Two main stories today. One big one out of Mexico and a good trial that came out about PTSD.
Mexico passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, making it the largest country in the world (130 million people) to do so. This will put pressure on the United States to do the same. Both its Northern and Southern neighbors will have legal recreational cannabis. It is surprising that the U.S. is taking so long to do the same. The so-called Land of the Free has been anything but that since prohibition of cannabis in the early 20th century.
Now Mexico will allow its citizens to apply for a permit to grow small amounts of cannabis at home. Home-grow, as it is frequently called, is a very important part of legalizing cannabis. It allows citizens to be free from the inflated prices of cannabis in dispensaries. Hopefully, the U.S. will allow this as well when it finally legalized cannabis.
Study Shows Marijuana Not Helpful for PTSD
A study was published this week that was conducted on veterans suffering from PTSD. The group was assigned to either high THC, high CBD, half THC and half CBD, or hemp cannabis. The hemp had no THC or CBD and was a placebo group to compare the others to. All the participants were veterans who already were self-medicating with cannabis. They were asked to stop using for at least two weeks prior to the study (it is unclear what percentage truly stopped) and then they were randomly assigned to one of the four groups.
All of the participants assigned to the high THC group (9% THC) knew that they were receiving an active form of cannabis treatment. The doctors running the study also could tell this group was receiving the high-THC strain. This shows that studies using high THC cannabis cannot be blinded, meaning the participants and doctors will always know they are receiving THC because they feel the high from it.
The groups were treated for three weeks and then given a two week break from treatment before being randomized again to receive high-THC, high-CBD, or half and half THC-CBD cannabis. No placebo was given the second time.
The primary purpose and outcome studied was a reduction of PTSD symptoms after three weeks of treatment with the various forms of cannabis or placebo. The result was that all four groups had a relatively large reduction in symptoms. The problem is that the placebo group also had a large reduction in symptoms so the cannabis groups with THC were not deemed significantly different from receiving a hemp strain without THC or CBD in it. This makes the study a negative conclusion.
However, there are some important findings in the study. First of all, this was one of the first studies allowing PTSD patients to self-medicate as much cannabis as they needed. The patients were given a lot more cannabis to take home than they actually used. That’s a great way of conducting the study because it is more similar to real life conditions where patients can pick how much to use. The study found relatively mild to moderate adverse effects and overall it was felt that the trial was very safe and that researching cannabis on patients is safe. This should encourage other scientists to conduct similar studies, hopefully with more participants, without fearing that there may be severe adverse effects to getting high.
Another finding was that the participants in this study preferred the high-THC strain over the others. When they used the diluted THC strain that had a mix of THC and CBD in it, they used a lot more of it to medicate. This is why we recommend patients purchase flower with the most THC in it, so they don’t have to use as much of it to treat their symptoms. It ends up being more cost-effective for patients.
It is unclear if the placebo group in this study used cannabis at home that was their own and whether this was accounted for. They agreed not to do that before starting the trial but some of the participants may not have adhered to that promise. There is a chance that they used their own cannabis and that’s why the placebo group smoking hemp also saw such a significant change in PTSD symptoms. Indeed, in the study the participants used a lot less of the hemp placebo compared to the other groups, suggesting they may have been also using their own strains at home as a substitute.