Cannabinoids as an Emerging Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use Disorders

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2020 Jan;37(1):28-34. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000612.


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a leading psychiatric disorder that mainly affects military and veteran populations but can occur in anyone affected by trauma. PTSD treatment remains difficult for physicians because most patients with PTSD do not respond to current pharmacological treatment. Psychotherapy is effective, but time consuming and expensive. Substance use disorder is often concurrent with PTSD, which leads to a significant challenge for PTSD treatment. Cannabis has recently received widespread attention for the potential to help many patient populations. Cannabis has been reported as a coping tool for patients with PTSD and preliminary legalization data indicate Cannabis use may reduce the use of more harmful drugs, such as opioids. Rigorous clinical studies of Cannabis could establish whether Cannabis-based medicines can be integrated into treatment regimens for both PTSD and substance use disorder patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Marijuana / therapeutic use*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Medical Marijuana