Cannabis could help treat PTSD: patients who fight the disease and use the drug & # 39; have less chance of suicidal thoughts & # 39;
- Canadians who do not use cannabis are seven times more at risk of depression
- British Columbia study investigated the mental health of 420 PTSD victims
- PTSD is a serious anxiety disorder caused by frightening or disturbing events
The use of cannabis can ward off suicidal thoughts and depression in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, research suggests.
A study of more than 24,000 people showed that cannabis use seemed to eliminate the effects of having PTSD.
Non-users, for example, were seven times more likely to be depressed and nearly five times more likely to think about suicide if they had PTSD.
However, among people who used cannabis, having PTSD did not appear to have a noticeable effect on a person's chances for either of their psychological problems.
Cannabis, which is legal for recreational and medicinal purposes in Canada, regularly comes under fire for damage to mental health.
Skunk, a super-strong type of drug that is often intentionally grown by street dealers, is strongly linked to schizophrenia.
But an article from the University of British Columbia has found evidence that the drug can be good for mental health – despite claims to the contrary.
Smoking cannabis can help victims of trauma & # 39; s to bury suicidal thoughts and depression, research suggests
The study claims to be the first to examine the results of PTSD patients using cannabis.
Researchers led by Stephanie Lake, a PhD student, analyzed the survey responses of 24,089 Canadians in 2012.
About 420 participants had a clinical diagnosis for PTSD. Of those, 106 – or 28.2 percent – took cannabis more than once a year.
Cannabis use was much less common in patients without PTSD – only 11 percent claimed to use the drug.
PTSD patients who did not use cannabis had a seven-fold higher risk of a depressive episode compared to Canadians without the condition.
And they also ran an almost four-fold higher risk of considering suicide compared to patients without the condition.
But among volunteers who used cannabis, PTSD was not statistically associated with depression or suicidal thoughts.
WHAT IS PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or disturbing events.
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and can experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
They may also have sleep problems, such as insomnia, and have difficulty concentrating.
These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person's daily life.
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it may occur weeks, months or even years later.
Compared with non-PTSD patients who did use cannabis, they were 70 and 66 percent more likely to develop depression and suicidal thoughts, respectively.
The results take into account factors that may have changed the risk, including the state of siege, income, ethnicity and education.
Mrs. Lake and colleagues published their study, which they describe as promising, in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Although the study has not established a definitive reason why cannabis helps PTSD, it theorized that cannabinoid receptors in the brain help regulate people's sleep, but these receptors are damaged by trauma.
Mrs. Lake said: & # 39; So when you introduce external cannabinoids into the body, it can help make the system work normally again. & # 39;
And she added: & # 39; This is the first time that results from a nationally representative study have demonstrated the potential benefits of treating the condition with cannabis. & # 39;
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is caused by terrifying life events that continue to dig into your head.
It is mainly observed among veterans of the armed forces who witness horrific events in conflict.
It is estimated that Canada has one of the highest PTSD lifetime prevalence estimates worldwide, affecting around 9.2 percent of the population.
Symptoms of the disorder are grouped into three classifications: re-experience, hyper-excitement and avoidance, and numb behavior.
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