Cannabis and PTSD: The Match That Brings Real Healing - RxLeaf
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Cannabis and PTSD: The Match That Brings Real Healing

Emily Robertson
Depressed woman lying in bed

Cannabis offers patients suffering with PTSD a life line from which they can start to rebuild their lives.

After two world wars, a cold war, and numerous wars between, before, and after, we still haven’t quite figured out how to assist military personnel suffering with PTSD. This it to our shame. PTSD is a debilitating, life-destroying condition and vets tell us cannabis works. Often, anti-depressants and therapy/counseling are recommended. These are frequently ineffective and can even leave a patient completely hopeless when nothing changes. One of the side effects of anti-depressants is the increase in suicidal thoughts. Sadly, PTSD often leads to death by suicide, but it doesn’t have to be this way. New research reveals that cannabis can reduce suicidal thoughts and serious depressive episodes by as much as 60 to 65 percent.

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We’ve written about endocannabinoids and PTSD before. In fact, in our patient stories, numerous sufferers of PTSD have shared their experiences of cannabis helping them through difficult times. But now this important anecdotal evidence is backed by research. According to The Globe and Mail, this “study is the first national-scale indication of the effectiveness of cannabis at mitigating the hallmark symptoms of PTSD.” Hopefully, the upcoming legalization of cannabis will make sure it isn’t the last of its kind.

Researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Substance Use used national data from Statistics Canada to observe the effects of cannabis on depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts or intention. They compared the data of cannabis users with those who choose not to medicate with cannabis to find their conclusions.

Army man in uniform rubbing his face with stress and depression

You may be surprised to find out that around 10 percent of the population of Canada suffers from PTSD. Symptoms include depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, angry or aggression, and insomnia. Patients aren’t just war vets, either. Though certainly veterans are common sufferers, so too are first responders and those who have endured civil unrest, like refugees. However, there are a wide range of circumstances that can influence PTSD. In recent years, severe abuse, accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, deaths, and sexual assault and rape are understood to cause PTSD.

Angry woman screaming at the phone

As mentioned above, the study reviewed data from Statistics Canada. Its findings will have a positive impact on the progress of research into PTSD and cannabis. The lead author of the study, Dr M-J Milloy explained, however, that future research on a broader spectrum is still needed. Dr Milloy hopes to see randomized, controlled studies that can evaluated the efficacy, safety or health concerns, and best use of cannabis on PTSD.

And fortunately, it seems his goal will be realized sooner than later. The randomized, controlled trial that Dr Milloy called for will take place at the University of British Columbia. Clinical psychologist Zach Walsh is looking into the effects of cannabis on treating symptoms of PTSD.

Woman weeping with mascara running down her face

Sufferers of PTSD have been testifying for years in defense of cannabis. They find it to be a medical treatment that alleviates symptoms without the negative side effects of prescription drugs. And this reduction is enough to help them undergo talk therapy and partake in activities that help them move forward in their lives.

If you think you suffer from PTSD, speak to your doctor about trying cannabis.

Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

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