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  • Drew Herb Lesser

Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of PTSD

Updated: Nov 4, 2023



Introduction


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by symptoms such as re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidance of traumatic memories, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and hyperarousal. Despite the availability of various treatments, many patients with PTSD continue to suffer from symptoms, highlighting the need for new and more effective treatments. In recent years, medical cannabis has emerged as a potential treatment for PTSD, with a growing number countries around the world, including Australia, legalising the prescription of Medical Cannabis. This article provides an overview of the current state of knowledge on the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD.


The Endocannabinoid System and PTSD

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex regulatory system that is involved in the regulation of a wide range of physiological processes, including mood, appetite, and stress response. The ECS is comprised of endocannabinoids (such as anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol), cannabinoid receptors (such as CB1 and CB2), and the enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids.


Studies have shown that the ECS is involved in the regulation of the stress response, and that alterations in ECS signaling may contribute to the development of PTSD. For example, a study by Hill et al. (2010) found that the levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide were lower in patients with PTSD compared to healthy controls. This suggests that alterations in ECS signaling may contribute to the development of PTSD, and that interventions aimed at restoring ECS function may be effective in treating this condition.


Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of PTSD


Medical cannabis is a term used to describe the use of the Cannabis sativa plant or its derivatives for the treatment of medical conditions. Medical cannabis contains numerous active compounds, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are believed to have therapeutic effects.

Several studies have investigated the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD. A study by Greer et al. (2014) found that patients with PTSD who used medical cannabis reported a significant reduction in symptoms compared to those who did not use medical cannabis. In particular, patients reported a reduction in symptoms such as re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidance of traumatic memories, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and hyperarousal.


Another study by Pace et al. (2017) found that medical cannabis use was associated with a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms, including re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidance of traumatic memories, and hyperarousal. Additionally, the study found that medical cannabis use was associated with a significant improvement in quality of life, as well as reductions in the use of other medications for the treatment of PTSD.

Despite these promising results, further research is needed to confirm the efficacy of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD. Moreover, it is important to note that the use of medical cannabis is not without risks. For example, long-term use of medical cannabis has been associated with a range of adverse effects, including cognitive impairment, increased risk of mental health disorders, and addiction.


Conclusion


The use of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD is a promising area of research. Evidence suggests that medical cannabis may be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD, further research is needed to confirm its efficacy and to determine the optimal dose and administration of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD. It is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with the use of medical cannabis, and to always consult a medical professional.



Summary

  • Studies have shown that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is involved in the regulation of the stress response, and that alterations in ECS signaling may contribute to the development of PTSD.

  • A study by Greer et al. (2014) found that patients with PTSD who used medical cannabis reported a significant reduction in symptoms compared to those who did not use medical cannabis. In particular, patients reported a reduction in symptoms such as re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidance of traumatic memories, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and hyperarousal.

  • Pace et al. (2017) found that medical cannabis use was associated with a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms, including re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidance of traumatic memories, and hyperarousal. Additionally, the study found that medical cannabis use was associated with a significant improvement in quality of life, as well as reductions in the use of other medications for the treatment of PTSD.

  • Evidence suggests that medical cannabis may be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD, further research is needed to confirm its efficacy and to determine the optimal dose and administration of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD.

If you feel that CBD or medical cannabis might work to treat your PTSD, check your Eligibility for medicinal cannabis in Australia. You may also book a Telehealth consult.



Disclaimer:

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The author is NOT a Doctor. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.







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