Marijuana and PTSD: A Winning Combination or a Recipe for Disaster?
Many people turn to alcohol and drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, and marijuana to cope with the symptoms of PTSD.
And when it comes to marijuana and PTSD, do patients use marijuana to treat their condition, or do they cite the benefits of marijuana to mask their drug-seeking behavior?
Many studies suggest that patients recovering from trauma are prone to self-medicate with the substances mentioned above. A big downside to this is that these patients are also likely to develop a drug dependence which nine times out of ten leads to a downward spiral in their lives.
We cannot avoid the fact that some patients struggling with PTSD and anxiety do self-medicate with marijuana. But, compared to other vices such as alcohol, opioids, methamphetamines, and so on. Which is the lesser evil?
And, could the combination of marijuana and PTSD actually kickstart the recovery process for patients?
Looking for a Medical Marijuana Doctor?
- Medical marijuana and PTSD
- How does medical marijuana help PTSD patients?
- Side effects of marijuana use in PTSD patients
- Best strains for PTSD and anxiety
- Indica or Sativa for PTSD?
- 11 of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety
- Speak to a cannabis doctor when considering marijuana for PTSD
- What about CBD oil for PTSD?
- What is PTSD?
- Causes of PTSD
- Symptoms of PTSD
- Marijuana use and PTSD among veterans
- Key takeaways
Medical Marijuana and PTSD
So, why are medical marijuana and PTSD even considered a good combination?
First, the components in cannabis have the twin ability to tweak memory processes and reduce depression and anxiety.
Secondly, a recent study revealed that cannabinoids administered shortly after exposure to a traumatic event could prevent the development of PTSD-like characteristics.
So not only can medical marijuana provide relief, but it may also be a safeguard against post-traumatic stress disorder itself.
How Does Medical Marijuana Help PTSD Patients?
Several scientific inquiries over the years have sought to prove whether medical marijuana is a valid solution in reducing the severity of symptoms among PTSD patients.
Most recently, a study published in the book, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research sought to understand whether cannabis sold in dispensaries helped PTSD patients.
The test involved PTSD patients who were divided into two groups. Those who used marijuana for their PTSD and those who didn’t. Over three months, patients who used cannabis reported a significant reduction in the severity of their symptoms than their counterparts.
Moreover, preliminary human studies also suggest that treatment with cannabis may effectively decrease PTSD symptoms. For instance:
- frequency of nightmares
- sleep quality
Despite these promising results, most studies decry the limitation in their research as a result of the illegal status of the herb. As a result, studies can’t be conducted on a large scale and comprehensive manner to provide conclusive results.
Still, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And scientists have circumnavigated this hurdle by using animals to test for cannabis response on PTSD symptoms. Despite the brilliance of this move, replicating the true psychological effects of PTSD in animals still proves a challenge.
Despite this, animal trials have shown that cannabinoids affect several PTSD-related symptoms. For example:
- The effects of stress on emotional functions and memory processes
- Enabling fear extinction
- Having an anti-anxiety-like effect on a variety of tasks.
Nonetheless, human trials may be on the horizon to put the effectiveness of medical marijuana for PTSD to the test owing to a recent wave of legislation and voter input which has seen many states decriminalize and legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use.
How does marijuana affect the endocannabinoid system?
Several studies have linked PTSD to lower anandamide levels and an increased expression of cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1); both found within the endocannabinoid system. This is also known as an endocannabinoid deficiency.
Therefore, this imbalance is assumed to result in hyperactivation of the amygdala. Hence causing extreme threat processing with characteristics of hyperarousal anxiety.
As a result, hyperarousal anxiety then causes a myriad of PTSD symptoms, such as:
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory and cognitive impairments
- Altered pain sensitivity
- Emotional numbing
So how does cannabis prevent hyperarousal? Well, since hyperactivation of the amygdala is caused by an endocannabinoid deficiency, specifically the endocannabinoid anandamide, CBD increases the anandamide levels. So, no deficit means no amygdala hyperactivation hence no extreme fear.
Additionally, THC also plays a role in regulating threat processing in trauma-exposed PTSD patients.
To support this theory, PTSD patients participated in a study where they took doses of THC and got exposed to situations designed to trigger fear. As severe as the test may seem, the results were worthwhile since participants showed lower threat-related amygdala activity besides reduced fear and anxiety.
Marijuana prevents hyperarousal and PTSD-related anxiety
Since PTSD is a psychological problem, it’s important to understand what happens in the brain that promotes its development and persistence.
One is the amygdala, a part of the brain believed to play important roles in emotion and behavior. And is best known for its part in processing fear and the fight or flight response.
Two is the endocannabinoid system which plays a big role in balancing many processes in our body. Most importantly, the cannabinoids present in marijuana, mainly CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) react with the endocannabinoid system to spur certain effects.
Marijuana reduces inflammation
Sometimes, psychological conditions may involve elevated inflammatory processes within the brain. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
This element not only works for pain relief but also doubles down against PTSD by activating the cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors.
Marijuana promotes fear extinction
What is fear extinction?
Fear extinction is a decline in conditioned fear responses and this occurs during new learning.
When we experience a traumatic event, something known as fear conditioning occurs. This means that you automatically develop a fear-conditioned response related to a specific event or object. Even if the traumatic event occurred once.
