Cannabis as a PTSD Treatment
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates almost 8 million people suffer from PTSD, which is the feeling of being stressed or in danger when one is no longer in danger. It is typically triggered by exposure to an extreme traumatic stress involving direct experience of death or serious harm- whether actual or threatened.
PTSD is not just a condition of those who have served in a war but can include anyone who has suffered from a significant trauma such as rape, violence, sexual assault, surviving a natural disaster, being in an accident, the death of a loved one or abuse of any kind.
Classic symptoms of PTSD include: flashbacks and nightmares, emotional distancing, avoidance, anger, withdrawl, hypervigilance, lack of concentration and difficulty with sleep. It has been linked to inflammation in the brain and under/over production of different brain chemicals that affect one’s ability to let go of traumatic experiences.
In the case of PTSD, the endocannabinoid system which normally helps us forget or deal with painful memories is somehow overloaded and unable to do that. Medical cannabis can significantly help patients be more present and relaxed, to modulate their traumatic memories so that they can begin to integrate them in a healthier and more emotionally sustainable manner.
Many veterans and PTSD sufferers maintain that medicinal cannabis allows them to function in their daily lives, to manage pain, help control their depression as well as feelings of rage, fear, and anxiety.
Cannabis deserves serious consideration for anyone suffering from PTSD. Research began in 2014 on veterans with PTSD and whole plant cannabis. Visit www.maps.org for more information.