Cannabis found to relieve PTSD symptoms, but there’s a catch

Brittany A. Roston - Jun 9, 2020, 2:08 pm CDT
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Cannabis found to relieve PTSD symptoms, but there’s a catch

Many people claim that cannabis (“marijuana”) helps with a variety of conditions, including mental health issues, though evidence to back up these claims is still slim. Adding to the growing body of evidence is a new study from Washington State University where researchers have found that cannabis is able to relieve the symptoms of PTSD. Unfortunately, there’s some bad news to go along with it.

Treating post-traumatic stress disorder is difficult, though some promising treatments have been studied over the past year, including the potential use of psychedelic substances combined with psychotherapy. Some PTSD sufferers report relief after consuming cannabis, something the new study found to be true after analyzing data on more than 400 participants.

The study involved an app called Strainprint that is designed to help users discover which strains of cannabis are best suited for their particular needs. More than 400 users tracked their PTSD symptoms using this app, the data of which was analyzed by the University of Washington researchers as part of their project.

The findings weren’t surprising given what users have reported for many years: consuming cannabis has a noticeable reducing effect on PTSD symptoms. The downside? The effects are temporary and the relief diminished over time, resulting in regular use of the substance.

Digging into the individual symptoms of the condition, the study found that cannabis use was able to reduce how severe thoughts of the traumatic event were by 62-percent, anxiety by 57-percent, irritability by 67-percent, and flashbacks by 51-percent. While the use of cannabis may potentially help PTSD sufferers, it isn’t a treatment. The researchers describe it as more of a ‘band-aid,’ one that ‘masks’ the symptoms, which still lie under the surface ready to return.


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