ptsd marijuana cannabis
Medical Marijuana Policy

Cannabis Compares Favorably To Conventional PTSD Treatments

ptsd marijuana cannabisI was sent the following information. All veterans and others that suffer from PTSD should be able to use medical cannabis if they choose to do so:

Care By Design, a California-based medical marijuana company, recently completed a survey of three hundred patients with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The survey asked what medications patients had used for PTSD-related symptoms (including cannabis), and then asked patients to assess each medication in terms of its impact on the hallmark symptoms of PTSD, including anger and irritability, anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep disorders.

The data suggests that cannabis compares favorably with conventional treatments for PTSD.
Key findings:

      Survey respondents reported taking numerous medications for PTSD. In order of prevalence: Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, cannabis, sleeping medication, mood stabilizers, narcotic pain medication, non-narcotic pain medication, anti-psychotics, beta-blockers, tranquilizers, and anti-convulsants.

Half of respondents had taken at least 5 medications for PTSD, and 7.5% had taken as many as eleven.

Survey respondents reported that cannabis was the most likely to improve PTSD symptoms—albeit to an unknown degree—and the least likely to make symptoms worse.

The most common medication prescribed for the treatment of PTSD among survey respondents was anti-depressants. Yet, few report it was effective. Only 18.1% of respondents said their depression got better on anti-depressants. Half reported that their depression got worse on anti-depressants, The majority of respondents reported that their depression worsened on anti-psychotics, tranquilizers, narcotic pain medication, mood stabilizers, and anti-convulsants.

Roughly half of respondents reported they had been prescribed narcotics for PTSD. The majority of them reported that their anger and irritability, depression, and sleep problems got worse on the medication.

Almost half of survey respondents reported that they were using CBD-rich cannabis (rather than high-THC strains), which is minimally or non-psychoactive.

80% of survey respondents reported that they consume less alcohol when using cannabis. This suggests that, when used medically, marijuana is not a “gateway” drug.

Veterans reported being prescribed more medications than civilians. They were also more likely to be prescribed medications that generally worsened symptoms, including anti-psychotics, narcotic pain medication, and mood stabilizers.

It’s estimated that over a million veterans are living with PTSD. The anxiety disorder is believed to be a major contributor to the staggering number of veteran deaths each year from prescription drug overdoses and suicides. Veterans are often underserved by the healthcare system and conventional PTSD therapies are of limited efficacy for many. A groundbreaking 2014 survey (http://www.legion.org/veteranshealthcare/222891/legion-survey-ptsdtbi-care-not-working) by the American Legion found that 59% of veterans reported feeling no improvement or worse after undergoing treatment for PTSD. Half were interested in exploring complementary and/or alternative treatments.

Roger Martin, U.S. Army veteran and Executive Director of Grow For Vets, a national non-profit that provides veterans with medical marijuana stated: “This is an important survey that furthers the national dialogue about the ongoing tragedy of PTSD among veterans and others. The research suggests that there is a strong connection between the endocannabinoid system and PTSD, that cannabis therapy can help relieve the symptoms of PTSD. Given the high rates of dissatisfaction with conventional treatment, it’s imperative we explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis without delay.”

The survey results can be viewed at: https://www.cbd.org/sites/cbd/files/downloads/ptsd-and-cannabis_2016.pdf

  • Bongstar420

    PTSD is more of a psychological disorder then it is a psychiatric disorder.

    Think about it..

    It is not an “anxiety disorder” as most people will experience PTSD if severely traumatized by something violent.

    For people who have seen the worst of battle in war, I’d be concerned if they didn’t have PTSD as thats a bit sociopathic. Sociopathy has no effective drug treatment, and is a psychiatric rather than a psychological disorder.

    I can’t believe they would prescribe a narcotic for PTSD. If any drug were likely to be helpful, it would be antipsychotics and anxiolytics….hence CBD. But really, with out a psychologist, the drug therapy is unlikely to ever get them over the condition.

  • HK_EXPAT_IN_NEW_ZEALAND

    Not just only PTSD, it does good on obesity as well

  • Moritz Farbstein

    Marijuana’s popularity may be based on the perception that it is safer than other methods as a treatment for PTSD, but multiple studies show that marijuana is not the harmless drug many believe it is. It can have a negative impact on your mental health, which may already be compromised if you have been diagnosed, rightly or wrongly, with PTSD.

    PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175
    combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders when they are not.

    As is usual in a business involving large sums of money, controversy and misinformation are rampant. There are, however, enough facts to allow one to work out the connections and reach unbiased conclusions.

    Myth: marijuana can cause PTSD; or alternatively marijuana is a treatment for PTSD. There are as many conjectures about one as about the other.

    Fact: Neither view is totally accurate.

    Marijuana is the word (thought to be Mexican-Spanish in origin) used to describe the dried flowers, seeds and leaves of the Indian hemp plant (genus Cannabis.) Etymologists think the name cannabis is from an ancient word for hemp (the name of the fiber made from the plant.)

    Regardless of the name, this drug is a hallucinogen — a substance which distorts how the mind perceives the world. The chemical in cannabis that creates this distortion is tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC. The amount of THC found in any given batch of marijuana may vary substantially, but overall the percentage of THC has increased in recent years due to selective breeding. Average THC levels in cannabis have grown from 1% in 1974 to up to 24%
    presently.

    It has been found that consuming one joint gives as much exposure to cancer-producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes. The mental consequences are equally severe; marijuana smokers have poorer memories and mental aptitude than do non-users. THC disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memory. THC also damages the immune system.

    Nationwide, 40% of adult males test positive for marijuana at the time of their arrest for criminal conduct.

    Short term effects can include panic and anxiety. Long term effects can include personality and mood changes. Sounds somewhat like the symptoms of PTSD, does it not?

    People take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. Marijuana masks the problem for a time; but when the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before. One study found that marijuana users had 55% more accidents, 85% more injuries, and a 75% increase in being absent from work.

    Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant; a greater amount acts as a sedative; an even larger amount can be fatal. This is true of any drug. But many drugs, like THC, can directly affect the mind by distorting the user’s perception, so that a person’s actions may be odd, irrational, inappropriate, and even destructive. Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short-term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out ability and alertness and muddy one’s thinking. Users think drugs are a solution; but eventually the drugs become the problem.

    There are so many non-drug alternatives (http://www.cchrstl.org/alternatives.shtml) to mental issues that it makes one wonder why this drug is so popular. Actually, we said it earlier — it is a business involving large sums of money. And if a person has mental trauma, whether a result of the joint or a precursor to the joint — there is your neighborhood doctor or psychiatrist ready to prescribe drugs.

    • saynotohypocrisy

      Cannabis is not a poison, that’s ridiculous.
      You don’t have to use cannabis if you don’t want to. But if killer alcohol is legal then far, far safer cannabis needs to be legal too. That’s just basic justice and basic public health. It’s crazy to have killer alcohol be the only psychoactive substance that’s legal.Think about it.

    • OMG, there have been thousands of studies to rebuke everything you said above. Your “reefer madness/war on drugs” lies make me laugh when I read them, to think anyone actually believes those out dated “single” reports is hilarious.

      Really, dude, read something written in this century.

      I’ll bet you know nothing about the endocannabinoid system yet act like you know soooo much about the human body.

      Why don’t you go troll somewhere else, we are trying to educate, not indoctrinate here.

  • PhDScientist

    Our Veterans risked their lives for us.
    They deserve the best medicine we can give them.
    Dr. Sanjay Gupta is right “Marijuana isn’t just ‘good medicine’ — in many cases its the only medicine that works”
    Countless Veterans have told us that Its the the only medicine that works for them or its the one that works best.
    It is IMMORAL for us to deny them safe, legal, access to it — and it should be paid for by the VA — just like every other medicine.
    Medical Marijuana saves lives. It is IMMORAL to leave it illegal for even one second longer.
    The Israeli’s say it best — Marijuana is “A Gift From God” — “Tikkun Olam” — “To Heal The World”

  • Green Pro Partners

    For the sake of all the PTSD patients who need access to an alternative and safer method of treatment, I’d rather have those in authority start regulating policies to focus on quality product, ease of accessibility to patients with medical condition in need of CTP as well as better form of administering the product for patient safety and better outcome. According to experts, the medicinal component of cannabinoid require very low amount of THC which happens to be the psychoactive effects and high CBD with its anti inflammatory, anti-seizure and anti prolific effects based on independent clinical research. For the mere fact that Opioids does more damage or have more adverse effects, we need to hurry up and not let the stigmatization of these alternative natural and holistic treatment influence our sound judgment and objectivity.