- On November 29, 2019
- canada, cannabis, depression, PTSD, PTSD cannabis, veterans, Veterans Affairs, veterans cannabis, veterans marijuana
Cannabis use could help ease symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, used data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey. Researchers looked at responses from more than 24,000 people who were 15 or older, 420 of which had previously been diagnosed with PTSD. 106 of those patients with PTSD (28.2 percent) said that they had used cannabis within the past year.
“We know that with limited treatment options for PTSD, many patients have taken to medicating with cannabis to alleviate their symptoms,” said lead author Stephanie Lake, in a press release. “However, this is the first time that results from a nationally representative survey have shown the potential benefits of treating the disorder with cannabis.”
The study found that people with PTSD who had not used cannabis within the past year were “about seven times more likely to have experienced a recent major depressive episode and 4.7 times more likely to have thoughts of suicide.”
Researchers found “that cannabis use may contribute to reducing the association between post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depressive and suicidal states.”
Canada and the United States have some of the highest rates of PTSD in the world. A study conducted in 2016 found that 9.2 percent of Canadians and 7.2 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), between 11 percent and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD, and 15 percent of Vietnam veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD.
“We’re only just beginning to understand what the therapeutic potential of cannabis may be for a variety of health conditions,” said senior author Dr. M-J Milloy. “These findings are promising, and merit further study in order to fully understand the benefits of cannabis for people living with PTSD.”
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