Cannabis helps those with severe PTSD and depression

This study focused on the effects of cannabinoid medicine on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) patients who also suffer from depression. It was published in March 2024 in the journal BJ Psych Open managed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The data came from 238 patients diagnosed with treatment-resistant PTSD from the United Kingdom who used cannabinoid medicine to manage symptoms. To be prescribed cannabinoid medicine in the U.K., patients must provide medical "evidence of failure of at least two treatment approaches before being eligible to legally receive prescribed CBMPs" (cannabis-based medicinal products)".

78% of the PTSD patients included were also diagnosed with probable major depression. Those with depression displayed higher PTSD symptoms and "poorer general health, quality of life, and sleep" than those without depression. 


To measure PTSD symptom severity, they used the PLC-C checklist (PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version). To measure depression severity, the used the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire with 9 questions).

Patients were prescribed about 2 different cannabinoid medicine products, on average. THC-dominant flower was most common and prescribed to 75% of the patients.


PTSD symptomatology reduced substantially 3 months after commencing treatment

the overall reduction in PTSD symptomatology was higher in those with depression (baseline mean 67.8 v. 3-month mean 52.5) than in those without depression

In this sample, treatment with CBMPs is associated with significant improvements in well-being and quality of life in PTSD after 3 months of treatment and these improvements in well-being are maintained in patients with psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, or chronic pain for up to 12 months


In summary, PTSD symptom severity was reduced by using cannabinoid medicine after 3 months of use. Those patients who also displayed major depression symptoms showed the greatest reduction in symptoms. Significant improvements in patients' quality of life and well-being was also reported.

The authors concluded:

These results parallel previous findings for quality of life across a broad range of conditions and for PTSD specifically and highlight the potential benefits of CBMPs for symptom reduction and improvements in well-being across a wide range of chronic conditions.

Effectiveness of CBMPs for treating PTSD does not appear to be impaired in people with comorbid depression.


The full text article is here at PubMed Central.



Lynskey MT, Athanasiou-Fragkouli A, Thurgur H, Schlag AK, Nutt DJ. Medicinal cannabis for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and comorbid depression: real-world evidence. BJPsych Open. 2024 Mar 12;10(2):e62. doi: 10.1192/bjo.2024.13. PMID: 38468390; PMCID: PMC10951855.