Study on Medical Cannabis for PTSD Enters Phase II Clinical Trials

Nicholas Demski May 21, 2019 0 comments

Many people already take medical cannabis for PTSD, and now we’re about to have the science to prove it works.

Editor’s Note: The below study is still underway. An update will be posted here as soon as it is available.

Are you familiar with the 22 Pushup Challenge? This movement has been trying to bring awareness to Veteran suicides for the past eight years. And for good reason: roughly 20 to 22 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States. And yet, despite growing proof that it works, many veterans with PTSD face unnecessary obstacles or roadblocks from their VA healthcare when it comes to acquiring cannabis.

Sadly, many of those ex-soldiers who took their own lives suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. However, they aren’t the only people in the United States who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD: What is it, Who Does it Affect?

According to PTSD United, about seventy percent of people suffer some type of traumatic event in their lives and twenty percent of those go on to develop PTSD. Their numbers also show that roughly eight percent of Americans will be suffering from the symptoms of PTSD at any given time.

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the symptoms of PTSD can be overwhelming. They include things such as:

  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoidance of certain places, events, things, activities, or people
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Jumpiness; prone to explosive anger and irritability
  • Reliving traumatic experiences in nightmares or flashbacks

While these are the most common symptoms, PTSD’s manifestation is unique in each individual according to the trauma. Sadly, the symptoms can become so severe that many people lose their battle with PTSD. Reliving their trauma over and over again simply becomes too much.

That’s why it’s time to focus on what science has to say. Like the results of a recent, multi-year study that looked at the results of using medical cannabis for PTSD.

Medical Cannabis for PTSD: You Can Help

Researchers have begun Phase II trials, and are excited to announce the results of their study later this year. Their work is being performed at the Scottsdale Research Institute and this is one of the rare times that civilians may have a chance to become actively involved in research. They are currently in need of volunteers for their study.

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To volunteer, requirements include:

  • Being a U.S. Veteran
  • Aged 18 or older
  • Diagnosed with PTSD
  • Have tried, without improvement, conventional treatment methods, including psychotherapy

If you or someone you know fits these criteria, reach out to the researchers today. You may become part of a life-saving study.

Results From Phase I of the Study

While we wait for the results of these Phase II trials, let’s take a closer look at what we know about the team’s Phase I results.

The study was sponsored by the non-profit organization, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). They received a grant worth more than $2 million dollars from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Most notably (and shockingly), the study also received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The study followed seventy six volunteers. The full data set from Phase I has yet to be released, but the researchers noted that there will be full transparency in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal sometime in 2019.

For now, however, they have informed the public that their data will reveal key information regarding:

  • The efficacy of medical cannabis for PTSD patients
  • Any negative side effects or consequences of taking medical cannabis for PTSD
  • How the chemical composition of different types of cannabis may have an impact on patient outcomes

While the full results of the study will reveal further detail into the workings of medical cannabis for PTSD, there is already some evidence available suggesting it has benefits.

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Here’s What we Know About Medical Cannabis for PTSD

In 2015, a literature review was published in The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders. The review examined how cannabis might help with PTSD, and it actually found (surprise, surprise) that a lot of patients are using cannabis to help with their PTSD. In fact, their research showed that over thirty eight percent of registered medical cannabis patients indicate PTSD as a reason for medication. The research also showed a marked decrease in symptomatology for people using medical cannabis for PTSD.

A 2016 study supported this literature review when they noted that “cannabinoids may decrease PTSD symptoms including sleep quality, frequency of nightmares, and hyperarousal.”

Furthermore, a 2018 report showed that sixty percent of studies showed cannabinoids may benefit people who suffer from PTSD. Of the forty percent that discouraged the use of medical cannabis for PTSD, the clinical significance of their findings could not be established.

If there’s a chance that medical cannabis for PTSD could help prevent even one death, then how could anyone argue it’s not worth it? We’ll re-evaluate the situation when this study’s results are released later this year. But so far, it’s looking like this research is going to be another big reason to legalize that the feds can no longer ignore.

Author avatar

Nicholas Demski

I like to smash stigmas of all types. I'm a full-time single father, world-traveler, and an advocate for medicinal plants being treated for what they are: plants. You can follow my life's journey on the following platforms: Instagram @TheSingleDadNomad YouTube and Facebook: The Single Dad Nomad Blog: Also, feel free to have a look at my portfolio of work:

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