UBC Okanagan and Tilray, a Health Canada Licensed Producer under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), will conduct the country’s first clinical trial to evaluate the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pending regulatory approvals, the UBC-Tilray study is poised to be one of the first in the world to run a large-scale clinical trial examining medical cannabis as a treatment for a mental health disorder.
The Phase II, placebo-controlled, randomized, triple blind, crossover clinical trial will gather evidence about the safety and efficacy of different medical cannabis strain combinations to manage chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD symptoms resulting from trauma experienced by veterans, first responders, and sexual assault survivors. Chronic PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, and changes in sleep and appetite.
“Even with current treatments, many patients continue to struggle with the debilitating effects of PTSD,” says Associate Professor Zach Walsh, the principal investigator for the study, a clinical psychologist, and co-director of the UBC Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science and Law in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences.
“There is promising preclinical and anecdotal evidence supporting the potential of medical cannabis to alleviate PTSD symptoms, particularly among veterans. We have an ethical responsibility to examine all possible treatment options to ease their suffering.”