Cannabinoids provide a potential treatment option for disorders associated with traumatic memories, according to a new study.
The study was published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, and e-published ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
“Memory reconsolidation is the process in which reactivated long-term memory becomes transiently sensitive to amnesic agents”, states the study’s abstract. “We evaluated the ability of post reactivation administration of the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, separately and in combination with the cannabinoid CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN) [meant to mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids]”. This was given “systemically or specifically into the hippocampal CA1 area, basolateral amygdala (BLA) or insular cortex (IC), to reduce inhibitory avoidance fear in rats.”
According to researchers; “Systemic administration of rapamycin after reactivation of fear memory impaired reconsolidation and facilitated extinction.” A combined treatment with WIN and rapamycin “resulted in similar effects.”
“WIN injected systemically facilitated extinction, with no effect on reconsolidation”, states the study”. “WIN alone and with rapamycin also decreased anxiety-like behavior.” Further, when spontaneous recovery was tested, “the WIN+rapamycin group did not demonstrate recovery of fear which can occur spontaneously after the passage of time”.
Rapamycin and WIN had :differential effects on reconsolidation and extinction when microinjected into the CA1, BLA and IC.”
Taken together, “the results suggest that rapamycin or a combined treatment that involves blocking mTOR and activating cannabinoids may be a promising pharmacological approach for the attenuation of reactivated emotional memories, and thus, it could represent a potential treatment strategy for disorders associated with traumatic memories.”
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Haifa, can be found by clicking here.