Marijuana for the Treatment of PTSD

Photo Credit:  Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dr. Valerie Rice (

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dr. Valerie Rice (

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that develops as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Common symptoms include intrusive unwanted thoughts, avoidance of potential triggers, negative thoughts like fear, anger, shame, and horror, and hypervigilance and irritability. Many physicians and researchers believe medical marijuana could be helpful in treating the symptoms associated with PTSD, and that it could serve as a substitute for the powerful and potentially dangerous pharmaceutical medications that are currently used for its treatment. In fact, marijuana use among those with PTSD is already common, suggesting it may be helping patients cope with the condition. Research is lacking, but the Multidisciplinary Association for Pyschadelic Studies (MAPS) has begun a clinical trial looking into the use of cannabis for PTSD, and the study will look at the safety and efficacy of different strengths of cannabis for use by PTSD patients. Researchers also theorize cannabis may help those with PTSD because it already is known to treat many symptoms that coincide with the condition, like the loss in quality of sleep, anxiety, and protecting against fear memory.

While cannabis is mostly thought to help those with PTSD, some fear it could make symptoms worse. The treatment of anxiety with cannabis is complex, and certain strains of cannabis, especially those containing high levels of THC, could make anxiety worse and thereby make the symptoms of PTSD worse. Some fear marijuana only serves as an emotional crutch, and may prevent sufferers from finding healthy ways of coping with their disorder. The cannabinoid content is responsible for whether or not cannabis use could be successful or not, but understanding these effects is not so simple. THC may be able to help those with PTSD by inducing sleep, but it could making symptoms worse by producing paranoia and anxiety. CBD could help in this by balancing out the effects of THC, while also acting as an anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medication.

Cannabis in conjunction with pyschotherapy could be a powerful team in the treatment of PTSD. This information has been provided by Leafly and approve by our Chief Medical Officer.