New research has shown that low doses of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Published in Neuropharmacology earlier this month, the study revealed that the primary psychoactive component of cannabis could help with a range of emotional responses that are poorly modulated, especially in combination with cognitive reappraisal therapy, reported Forbes.
The study utilized a double-blind design, an experimental procedure where the researcher doesn't know which participant received the actual drug and which one received a placebo.
A total of 52 subjects randomly received THC or placebo prior to taking part in a well-established emotion regulation task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Researchers said participants who were given THC reported less negative feelings during cognitive reappraisal tasks in comparison to their counterparts who received a placebo.
Those using THC exhibited increased brain activation in parts of the brain that generally show a lack of activity in PTSD patients while doing similar tasks.
"Together, these findings suggest that THC may prove to be a beneficial pharmacological adjunct to cognitive reappraisal therapy in the treatment of PTSD," the researchers from Wayne State University concluded.
PTSD & CBD
While this study is a pioneer among similar studies investigating the relationship between cannabis and PTSD, given its focus on the benefits of THC, there is substantial research conducted on the benefits of another active ingredient of marijuana – CBD.
A clinical trial conducted by Soroka University Medical Center and Israeli medical cannabis company Cannbit-Tikun Olam earlier this year showed promising results, especially for treating PTSD with CBD.
Over two-thirds of patients reported at least moderate improvement with no severe side effects, with 90.8% of treated PTSD patients being classified as therapeutic successes after six months.
Still, some doubt whether medical marijuana can provide a solution to physical and mental health symptoms for those who suffer with PTSD.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts recently said there's no evidence that medical cannabis works for PTSD. "There's no data to support that" medical marijuana can help PTSD sufferers," he said, commenting on high suicide rates among veterans.
Meanwhile, Nebraska lawmakers are planning to introduce a measure to legalize medical cannabis in the upcoming legislative session, after Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) failed to submit enough valid signatures to place the two initiatives on the November ballot.
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