The Effectiveness of Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Systematic Review.

Publication CoverPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a potentially debilitating mental health problem.

There has been a recent surge of interest regarding the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of PTSD.

We therefore sought to systematically review and assess the quality of the clinical evidence of the effectiveness of cannabinoids for the treatment of PTSD.

We found that cannabinoids may decrease PTSD symptomology, in particular sleep disturbances and nightmares.

Evidence that cannabinoids may help reduce global PTSD symptoms, sleep disturbances, and nightmares indicates that future well-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical trials are highly warranted.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31479625

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15504263.2019.1652380

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Use of Medicinal Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Systematic Review.

medicina-logo“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychiatric disorder resulting from a traumatic event, is manifested through hyperarousal, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbances.

Despite several therapeutic approaches being available, both pharmacological and psychological, recently a growing interest has developed in using cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids stems from their consideration as more efficient and better tolerated alternatives for the treatment of this condition.

The present paper aims to evaluate the clinical and therapeutic potentials of medical cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids in treating PTSD patients.

Present data show that cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids, both acting on the endocannabinoids system, may have a potential therapeutic use for improving PTSD symptoms, e.g., reducing anxiety, modulating memory-related processes, and improving sleep.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31450833

https://www.mdpi.com/1010-660X/55/9/525

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Cannabidiol and the Remainder of the Plant Extract Modulate the Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Fear Memory Reconsolidation.

Image result for frontiers in behavioral neuroscience “Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, a CB1 receptor agonist) and Cannabidiol (CBD, a non-competitive antagonist of endogenous CB1 and CB2 ligands) are two primary components of Cannabis species, and may modulate fear learning in mammals.

The CB1 receptor is widely distributed throughout the cortex and some limbic regions typically associated with fear learning. Humans with posttraumatic disorder (PTSD) have widespread upregulation of CB1 receptor density and reduced availability of endogenous cannabinoid anandamide, suggesting a role for the endocannabinoid system in PTSD.

Pharmacological blockade of memory reconsolidation following recall of a conditioned response modulates the expression of learned fear and may represent a viable target for the development of new treatments for PTSD.

In this study, we focused on assessing the impact of the key compounds of the marijuana plant both singly and, more importantly, in concert on attenuation of learned fear. Specifically, we assessed the impact of THC, CBD, and/or the remaining plant materials (post-extraction; background material), on reconsolidation of learned fear.

Results: CBD alone, but not THC alone, significantly attenuated fear memory reconsolidation when administered immediately after recall. The effect persisted for at least 7 days. A combination of CBD and THC also attenuated the fear response. Plant BM also significantly attenuated reconsolidation of learned fear both on its own and in combination with THC and CBD. Finally, THC attenuated reconsolidation of learned fear only when co-administered with CBD or plant BM.

Conclusion: CBD may provide a novel treatment strategy for targeting fear-memories. Furthermore, plant BM also significantly attenuated the fear response. However, whereas THC alone had no significant effects, its effects were modulated by the addition of other compounds. Future research should investigate some of the other components present in the plant BM (such as terpenes) for their effects alone, or in combination with isolated pure cannabinoids, on fear learning.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31417379

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00174/full

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Endogenous cannabinoid levels and suicidality in combat veterans.

Psychiatry Research“Combat veterans are at elevated suicide risk. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that combat veterans who have made a suicide attempt post-deployment can be distinguished from combat veterans who have never made a suicide attempt based on differences in psychological and biological variables. For the latter, we focused on endogenous cannabinoids, neuroendocrine markers that are associated with stress. Demographic and clinical parameters of suicide attempters and non-attempters were assessed. Blood samples were assayed for anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and cortisol. Suicide attempters had higher Scale for Suicidal Ideation (SSI) scores in comparison to non-attempters. Controlling for gender, 2-AG levels were higher among suicide attempters in comparison to non-attempters. Cortisol levels positively correlated with 2-AG levels and negatively correlated with SSI scores among non-attempters but not among attempters. AEA levels negatively correlated with SSI scores among attempters but not among non-attempters. Our results indicate that there are psychological and biological differences between combat veterans with or without a history of suicidal attempt. Our findings also suggest that clinically observed differences between the groups may have a neurobiological basis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31375282

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165178119315173?via%3Dihub

“Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Neurobiology of Suicide”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK107200/

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Allostatic load and the cannabinoid system: implications for the treatment of physiological abnormalities in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Image result for cns spectrums“It is becoming clear that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not simply a psychiatric disorder, but one that involves pervasive physiological impairments as well. These physiological disturbances deserve attention in any attempt at integrative treatment of PTSD that requires a focus beyond the PTSD symptoms themselves. The physiological disturbances in PTSD range over many systems, but a common thread thought to underlie them is that the chronic effects of PTSD involve problems with allostatic control mechanisms that result in an excess in what has been termed “allostatic load” (AL).

A pharmacological approach to reducing AL would be valuable, but, because of the large range of physiological issues involved – including metabolic, inflammatory, and cardiovascular systems – it is unclear whether there exists a simple comprehensive way to address the AL landscape. In this paper, we propose that the cannabinoid system may offer just such an approach, and we outline evidence for the potential utility of cannabinoids in reducing many of the chronic physiological abnormalities seen in PTSD which are thought to be related to excess AL.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31303187
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/cns-spectrums/article/allostatic-load-and-the-cannabinoid-system-implications-for-the-treatment-of-physiological-abnormalities-in-posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/F85D2588638C20BE9DD86DEC2F768242

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Cannabinoid Regulation of Fear and Anxiety: an Update.

