UK Study Finds PTSD Symptoms Improved After Cannabis Use

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Post-traumatic stress disorder is a major public health issue all over the world. The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is estimated to be 3.9% in the general population, and a much higher rate for those that have lived in countries where war and conflict has occurred.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.”

As with most health conditions, there are varying degrees of severity when it comes to PTSD, ranging from mild anxiety all the way to full blown panic attacks occurring regularly to the point that the patient can’t function. Flashbacks and regular nightmares are also symptoms of PTSD.

Fortunately, the cannabis plant has been found by a growing list of studies to help people that suffer from PTSD. A recent study in the United Kingdom found that cannabis use is associated with improved symptoms among patients suffering from PTSD. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

London, United Kingdom: Patients with post-traumatic stress experience symptom improvements following the use of cannabis products, according to data published in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics.

British investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of cannabis products in 162 PTSD patients with a physician’s authorization. Study subjects were participants in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. Study participants consumed either cannabis extracts or THC-dominant flowers for a period of six-months.

Authors reported that patients showed “statistically significant improvements” in a variety of domains, including sleep, anxiety, and stress. Self-reported adverse events were typically mild in severity.

“This observational study suggests an association between CBMP [cannabis-based medicinal products] treatment and improvement in PTSD-specific, HRQoL [health-related quality of life], sleep, and anxiety outcomes at up to 6-month follow-up,” they concluded. “CBMPs were well-tolerated and adverse events manageable. … [T]his study can serve to inform future randomized placebo-controlled trials with the aim of confirming these promising effects, whilst informing current clinical practice.”

Observational studies assessing the role of cannabinoids in mitigating symptoms of PTSD have generally yielded mixed results. A 2021 clinical trial reported that the inhalation of marijuana flowers provided limited benefits compared to placebo in treating symptoms of PTSD.

Full text of the study, “Assessment of clinical outcomes in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder: Analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry,” appears in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. Additional information on cannabis and post-traumatic stress is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids.

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