Cannabis helps some with treatment-resistant PTSD

This study followed 14 (12 men, 2 women) treatment-resistant, chronic combat post-traumatic (PTSD) patients. They all remained symptomatic despite treatment with many lines of conventional treatment. It was published in January 2023 in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Data was collected in a real-life clinical setting during routine follow-up questionnaires given to patients diagnosed with combat-PTSD. They started medical cannabis treatment at the trauma unit at the Brüll Mental Health Center, Tel Aviv, between 2015 and 2018. None of the patients had experience with cannabis.

The criteria used for patient inclusion in the study:

  1. PTSD lasting at least three years
  2. Moderate or severe severity of PTSD
  3. At least two previous medications were used for at least two months, including SSRIs or SNRIs
  4. Two psychotherapeutic treatments
  5. NO previous history of psychosis, cannabis use, or substance abuse


The average follow-up time after starting medical cannabis treatment was just over one year. The patient's average age was 50 years and the average time since their trauma was over 27 years.

Patients only used cannabis before going to sleep, and no patient reported or displayed any sign of cannabis misuse, abuse, or side effects in repeated psychiatric interviews during follow-ups. The maximum cannabis used was 20 grams of flower a month, however they did not track the chemovars and strains actually used.

Three different sleep metrics improved significantly, however there was no reduction in nightmare frequency. Measures of intrusiveness, avoidance, and alertness also improved.

The authors' conclusions:

Our findings show that total sleep score, subjective sleep quality, and sleep duration significantly improved.

Total PTSD symptom score and its subdomains (intrusiveness, avoidance, and alertness) showed improvement.

The two women included displayed similar improvement to the 12 men included.

there was no improvement in the frequency of nightmares.


The full text article is here at PubMed Central.