New research strengthens the connection:
The research, published online [Tuesday] in Molecular Psychiatry found that people with PTSD have a greater number of CB1 receptors, cannabinoid protein receptors, and a lower concentration of one of the neurotransmitters that binds to them, anandamide. This provides empirical evidence for the theory that marijuana, which also binds to the cannabinoid system, can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PTSD, although the paper doesn’t recommend it as a treatment option. …
“There’s a consensus among clinicians that existing pharmaceutical treatments such as antidepressants simply do not work,” [researcher Alexander Neumeister] said in a press statement. “In fact, we know very well that people with PTSD who use marijuana — a potent cannabinoid — often experience more relief from their symptoms than they do from antidepressants and other psychiatric medications.”
Neumeister isn’t pushing for smoking pot to combat the symptoms, though. “I’m very much an advocate against smoking pot as a treatment for PTSD,” he says. That’s partially because chronic marijuana usage has been found to a decrease the amount of CB1 receptors in the brain, in effect mimicking PTSD, increasing anxiety and irritability. Instead, he’s focusing on developing a medication that could block the degradation of anandamide, balancing the endocannabinoid abnormality in the brains of people with PTSD.
There’s also a new study that correlates marijuana use with better health and lower weight:
The research, published in the American Journal of Medicine, shows that people who reported regularly using marijuana had a lower risk of insulin resistance and had lower fasting insulin levels, compared with people who never used marijuana. Researchers also found an association between using marijuana and having a smaller waist circumference and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, compared with non-users. The research was conducted by scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the University of Nebraska and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Previous Dish on PTSD and marijuana here.