Study Substantiates Benefits Of Cannabinoids For Post Traumatic Stress

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 21, 2013

    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.

    35 Responses to “Study Substantiates Benefits Of Cannabinoids For Post Traumatic Stress”

    1. PTSD & GAD sufferer says:

      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.

    2. Fed-Up says:

      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.

    3. MBMMamma says:

      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.

    4. JC says:

      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.

    5. JC says:

      @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.

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