Research begins into effectiveness of cannabis for treating PTSD symptoms - cannabis research into post-traumatic-stress-disorder(s)

Cannabis Research for PTSD Treatments: Medicinal Cannabis Investigations

Cannabis research NEWS (PTSD):  Research into using medical cannabis to treat PTSD symptoms has started in Australia. Announced in June 2019, the investigatory research is being coordinated by Cannabis Access Clinics in conjunction with BOD Australia and was approved by the TGA.  The study aims to explore cannabis-oil based treatments for individuals suffering from persistent post-traumatic stress symptoms that were unresponsive to conventional treatments including traditional medicines and counselling therapies. Research findings appear likely to inform further studies including double-blind clinical trials in future years.  Find out who is leading the cannabis treatment for PTSD studies and how to participate in cannabis research. Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes.

Medicinal Cannabis Research into effectiveness for treating PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Study details for Australian research trials for medicinal cannabis treatments (new and existing studies)

In June 2019, an investigatory study began in Australia for the perceived effectiveness of cannabis treatments for relieving symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Here are the details of the PTSD medical cannabis research study, in brief:

  • The research study is being led by Dr Sharron Davies
  • It’s a National Trial (Australia-wide observational research project)
  • It will report on observed benefits of using non-psychoactive oils (cannabis-based oils) as benefits are assessed and recorded by patients undergoing study treatment doses
  • It is NOT a double-blind, clinical trial for medically-indicated cannabis treatment of PTSD symptoms
  • Instead, it is more an initial trial for investigatory research into
    • dosing
    • symptom relief (self-reported)
    • perceived benefits of using cannabis-based herbal medicines to alleviate severe or persistent symptoms of post-traumatic stress exposure

Education Options for Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation Training and Cannabis GMP Courses – click here.

Read more about licencing for the medicinal cannabis industry (including global market predictions).

Dosage in the PTSD Cannabis Trials / Research into Doses and Cannabis Treatments

Most medical practitioners are still learning the specifics of cannabis-based medication prescriptions in Australia and around the world. For sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorders and their family members, research into the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for treating PTSD symptoms may offer some long-lost hope. Or at the very least, an answer to nagging questions about PTSD relief from cannabis use:

Does medicinal cannabis work to treat PTSD symptoms effectively and safely?

One of the factors the new research is aiming to assess is baseline dosing.

  • Participants will be given a baseline dose of cannabinoid-based medication (e.g., it does not contain the psychoactive parts of cannabis) for up to 5 weeks duration

How many people will participate in the research into the effectiveness of cannabis-based medical treatments into treating PTSD symptoms?

  • Participants will assess the benefits of the treatment (patient-reported measures)
  • They are seeking 300 eligible cannabis study participants for the initial PTSD investigations / PTSD trials
  • Find out how to participate in the trail (links further below)

The new medical cannabis study will explore the effectiveness of using pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

how effective is cannabis for treating PTSD symptoms? Medical cannabis research into PTSD treatments announced

Post-traumatic stress disorder and medicinal cannabis

What does the evidence indicate for cannabis as an effective treatment for PSTD symptoms, such as those symptoms experienced by veterans and others exposed to severe incidents and/or chronic trauma?

The fact is that studies exploring the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for PTSD and other conditions are sparse. The evidence-base for medicinal cannabis treatments for PTSD symptoms is limited and will remain so for up to 5 years.

However, given other treatments have not worked, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis is certainly worth exploring as an alternative treatment option to conventional PTSD treatment methods, which have failed a large number of trauma survivors.

This research may also bring hope to the lives of returning veterans and other trauma-survivors, who often suffer debilitating symptoms that include anxiety, depression, panic attacks and extremely elevated suicide risks or other forms of self-harm.

Other top studies exploring the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for treatments of illnesses or diseases often fit into the following key research trial categories:

  • Epilepsy and/or other seizure management (seizure control)
  • Pain Management or alternative to opioids for managing chronic pain
    • Reduction in opioid prescriptions and opioid addictions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nausea and eating disorders
  • Cancer treatment symptoms or treatment pain relief including loss of appetite

Research into the effectiveness of Medicinal Cannabis for various health conditions and diseases will Skyrocket

Further evidence-based research studies into the health benefits and/or pain relief of cannabis-based medicines is expected to skyrocket as the legality of medicinal cannabis changes across the world.

Research studies around the world remain in their infancy and we are still several years – even decades – away from understanding the full potential of cannabis plant derivatives as medicine.

  • Most worldwide drug regulation changes only relate to medicinal cannabis cultivation, production, exportation and use (patient-prescription).
  • Regulations are extensive, and GMP and GACP must be followed carefully. Monitoring and security are also paramount.

Current Studies into Medicinal Cannabis in NSW Australia:

Currently, there are NSW Government-funded trials in three areas investigating the safety and efficacy of cannabis medicines in reducing seizures in children with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy, preventing nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and enhancing the appetite and appetite-related symptoms of palliative care patients with advanced cancer.””  Source: Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation

The NSW government has already invested over AUD $9 million towards medicinal cannabis research into safety and effectiveness.

Processes for acquiring or supplying medical-grade cannabis medicines

GMP and GACP for Pharmaceutical Cannabis: Standardised pharmaceutical-cannabis production measures, heavily regulated cultivation and manufacturing processes, sterile production conditions and secure tamper-proof exportation processes are required so that consuming medicinal cannabis won’t cause patients further harms or result in serious adverse effects (SAEs).

Further dosage investigations and double-blind medicinal cannabis studies are also required to guide GPs and other prescribing medical practitioners (Psychiatrists, Specialists, Psychiatric Hospital Teams).

Countries that have legalised or de-criminalized cannabis have primarily only done so in view of medically-indicated cannabis treatments, not for recreational purposes. However, because cannabis is a restricted substance and/or illegal drug in a majority of jurisdictions at the global level, research into its medicinal properties has been severely hampered prior to 2019.

Media releases on cannabis research studies and news releases:

ABC announces medicinal cannabis study for veterans with PTSD

Is it legal to grow medicinal cannabis in Australia? And how many ODC licences have  been issued for research into cannabis as medicine?

How to participate in medical cannabis research studies for PTSD/Post-traumatic stress disorder

Contact the applied cannabis study coordinators (click here to go to their website).

PTSD Facts

  • The cannabis trial has attracted attention from the Veteran community, where the Australian Defence Force has reported over 8% of its members experienced PTSD in the past 12 months
  • Veterans may experience PTSD up to twice the rate of the general community
  • PTSD is linked with suicide ideation and is notably unresponsive or minimally responsive to conventional treatments for many sufferers including veterans and other trauma survivors

Journal Publications and Research Articles:

. 2018 Mar; 8(2): 86–94.
Published online 2018 Mar 26.  Accessed online on 12 June 2019.
Doi: 10.9740/mhc.2018.03.086 PMCID: PMC6007739    PMID: 29955551

A review of medical marijuana for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: Real symptom re-leaf or just high hopes?

Ilona Shishko, PharmD,corresponding author1 Rosana Oliveira, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP,2 Troy A. Moore, PharmD, MS Pharm, BCPP,3 and Kenneth Almeida, PharmD4

Author:  RM Bitencourt

Publication Date: 2018