by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine has discovered a relation between the number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This discovery is paving the way towards a more efficient treatment.
This research is the first to use brain imaging to show that patients suffering from PTSD have lower concentrations of anandamide than the average person. The researchers tested 60 people from three different groups: some who have been diagnosed with PTSD, some who have had a history of trauma but no symptoms, and some with a history of neither.
Scientists administered a safe radioactive tracer which illuminated the participants’ CB1 receptors when exposed to a PET scan. The conclusions show that the patients suffering from PTSD had more CB1 receptors in the areas of their brains that are tied in with anxiety and fear than those without PTSD. It was also discovered that people with the condition have lower levels of anandamide, which leads to an increased number of CB1 receptors.
What this demonstrates is that using cannabis could ease some of the effects of PTSD. It could greatly reduce the anxiety, fear, and stress that many who suffer from the disorder feel on a regular basis. The cannabinoids found in the marijuana are what provide such strong medicinal value for the individuals suffering from PTSD.
Researcher and lead author of the study Alexander Neumeister stated, “There’s not a single pharmacological treatment out there that has been developed specifically for PTSD. That’s a problem. There’s a consensus among clinicians that existing pharmaceutical treatments such as antidepressant simply do not work.” He notes that individuals suffering from PTSD typically find more relief from cannabis than antidepressants.