Conditioned Fear: Can Cannabinoids Help? | cannabisMD

Conditioned Fear: Can Cannabinoids Help?

Cannabinoids and the Extinction of Conditioned Fear

Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals found in the cannabis plant (or the cannabis sativa) and they are said to have a therapeutic value for those suffering from anxiety related disorders. A previous study has shown that by manipulating the cannabinoid 1 receptor, neurotransmission of fear is decreased in mice that are conditioned with anxiety. Cannabinoid receptors are found within the endocannabinoid system and they allow cannabinoids to work freely in the body. This paper will review if the CB1 can be targeted to rid rats of anxiety. This paper also evaluates if cannabinoids can be made into a drug to target the CB1 and help the extinction process of fear in animals.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Main Points

  • CB1 receptor agonists may increase fear extinction
  • Endocannabinoid system can be modulated to enhance emotional learning

CB1 Receptor Agonists May Increase Fear Extinction

The results of this study indicate that by inducing a CB1 agonist at the right dose, fear extinction can be reduced in rats. The administration of the CB1 agonist didn’t appear to affect an inhibitor of endocannabinoid system functioning but it led to enhancements in extinction after training in rats. It was suggested that conditioned fear, locomotion, shock reactivity, and baseline startle were not unchanged by the CB1 agonist AM404.

Endocannabinoid System Can be Modulated to Enhance Emotional Learning

The results of this paper suggest that the endocannabinoid system can be tweaked to enhance emotional learning and also that this can be used as a benchmark to develop therapeutic drugs to those people who have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorders and other anxiety disorders. Future studies will need to be taken place so that the right doses of CB1 agonists are administered to patients and that CB1 downregulation is not carried out.

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