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Impact of cannabidiol-rich hemp extract oil on reconsolidation disruption of naturalistic interoceptive aversive memory in humans: Protocol for a randomized clinical trial

Preclinical experiments with rodents demonstrate that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychotomimetic constituent of the Cannabis sativa plant, disrupts reconsolidation of aversive memories conditioned in the laboratory when administered within the memory reconsolidation window (< 6 h. post-retrieval) by indirectly activating cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptors in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). Based on these findings, we aim to test whether administration of 300 mg CBD-rich hemp extract oil following fear reactivation of an aversive interoceptive threat memory can disrupt reconsolidation of naturalistic aversive memories in humans. More specifically, naturalistic interoceptive aversive memories, a form of transdiagnostic fear memory that contributes to the pathogenesis of fear-related disorders such as panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and illness anxiety disorder. For this proof-of-concept, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, volunteers (n = 99) reporting elevated fears of somatic sensations will be stratified on biological sex and randomized to one of three intervention arms: (a). CBD-rich oil administered within the reconsolidation window, (b) Placebo oil administered within the reconsolidation window; or (c) CBD-rich oil administered outside of the reconsolidation window. Change in emotional reactivity to a 35% CO2 challenge from baseline to two-week follow-up will serve as our primary outcome. Study findings may contribute towards the development of a novel brief transdiagnostic intervention guided by reconsolidation theory for individuals prone to fear-related psychiatric disorders. Identifier: NCT04726475.

Authors: Zaizar, Eric D; Papini, Santiago; O'Connor, Patrick; Telch, Michael J

Contemp Clin Trials. 2022 Aug;119:106847. Epub 2022-07-08.

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