A study led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany was conducted to see whether the cannabinoids system in your brain and body can play a role in the extinction of aversive memories. Mice were used without the brain cannabinoids receptor (CB1) as well as mice treated with CB1 antagonists. These mice showed strongly impaired extinction of fear in experiments. The mice were shocked whenever they heard a specific musical tone. Normal mice stopped reacting to the tone once it was not associated with an electric shock, however, mice that were treated with the CB1 antagonist and did not have CB1 receptors needed substantially more time to forget their fear. Dr. Lutz and his team discovered a part of the brain called the amygdala that stores memory and fear is full of endocannabinoids when the mice were forgetting the response to the shock. Dr. Lutz stated that Cannabis would not generate the same results in humans, however, because cannabis will overflow the entire brain with endocannabinoids and the treatment will not be specific enough to the amygdala.
Dr. Prankaj Sah is a neuroscientist at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. He stated that these recent findings can explain the phenomena of why many people with psychiatric disorder use marijuana as a way to self-medicate.
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