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Pot and PTSD: Beneficial?

Karolina Kapusta is a writer for The Ubyssey, the University of British Columbia’s student newspaper.

Aside from being a common recreational drug, marijuana may be able to help with the side effects of anxiety and fear that are common with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Zach Walsh, who is an associate professor of psychology at UBC Okanagan, studies the roles of substance use and the impact of drugs on behaviour. Walsh started researching the impact of cannabis six years ago, as he was interested in finding out more about the world’s most widely used illegal substance.

Walsh said he believes cannabis has great remedial potential that hasn’t been examined because of “the stigma around marijuana and the prohibitions against research related to it.”

Walsh is also interested in studying how and why people use marijuana. As part of his latest project, Walsh hopes to look into the ways that marijuana may help with the symptoms of PTSD.

“People who suffer from PTSD, veterans in particular, report anecdotally that cannabis is helpful with their symptoms,” he said.

According to Walsh, a couple of states in the U.S. already have laws that include PTSD as one of the conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed.

Walsh also said there are brain imagery studies that show reduced levels of naturally occurring cannabis-like chemicals and higher numbers of endocannabinoid receptors in the brains of people who have PTSD. There are also several animal studies that show the endocannabinoid system is important for the maintenance of fear-related memories which play a big role in PTSD in humans.

Walsh’s study, which would conduct clinical trials that look into the effects of smoking marijuana for people with PTSD, still needs the go-ahead from a UBC ethics committee and Health Canada in order to proceed.

If the study is approved, Walsh and his team of researchers expect to have the results of the clinical trial by late 2016.

By aiming to back up the links between cannabis and PTSD treatment with research, Walsh hopes to eventually help it be recognized as a prescription medication for PTSD in Canada.

“There is a lot of therapeutic potential and we just need more research to figure out the parameters of what that might be,” Walsh said.

One Comment

  1. I can’t believe all the attention is focused on soldiers and emergency responders when it comes to PTSD and marijuana I never here anything about everyday people like myself ,there are a lot of everyday people that suffer from this..I’m 49 yrs old and have had this since childhood and its severe, I read about police ,veterans etc..who can legally access weed and it frustrates the shit out of me when I cant get a doctor to prescribe it to me here in Alberta ,they act like the whole idea of marijuana combating PTSD is total bullshit ?? Speaking for myself weed has been my saving grace since I was a kid ,without it I’m positive I would be pushing up Daisy’s..long story short I’ve been accepted in a 3 month psychiatric program here in Edmonton with strict rules that I don’t do weed ,I’m so desperate to try and fix my disability I agreed to it but I’m not gonna lie I’m regretting stopping the weed ,they have me on antidepressants, sleeping pills, anxiety pills, nightmare pills,my system is messed right up, I’m more depressed than when I started, I CANT BELIEVE THEY THINK THESE GOD AWEFUL PILLS HELP THIS DISABILITY….I know what works for me and these pills are the worst thing you can give anybody with PTSD ,no wonder people are killing them selves left and right on this toxic shit, if you want to test someone who used weed to combat PTSD I’m your man its kept me alive and functioning for over 40 yrs and I also think there should be more support for us everyday people because it’s taken me over 40 yrs to find this program and I’m having doubt’s about it already ,that’s all for now I’m starting his program on may 14th for 3 months ,I’ll update u when I’m done it …wish me luck because I think I’m going to need it ..…peace

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