A new study published this week by the journal Psychopharmacology has found that cannabis may provide a treatment option for panic and anxiety-related disorders.
According to the study; “Direct activation of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor in the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray (dlPAG) inhibits anxiety- and panic-related behaviours in experimental animals. It has remained unclear, however, whether the local endocannabinoid signalling is recruited as a protective mechanism against aversive stimuli.
The present study tested the hypothesis that the endocannabinoid system counteracts aversive responses in the dlPAG-stimulation model of panic attacks.”
Researchers used a cannabinoid receptor agonist – meant to mimic the effects of cannabis – on dlPAG rats that were induced with a chemical (NMDA) that causes “panic-like behavioural and cardiovascular responses in freely moving and anaesthetized animals, respectively.”
According to researchers; “The selective CB1 receptor agonist prevented the NMDA-induced panic-like escape responses.” The agonist also helped to prevent “both the behavioural response and the increase in blood pressure induced by NMDA.”
Researchers conclude; “The endocannabinoid system in the dlPAG attenuates the behavioural, cellular and cardiovascular consequences of aversive stimuli. This process may be considered for the development of additional treatments against panic and other anxiety-related disorders.”
The full study can be found by clicking here.