Natural High Extinguishes Bad Memories in Brain

Natural High Extinguishes Bad Memories in Brain
Posted by CN Staff on July 31, 2002 at 16:30:18 PT
By Patricia Reaney 
Source: Reuters
Feel-good chemicals in the brain, similar to the active ingredient in cannabis, can wipe out bad memories, German scientists said in a finding that could lead to new treatments for anxiety disorders and phobias. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich have shown that natural chemicals in the brain similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana which produces the high, dampen nerve cell action and wipe out unpleasant memories. 
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and similar molecules in the brain known as cannabinoids bind to the brain's chemical receptors, and can create a feeling of euphoria. Cannabis and hashish, which contain THC, have been used for centuries for medicinal and recreational purposes. Dr. Beat Lutz and his team created transgenic, or genetically modified, mice without a cannabinoid receptor. When they conditioned them to associate a musical tone with an electric shock, the mice produced a fear reaction, and continued to react even when the tone was not followed by a shock, Lutz said. Normal mice quickly stopped reacting to the tone once it was not associated with a shock, but the genetically modified mice without the cannabinoid receptor took much longer to forget their fear. Lutz and his team, whose research is published in the science journal Nature, also showed that blocking the receptor in normal mice prevented the animals from forgetting the painful memory. When the scientists studied an almond shaped area of the brain called the amygdala, central to storing memory and fear, in transgenic and normal mice they discovered it was flooded with natural chemicals, or endocannabinoids, when the mice were gradually forgetting the learned response to the shock. Lutz believes the chemicals help to wipe out the fear or memory of the unpleasant response by binding to the cannabinoid receptors, he said on Wednesday. Smoking cannabis would not produce the same effect in humans, Lutz said, because it overflows the brain and is not specific enough to extinguish the unpleasant memory. Lutz and his team think drugs that target specific enzymes to boost cannabinoids in the amygdala could help people suffering from panic attacks and fear-related memories. "The finding that the endocannabinoids contribute to extinction raises the possibility that drugs that target these molecules and their receptors could be useful new treatments for anxiety disorders," Pankaj Sah, of the Australian National University in Canberra, said in a commentary in Nature. Source: ReutersAuthor: Patricia Reaney Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2002Copyright: 2002 Reuters UnlimitedCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on July 31, 2002 at 18:20:55 PT
And it doesn't wipe out bad memories
It only makes it so that they don't dominate your life.PTSD is when your brain lets the bad things in your memory dominate over the good things in present life. Cannabinoids restore the balance. Cannabinoids are all about BALANCE.
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on July 31, 2002 at 17:05:26 PT
Now it's time to talk
Cannabis consumption can cure nightmares from post traumatic memories. This is known, this has been known by all PTSD post Vietnam counselors at the VA for many years, many of them have admitted it in private and now is the time for them to clear their guilty consciences and admit it in public.
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