The majority of states or territories in the United States that have medical marijuana programs allow qualifying physicians to recommend the use of cannabis to treat symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These states include:
· New Hampshire
· New Jersey
· New Mexico
· New York
· North Dakota
· Northern Mariana Islands
· Puerto Rico
· Rhode Island
· U.S. Virgin Islands
· West Virginia
Despite its widespread use to treat PTSD, the clinical evidence to support its efficacy is more mixed than one might assume. According to at least one observational study published in 2015, veterans who self-medicated with cannabis often had more severe PTSD symptoms, as well as increased levels of violent behavior and drug and alcohol abuse. Conversely, a study involving ten outpatients who were given 5 mg doses of orally absorbable tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) twice per day as add-on treatment showed global symptom improvement.
However, a new study involving 150 patients that was published online in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found evidence to further support the claim that cannabis does help treat symptoms associated PTSD. The study examined two groups of participants with PTSD, cannabis users and non-cannabis users (controls). Over the course of one year, the former group reported a greater decrease in symptom severity. Additionally, they were 2.57 times more likely to no longer meet DSM-5 criteria for PTSD at the end of the study’s observation period when compared to controls.
More importantly, this study involved cannabis that had been procured by participants in legal dispensaries rather than through the federal government’s single supplier of research cannabis at the University of Mississippi. The findings support the claim that the kinds of products available to patients in dispensaries may be effective at treating symptoms associated with PTSD.
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research has more.