 

“Anxiety- and trauma-related disorders are prevalent and debilitating mental illnesses associated with a significant socioeconomic burden. Current treatment approaches often have inadequate therapeutic responses, leading to symptom relapse. Here we review recent preclinical and clinical findings on the potential of cannabinoids as novel therapeutics for regulating fear and anxiety.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Evidence from preclinical studies has shown that the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol and the endocannabinoid anandamide have acute anxiolytic effects and also regulate learned fear by dampening its expression, enhancing its extinction and disrupting its reconsolidation. The findings from the relevant clinical literature are still very preliminary but are nonetheless encouraging. Based on this preclinical evidence, larger-scale placebo-controlled clinical studies are warranted to investigate the effects of cannabidiol in particular as an adjunct to psychological therapy or medication to determine its potential utility for treating anxiety-related disorders in the future.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31030284

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11920-019-1026-z

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Cannabinoid interventions for PTSD: Where to next?

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

“Cannabinoids are a promising method for pharmacological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite considerable research devoted to the effect of cannabinoid modulation on PTSD symptomology, there is not a currently agreed way by which the cannabinoid system should be targeted in humans. In this review, we present an overview of recent research identifying neurological pathways by which different cannabinoid-based treatments may exert their effects on PTSD symptomology. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different approaches, including recent challenges presented to favourable options such as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitors. This article makes the strengths and challenges of different potential cannabinoid treatments accessible to psychological researchers interested in cannabinoid therapeutics and aims to aid selection of appropriate tools for future clinical trials.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30946942

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027858461930034X?via%3Dihub

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Tempering aversive/traumatic memories with cannabinoids: a review of evidence from animal and human studies.

“Aversive learning and memory are essential to cope with dangerous and stressful stimuli present in an ever-changing environment. When this process is dysfunctional, however, it is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The endocannabinoid (eCB) system has been implicated in synaptic plasticity associated with physiological and pathological aversive learning and memory.

OBJECTIVE AND METHODS:

The objective of this study was to review and discuss evidence on how and where in the brain genetic or pharmacological interventions targeting the eCB system would attenuate aversive/traumatic memories through extinction facilitation in laboratory animals and humans. The effect size of the experimental intervention under investigation was also calculated.

RESULTS:

Currently available data indicate that direct or indirect activation of cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor facilitates the extinction of aversive/traumatic memories. Activating CB1 receptors around the formation of aversive/traumatic memories or their reminders can potentiate their subsequent extinction. In most cases, the effect size has been large (Cohen’s d ≥ 1.0). The brain areas responsible for the above mentioned effects include the medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and/or hippocampus. The potential role of cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptors in extinction learning is now under investigation.

CONCLUSION:

Drugs augmenting the brain eCB activity can temper the impact of aversive/traumatic experiences by diverse mechanisms depending on the moment of their administration. Considering the pivotal role the extinction process plays in PTSD, the therapeutic potential of these drugs is evident. The sparse number of clinical trials testing these compounds in stress-related disorders is a gap in the literature that needs to be addressed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30604182

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-018-5127-x

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Social isolation as a promising animal model of PTSD comorbid suicide: neurosteroids and cannabinoids as possible treatment options.

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition characterized by drastic alterations in mood, emotions, social abilities and cognition. Notably, one aspect of PTSD, particularly in veterans, is its comorbidity with suicide.

Elevated aggressiveness predicts high-risk to suicide in humans and despite the difficulty in reproducing a complex human suicidal behavior in rodents, aggressive behavior is a well reproducible behavioral trait of suicide. PTSD animal models are based on a peculiar phenotype, including exaggerated fear memory, anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors associated with neurochemical dysregulations in emotional brain circuitry.

The endocannabinoid and the neurosteroid systems regulate emotions and stress responses, and recent evidence shows these two systems are interrelated and critically compromised in neuropsychiatric disorders. For instance, levels of the neurosteroid, allopregnanolone, as well as those of the endocannabinoids, anandamide and its congener, palmitoylethanolamide are decreased in PTSD.

Similarly, the endocannabinoid system and neurosteroid biosynthesis are altered in suicidal individuals.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the only FDA-approved treatments for PTSD and depression, fail to help half of the treatment-seeking patients. This highlights the need for developing biomarker-based efficient therapies. One promising hypothesis points to stimulation of allopregnanolone biosynthesis as a valid end-point to predict treatment response in PTSD patients.

This review highlights running findings on the role of the endocannabinoid and neurosteroid systems in PTSD and suicidal behavior both in a preclinical and clinical perspective. A specific focus is given to predictive PTSD/suicide animal models. Ultimately, we discuss the idea that disruption of neurosteroid and endocannabinoid biosynthesis may offer novel promising biomarker candidates to develop new treatments for PTSD and, perhaps, suicidal behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30586627

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584618305839?via%3Dihub

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Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine cover image

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotomimetic cannabinoid compound that is found in plants of the genus Cannabis. Preclinical research has suggested that CBD may have a beneficial effect in rodent models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This effect is believed to be due to the action of CBD on the endocannabinoid system. CBD has seen a recent surge in research regarding its potential value in a number of neuro-psychiatric conditions. This is the first study to date examining the clinical benefit of CBD for patients with PTSD.

RESULTS:

From the total sample of 11 patients, 91% (n = 10) experienced a decrease in PTSD symptom severity, as evidenced by a lower PCL-5 score at 8 weeks than at their initial baseline. The mean total PCL-5 score decreased 28%, from a mean baseline score of 51.82 down to 37.14, after eight consecutive weeks of treatment with CBD. CBD was generally well tolerated, and no patients discontinued treatment due to side effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

Administration of oral CBD in addition to routine psychiatric care was associated with PTSD symptom reduction in adults with PTSD. CBD also appeared to offer relief in a subset of patients who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD. Additional clinical investigation, including double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, would be necessary to further substantiate the response to CBD that was observed in this study.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30543451

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2018.0437

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