Anecdotal evidence and limited research have shown that medical marijuana may significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of symptoms associated with PTSD.
Potential Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana for PTSD Treatment
While 23 states, including Oregon, have approved the use of medical marijuana, not all of them allow those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to obtain medical marijuana licenses. Oregon specifically lists PTSD as a qualifying medical condition for medical marijuana licensing. Anecdotal evidence has provided some solid indications of the efficacy of cannabis for the treatment of PTSD symptoms, and two studies have demonstrated promise as well as the need for more research.
Many veterans return from service overseas with diagnoses of PTSD. Sufferers have unregulated brain receptors that activate, making the individual have an intense, overwhelming and irrational fear in reaction to unprovoked memories of the traumatic events they suffered. A psychiatrist in Arizona has been battling for research into the treatment of PTSD with medical marijuana. She reports that many of her patients have indicated significant relief from their symptoms when they use marijuana. Many medical professionals and soldiers likewise have reported similar relief, leading to calls for more marijuana studies.
The federal government has been slow to allow funding for research into the efficacy of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD. Two studies that have been conducted, including one in Israel and one in the U.S., have both shown that people with PTSD may have significant relief from their symptoms with the use of medical marijuana. The Israeli study looked at the effects of medical marijuana in the prevention of PTSD development in rats and found that marijuana did help prevent traumatized rats from developing PTSD.
In 2014, an American researcher published a study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. He reviewed data from clinicians’ assessments of PTSD sufferers in New Mexico using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale. Clinicians reported a 75 percent improvement in symptoms among patients taking medical marijuana through the state’s medical marijuana program.
Call for More Research
Researchers around the country are calling upon the federal government to allow additional research into the treatment of PTSD with medical marijuana. The anecdotal evidence provides insight into the benefits that patients who use cannabis in Portland may derive from talking to their physicians about prescribing it for their PTSD symptoms.