According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington, therapeutic cannabis could help to relieve the short-term symptoms of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It has always been shown that smoking cannabis can be bad for your health. Even occasional use could increase the risk of complications from COVID 19, while high doses would promote testicular cancer, depression, and cognitive impairment and could also be harmful to fertility. On the other hand, however, cannabis is increasingly used for therapeutic purposes worldwide. Medically prescribed, it could help relieve the pain associated with cancer and osteoarthritis, and several researchers are currently working on developing drugs based on this plant to treat Parkinson’s disease or to combat antibiotic resistance. In addition, according to a new U.S. study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, medical cannabis may also be helpful to people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
To reach this conclusion, researchers from the University of Washington followed more than 400 people with PTSD. They asked the participants to download an application describing the manifestations of their disease before and after the therapeutic use of cannabis. Results of the observations: after use, the severity of intrusive thoughts related to the trauma was reduced by 62%, flashbacks by 51%, irritability by 67%, and anxiety by 57%. “All symptoms were reduced by more than 50% immediately after cannabis use” according to the authors of the study.
This may not be an effective long-term remedy
However, this study has some limitations. The patients self-diagnosed themselves as having PTSD. In addition, there was no placebo group, and the beneficial effects were not felt over time. “It may not be an effective long-term remedy because the basic symptoms have been maintained over time and the dose used for anxiety has increased over time, which is indicative of the development of tolerance,” the researchers say in the paper note.
“It appears that cannabis temporarily masks symptoms, acting as a band-aid, but once the period of intoxication is over, symptoms can reappear,” says Carrie Cutler, who led the study. We need more research on the effects of the plant as a whole because that’s what people smoke, not just synthetic cannabinoids. It’s difficult to create a good placebo control group with the whole plant, but we have to do it,” she says.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, known since ancient times, occurs in people who have experienced a situation where their physical or psychological integrity or that of those around them has been threatened or damaged. Patients report nightmares, memories of traumatic events, anxiety, fear, and hyper-vigilance. They also report emotional numbness, anger, and violent behavior, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. This permanent sadness and the development of addictive disorders often end up negatively influencing daily life and their relationship with others.
If left untreated, this chronic condition can last a lifetime. Fortunately, adequate psychiatric care is available. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) and hypnosis, have proven their value in this respect. In addition to medical care, environmental support, both from the family and professionals, is essential to help the patient return to normal.