Using Marijuana May Help Veterans With PTSD, Study Shows


Marijuana may be able to help veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the first FDA-regulated study on the matter has shown. 

The decriminalisation of cannabis is spreading across the country, with the drug now legal for all adults in varying capacities across 15 states in the US, as well as for medical purposes in 36 states.

As illustrated by the White House’s dismissal of some young staffers for their use of the drug, federal law still prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. This also includes the Department of Defence and the Veterans Administration, both of which don’t allow nor support prescriptions of marijuana.

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The peer-reviewed paper was published in the PLOS ONE journal on March 17, looking at how cannabis could help those with PTSD.

Four groups were given different samples with varying levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for getting people high. This is different to cannabidiol (CBD), which is available in stores all across the world for recreational, medical and therapeutic treatments, and has no effect in that regard. In the study, the group with the highest THC concentration showed the highest levels of improvement.

Dr. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, lead author of the $2.2 million study, told the Military Times: ‘This study served as the first randomised placebo-controlled trial comparing the therapeutic potential of varying ratios of THC and CBD for treating symptoms of PTSD.’

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In December 2020, another study was conducted with 150 people to ascertain the benefits and effects of cannabis on PTSD sufferers.

Mallory Loflin, co-author of the paper and volunteer assistant professor of psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, said: ‘One of the biggest takeaways from this study is that veterans with PTSD can use cannabis at self-managed doses, at least in the short term, and not experience a plethora of side effects or a worsening of symptoms.’

From here, Bonn-Miller said further, larger trials would be needed to help determine the ‘minimally-effective doses of THC needed to safely treat individuals suffering from PTSD while also mitigating risks of cannabis dependence in this vulnerable population’.

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