Marijuana use among those with post-traumatic stress (PTS) is associated with reduced rates of severe depression and suicidal ideation, according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The study is titled Does cannabis use modify the effect of post-traumatic stress disorder on severe depression and suicidal ideation? Evidence from a population-based cross-sectional study of Canadians.
For the study researchers examined the use of marijuana among PTS patients in a nationally representative sample. They found that those with PTS who didn’t use marijauna were around seven times more likely to have experienced a recent major depressive episode and 4.7 times more likely to have thoughts of suicide as compared to those who acknowledged using marijuana.
“This study provides preliminary epidemiological evidence that cannabis use may contribute to reducing the association between post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depressive and suicidal states”, states the study.
The full abstract of the study can be found below:
Post-traumatic stress disorder sharply increases the risk of depression and suicide. Individuals living with post-traumatic stress disorder frequently use cannabis to treat associated symptoms. We sought to investigate whether cannabis use modifies the association between post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing a major depressive episode or suicidal ideation.
We used data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of non-institutionalized Canadians aged ⩾15 years. The relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and each outcome was modelled using logistic regression with an interaction term for cannabis and post-traumatic stress disorder, controlling for demographic characteristics, mental health, and substance use comorbidities. The ratio of odds ratios and relative excess risk due to interaction was calculated to measure interaction on the multiplicative and additive scales, respectively.
Among 24,089 eligible respondents, 420 (1.7%) reported a current clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. In total, 106 (28.2%) people with post-traumatic stress disorder reported past-year cannabis use, compared to 11.2% of those without post-traumatic stress disorder (p < 0.001). In multivariable analyses, post-traumatic stress disorder was significantly associated with recent major depressive episode (adjusted odds ratio = 7.18, 95% confidence interval: 4.32–11.91) and suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratio = 4.76, 95% confidence interval: 2.39–9.47) among cannabis non-users. post-traumatic stress disorder was not associated with either outcome among cannabis-using respondents (both p > 0.05).
This study provides preliminary epidemiological evidence that cannabis use may contribute to reducing the association between post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depressive and suicidal states. There is an emerging need for high-quality experimental investigation of the efficacy of cannabis/cannabinoids for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.