Marijuana administered soon after a traumatic event prevented post traumatic stress disorder in rats, according to a Haifa University study that could ease the way for veterans suffering from PTSD being treated with marijuana.
Researchers exposed rats to high levels of stress and then divided them into four groups: one that received marijuana two hours after being exposed, one that received marijuana after 24 hours, one that received marijuana after 48 hours and a control group that was not administered any marijuana. The rats in the groups that had received marijuana within 24 hours did not display symptoms of PTSD, although they did evince high anxiety.
Critical 'Window of Time' After Trauma
"There is a critical 'window of time' after trauma, during which synthetic marijuana can help prevent symptoms similar to PTSD in rats," Dr Irit Akirav, who led the study, told Agence France-Presse. "Marijuana administered in the proper 'window of time' does not erase the experience, but can help prevent the development of PTSD symptoms in rats."
The results do not necessarily carry over for humans, but they nonetheless should cheer groups in America seeking approval for studies that would test medical marijuana as a means to treat PTSD. PTSD rates have soared among American troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We really believe science should supersede politics," said Dr. Sue Sisley, an assistant professor of psychiatry and internal medicine at Arizona. "This illness needs to be treated in a multidisciplinary way. Drugs like Zoloft and Paxil have proven entirely inadequate. And there's anecdotal evidence from vets that cannabis can provide systematic relief."