In the wake of a traumatic event, many individuals will find it difficult to immediately process the experience. This is entirely normal, and the majority of people eventually go on to recover. In some cases, however, a minority of people may develop a trauma- and stressor-related disorder. The most well-known is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has a worldwide prevalence rate of 3.9% and is characterized by concurrent symptom clusters that include avoidant behavior, reexperiencing of the event, hyperarousal, and negative cognition or mood. Some neurobiological models suggest that PTSD arises due to dysfunction in limbic system activity, specifically fear extinction. Effective pharmacotherapies for PTSD are currently lacking.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary constituents of cannabis and has been implicated in modulating fear learning in animal models, and a new study published by Han and colleagues has added to the evidence that it may provide patients with PTSD some relief of core symptoms. They found that CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) attenuated PTSD-like symptoms in mice and that it “reduced the consolidation, retrieval, and reconsolidation of trauma-related fear memory.” More clinical trials need to be conducted to confirm these findings, but they do appear to corroborate anecdotal evidence.
To read more, see the full article in Psychopharmacology.