Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not exclusively a problem for combat veterans. Survivors of sexual and physical abuse, as well as people who have survived disasters can also feel the effects of PTSD. In fact nearly five million suffer from symptoms each year. Research is offering a glimmer of hope to some through cannabis.

In a 2014 study at the University of Haifa in Israel, researchers administered synthetic cannabinoids to rats after first exposing them to a traumatic event. Several days later the rats were exposed to “trauma triggers”. Researchers found the cannabinoids kept the rats from experiencing the behavioral and physiological symptoms of PTSD. The synthetic cannabinoids used in this study produced an effect similar to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main compound in marijuana.

The study’s lead author Dr. Irit Akirav says, “The findings of our study suggest that the connectivity within the brain’s fear circuit changes following trauma, and the administration of cannabinoids prevents this change from happening.”

Researchers say their findings build upon earlier studies, but that they are preliminary and should serve as the basis for further studies including those in humans.

While marijuana is still considered a Class 1 narcotic by the federal government, the same class as heroin, not everyone in the federal government agrees it should be kept from military members with PTSD.

In November Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) introduced the Veterans Equal Access Act. It challenges the Veterans Administration’s policy that forbids doctors from consulting about cannabis use.

Blumenauer says in a statement: “We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows.”

23 states have legalized the use of cannabis, to some extent, for medical use. Ten allow doctors to recommend it for PTSD symptoms.

About NCAN
The National Cannabis Advancement Network (NCAN) has as its mission to provide a researched knowledge base for lawmakers, the media and anyone seeking change in the medical cannabis laws in this country. NCAN is a not for profit entity. The NCAN Advisory Board reviews all information.

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