Marijuana for trauma: Report shows positive effects of medical cannabis

An Israeli medical center and cannabis producer are making a joint effort to report weed’s benefits.

cannabis background macro close up (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
cannabis background macro close up
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Hitting a spliff may just be the best thing for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) next to therapy, according to a recent clinical trial conducted by Soroka University Medical Center and Israeli medical cannabis company Cannbit-Tikun Olam. The study was conducted over several years with the goal of evaluating the safety and efficacy of treatment using medical cannabis.

The results of the trial were considerably positive. Notably, a number of cannabis-medicated patients stopped or reduced their dosages of opioids (by 52%), anti-psychotics (by 36.9%), anti-epileptics (by 35.7%) and hypnotics and sedatives (by 35.3%). Overall, over two thirds of patients reported at least moderate improvement with no serious side effects, with 90.8% of treated PTSD patients being classified as therapeutic successes after six months.

Other benefits included a huge decrease in rage attacks, restlessness, nausea and sleep disturbances. Nearly half of the patients reported that their quality of life had improved during the time of treatment.

Of course, as anyone who’s spent a smoky night wondering if they were being watched should suspect, there were reports of side effects such as dizziness, the munchies, sleepiness and feeling high (which medical cannabis isn’t meant to cause) – though each of these side effects were only experienced by a single-digit percentage of users.

The study focused on 8,500 male and female Israelis, averaging 54.6 years old, using marijuana strains developed by Cannbit-Tikun Olam.

 Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, Cannbit-Tikun Olam head of R&D. (credit: Eli Sharm) Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, Cannbit-Tikun Olam head of R&D. (credit: Eli Sharm)

“In the past, we already demonstrated that treatment with medical cannabis products relieves symptoms and improves quality of life for patients,” said the company’s head of R&D, Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider. “This is the first time that in-depth, organized and systematic analysis of a large amount of data on a very large group of patients was performed, and in which, without bias, the effect of the treatment for various indications was examined.”

In December last year, an exclusive and mutual collaboration agreement was signed by Cannbit-Tikun Olam and Teva Israel, wherein the former’s products will be distributed by the latter throughout Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Teva Israel CEO Yossi Ofek said, “The medical cannabis arena is developing and being professionalized at a dizzying pace in Israel, and there is more openness to it in Israel and worldwide.

“Today, it is clear to many in the pharmaceutical industry and in the medical community that the use of oils produced from specific cannabis strains may provide additional treatment options and respond to unmet medical needs of patients. I have no doubt that the medical cannabis oils Cannbit-Tikun Olam produces – according to Teva’s high quality and safety standards – will help us realize our goal of improving the lives of patients.”