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Cannabis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) also known as PTSS (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome) is a severe mental health condition suffered by many individuals. This condition is characterized by recurrent nightmares which are difficult to stop even with prescription medications.

The US has a high rate of PTSD sufferers and an estimated 1 in 13 individuals develop the condition at a certain stage in their lives. The military has one of the highest rates of PTSD sufferers because of their experiences during wars. It’s estimated that about 11%-30% of veterans experience PTSD at some point in life.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychological condition that results from a disturbing or horrific incident. PTSD is common in individuals with past experiences with interpersonal trauma, and its chances are high when the person experiences the event repeatedly.

The symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder are more severe in women than in men. Some individuals can experience it only for some time while others experience it for several years. PTSD can make life difficult by affecting well-being, mental state, and work. Sufferers are forced to quit school and work due to the difficulties that come with the condition. If not treated immediately, PTSD can lead to depression, and suicide.

How can Medical Cannabis Relieve PTSD Symptoms?

Medical cannabis binds with endocannabinoid receptors found in different parts of the body and helps to prevent the traumatic events that lead to PTSD. Medical marijuana can help promote sleep and relaxation in PTSD patients.

The endocannabinoid system controls memory building and stress response which are the major elements of PTSD. The CB1 receptor in your brain is responsible for extinction learning, which means that it can replace old memories with new ones. Therefore, consuming cannabis can remove horrific experiences that make PTSD more severe.

The main cannabinoids responsible for PTSD relief include CBD and THC. These compounds work to reduce PTSD symptoms by enhancing several factors of the endocannabinoid system such as memory retrieval and consolidation. CBD and THC interact with CB2 and CB1 receptors found in the nervous system, leading to the production of neurotransmitters responsible for good memory, sleep, and pleasure.

Cannabinoids can prevent the brain from regaining traumatic memories that cause PTSD. Consuming cannabis can also improve emotional wellness and quality of life.

Research on medical marijuana and PTSD

Medical marijuana is considered the best alternative medicine for patients with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). While research on medical marijuana and PTSD is still restricted by the federal government, PTSD patients who previously consumed cannabis for their symptoms have acknowledged the benefits of medical cannabis in relieving anxiety and insomnia from PTSD.

According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, medical cannabis was found to effectively reduce symptoms of PTSD. The study showed that PTSD patients who consumed medical marijuana were free from PTSD symptoms. While current research is hopeful, there is still a need for more studies on cannabis’s ability to combat PTSD symptoms.

Bottom line

While medical marijuana can help to relieve common symptoms of PTSD, limited research on the subject makes it difficult for patients to use cannabis. Nonetheless, If you want to use cannabis for PTSD consult your local physician.