Brain imaging research published this month in the journal Molecular Psychiatry provides physiological evidence as to why cannabis may mitigate certain symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress syndrome is an anxiety disorder that is estimated to impact some eight million Americans annually. Yet, to date, there are no pharmaceutical treatments specifically designed or approved to target symptoms of PTSD.
Investigators at the New York University School of Medicine and the New York University Langone Medical Center, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury reported that subjects diagnosed with PTSD typically possess elevated quantities of endogenous cannabinoid receptors in regions of the brain associated with fear and anxiety. Investigators also determined that many of these subjects experience a decrease in their natural production of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter, resulting in an imbalanced endocannibinoid regulatory system.
Researchers speculated that an increase in the body’s production of cannabinoids would likely restore subjects’ natural brain chemistry and psychological balance. They affirmed, “[Our] findings substantiate, at least in part, emerging evidence that … plant-derived cannabinoids such as marijuana may possess some benefits in individuals with PTSD by helping relieve haunting nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD.”
They concluded: “The data reported herein are the first of which we are aware of to demonstrate the critical role of CB1 (cannabinoid) receptors and endocannabinoids in the etiology of PTSD in humans. As such, they provide a foundation upon which to develop and validate informative biomarkers of PTSD vulnerability, as well as to guide the rational development of the next generation of evidence-based treatments for PTSD.”
Anecdotal evidence and case study reports have increasingly indicated that cannabis may mitigate traumatic memories and anxiety. However, clinical trial data remains unavailable, in large part because US federal officials have blocked investigators’ efforts to study cannabis in PTSD subjects. In 2011 federal administrators halted efforts by investigators at the University of Arizona to complete an FDA-approved, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the use of cannabis in 50 veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD.
PTSD is also seldom identified as a qualifying condition in states that allow for the physician authorized use of cannabis therapy. (To date, only New Mexico explicitly cites PTSD as a qualifying condition for cannabis treatment, although a handful of other states, like California, allow doctors the discretion to legally recommend marijuana for post-trauma subjects.) In Oregon, lawmakers in the House are considering Senate-approved legislation, SB 281, that would allow PTSD patients to legally consume cannabis under the state’s nearly 15-year-old medical marijuana program.
Yay! I’ve been waiting for such an article ever since NORML posted news about other studies about cannabis helping PTSD patients, where the researchers had to travel to other countries to study due to America’s DEA-laws about marijuana research. (Where you can only conduct studies on marijuana if it’s to prove the negative effects of it, in the USA? If I’m not mistaken.) I am SO pleased that this was conducted in New York, that is such huge progress.
I’ve wondered if America’s reason for refusing to acknowledged the multiple studies proving that cannabis helped PTSD in the past is due to the doctors not being in the country. I wonder if this close-to-home study will let the facts be taken into account, finally? It’s wonderful this reasearch was conducted, either way.
Not to be nit picky, but I think you mean “Brain imagining research” rather than Brian imagining. It’s great to see tangible evidence of a way to help veterans and others afflicted by PTSD.
While this study may “substantiate” the benefits of cannabinoids for PTSD, there are plenty of other effective treatments out there for it. First, our society is too hung up on finding pills to treat illnesses. But, if that’s what you believe in, there are several FDA approved cannabinoid medications. Second, there is substantial evidence to prove that the negative, long-term side-effects of marijuana do not outweigh the short-term benefits.
I say legalize marijuana. Regulate it like tobacco/alcohol but it really has no place in the medical field. It’s like telling someone to go get drunk to deal with chronic pain. The risks clearly don’t outweigh the benefits.
How the hell is conducting science to prove efficacy illegal? Outlaw the truth?! What!?! No science on schedule I substances is illegal as hell!!!
To thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against us all.
These Fuderal adminstrators should be given a ww2 surplus parachute and dumped over the bikini atoll.
These fuderal adminstrators should be given a WW2 surplus parachute and dumped over the bikini atoll.
