medical cannabis use in military and police veterans diagnosed with PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that is characterized by intrusive symptoms related to a traumatic event or events. It is typically treated with pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.
Journal of Pain Management recently published results of a study aimed to assess the outcomes of military and police veterans with PTSD who were treated with medical cannabis. This was done through a retrospective chart review at a single center. Changes in outcomes and PTSD medications from baseline to follow-up were reported and compared to the minimal clinically important difference.
A total of 100 patients (97% male, average age 43 years old) were assessed between January 2014 and January 2016. The aggregate score of PTSD symptoms was reduced from a mean score of 7.0 at baseline to 2.9 at follow-up (59% reduction, effect size 1.5, very large effect; p < 0.0001). Suicidal thoughts decreased from 4.1 to 0.9 (77% reduction, effect size 1.0, large effect; p < 0.0001). The aggregate score for the impact of PTSD on social and family life was reduced from 6.6 to 2.7 (59% reduction, effect size 1.2, large effect; p < 0.0001). Pain severity decreased from an average of 6.6 to 3.4 (48% reduction, effect size 1.5, very large effect). Consumption of PTSD-related medications reduced by 50% from baseline to follow-up.
In conclusion, treatment with medical cannabis in military and police veterans with PTSD who had failed conventional therapy resulted in significant improvements across all PTSD symptoms, as well as social and family impact outcomes and pain severity. Further research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of medical cannabis in the treatment of PTSD.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are those of the author and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.