Tel Aviv, Israel: The use of cannabis prior to bedtime is associated with improved sleep in patients with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress (PTS), according to data published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Israeli researchers evaluated cannabis use in a cohort of 14 subjects with combat-related traumatic stress. Subjects had previously tried various conventional treatments without success. All of the patients were naïve to cannabis prior to enrolling in the study. Study participants consumed cannabis in the evenings in an outpatient setting for a period of at least six-months.
Investigators reported: “After treatment with cannabis, total sleep score, subjective sleep quality, and sleep duration significantly improved. … Total PTSD symptom score and its subdomains (intrusiveness, avoidance, and alertness) showed [also] improvement.” By contrast, cannabis treatment was not associated with reducing patients’ frequency of nightmares.
None of the patients reported any side-effects from cannabis, nor did any elect to cease using cannabis prior to the end of the study period.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published study examining long-term cannabis efficacy in chronic combat treatment-resistant PTSD patients,” authors concluded. “The study’s findings show an overall improvement in sleep quality and duration, as well as a decrease in PTSD symptoms. … Future research should clarify the long-term effects of cannabis on different groups of patients suffering from PTSD.”
Israelis suffering from post-traumatic stress have been legally able to access cannabis since 2014. Currently, about 10 percent of all Israelis authorized to access medical cannabis use it to treat symptoms of PTS.
Other studies have similarly reported improvements in sleep duration and in insomnia in patients with and without PTS. The enactment of adult-use marijuana legalization has also been correlated with a decrease in the sale of over-the-counter sleep aid medications.
Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis treatment for treatment-resistant combat PTSD,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Additional information on cannabis and post-traumatic stress is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Additional information on cannabis and insomnia is available from NORML.