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Cannabis can improve PTSD symptoms, UK study finds


A study published in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics has found that cannabis patients in the UK experienced an improvement in PTSD-specific symptoms, general health-related quality of life, sleep, and anxiety outcomes after a six-month follow-up.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder, defined as being caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. People experiencing PTSD may have nightmares and flashbacks, experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt, and also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult. PTSD can be caused by any event that a person finds traumatic, and the condition can develop immediately after the event or weeks, months or even years after. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the UK who experience a traumatic event will go on to have some form of PTSD.

Researchers from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, run by Sapphire Medical Clinics, reviewed data from 162 patients prescribed cannabis-based medicines for PTSD. Patients were asked to report on changes in their quality of life after 1, 3, and 6 months of using cannabis to treat their condition.

Patients reported experiencing changes in PTSD specific symptoms as early as one month after they began, and significant improvements were observed in PTSD symptoms, sleep, and anxiety across all periods of the study.

The study also found that while adverse events were reported by 20% of participants, the majority were either mild or moderate in severity, with no life-threatening or disabling events reported.

While the results from this study will be promising to people living with PTSD, researchers expressed caution, concluding “owing to limitations discussed in this study, definitive conclusions on efficacy or causality are limited… Nevertheless, this study can serve to inform future randomized placebo-controlled trials with the aim of confirming these promising effects, whilst informing current clinical practice.”


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