Best reviews

2021: This insightful review of the literature suggests the mechanisms by which CBD exerts its promising effects on PTSD

Cannabidiol and the corticoraphe circuit in post-traumatic stress disorder

2021: This review discusses targeting the ECS for treatment of PTSD

Targeting the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of PTSD: A promising case of preclinical-clinical translation?

2021: This review looks at how the ECS helps with the storage of memories with a special focus on the painful memories of PTSD

The role of endocannabinoids in consolidation, retrieval, reconsolidation, and extinction of fear memory

2021: Another review finds that cannabis is helpful for PTSD & that the area needs more large clinical studies

Cannabis in the management of PTSD: a systematic review

2021: This review looks at ten studies using the cannabinoids (including CBD) for PTSD

Use of cannabinoids for the treatment of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder

2021: A review looking at targeting the endocannabinoid system with CBD or THC for PTSD

Endocannabinoid System as Therapeutic Target of PTSD: A Systematic Review

2020: A review of cannabinoids for PTSD with a focus on the HPA axis

Cannabinoids as therapeutics for PTSD

2020: A review of how dopamine interacts with the ECS in PTSD

Dopamine, endocannabinoids and their interaction in fear extinction and negative affect in PTSD

2019: A review of studies of traumatic memories & cannabinoids in humans & animal models

Tempering aversive/traumatic memories with cannabinoids: a review of evidence from animal and human studies

2019: ECS & PTSD

Endocannabinoid System Alterations in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Review of Developmental and Accumulative Effects of Trauma

2019: A review finds "cannabinoids may help reduce global PTSD symptoms, sleep disturbances, and nightmares" and double-blind trials are highly warranted – 10 studies

The Effectiveness of Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Systematic Review

2018: Looking for biomarkers for PTSD

Biomarkers for PTSD at the Interface of the Endocannabinoid and Neurosteroid Axis

2018: How the sex hormones are modulated by the ECS in PTSD

Modulation of the endocannabinoid system by sex hormones: Implications for posttraumatic stress disorder

2018: CBD & PTSD

Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials

2018: Matthew Hill on the ECS & PTSD

Integrating Endocannabinoid Signaling and Cannabinoids into the Biology and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

2014: In survivors of critical illness, the role of endocannabinoids and stress hormones

The role of glucocorticoids, catecholamines and endocannabinoids in the development of traumatic memories and posttraumatic stress symptoms in survivors of critical illness

Chart Gallery

The ECS & fear processing
The ECS & fear processing

2015: Toward a Translational Approach to Targeting the Endocannabinoid System in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Critical Review of Preclinical Research

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CBD & PTSD history
CBD & PTSD history

2018: Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials

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Emotional memories & cannabinoids
Emotional memories & cannabinoids

2018: Effects of Cannabinoid Drugs on Aversive or Rewarding Drug-Associated Memory Extinction and Reconsolidation

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The ECS & fear processing
The ECS & fear processing

2015: Toward a Translational Approach to Targeting the Endocannabinoid System in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Critical Review of Preclinical Research

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Timeline of Research

2021: In female mice, CBD was superior to the SSRI citalopram for extinguishing fearful memories

Comparison of cannabidiol to citalopram in targeting fear memory in female mice

2021: In humans with PTSD, the ability of exercise to help reduce threat expectancy is mediated via anandamide & BDNF (an important brain growth factor regulated by the ECS)

Exercise-induced increases in Anandamide and BDNF during extinction consolidation contribute to reduced threat following reinstatement: Preliminary evidence from a randomized controlled trial

2021: In humans, genetic differences in their CB1 receptors & FAAH enzymes showed that they are involved in forgetting fears

Cannabinoid polymorphisms interact with plasma endocannabinoid levels to predict fear extinction learning

2021: In humans, a certain genetic variant of FAAH (the enzyme that breaks down anandamide) is linked to how much people process fear & their susceptibility to PTSD

A common genetic variant in fatty acid amide hydrolase is linked to alterations in fear extinction neural circuitry in a racially diverse, nonclinical sample of adults

2021: In a female mouse model of PTSD, anandamide & 2-AG caused opposite effects in fear expression & fear extinction

Sex-dependent effects of endocannabinoid modulation of conditioned fear extinction in rats

2020: When mice are panicked at the sight of pit vipers, here's how the CB1 receptor modulates the signals

The modulation of striatonigral and nigrotectal pathways by CB1 signalling in the substantia nigra pars reticulata regulates panic elicited in mice by urutu-cruzeiro lancehead pit vipers

2020: In Canadian soldiers with PTSD, nabilone (synthetic THC) found to be helpful for their nightmares

