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New UK study holds hope for cannabis and PTSD sufferers

According to real-world research from the UK, people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who were prescribed cannabis saw improvements in their symptoms and quality of life.

According to a recent study that was just published in the Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, patients who had signed up for the UK Medical Cannabis Registry had improved outcomes for anxiety, sleep, and general health-related quality of life at the six-month mark.


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It is estimated that between 6% and 12% of the population may experience PTSD in their lifetime. PTSD is a crippling disorder characterised by symptoms that last for more than one month after exposure to trauma and result in considerable discomfort or functional impairment.

As trauma-focused talking therapies are hard to find and currently accessible drugs, including antidepressants, have been indicated as being inappropriate for people seeking long-term symptom alleviation, patients now have few therapy alternatives.


Due to the increased prevalence of PTSD following the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly among healthcare personnel, this is becoming more and more important.


The largest study of its sort in the UK, this research from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, which is maintained by Sapphire Medical Clinics, examined 162 people with PTSD.


The patients were 37 years old on average, and 60% were male.


After enrolling in the registry, participants started to observe changes in their PTSD-specific symptoms as soon as one month had passed.


The study not only tracked improvements in patients' health-related quality of life, but also gathered information on negative incidents. Only 20% of individuals experienced a negative occurrence during the research period, according to the statistics. However, individuals who did have negative effects tended to have many negative effects, the authors note, indicating more research is necessary to determine which patients are the best candidates for medical cannabis therapy.



Upcoming Research

This expands on the thorough investigation that the UK Medical Cannabis Registry has released over the course of 2022, including five earlier articles on chronic pain, anxiety, and autistic spectrum disease. The Health Study Authority-approved research programme has also been honoured for its significance at the Japanese Society of Neuropsychopharmacology's Annual Awards.


In order to confirm these positive results and guide current clinical practise, it is envisaged that these data may contribute to randomised placebo-controlled trials.


However, such data do not offer gold standard proof, said Simon Erridge, head of research and access at Sapphire Clinics, "These results among PTSD patients are incredibly promising."


Clinical trial evidence that enlightens us all objectively is scarce. Although they are simply the first step in a lengthier and more thorough examination process, these findings mark a significant advancement in this field of research. We are optimistic that our study is well-positioned to aid in performing these studies and advancing the process of determining if this is an effective treatment for PTSD.


Alternate Studies

A traumatic event can result in PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a debilitating and life-altering affliction. It forces sufferers to repeatedly relive their trauma through flashbacks and nightmares, which can lead to panic attacks, hypervigilance, intense emotions, estrangement from loved ones, and occasionally even self-destructive conduct. Unfortunately, PTSD is a difficult disorder to manage or live with. Nevertheless, some PTSD patients claim that a contentious medication, medical marijuana, has helped them to relieve their severe symptoms.

Despite claims from PTSD patients that cannabis eases their symptoms and studies demonstrating potential therapeutic mechanisms, the issue of whether cannabis actually alleviates PTSD symptoms has remained contentious. No clinical study has been done on the subject, and the little that has been done to observe how people use cannabis for PTSD has produced somewhat conflicting results—some studies have suggested that cannabis shows promise, while others have shown that it has no benefits for the disease.


But more research is showing that cannabis may benefit those with PTSD, according to a recent study. The researchers discovered that cannabis users with PTSD not only experienced larger symptom reductions than those who did not use cannabis, but they also had a 2.57 times higher chance of recovering from PTSD during the course of the trial.


Researchers from a variety of universities, including The University of Pennsylvania, The University of California San Diego, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and The University of Colorado, participated in the study, which was financed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. According to the study's authors, it's critical to know whether cannabis may genuinely help PTSD sufferers because it is increasingly used to treat the disorder, particularly in areas where it is legal (like Colorado).




Unfortunately, there isn't much research on this topic, therefore it's challenging to provide a response. The best way to find the answers to these concerns is through clinical research, but in the US, this is challenging to do. In clinical studies, cannabis is given to subjects along with placebos so that researchers can know exactly what is being consumed. A double-blind process is then used to prevent bias from influencing the outcomes.

Regrettably, legal restrictions preclude researchers from administering cannabis to study participants unless they receive it through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Unfortunately, the cannabis offered through NIDA is significantly different from the cannabis that is sold in legal cannabis markets in terms of potency, product types, and a number of other aspects. There are several legislation in Congress that would remove this restriction, thus these limitations may soon be loosened. However, until these limitations are changed, researchers who are interested in discovering how cannabis that users really use affects PTSD must rely on observational studies. In these studies, including the most current one, researchers look at how people with PTSD who use cannabis from the legal cannabis market fare.


In this study, two groups of PTSD patients were observed over the course of a year by the researchers. While the other group did not use any cannabis at all, one group did use cannabis for medical purposes. There were 75 participants in each group who fit the PTSD DSM criteria. Participants were evaluated for PTSD and for the severity of the various PTSD symptoms they were experiencing at the beginning of the study and every three months throughout the year they were studied.


The findings corroborated what PTSD patients who use cannabis have been saying for a long time. While the control group also experienced modest declines in symptoms over time, those who took cannabis experienced a considerably faster decline in symptoms. Compared to those who didn't use cannabis, they had considerably lower levels of symptom severity at the conclusion of the trial.




But the study also discovered that people who used cannabis were more than 2.5 times more likely to no longer have PTSD following the year-long study, which goes beyond symptom reduction alone. Scientists researching how cannabis affects the brain, memory, and stress response have suggested that cannabis may do more than just ease symptoms; it may also help people heal from the trauma that produced PTSD.


Fascinatingly, the majority of patients who used cannabis smoked high-THC cannabis flower. This suggests that future studies should focus especially on this kind of cannabis regimen since they observed such favourable benefits. Future clinical studies should be conducted using cannabis strains that PTSD patients actually use, the researchers advise. Hopefully the limits on cannabis study will be lifted soon so that the most cutting-edge scientific methods can be used to investigate these vital concerns. Urine toxicology testing also verified the presence (or absence) of cannabis use.


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