It is often the scarcity of clinical evidence that keeps medical marijuana from being used to treat patients suffering with PTSD. However, researchers say that most people living with this serious anxiety disorder are not scheming for pot as some kind of miracle cure, but as an effective sleep aid.

Substance abuse expert Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D, who works at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California, says that after years of studying the effects of cannabis on his patients, he has discovered that most of those being treated for PTSD “are primarily using to cope with sleep problems.”

He published these findings last month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, which suggested that although PTSD patients used marijuana to treat a variety of symptoms, sleep did, in fact, rank highest on the list.

Dr. Bonn-Miller says that people suffering from PTSD seem to have a number of sleep issues from trouble falling asleep to constantly waking up in the middle of the night to extreme nightmares. He says that PTSD patients with more severe sleep issues have a tendency to consume more marijuana.

“And so people are finding, it seems, that marijuana, at least on the front end, is helpful for them in terms of dealing with those symptoms. So it helps them go to sleep more quickly, it helps them sleep through the night rather than wake up, and things like that.”

Dr. Bonn-Miller adds that additional studies need to be conducted to explore the benefits of marijuana as a sleep aid, as well as other symptoms associated with PTSD. Until then, he says, cannabis treatment for this debilitating condition will likely be met with some resistance.

Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.