Because of all the incredible therapeutic benefits of cannabis for PTSD, more are turning to it as an alternative medication.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has proven to be one of the most challenging psychiatric disorders to treat. With over 8 million people suffering from PTSD, and 1 in every 13 people who will suffer from it at some point in their lives, this debilitating condition requires medicine that truly works so that patients’ lives can go back to normal.
When PTSD patients don’t receive the treatment they need, the symptoms can last a much longer time. The symptoms vary; they can include chronic nightmares, hypervigilance, panic attacks, overwhelming or self-destructive emotions, and in some cases these feelings can be so extreme that they lead to suicidal tendencies.
This is why psychiatrists and therapists need to turn to several treatment techniques, and in some cases they don’t work effectively. Conventional methods typically recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization, antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications, or a combination of these.
Thankfully, there is mounting evidence that cannabis is extremely promising for the treatment of PTSD. One of the latest studies was conducted by Dutch researchers in the Netherlands, and their findings were shared in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology. For the study, they analyzed data from the last 10 years on PTSD patients who have taken a range of cannabis medicines including THC, plant extracts, synthetic cannabinoids, and/or CBD.
“Cannabinoids were shown to improve overall PTSD symptoms, including sleep quality and quantity, hyperarousal, and treatment-resistant nightmares,” write the authors. “Cannabinoids have been shown to be an effective treatment option for patients with PTSD. Besides aiding to relieve the symptoms and enhance extinction training, they are also relatively well-tolerated,” they conclude.
Another recent study, and the first FDA-regulated, double-blind and placebo-controlled study on the impact of smoked cannabis on veterans suffering from PTSD reported that those who were administered with higher doses of THC showed the most significant improvements. The study, which was also conducted by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), revealed that cannabis blends containing 9% THC were the highest, though those with 11% THC, and 8% THC with 8% CBD were also effective.
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“This study served as the first randomized placebo-controlled trial comparing the therapeutic potential of varying ratios of THC and CBD for treating symptoms of PTS,” explains Dr. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, the study’s lead author.
Dr. Bon-Miller explained that they will need to conduct larger studies which would also have to be randomized and placebo-controlled to tell what the “minimally-effective doses of THC needed to safely treat individuals suffering from PTSD while also mitigating risks of cannabis dependence in this vulnerable population” would be.