I served aboard HMS Hermes during the Falklands war and have been suffering from PTSD for years, nearly all veterans self medicate whether through alcohol/drugs, I nearly killed myself drinking to try and just numb my feelings but only ended up worse, violence and depression were amongst the biggest problems with alcohol but recently I tried marijuania and it seems to have a beneficiary effect, no depression, no violence, i’ve been on many different medications including mirtazapine and chlorpromazine and the list of side effects are horrendous, I spent almost 6 years virtually comatose as a result of the chlorpromazine and it’s taken me 3 years to get it out of my system, i’m dam sure the side effects of cannabinoids arent anyway near that of pharmaceutical products and as much money should be spent on the study of cannabinoids as pharmaceutical products.
Negative long term side-effects of marijuana? If anyone out there can name one scientifically based proven long term negative side-effect of cannabis besides the abuse of our government oppressing the people of America and establishing laws around the world to do the same to our global citizens. Pigs will fly!! Doesn’t exist and never ever will.
I am a veteran. I have severe PTSD. When i dont consume marijuana i stay in my home for days, avoid family and friends and do little of anything. Its only after i use marijuana that i can be social, have ample energy to exercise, do household chores, and all the things you probably do daily and take for granted.
To all veterans out there with PTSD, have you ever contacted the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)? I know a therapist who works there specifically with vets with PTSD and they are getting relief and recovering.
As for the-latchkeykid…I know of at least 30 studies (and there are many more out there) that show the negative long-term side-effects of marijuana…make a trip to the library and search for yourself.
[Editor’s note: What specifically does this NICOe offer that cannabis does not? What is this therapist’s treatment? Behavior therapy? Group therapy? Chemical therapy? And what specific “30” studies are you alluding to that claim cannabis has long term negative side effects? 1) We await your replies and 2) Are you sure you want to pick a fight here about the health effects of cannabis? You may know a therapist who knows blah-blah-blah…but NORML and its supporters know just a little bit about cannabis.
Lastly, rather than dispatch someone to a library to research the heath effects of cannabis, a person today can access via the Internet large repositories of academic papers on cannabis…likely over 21,000 of them!]
We don’t care how many facts are known regarding medical use for marijuana. We don’t care how many good Americans get sent to prison for marijuana. We steadfastly refuse to acknowledge any of it and will continue our predjucial war against anyone who chooses to use any amount of marijuana for any reason. That includes people dying of cancer and soldiers suffering from PTSD. We are an organization of haters and will do our best to shut down all the potheads! We have Obama on our side on this matter and your proof of medical use is of no use. We even decided to ignore the medical findings of our own agency in order to continue our war against potheads.
That is all.
Thank you God! I’m not alone!
A study to proof cannabis has medical effect on PTS symptoms? Done in the USA? I am so pleased to hear this, though Anslinger might turn in his grave. Well, let him do that!
To the mamma who says there’s other help for veterans with PDS I say: Read this article. Then tell me if there REALLY is will and means to treat those suffering? http://cdn.csgazette.biz/soldiers/
Pardon my lousy English. I meant to write PTSD.
To MBMMamma. The library? Are you serious? This is the future, whether you want to believe it or not. The political prohibition propagandist smoke screen set up to keep the people from learning the truth about cannabis is finished and clearing like the forests controlled by Hearst. Thank God. As I said, just give me one, one study and I’ll show you the black unicorn I found in upper state Maine near “the county’. All jOkes aside. Maybe there are some guys that get help at the NICoE, this does not mean that cannabis is or has ever had long term negative affects, because it simply doesn’t. I would suggest you ask your friend therapist to do a study with patience at the NICoE and see whether cannabis works better than whatever method they are using and compare and contrast. But I doubt they would do it due to the fact they would feel their jobs would be in jeopardy, as they should because right now they are only delaying the progress of real healing. Hands down from the veterans I know personally who’ve been completely mind f**ked with our current governments attempt to keep our blessed protectors from cannabis and to insure that pharms pill production values are never diminished, they all love and want it and continue to ask for it because they say it really really helps them. Why would you not give medicine to someone who says I feel better taking this than than any pill or prescription prescribed by some so called professionals in the medical industry? Makes no sense at all. I look forward to the day they all stand up and say hey, we’ve fought to protect our country, we have a right to partake of a plant, a simple plant to give us relief, whether we grow it ourselves, get it from a dispensary or from a friend without being hassled. I’m in hope that day is soon around the corner. Your library studies are officially ancient history covered in dust. This is the beginning of the green future, get on board or get left behind and well be back to pick you up later because most cannabis supporters I know carry a common factor (and remember most i say most) of compassion and don’t want to see anyone left with blinders on. Like all the others who still have yet to see clearly I will pray from your eyes to be opened sooner than later. Also picking a debate with a subject matter you obviously know nothing about will always end in a loss.
