Pullman, WA: Inhaled cannabis temporarily mitigates symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS), including anxiety and flashbacks, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
A team of investigators affiliated with Washington State University and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine assessed the use of marijuana in 404 medical cannabis patients who self-identified as suffering from post-traumatic stress.
On average, respondents “reported a 62 percent reduction in the severity of intrusive thoughts, a 51 percent reduction in flashbacks, a 67 percent reduction in irritability, and a 57 percent reduction in the severity of anxiety, from before to after inhaling cannabis.”
Researchers reported no significant differences in subjects’ outcomes that were attributable to specific varieties of cannabis and or THC/CBD content.
Authors reported that cannabis’ effects on PTS symptoms were relatively short-lived and that regular use of marijuana over the study period did not influence subjects’ baseline symptom ratings.
They concluded: “Results from the present study indicate that acute cannabis intoxication provides temporary relief from intrusions, flashbacks, irritability, and anxiety in individuals self-identifying as having PTSD. However, baseline PTSD symptom ratings did not change over time and we detected evidence that people used higher doses to manage anxiety over time, which may be indicative of the development of tolerance to the drug.
“Collectively, these results indicate that cannabis may reduce PTSD symptoms in the short-term but may not be an effective long-term remedy for the disorder. Future research should examine specific cannabinoid preparations as monotherapy, as well as adjunct to conventional behavioral and pharmacological interventions, within well-powered placebo-controlled trials.”
Full text of the study, “Short and long-term effects of cannabis on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” appear in the Journal of Affective Disorder. Additional information on cannabinoids and post-traumatic stress is available online from NORML.