Is cannabis ineffective against chronic pain and PTSD?
Researchers have found that there is little evidence that medical marijuana can help treat chronic pain or PTSD.
It's true that marijuana can help treat conditions like nausea, seizures, and even bipolar disorder. There has been enough evidence to back those claims. However, there's a lack of the same kind of evidence when it comes to marijuana helping treat chronic pain and PTSD. Of course, there's still the possibility that these claims are true. Researchers haven't yet made the claim that marijuana isn't at all helpful for these cases. Until there's enough evidence, however, we can't be sure of the effects of marijuana on chronic pain and PTSD.
A number of US veterans rely on marijuana to treat symptoms of the aforementioned conditions. Thus, researchers at the US Department of Veterans Affairs looked into how well marijuana can treat and manage the symptoms of chronic pain and PTSD.
Chronic pain can affect a sufferer's relationships and day-to-day life.
Chronic pain is a condition in which the sufferer experiences pain for more than 12 weeks. It's different from acute pain in that acute pain is an indicator of injury. Chronic pain, meanwhile, may be caused by injury, ongoing illnesses, or even an unknown cause.
PTSD is the result of a traumatic experience. While some people can get over trauma naturally, there are also those who continue to experience the symptoms of trauma for a longer period of time. These symptoms include flashbacks to the traumatic event, avoiding places that remind the sufferer of the event, difficulty sleeping, and angry outbursts.
Two recent studies reviewed existing research on the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana on the two conditions. Researchers took a look at 27 studies on the effects of marijuana on chronic pain, as well as three observational studies and two other reviews regarding PTSD.
The researchers found that in the case of chronic pain, there is some evidence that not only can marijuana not be helpful, but it can also possibly cause harm. The general population's use of marijuana can lead to a slightly higher risk of developing mental impairment, psychosis, mania, and short-term cognitive dysfunction.
Existing research on the effects of cannabis on PTSD, however, is inconclusive.
People can develop PTSD because of a variety of causes.
These findings don't mean that cannabis can be of no help to either chronic pain or PTSD. It points out, however, that there is little evidence to prove how marijuana can help manage the symptoms of these conditions.
Thus, the reviews can be helpful to clinical psychologists who are treating veterans for chronic pain and/or PTSD. Marijuana use is legal in 28 states, making it available for medical purposes. If there is little evidence that medical marijuana can treat chronic pain and PTSD, psychologists can then find other avenues to treat symptoms in veterans and others. The results of the reviews can prevent veterans from relying too much on a treatment that doesn't work, and can even result in cannabis use disorder. Perhaps there will be evidence in the future that proves how cannabis can help these conditions, but as of now, psychologists may want to consider other options.
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