What is PTSD and How Can Medical Cannabis Help?

During World War II, combat veterans were described as having “combat fatigue,” “battle shock,” “psychiatric collapse” and “war neurosis.” It wasn’t until 1980 that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) first appeared as an operational diagnosis in the Third Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). After years of wondering what exactly is PTSD, we now understand that the condition is complex and includes a wide range of symptoms for anyone that has experienced a traumatic life event. 

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychobiological mental health condition that can affect those who have experienced a severe accident, combat, natural disasters, assault or abuse, unexpected death of a loved one and more. The symptoms of PTSD are complex and vary from person to person. 

Symptoms of PTSD may include: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Night terrors and nightmares 
  • Vivid flashbacks
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hypervigilance 
  • Intrusive thoughts or images

Medical Cannabis and PTSD

A clinical evaluation of veterans living with PTSD was conducted by a board-certified family medicine physician and head of Texas Cannabis Clinic, Dr. Matthew Brimberry, to determine if medical cannabis is beneficial in alleviating symptoms and pharmaceutical dependency. The patients in the focus group sampled gummy, lozenge and tincture products at various dosages as prescribed by their physician. A survey released following the focus group’s completion reported patients experiencing a quick onset of the products’ medicinal effects and unanimous relief from their PTSD symptoms. 

In addition to the survey, Dr. Brimberry evaluated the focus group using an entrance and exit PCL-5 questionnaire. This 20-item self-reporting measure assesses the 20 clinical symptoms of PTSD listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Dr. Brimberry’s assessment noted that each patient tolerated the medicine well and no patient discontinued treatment due to any unwanted side effects. Key findings from the evaluation also included:

Overall, patients’ PTSD symptoms were reduced by 47% from an initial PCL-5 mean score of 54.3 to 28.6 after 90 days.

93% of patients experienced decreased symptom severity, while 86% of the group showed a clinically significant reduction in PTSD symptoms.

At the end of the 90-day focus group, 71% of the group achieved PTSD remission—defined as a PCL-5 score of less than 33—while using Texas Original medical cannabis products.

Get a Medical Cannabis Prescription Today

As of September 2021, patients living with PTSD are eligible under the Compassionate Use Program to receive medical cannabis in Texas. Ready to begin your journey to relief? Click below to get started.