JUL 25, 2023 6:49 AM PDT

Cannabidiol's Potential Effectiveness in Treating Stress-Related Disorders

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A recent review of cannabinoid research focused on the implications of trauma and related stressors on the endocannabinoid system (eCB). The endocannabinoid (eCB) system supports homeostatic regulation and influences anxiety and stress responses, and traumatic stressors can disrupt the efficient signaling of the (eCB) system. The researchers examined the long-term implications for eCB functionality and neural pathways observable in adolescence and into adulthood. They also explored the current state of assessing CBD efficacy in treating pediatric and adult patients with stress-induced eCB dysregulation. The researchers analyzed Pubmed articles and studies examining eCB modulation of stress-related disorders in clinical settings and preclinical models. They published the review in the Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

The eCB regulates sleep, mood, appetite, reproduction, nerve function, inflammation, and pain. Dysregulation of the eCB can negatively impact hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) function. The HPA is essential in modulating physiological processes such as metabolism, immune responses, and the autonomic nervous system.

The researchers analyzed articles found via a search of Pubmed. They included studies examining eCB modulation of stress-related disorders in both clinical settings and preclinical models. Long-term disturbances in the eCB system can negatively interfere with hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis function and increase an individual’s risk of increased fear and anxiety disorders and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This finding has implications for drug discovery and development. The study’s findings show how lifelong alterations in eCB signaling determine stress responsiveness. Pharmaceutical or nutraceutical treatments may effectively impact eCB targets and improve clinical outcomes in stress-related disorders. 

Cannabinoid research studies have demonstrated that cannabidiol (CBD) can potentially reduce stress-related behaviors in preclinical models. Preclinical evidence supports CBD as a potentially safe and effective treatment for stress or anxiety disorders by facilitating the extinction of contextual fear memories often associated with PTSD. 

Sources: Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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