Updated: Oct 20, 2018
Listening to Dr. Michael Verbora at the York Region Cannabis Symposium, Wednesday October 10th was inspiring. The Symposium was organized by Sherry Bennett (www.letstalkcannabis.ca)
Dr. Verbora is Chief Medical officer for Aleafia but works closely with other LPs. Co-author Pat Crocker (email@example.com) and I were introduced to him through Green Relief and he graciously provided the forward for Healing Cannabis Edibles.
Although he treats people with a variety of conditions, this seminar focussed on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He explained how this stems from significant trauma -- where the individual feels powerless to stop an event, whether it be war, conflict, abuse, rape, disasters or witnessing of any of these.
Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, insomnia, emotionless disconnection, lack of concentration making it hard to function.
Dr. Verbora explained that the standard treatment is talk therapy for 6-12 weeks, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Medications given are anti-depressents, anti-anxiety, blood pressure pills for nightmares.
He found that nothing is a concrete solution and some people are resistant to these treatments.
In his experience, Cannabis has helped these patients. "Patients drop opioids in favour of Cannabis".
Although Dr. Verbora acknowledges that most of the evidence that Cannabis helps with anxiety, sleep, pain and nightmares is mainly anecdotal, he says that he has seen hundreds of patients with PTSD with substantial improvements in these areas. Despite that, he adds that "there are no high quality placebo controlled trials to draw conclusions from".
He also warns that it is not for everyone: higher doses of THC can have the opposite effect than intended, and high THC Sativa dominant strains may also increase paranoia and anxiety.