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Medical Marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Published on: January 11, 2017
Project Number: RC0838-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of medical marijuana for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults?
  2. What is the clinical effectiveness of synthetic cannabinoids for the treatment of PTSD in adults?
  3. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding the use of medical marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids in adult patients with PTSD?

Key Message

Based on one systematic review (SR) which included six studies in adults with PTSD, there is evidence from very low-quality studies to support the efficacy of smoked marijuana, oral THC, and nabilone in reducing some symptoms of PTSD. Side effects, described as mild to moderate were reported for only one retrospective chart review, in which nabilone was discontinued in 28% of patients. There were no guidelines identified regarding the use of medical marijuana or cannabinoids in PTSD.