Synthetic cannabis compound found to have benefits for battling PTSD

Cannabis has always been a controversial drug in this country, with people arguing for and against it even causing mass protests about whether it should be legalised or not.

Adding to the ever growing bonfire, scientists have found evidence that indicates the drug could have positive medical benefits for those suffering with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study looked into the effect a synthetic compound, WIN 55,212-2 which has a similar effect of the active compound in cannabis, tetrahydroicannabinol, or THC.

An experiment on rats was carried out at the University of Haifa in Israel, which looked at whether the rodents would develop PTSD when injected with the synthetic THC.

Rats were given an electric shock in order to simulate a traumatic event, and then some were given anti-depressants currently used to treat PTSD, some were given the synthetic cannabis compound, and others were given nothing.

When shown stimulus that would remind them of the shock and cause symptoms of PTSD, the group given nothing displayed classic PTSD symptoms, the anti-depressant group showed a good reduction in symptoms of PTSD, but those with the synthetic THC displayed the least signs of PTSD when presented with the stimulus.

Although this experiment was only carried out on rats, it shows potential application of the drug which could be useful in treatments for those who, for example, have come back from war and suffer with stimulants such as fireworks, which can remind them of explosions and trigger responses. It can lead to anxiety and severe depression.

The next stage could be for the scientists to see whether true cannabis has the same effects, or whether only the synthetic THC had this positive mental benefit, and whether it can be applied to humans.

The study was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.