Use of a synthetic cannabinoid (nabilone) in the ongoing management of posttraumatic stress disorder nightmares in the Canadian Armed Forces: Results of an anonymous online survey

2020: In mice, both CBD & CBDA helped with PTSD-type symptoms around fear & trauma

Cannabidiol disrupts conditioned fear expression and cannabidiolic acid reduces trauma-induced anxiety-related behaviour in mice

2020: In adults with PTSD, low amounts of THC "lowered threat-related amygdala reactivity, increased mPFC activation during threat, and increased mPFC-amygdala functional coupling"

Cannabinoid modulation of corticolimbic activation to threat in trauma-exposed adults: a preliminary study

2020: In rats with induced panic, CBD injection into the hypothalamus reduced “both panic attack-like behaviours and unconditioned fear-induced antinociception” – effects blocked by a CB1 antagonist

Cannabidiol-induced Panicolytic-Like Effects and Fear-Induced Antinociception Impairment: The Role of the CB 1 Receptor in the Ventromedial Hypothalamus

2019: A survey in Minnesota showed cannabis caused clinically meaningful reductions in PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program Report

2019: In rats, cannabinoid receptors & others are involved in the fear mitigating effects of CBD

A time-dependent contribution of hippocampal CB1, CB2, and PPARγ receptors to cannabidiol-induced disruption of fear memory consolidation

2019: In rats, CBD blocks the consolidation of fearful memories when taken within an hour of trauma

A time-dependent contribution of hippocampal CB 1 , CB 2 and PPARγ receptors to cannabidiol-induced disruption of fear memory consolidation

2019: In humans with PTSD, after exercising their AEA & OEA levels increased but not 2-AG

Loss of exercise- and stress-induced increases in circulating 2-arachidonoylglycerol concentrations in adults with chronic PTSD

2019: In rats, CBD given up to an hour after trauma reduced fear conditioning – seems to work via CB1, CB2, serotonin, adenosine and PPARγ

A Time-Dependent Contribution of Hippocampal CB 1 , CB 2 and PPARγ Receptors to Cannabidiol-Induced Disruption of Fear Memory Consolidation

2019: In mice, CBD & hemp plant extracts significantly reduced the fear response – while THC did not

Cannabidiol and the Remainder of the Plant Extract Modulate the Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Fear Memory Reconsolidation

2017: In rats, CBD disrupts the consolidation of different fear memories via AEA mediated activity at the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the dorsal hippocampus

Cannabidiol Disrupts the Consolidation of Specific and Generalized Fear Memories via Dorsal Hippocampus CB 1 and CB 2 Receptors

2017: In rats, an infusion of CBD interrupted fear consolidation 5 hours after the trauma – reduces influence of prefrontal circuit on cortico-limbic circuits

Selective Post-Training Time Window for Memory Consolidation Interference of Cannabidiol Into the Prefrontal Cortex: Reduced Dopaminergic Modulation and Immediate Gene Expression in Limbic Circuits

2016: In rats, the authors find CBD using a novel circuit in the mesolimbic system that works via serotonin pathways to block the formation of fearful memories that cause a conditioned freeze

Cannabidiol Modulates Fear Memory Formation Through Interactions with Serotonergic Transmission in the Mesolimbic System

2015: In an animal model, THC & CBD can disrupt the reconsolidation (re-saving) of fearful memories

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol alone and combined with cannabidiol mitigate fear memory through reconsolidation disruption


2014: 10 chronic PTSD patients saw improvement with THC

Preliminary, open-label, pilot study of add-on oral Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

2014: In a human fMRI study, THC helped with extinction recall (14 participants in a a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects design)

Cannabinoid modulation of prefrontal-limbic activation during fear extinction learning and recall in humans

2013: In human placebo trials, THC found to help with fear extinction

Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans

2013: In humans, examination of circulating endocannabinoid levels after traumatic event (9/11) – 2-AG levels down but not AEA

Reductions in circulating endocannabinoid levels in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder following exposure to the World Trade Center attacks

2012: In rats, CBD as a reconsolidation blocker for fear memories

On disruption of fear memory by reconsolidation blockade: evidence from cannabidiol treatment

2010: In rats, injections of CBD into the prefrontal cortex helped to lessen their conditioned fear

Involvement of the prelimbic prefrontal cortex on cannabidiol-induced attenuation of contextual conditioned fear in rats

2006: In rats, both THC & CBD potentiated the extinction of conditioned incentive learning

Effect of low doses of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on the extinction of cocaine-induced and amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference learning in rats