A recent study seems to validate the evidence that cannabis helps people with post-traumatic stress disorder. This study evaluated the symptoms of PTSD in two groups of participants diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Those with PTSD using dispensary cannabis and those with PTSD not using cannabis. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder who used cannabis showed a reduction in symptoms over time compared to non-users. The long-term and prospective therapeutic impact of cannabis on post-traumatic stress disorder, have been published by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Long-term therapeutic impact study
To conduct the study, researchers associated with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania recruited 150 participants with PTSD. The study subjects were divided into two groups, one comprising participants who consumed cannabis from state-approved dispensaries and an additional group of people who did not use “controlled” cannabis. Study participants who consumed cannabis primarily consumed THC-dominant flowers.
Every three months throughout the year, participants' symptoms (PTS) were tracked using the CAPS-5, which is considered the gold standard for PTS assessment. Statistical analysis of the results verified whether the trajectories of PTSD symptoms differed between the two groups.
Cannabis users performed better
“Participants who used primarily THC-dominant cannabis reported a greater reduction in the severity of PTSD symptoms over time compared to controls,” the research team wrote. “Cannabis users also showed a remission rate more than twice that of controls at the follow-up assessment at one year after their diagnosis of PTSD (defined as they no longer meet the criteria for diagnosis of PTSD on the CAPS-5) ”.
Cannabis users in the study were 2,57 times more likely to no longer meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD at the end of the observation period than participants who did not use it. In its conclusion, the team of researchers called for further scientific research into the effects that different cannabis products can have on patients with PTSD and their symptoms.
“This study provides evidence that the types of cannabis available at recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries may hold promise as an alternative treatment for PTSD,” the researchers wrote. "Randomized, placebo-controlled trials are needed to assess safety and determine how different cannabis preparations affect PTSD and function."
On the other hand, Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), noted that the research results seem to validate the anecdotal evidence that cannabis use can have a positive impact on patients with PTSD.
Veterans are much more likely to report having used cannabis than those in the general population and many Veterans report that cannabis is effective in self-management of their PTS symptoms, ”Armentano said in a press release. Therefore, these results confirm their claims.
Low doses of synthetic THC alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
The study results are consistent with a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published by researchers this year, which found that two synthetic cannabinoids similar to THC were effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the jury is still out. Another study published earlier this year in the magazine Psychological Medicine found “no evidence of improvement in PTSD-related intrusion symptoms or remission in the diagnosis of PTSD in association with long-term cannabis use”.
In conclusion, this study provides evidence that the types of cannabis available in recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries may hold promise as an alternative treatment for PTSD. Randomized, placebo-controlled trials are needed to assess safety and determine how different cannabis preparations impact PTSD and function.