Former chief resident in neuropsychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine R. Andrew Sewell said PTSD and other anxiety disorders might hinge on a defect in brain cells that the marijuana molecule, “THC”, can help alleviate.
About 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD, and symptoms can include flashbacks, agitation, and anxiety triggered by a trauma-related thought, word, or object. Ultimately, THC could be combined with therapy to cure PTSD, Sewell said. He presented his ongoing study in Oakland this April at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) conference. I’ve reported on it this week for the East Bay Express.
In addition to being part of a potential cure, marijuana (aka cannabis) is already being used for PTSD symptom management by thousands of veterans, said MAPS scientist Dr. Sue Sisley.
Sewell said, “Veterans use cannabis for two reasons, one it makes them less irritable, which is really socially destructive and also it helps them sleep. Cannabis is excellent for sleep, it is much better than alcohol.”
Still, the U.S. government maintains a research blockade on the 10,000 year-old medicinal botanical. For example, the D.E.A. has blocked MAPS from carrying out an FDA-approved study of smoked cannabis on veterans with PTSD.
“If you want to show cannabis is helpful for veterans and their sleeping, you’re not going to get to,” Sewell notes. “If you want to show how … it’s a gateway drug, you name it, they’ll throw money at you.”
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