@MBMMamma – Why do you, and the DEA, refuse to listen to the soldiers who suffer from PTSD and claim that marijuana helps them? Are they all liars? Are they deluded? Or, most likely, have they found it actually works? I’m one of them and I say “It actually works much better than any of the lab manufactured garbage that has tons of dangerous side effects!”.
It is beyond insane to lock someone up for using marijuana, or to force them into some rehab facility as Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy want to do, for using something that is safe and works!
It has become less expensive to kill the patients through government sanctioned experimentation than to treat them. Ignorant people would rather patients become addicted to lab designed and fabricated medications for their pain management under the control and discretion of a federally funded and restricted healthcare professional. The secular world has been leaving their patients to the care of religious organizations, clinics, and volunteers because the expense gives an excuse to ignore their pleas. Kinda like what the world did for the Nazis earlier in the 20th century. Ignore the disrespect for patients and their rights because they are unable to fight very long…time is working for the hands of the accountants.
I see that most of you chose to lock in on only part of what I had initially written. You obviously only care about bitching about the U.S. government.
I clearly stated that marijuana should be legalized. Did I mention anything about locking people up for it, no. If you want to use it, fine…but it doesn’t belong in the medical system. Also, no where did I indicate that I support popping pills as solutions to everything. I think prescriptions are over-utilized in our society anyway. In fact, there are tons of alternative and complementary alternative medicine treatments out there WITHOUT side effects that are evidence-based and effective: yoga, mindfulness meditation, heart-rate variability biofeedback, eeg biofeedback, therapy dogs, relaxation techniques…..
you want studies? I will give you studies.
Adams, I. B., & Martin, B. R. (1996). Cannabis: pharmacology and toxicology in animals and humans. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 91(11), 1585–614.
Barnes, R. E. (2000). Reefer madness: Legal & moral issues surrounding the medical prescription of marijuana. Bioethics, 14(1), 16–41.
Bostwick, J. M. (2012). Blurred boundaries: The therapeutics and politics of medical marijuana. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic, 87(2), 172–186. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2011.10.003
Cohen, P. J. (2010). Medical marijuana 2010: It’s time to fix the regulatory vacuum. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 38(3), 654–666. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2010.00519.x
Dragt, S., Nieman, D. H., Becker, H. E., Van de Fliert, R., Dingemans, P. M., De Haan, L., Van Amelsvoort, T. a, et al. (2010). Age of onset of cannabis use is associated with age of onset of high-risk symptoms for psychosis. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(3), 165–171.
Hall, W. (1997). The recent Australian debate about the prohibition on cannabis use. Addiction, 92(9), 1109–1115.
Hall, W, & Solowij, N. (1998). Adverse effects of cannabis. The Lancet, 352(9140), 1611–1616. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(98)05021-1
Hall, Wayne, Degenhardt, L., & Teesson, M. (2004). Cannabis use and psychotic disorders: An update. Drug and Alcohol Review, 23(4), 433–443. doi:10.1080/09595230412331324554
Jampel, H. D. (n.d.). Should you be smoking marijuana to treat your Glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/should-you-be-smoking-marijuana-to-treat-your-glaucoma-1.php
Jiang, H.-E., Li, X., Zhao, Y.-X., Ferguson, D. K., Hueber, F., Bera, S., Wang, Y.-F., et al. (2006). A new insight into Cannabis sativa (Cannabaceae) utilization from 2500-year-old Yanghai Tombs, Xinjiang, China. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 108(3), 414–422. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.05.034
Jonsen, A. R., Siegler, M., & Winslade, W. J. (2010). Clinical ethics: A practical approach to ethical decisions in clinical medicine (Seventh.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Laitner, B. (2013, February 8). Medical-pot dispensaries not allowed, Mich. court rules. Detroit Free Press. Detroit, MI.
