Cannabis-Assisted Psychotherapy for Complex Dissociative Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report

A dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder, known as “D-PTSD”, has been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. In addition to meeting criteria for PTSD, patients endorse prominent dissociative symptoms, namely depersonalization and derealization, or detachment from one’s self and surroundings. At present, this population is supported by a highly heterogeneous and undeveloped literature. Targeted interventions are therefore lacking, and those indicated for PTSD are limited by poor efficacy, delayed onset of action, and low patient engagement. Here, we introduce cannabis-assisted psychotherapy (CAP) as a novel treatment for D-PTSD, drawing parallels to psychedelic therapy. Case presentation: A 28-year-old female presented with complex D-PTSD. In a naturalistic setting, she underwent 10 sessions of CAP, scheduled twice monthly over 5 months, coupled with integrative cognitive behavioral therapy. An autonomic and relational approach to CAP was leveraged, specifically psychedelic somatic interactional psychotherapy. Acute effects included oceanic boundlessness, ego dissolution, and emotional breakthrough.