The power of pot might help cover up our worst possible memories.
Many people have regarded marijuana as a magic cure for a lot of things, from making hangovers vanish to making terrible movies suddenly watchable. When in a certain state of mind potheads believe weed could solve world hunger, end war and make ice cream grow on trees. Until now the only benefit scientists have found from wacky tabbacy is its incredible weight loss powers, however it appears as though researchers have made another breakthrough regarding the benefits of the drug.
According to researchers at Haifia University in Jerusalem, Israel, marijuana might be able to block post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms if taken within 24 hours of the trauma. The researchers conducted tests on rats and found that cannabis can help ease even the most distressing situations.
“There is a critical ‘window of time’ after trauma, during which synthetic marijuana can help prevent symptoms similar to PTSD in rats,” said Dr Irit Akirav who led the study.
In the first part of the experiment, rats were exposed to extreme stress, and were found to display symptoms resembling PTSD in humans.
They were then divided into four groups, with the first given no marijuana, the second given a marijuana injection two hours after being exposed, the third after 24 hours and the fourth after 48 hours.
The researchers examined the rats a week later and found that the group that had not received marijuana, as well as the one that received the injection after 48 hours, displayed PTSD symptoms and a high level of anxiety.
Although the rats in the other two groups also displayed high levels of anxiety, the PTSD symptoms had totally disappeared.
I’m not sure exactly how well rats relate to human beings — or that they could show symptoms of PTSD — but if there is correlation this study could be incredibly important. Soldiers, cops and firefighters have suffered from PTSD for ages. Sometimes the symptoms have been nearly debilitating and threaten their sanity.
If the implementation of marijuana could help alleviate the painful memories or simply help keep mental stability after unfathomably traumatic events, it would be a huge medical breakthrough. During Vietnam soldiers were rumored to smoke weed in order to cope with the horror of war, but it would be interesting if giving soldiers marijuana after battle became a standard practice.
My biggest concern is the fact the human brain is incredibly more complex than a rat’s brain. Marijuana’s effects on the brain of a rodent are probably more intense or longer lasting than on a human, and something tells me watching your friend blow up on a land mine sticks with a man more than getting shaken up in a dark box does for a rat.