Medical Marijuana and PTSD
When a traumatic event occurs, it is not always easy to get rid of the bad memories and feelings of this experience. People with a psychological condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may experience anxiety or even flashbacks due to the shock of the experience. Although the combination of therapy and some medications can provide relief to some patients, many have difficulty healing. However, evidence suggests that medical marijuana can be a wonderful treatment for many of the symptoms associated with PTSD.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by the experience of traumatic events. Quarrels, traffic accidents, and abuse are just a few examples of events that can lead to PTSD. A person has PTSD as a stress response to these events, which can include anxiety, substance abuse, dizziness, depression, and/or sleep disorders that last for weeks or longer. Symptoms can sometimes last for decades.
The three most important characteristics of PTSD are reliving traumatic events, increased arousal, and avoidance. Recurrences can manifest as flashbacks or dreams and can be triggered by memories of events. This behaviour and the experience of PTSD are often accompanied by severe anxiety, fatigue, anger, self-medication, and relationship sabotage.
PTSD can be alleviated or eliminated by cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), but it is not always successful. Although therapy may help some people with PTSD, it is not always an effective treatment. For example, long-term exposure, a form of CBT, usually has a 20% early termination rate in Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Pharmaceutical medications can be used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and depression associated with PTSD, but it is not always successful. Medications that are often prescribed to help people with PTSD are not effective in treating the whole condition. In addition, most prescription drugs have a risk of side effects and even addiction. Because treatments do not always work, doctors and researchers are increasingly looking for effective options outside the norm. One option is to use cannabis for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Studies have shown that medical marijuana can help treat the symptoms of PTSD, even in cases that cannot be helped by other treatments. Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body and brain, so mental and physical symptoms can both be treated by marijuana treatment. Although most states now have laws regarding medical marijuana, many legal issues prevent doctors and researchers from fully researching the impact this herb may have on people with PTSD. Fortunately, this is beginning to change as more studies from the US and Canada can be conducted legally. In particular, in 2017, the FDA approved a study on the effects of medical marijuana on veterans with PTSD.
Depending on the results of the study, cannabis-based treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder may be available on the market as soon as 2023. This could affect the type of marijuana sold in dispensaries or change the classification of marijuana by the federal government. The FDA-approved study is the first of its kind because it allows researchers to actually give veterans cannabis to smoke. Until now, studies of medical marijuana and post-traumatic stress disorder have been more observational. This means that the researchers were aware of the fact that the study participants smoked weed or used it in other ways, but were not able to be directly involved due to the illegal status of cannabis.
One study looked at patients who enrolled in a medical cannabis program in New Mexico. New Mexico was the first state to introduce PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The aim of the study was to analyse the effectiveness of medical marijuana on the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. This physician administered study involved a scale to measure patients’ symptoms. The study found that patients who used cannabis had an average of 75% less symptoms than those who did not.
Some studies have sought to find out why some people are more prone to PTSD than others and have come to interesting conclusions. For example, a 2013 study at Langone Medical Centre at New York University took a detailed look at the endocannabinoid system in the brain. The researchers found that people with PTSD had lower levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter, than people without PTSD. In addition, people with PTSD had higher levels of cannabinoid receptors, which are activated by anandamide and other neurotransmitters. When cannabinoid receptors are activated, they act to suppress or affect memory and also reduce anxiety. In other words, these receptors can help you manage, deal with, or even forget the events that cause the high levels of anxiety.
Some of the compounds in cannabis may activate the same receptors as anandamide, which acts as a replacement for the neurotransmitter. To date, several studies have investigated the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in activating cannabinoid receptors in the brain. One study found that CBD administered to mice experiencing pain caused the mice to forget the source of the pain. THC alone can contribute to increased anxiety in people, whether they have PTSD or not. But strains containing CBD seem to be especially helpful in putting an end to painful memories and reducing anxiety.
There is ample evidence that cannabis use can improve the quality of life of people with PTSD and their families. It is important to note that medical marijuana is not a cure. However, when the plant activates cannabinoid receptors in the body, it provides unique relief for some of the most debilitating symptoms associated with the disorder. While cannabis is not a cure for PTSD, it contains amazing therapeutic benefits that help manage the condition.