Canadian Study on Marijuana and PTSD

By Marie Veksler | November 14, 2014

One of the Health Canada-licensed medical marijuana growers in British Columbia has promised $350,000 in sponsorship money to fund a study to focus on the safety and effectiveness of marijuana treatment on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that occurs after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Many military veterans have publicly declared for years that marijuana helps to keep their PTSD symptoms at bay, or at least to manage them, but a new, unbiased study needs to be completed to determine why cannabis may be effective in treating PTSD.

The medical marijuana facility offering up the funding is called Tilray, and it is located in the city of Nanaimo. The sponsored study is to be run by researches from the University of British Columbia, but in order to begin in early 2015, as hoped, the university’s ethics board must first approve the study. The lead investigator, should the study receive the green light to start, will be Zach Walsh, a UBC professor of psychology. Walsh told the Vancouver Sun,

“Physicians and patients are hungry for research on marijuana. Medical research is playing catch-up with cannabis use so we really need to do these kinds of controlled studies. My professional interest is in developing effective therapies for psychological disorders.”

Forty participants will be selected for the study, and each person will try multiple different cannabis strains to find which strains are best suited to treat which symptoms. Tilray already grows medical marijuana for one-hundred-fifty patients suffering from PTSD, so they do not anticipate having any issues finding willing study participants. In order to receive the medication, all participants must be local enough to drive to the secret location near the research facility where each must personally pick up their marijuana and a study-issued vaporizer to administer the medication.

Each person selected must agree to go through a two week cleansing period before the trials begin. This means that participants who already use marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms, will have to stop medicating for two weeks prior to the start of the study. Two weeks cleansing periods will also be initiated in between administration of each new cannabis strain. This will ensure clear results for which strains best treat which symptoms, or which strains do not work to treat PTSD at all.

Incredibly important and useful information would be learned from this study for the future of marijuana in a whole new world of medicinal uses and therapy options. If successful, it may also open doors to other studies for the safety and effectiveness of marijuana to treat other medical conditions.

Marie Veksler

With more than 15 years of cannabis education and experience, Marie is dedicated to sharing knowledge about the versatile plant while expanding the stoner stereotype. Email tips to

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