McCarthy, K. T. (2004). Conversations about medical marijuana between physicians and their patients. The Journal of Legal Medicine, 25(3), 333–349. doi:10.1080/01947640490497015
Moore, B. a, Augustson, E. M., Moser, R. P., & Budney, A. J. (2005). Respiratory effects of marijuana and tobacco use in a U.S. sample. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 20(1), 33–37.
Nussbaum, A. M., Boyer, J. a, & Kondrad, E. C. (2011). “But my doctor recommended pot”: Medical marijuana and the patient-physician relationship. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(11), 1364–7. doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1840-4
Reece, A. S. (2009). Chronic toxicology of cannabis. Clinical Toxicology, 47(6), 517–524. doi:10.1080/15563650903074507
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Sidney, S., Beck, J. E., Tekawa, I. S., Quesenberry, C. P., & Friedman, G. D. (1997). Marijuana use and mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 87(4), 585–590.
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I am not a Vetran, but I believe that I have some sort of PTSD from giving my son up for adoption when I was 17. A year after giving him up, I started getting morning sickness, it would stay for a few months then go away but every year it would come back. In 2010 the sickness never went away, and It extended to an all day stomach issue. Dr’s put me trough lots of test and after finding no physical reason to why I was sick, they recommended taking my gallbladder out (since it was too small to function). I let them take my gallbladder out, a few days later I was back in the hospital to find that they punctured my liver during my surgery. I eventually got on an anxiety medicine and my symptoms went away…until my body got used to the medication. Now I am back to waking up nauseous/vomiting with no appetite and frequent restroom trips all day. A few months ago, my doctor had me do another colonoscopy, I woke up with really bad back pain, then the next day I threw my back out while brushing my teeth. After months of physical therapy, I still had pinching nerve pain and could not stay in 1 position for long. Finally had an MRI, found out that I have degenerative disk disease. My doctor wanted to get me started on routine injections and epidurals. I asked my doctor for alternative options such as natural medicine and told him my concern of every time a doctor performs a minor procedure, I come out in worse condition than when I started…now my doctor refuses to help me at all. Marijuana helps all my symptoms and helps me live a normal life. I tried to get my medical card through THCF, and they recently took their operations out of Nevada. PLEASE WHAT CAN I DO TO GET A MEDICAL CARD?
Howdy! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my
comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
Thanks a lot!
MBMMamma says:”To all veterans out there with PTSD, have you ever contacted the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)? I know a therapist who works there specifically with vets with PTSD and they are getting relief and recovering.
As for the-latchkeykid…I know of at least 30 studies (and there are many more out there) that show the negative long-term side-effects of marijuana…make a trip to the library and search for yourself”.
Wonderful,i hope this is free for all the veterans,,,right?
And if not,why should they have to endure prison because of a few psychopaths that had visions of grandeur about a “perfect drug free society” despite knowing all the human suffering that goes along with enforcing such a noble vision(sarcasm)
Have you ever drank a cup of coffee or tea, for the purpose of helping you wake up in the morning, or being more focused for work or for a test or exam?
If you did,,,how dare you for self-medicating! did you get permission from a certified doctor? Have you ever eaten a certain food for a health reason,like, blueberries or melons for anti-oxidants or vitamins? maybe, for some subconscious reason like cancer prevention,Did you get you’re doctors clearance,did he say it was okay?
I know i am being a smart ass,but i hope you are getting the point that i am trying to make,in,that humans have an innate ability for self preservation and for instinctively knowing to some degree, what works or doesn’t work for them (the individual).Is the desire for stress relief, a just cause and a right of being human, or is it merely “getting high”, a catch word like the word “terrorism for media mind control.
