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Could smoking weed help PTSD? One Kelowna professor is going to find out

A UBC professor is conducting Canada’s first ever clinical trial about the effects of cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Zach Walsh, associate professor of Psychology at UBC Kelowna campus, said they’ve received Health Canada approval to test out two different strains of weed.

"We're seeing increasing use of cannabis for treatment of mental health conditions. The existing treatments aren't enough for a lot of people,” Walsh explained to KelownaNow.

“We need new approaches to treating these disorders. I think Cannabis deserves the same kind of attention as other medicines."

The study is looking for 40 adults who have PTSD and have tried other treatments and they just haven’t worked for them. The PTSD doesn’t have to solely be from combat, but could have occurred because of a crime, an accident, or another mental health issue.

“A lot of people who have PTSD aren't able to find adequate relief with behaviour therapy or existing medications. So, there's always a search among clinical phycologists and those who do mental health research to find better treatments for PTSD."

Every week individuals will head to UBC to pick up their weekly dose of cannabis, smoke it through a vaporizer and then fill out of questionnaire about their PTSD symptoms.

Walsh said they will be testing out two different strains of cannabis and a placebo strain. The placebo strain is cannabis, but with the active ingredient taken away.

The study should be complete in about a year and Walsh said he’s looking forward to finding out the results.

“We know that some folks with PTSD are using cannabis and we want to be able to establish whether it is, in fact, a good way or one of the good ways to deal with the disorder."

If you have PTSD and want to take part in Canada’s first clinical trial about cannabis and mental health, email

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