By: Regimantas Jurkus 1, Harriet L. L. Day2, Francisco S. Guimarães3, Jonathan L. C. Lee4, Leandro J. Bertoglio 5 and Carl W. Stevenson2*
A growing body of literature provides compelling evidence that CBD has anxiolytic effects and recent studies have established
a role for CBD in regulating learned fear by dampening its expression, disrupting its reconsolidation, and facilitating its
The opposing effects of CBD on fear memory reconsolidation and extinction make it particularly attractive
as a potential adjunct to psychological therapy as both may lead to lasting reductions in learned fear expression. Our
novel data also suggests that CBD reduces the expression of fear memory related to both discrete and contextual cues.
Although we found no effect of CBD on auditory fear extinction, decreasing fear expression during extinction without interfering
in its encoding is still a useful property that has clinical implications. In this respect CBD might be an improvement
over other available drugs used for treating the fear-related symptoms of phobias and PTSD, which can impair extinction
(e.g., benzodiazepines) or have a less favorable side effect profile (e.g., antidepressants). As such, further research investigating
the mechanisms underpinning CBD regulation of learned fear is warranted.