UBC Study Connects Cannabis with Lower Rates of PTSD – LPC
People who use cannabis for PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) tend to have fewer depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts. In fact, researchers concluded that PTSD sufferers who didn’t use cannabis were “far more likely” to have major symptoms.
“Among the cannabis-non-using population, there was a strong association between having PTSD and experiencing these indicators of severe mental distress,” Stephanie Lake said. Lake is the lead author on the paper, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Those who did not use cannabis for PTSD (or even recreationally) were seven times more likely to have a depressive episode. Further, they were five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.
Lake stressed that this study is not conclusive. Although the results are dramatic, the researchers haven’t proved that cannabis for PTSD is a clear treatment. “However, this is the first time that results from a nationally representative survey have shown the potential benefits of treating the disorder with cannabis,” she said.
The BC Centre on Substance Use and University of British Columbia (UBC) conducted the research.
Further Research into Cannabis Needed – LPC
Lake said further research is needed to confirm cannabis is an effective treatment. That research is already underway. However, Lake mentions in a press release that the study revealed people are self-medicating, using cannabis for PTSD.
That’s where the catch-22 is. People are self-medicating because they can’t get an expert opinion. They can’t get an expert opinion because the experts don’t know enough. Getting a cannabis prescription is still difficult because doctors do not understand the risks and benefits of cannabis as a medical treatment. Recently, the Canadian Medical Association Journal questioned the medical cannabis risks and benefits. In the US, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has to approve all cannabis cultivation for research use, and that takes a lot of time. Meanwhile, stories about cannabis addiction and cannabis vomiting syndrome show that negative side effects are possible.
This research into cannabis for PTSD is encouraging for two reasons. For one, we can learn the direct benefits and risks for current sufferers. For the other, more, positive cannabis research can only be a good thing.
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