Israeli Study Finds Marijuana May Help Alleviate PTSD Synptoms

A recent scientific study in Israel has found marijuana may help alleviate PTSD and reverse the effects of stress on memory processes.

The study was conducted by members of the psychology department at Israel's University of Haifa. It was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Together, our findings may support a wide therapeutic application for cannabinoids in the treatment of conditions associated with the inappropriate retention of aversive memories and stress-related disorders.


The study used rats instead of humans, but it could lead Israel to conduct clinical trials with soldiers:

There is already talk in Israel about conducting clinical trials on soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces to investigate the effects of cannabinoids on PTSD, but [Dr.] Akirav says she will continue to work at present with animals. She believes that in the case of PTSD, the cannabinoids, which seem to be a perfect fit to cure many disorders and diseases in our bodies, have an effect on emotional memory.

In related news, the Israeli Ministry has approved the use of marijuana for a 14 year old cancer patient.
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    Israel... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 03:54:12 PM EST
    is well ahead of the curve of medical marijuana research...mad kudos to Israel on that front.

    Well, I'm not at all surprised (none / 0) (#4)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 04:20:56 PM EST
    Marijuana, after all, does have certain mellowing psychological effects.  The feds need to get a clue and legalize marijuana, for all kinds of reasons.  [And, once more, I deny any personal knowledge of such effects.]  ;-)

    "In pill or drug form..." (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by diogenes on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 06:01:25 PM EST
    All this study does is support trials of Marinol or other orally administered cannibinoids to help mellow people out in trauma treatment.  It does not support smoking the stuff, any more than a study which supports the use of amphetamine compounds to address attention deficit disorder would then support smoking crystal meth.

    It certainly supports smoking the stuff (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 07:32:15 PM EST
    if, as often happens in the real world, people experiment with different delivery systems and find, as a lot of people do, that smoking it is more effective.

    I really have to wonder what the hell you're thinking when you post some of the things you do, Diogenes. Are you striving for clarity or just stumbling all over yourself attempting to be Mr. resident "conservative" naysayer


    who experiments with different systems? (2.00 / 0) (#12)
    by diogenes on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:03:49 AM EST
    1.  Few people who use medical marijuana have tried Marinol and there are no other delivery systems as yet.  That may change.
    2.  A few puffs does not shorten the effect of the drug but only speeds up the absorbtion.  the elimination half-life is still the same.
    3.  Most medicines for PTSD are used chronically; in fact, benzodiazepines like valium are not credibly used "as needed" and are thought to have as much risk as benefit.  
    4.  I have lots of patients with who say that they have attention deficit disorder and that they find that smoking crack helps them concentrate a lot.  Pharmacologically, it does.  Should I not prescribe ritalin to them because they prefer "other formulations"?

    Vaporization... (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 08:09:25 AM EST
    is the new delivery system...I should know because I helped my brother's special lady pick out a vaporizer for him for Christmas...all the benefits of smoking delivery and none of the smoke...can't wait to try that puppy out tomorrow night!

    Try prescribing a different (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 11:03:32 AM EST
    doctor. That might help.

    While elimination half-life may be the same (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 12:51:51 PM EST
    the vast difference in entry rate means the elimination for much oral doses doesn't begin as soon, so the net level remains high much longer.

    Immediacy, duration (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:29:07 PM EST
    Oral preparations, whether synthetic or plant extract, are much longer to take effect, and also slower to dissipate. The patient may only need an hour to deal with a stressful environment, but taking an oral dose leaves them higher than they may prefer for 4-7 hours.

    Tens of thousands of Vietnam vets (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 09:32:36 PM EST
    and Soviet Afghanistan vets have already figured out it works for them. Much larger data set than any plausible clinical study.

    Did they try... (none / 0) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 03:47:12 PM EST
    ...a trial of marinol first?!?  

    /this posting brought to you by the fine folks of Solvay.  We care about people (but mostly their money).

    Wisconsin's Jacki rickert Medical Marijuana Act (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 03:51:46 PM EST
    http://jrmma.org will be the first to explicitly include PTSD among covered diagnoses. This has actually been helpful in securing support from Republican veterans in the Legislature.

    Committee votes are expected in mid-January, floor votes shortly thereafter.

    So far as I can tell, we have the votes for passage, and Governor Doyle's committed to sign. There may be Amendments narrowing who can grow.

    reserving enthusiasm (none / 0) (#5)
    by dws3665 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 05:12:04 PM EST
    This is a pre-clinical (i.e., rat) study. Rats are generally poor analogs for studying PTSD because so many of the most troubling and distressing symptoms of PTSD are "private" events (e.g., intrusive memories).

    Still quite interesting stuff, though. Thanks for sharing, Jeralyn.

    A scientific study wasn't needed (none / 0) (#10)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 11:07:28 PM EST
    I'm sure there are plenty of people who would have guessed it would be a pretty good treatment for all kinds of emotional dysfunctions and could not care less what the scientists say.

    ummm... (none / 0) (#11)
    by dws3665 on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 12:14:42 AM EST
    "Getting high makes you temporarily feel good" is not the point of the study. By your logic, alcohol would also be considered a treatment for PTSD. The study is attempting to determine whether cannabis could be an effective treatment of PTSD via its effects on memory processing, not as a temporary high. Smoking dope has not, sad to say, cured the many vets (and other trauma victims) who have used it to mellow themselves out.

    There's no magic bullett (none / 0) (#14)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 10:53:03 AM EST
    that's going to instantaneously "cure" trauma victims but time and love; but, if a little herb used circumspectly helps them get through a few rough patches in the road, it's certainly no business of the attack dog arm of the state.

    Like John Lennon said.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 24, 2009 at 10:56:29 AM EST
    "whatever gets you through the night, it's allright, it's allright".

    The state could take many a cue from that cat right there.