Cannabis: A potential efficacious intervention for PTSD or simply snake oil?

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


The ancient Egyptians used willow bark as a remedy for aches and pains, even though they were unaware that salicylic acid was responsible for its anti-pyrogenic and anti-inflammatory actions. Based on anecdotal reports and social media chatter, cannabis might yet displace salicylic acid as the most prolific cure-all. Like the bark of the willow, the marijuana plant and its derivatives have been used to diminish treatment-resistant epilepsy and to reduce chronic pain, even before it was understood that the active components of the cannabis plant, Δ9-tetrahydocannabinol (THC) and canabidiol (CBD), contributed to these outcomes. Cannabis is also touted to be effective in attenuating a wide range of conditions, including asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, menstrual cramps, AIDS, nausea and cancer. Beyond these effects on physical conditions, cannabis has been reported to improve neurocognitive and psychiatric conditions, such as Alzheimer disease, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience