The Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Utilizing Cannabis Sativa as an Adjunctive Pharmacologic Agent

Dr. Steve Johnston

Doctoral Dissertation full publication with discussion and complete listing of research citations by Dr. (Thomas) Steven Johnston. First published in January, 2010 through Argosy University, Graduate School of Professional Psychology.


Digital Text
 Dissertation | Full Publication | January, 2010 | Argosy University / Professional School of Clinical Psychology | Alameda, CA
Author: Thomas Stephen Johnston II, PsyD
Product: Digital File Download
Pages: 196
File Size: 1.8MB

This Clinical Research Project, entitled The Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Utilizing Cannabis Sativa as an Adjunctive Pharmacological Agent, written by Thomas Stephen Johnston II, reviewed the literature on PTSD, treatments for PTSD, pharmacotherapy approaches to PTSD, and cannabis in an effort to explore the primary hypothesis: Should cannabis be considered an efficacious, adjunctive, treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in combination with talk therapy? This study was a scholarly publication-based critical review and analysis of the literature, subdividing the research question into three separate components: 1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; 2) Pharmacological treatments (medications) prescribed for the treatment of PTSD; 3) Cannabis Sativa (marijuana), including any research cross- referenced between PTSD and cannabis. Professional peer-reviewed journals, books, magazines, films, documentaries, internet web-based searches and research databases were utilized in gathering, reviewing and analyzing the data. The primary databases used for key word searches and the collection of data were EBSCOhost and ProQuest/Infotrac databases. Side effect tables comparing cannabis with each of the current psychotropic medications commonly prescribed for PTSD were created and incorporated into the discussion section. Findings supported the hypothesis that cannabis is an efficacious adjunctive pharmacological agent to talk therapy when cannabis is used properly, in controlled doses and under clinical supervision. The research further identified the effectiveness of cannabis in the pharmacological treatment of chronic, long-term sufferers of PTSD, as standard psychotropic medications have historically been less effective with this population. Discussion was offered in favor of utilizing cannabis in place of psychotropic medications to regulate side effects, allowing patients to be fully present during talk therapy sessions, offering greater ego strength and faster assimilation of data, possibly shortening the treatment time, while deepening the effectiveness of the therapy. Lastly, recommendations were made regarding the need for psychoeducation focusing on medical cannabis for psychologists, clinicians, medical doctors, health care workers and their patients. Theoretic discussion was offered regarding a new approach to chronic PTSD from the perspective of neurogenesis and the expression of genes, based partly on Ernest Rossi’s naturalist trance approach in changing the expression of genes in traumatized patients.

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