What a sick society we have created with the manipulative weapon of fear,and for being pro-active to the point of insanity.
Hey MBMMamma, it’s true that my response was specifically targeted at your reference to “the long term negative affects of cannabis”, and as many jokes and sarcastic remarks are made towards those who have begun to look into cannabis I am grateful that you are here presenting research for all to check out even if some of the documents mentioned are supported by those whose lively hoods depend on cannabis prohibition. There is a new book out called “The Pot Book,The Complete Guide To Cannabis” Edited by Julie Holland, M.D. check it out if you can.
We talk about the issues of our government that are not benefiting the natural evolution of freedom the people wish to express. If we don’t stand against injustice committed on us from our own government we will only be living our lives as slaves to persons, not just governments but corporations and other growing and emerging industries who will have no problem exploiting our every heart beat as a vessel for their own economic gain while they poison our planet with petroleum based products. What do we think is going to happen if we just keep sucking the earths lubricant out of its life system? The harsh reality is that we are killing our fellow neighbors with synthetics and processed materials and becoming removed from our natural aspects of farming the land naturally and tending to each other in respect. Our government has been responsible for the great carnage perpetuated on our very citizens and citizens around the world due to them trying to keep a plant that has been used medicinally for over 4000 years away from its citizens with no scientific bases but lots of rhetoric of the dangers of a plant that has never killed anyone and which is virtually impossible to die from when ingested. How can something be dangerous if it can’t kill you? Just because we are unable to define how to explain what a person feels when we under the influence of cannabis doesn’t make it dangerous. It should be used medicinally. Cannabis is great medicinally, recreationally, for food and textiles. I know how hard it is to believe considering the elaborate false rumors presented about this plant. The more you study cannabis, the more it surprises.
Well it can kill you if it is moldy, that’s literally the only way that I know of unless someone else knows how else cannabis can kill you.
I just want to leave my 2 sense here, I am a veteran of 14 years and I was medically retired due to the intensity of my PTSD. I have been placed on over a DOZEN pills and mood stablizers, sleep meds, uppers, downers, sidewaysers and everything under the sun. Unfortunitly my state does not allow medical marijuana so I have to be very careful about medicating. I was to the point that the medication they were feeding did n8tnwork anymore, I mean come on when I tell you I have to take 3 or 4 ambien to sleep and ask you to take me off it you tell me that is not true, why would I lie about something like that. Well I now have stopped taking all of these pills the doctors said I needed and I now enjoy my family, doing things aside frome being so depressed I iust want to die. Why wont our government justnopen their eyes! If it was not for that I may have been just some statistic.
Cannabis is medicine. I hope it is decriminalized in my lifetime. It helps my PTSD and manic depression.
I was diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty. After my discharge the VA started by medicating me with Lithium , Depakote , Seroqeul , mertazapine , and a few other meds that usually left me totally useless and often times in a state that far worse than when I was off the meds. I got tired of the constant change in meds and dosages so I ditched them. Not really a smart move but a move I wanted to take. I then started using Marijuana , and noticed changes in my mood and behavior almost right away. I am not saying this is a miracle drug , but I will say it works , and without the side effects associated with the other pharmaceuticals I was prescribed. The only thing is , I live in Tennessee, it is illegal here and it seems that it will stay that way for some while. I could move but for me that really isn’t an option. Hopefully , in the near future, I will be able to obtain my natural medication legally.
Ever wonder why there is a Walgreens/CVS on every street corner? They are the biggest ‘drug-dealers’ in the world…. Pfizer and Roche don’t want you solving problems with a plant. They have patented chemicals to push.
@The-latchkeykid…Well said! Also, God gave us “weed” as a crutch for those in need…
@ the FedUpmamaMD person, it’s one thing to state your opinion on a topic…the way you expressed your opinion was just RUDE. Please do the world a favor and learn some manners before you speak…actually excuse me, so your “smart ass” can comprehend…before you type.
