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PTSD and Cannabis

Apr 07, 2017 12:15PM ● Published by Londell Jackson

IN THE UNITED STATES, THERE ARE AN ESTIMATED TOTAL OF 1.5 MILLION INDIVIDUALS REGISTERED AS MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS ACROSS 29 DIFFERENT STATES. PATIENTS REPORT USING MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR VARIOUS REASONS, SUCH AS TO REDUCE OR RELIEVE STRESS, TENSION, AND ANXIETY. CONDITIONS THAT QUALIFY A PATIENT TO ACCESS MEDICAL CANNABIS OFTEN INCLUDE CANCER, GLAUCOMA, HIV/AIDS, MUSCULAR/SKELETAL SYSTEM DISORDERS, AND SEIZURE DISORDERS, TO NAME A FEW. WHILE THESE CONDITIONS ARE COMMON AMONG THE LISTS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGISTRY APPROVAL, POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) OFTEN DOES NOT APPEAR ON THESE LISTS.

Nearly 9 percent of the general population is affected by PTSD at some point in their lives. Among anxiety disorders, PTSD is most prevalent. The disorder develops in individuals who have seen or lived through a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Those who suffer from PTSD experience recurring memories of traumatic events, dissociative flashbacks, or reaction to external events that resemble the original triggering event. Patients with a diagnosis of PTSD account for nearly 40 percent of medical marijuana registrants.

To date, there have been less than 50 research studies completed to determine the effects of cannabis use among medical marijuana patients with PTSD. However, qualitative data from patients
with PTSD indicated they use cannabis to cope with their symptoms due to its anxiety-reducing and sleep-inducing effects, and that habitual use helps to alleviate their symptoms overall.

In a 2009 study, Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid modulator used for the treatment of chemotherapy side-effects such as nausea and vomiting, was found to halt PTSD-related nightmares in 72 percent of study participants who took it one hour before bedtime. These findings were validated and replicated in 2015. Additionally, in a study conducted in 2014, researchers found that THC, when administered twice per day as an add-on treatment, reduced symptom severity, improved sleep quality, and reduced the frequency of flashbacks.

While further research is needed to better understand the many ways in which cannabis helps improve the lives of millions across the country, it is evident that patients who suffer from PTSD can find relief through the use of medical marijuana. In particular, cannabinoids may offer the greatest relief of symptoms for those diagnosed with this condition.
Advisory Board
  • Medical Marijuana Awareness Day

    10/23/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Central Florida NORML is proud to co-host Medical Marijuana Awareness Days in the month of Octobe...


  • Canna Law and Business Expo

    10/26/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Last year we created the first of its kind Cannabis Law, Accounting & Business Conference. The re...


  • Medical Marijuana Awareness Day

    10/26/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Central Florida NORML is proud to co-host Medical Marijuana Awareness Days in the month of Octobe...


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