Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder and is the only one in which a traumatic event needs to occur to have a complete diagnosis. The average lifetime prevalence of PTSD in Canada is estimated at 9.2%. The female to male ratio of PTSD incidence is 2.8, which is likely due to the types and severity of trauma and the sex/gender differences in responding to traumatic events. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid from the Cannabis plant. CBD has demonstrated therapeutic potentials for PTSD through anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects. Evidence suggests the pharmacological effects of CBD differ between males and females. This study aims to assess sex differences with respect to CBD-associated therapeutic effects on anxiety-like behaviours, cognitive function as well as cortisol and cytokine levels in a rat model of PTSD. The present study evaluated sex differences in Sprague Dawley rats when treated with orally administered CBD oil. Animals were subjected to chronic and unpredictable stress, with two separate predator exposures over 30 days. Female rats performed better than males in behavioural tests when exposed to stress. Exposure to Cannabis oil was anxiolytic in males but produced negative effects in female rats. Neurological differences contribute to vastly different behavioural responses in male and female rats; however, physical symptoms from chronic stress are highly similar. Further studies are necessary to determine molecular mechanisms related to stress exposure and the action of CBD.
Master of Science (M.Sc.)