The government was created by the people, for the people. And as I am in the field of criminal justice…with the way the world is going, the dumbest thing we are doing right now is filling our prisons with “potheads.” Literally our prisons are over flowing, where criminal’s sentences are being shortened because our prisons can’t hold all the inmates. And why can’t we fit the demand of inmates? Because we arrest too many people over marijuana!!! Our officers need to be focusing on keeping our communities safe, not arresting individuals committing a victimless crime and wasting our correctional funding. We the people need to focus on making the world a better place…we need to put the people behind bars who actually deserve to be there.
P.S. Our court systems are so backed up with petty marijuana cases, that the amount of time it takes for criminal cases to see a judge is ridiculous. To often the wrongfully accused have to sit in a jail for months or even years, just because of the long waiting list to see the judge. I think marijuana should be legalized just to “lift the heavy weight of the marijuana users, off of our governments shoulders.”
An act becomes criminalized when it is considered a violation of what is “socially normal.” Every year marijuana becomes more and more socially normal, the government needs to get over it. Let the people decide. The Veterans who do good for our people, then suffer medical issues should have the freedom to medicate however they wish to.
The resources I provided actually cover both sides of the issue. I wrote a paper on the physiological and ethical considerations of medical marijuana. I have no doubt that it is effective in helping treat certain conditions.
Unfortunately, our health care system and traditional medical model is more set on relieving symptoms instead of treating and eliminating the problem, thus removing the need for medication all together. Also, we have become accustomed to ‘quick fixes’. Modern medicine is great at this.
Example…someone is morbidly obese, has lapband, loses weight and then ends up gaining it all back. Why? Because they never worked with the patient to find out what caused the obesity in the first place. We, as a society, need to do a better job of healing people, not just doing things and taking things to help us cope with the side effects of the actual problem. Amazing strides and progress are being made in alternative medicine that actually heal the mind, body, and spirit.
My final comment on the legalization, decriminalization of marijuana…I think Colorado is taking the right approach. There are still too many unknowns about all of the cannibinoids in marijuana. Just like with tobacco and alcohol, research shows the negative impact of marijuana on the developing brains of youth and teens. If an adult wants to take or do something in an attempt to function (and I’m not referring to recreational use or addiction), then that is their choice to make. I just think that people should do their research and explore all options first.
JC, Im sorry,i thought the humor was revealing the answers, but i have to admit that i was listening to Judas Priest and Fear Factory as i was posting,
it was that heavy metal music- that made me do it.
Citing research articles is a waste of time if the articles were in any way connected to a personal agenda or in gaining monetary compentsation from “Big Pharma and Big Government, big pharma backed lobbyists.”
Isreal is light years ahead of the USA in doing honest research regarding cannabis.
The USA only now allows a paltry 6 research facilities to study it… and also study synthetic cannabis, of course. (Huge Pharmaceutical money to be gained if synthetics can be altered in a way that make billions of dollars in profits for Rx companies.)
As a 50 year old who’s had GAD w/panic attacks since age 5 & PTSD since age 23, I’m more qualified to comment than someone who’s only read research and has not personally suffered from these disorders.
I have tried every legal Rx, legal homeopathic treatments, a year of work with a chiropractor, 10 years of yoga, 15 years of bio-feed back, 25+ years of professional therapy with a Psychiatrist and 20 years of weight lifting and cardiac excercises in an effort to “cure it” & got no relief. Zero help…all of it. There’s no underlying issue that needs to be addressed & talked over with a therapist, in my case. Those things didn’t cure it at all, especially since the GAD w/panic attacks is hereditary.
I have recently discovered Cannabis not only worked better than ANY other method, it can cure it. Period. (Look at non-biased Isreal studies to confirm.)
Again, ONLY a person with the mental afflictions of PTSD and GAD, who did every legal treatment known to mankind for 25 years…except cannabis…then, in anguish and desperation finally used cannibis for treatment, would know it worked.
Research articles tainted by an agenda and/or the almighty dollar need to be thrown into the trash. Cannabis was the only cure for me.