For illustration, take Christopher, who was devastated after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc and washed his home away. To make things worse, he could do nothing but watch as the raging waters swept his parents away.
Fortunately, his parents survived but, to this day, the sound of breaking glass brings back vivid memories such as his mother’s screams from that terrible day.
What can we learn from Christopher’s response after his parents’ near-death experience with Hurricane Sandy?
His brain ‘learned’ that the sound of crashing glass is a sign of a deadly experience. As a result, every time he hears crashing glass, he reacts by feeling extreme dread.
Sometimes, the fear response in people goes away after some time. Why is this?
Normally, after experiencing a traumatic event, the brain slowly ‘forgets’ the feelings associated with the stressor. And, in Christopher’s case, the sound of crashing glass is a PTSD stressor.
Suppose that Christopher is a construction worker, and the sound of breaking glass is a norm in his life. Normally, a few weeks after the disaster, the sound of crashing glass would paralyze him with fear. But, as the months went by, his brain would realize that the sound of crashing glass didn’t lead to anything dangerous. And eventually, the sound of crashing glass wouldn’t lead to a vivid traumatic recollection.
This process of ‘forgetting’ the fear is known as fear extinction. And it’s not forgetting, but a learning process where the brain stops associating the PTSD stressor to trauma but another experience.
But, in the case of PTSD, the traumatizing memory plus its accompanying emotions and physical experiences still occur even months after the event. And this has to do with a malfunction in the extinction process.
How does medical marijuana promote the fear extension process?
Several studies have uncovered that marijuana may help in extinguishing traumatic memories. Simply put, cannabis may help you ‘forget’ your traumatic episode.
This theory was first hypothesized by the late R. Andrew Sewell, M.D. who was an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale.
Doctor Sewell suggested that marijuana may help PTSD ‘overwrite’ traumatic memories and replace them with new memories in a process called extinction learning.
And since PTSD affects the normal functioning of the endocannabinoid system this may lead to a problem with the normal extinction process. But, marijuana might kick-start this process enabling patients to recover from their intense traumatic memories.
Additionally, researchers discovered that low doses of THC or a combination of both CBD and THC improved the extinction rate for bad memories. It appears that THC improves the extinction process while CBD eases the potential adverse effects of high THC doses.
Marijuana and PTSD result in reduced nightmares
Nightmares are like vampires that rise in the cover of darkness to torment PTSD patients.
As if the fear and anxiety experienced during the daytime aren’t enough, patients experience haunting dreams in their slumber reminiscent of their traumatic memories. Insomnia becomes a norm and some end up developing sleep apnea.
As luck would have it, cannabis can serve to prevent or reduce the frequency of nightmares.
People experience vivid dreams during a stage of sleep known as REM sleep. And cannabis reduces REM sleep, as a result, relieves recurring nightmares associated with PTSD.
To test this hypothesis, researchers administered a cannabinoid stimulant known as nabilone to 47 patients who despite using antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist still reported nightmares. After the treatment, 72% of patients stopped having nightmares or their intensity dropped.
Apart from extinguished nightmares, patients also reported that the quality and duration of sleep improved while daytime flashbacks and night sweats also reduced.
Not only does this study show the benefits of marijuana for PTSD treatment but also the significant advantage it has over other methods of treatment.
Side Effects of Marijuana Use in PTSD Patients
Those against the use of marijuana in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder do have legitimate concerns. And some studies do support some of the concerns they have.
One study revealed that the duo, marijuana and PTSD, have been linked to unfavorable psychiatric outcomes such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance abuse.
A paradox, since other studies support cannabis use to treat these conditions.
So why this divide? And should the results of this research deter patients from using cannabis for their treatment?
Marijuana may aggravate anxiety in PTSD patients. But, this effect is greatly influenced by the amount of THC taken by the patient.
The publication, Integrating Endocannabinoid Signaling and Cannabinoids into the Biology and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder best explains the relationship between anxiety and THC dosage. The study proved that lower doses of THC greatly diminished anxiety in patients. However, when doses of THC were increased, anxiety levels spiked.
What does this mean? Like any other drug, excessive use is bound to make things worse than better. Thus, proper cannabis use provides relief for anxiety and does not worsen the condition.
Another study opposing marijuana also linked its use after treatment to more violent behavior and alcohol use. Additionally, the study went further to state that marijuana would make symptoms of PTSD more severe or nullify the benefits of specialized intensive treatment.
Best Strains for PTSD and Anxiety
Knowledge of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety should help patients avoid strains that would give them bad experiences or not work for their conditions.
Yet, the sheer number of strains available in marijuana dispensaries may make the selection process overwhelming and frustrating.
Even the question, “Indica or Sativa for PTSD?” is difficult enough for first-time patients. So, picking the best strains for PTSD and anxiety among 700+ marijuana strains available is just too much.
Patients with PTSD got their medical cards so that they could get relief from their stress and anxiety; they didn’t sign up for an anxiety-inducing selection process.
So let’s get this out of the way and answer these two questions:
Indica or Sativa for PTSD?
Which are the best strains for PTSD and anxiety?
Indica or Sativa for PTSD?
The Indica and Sativa are two distinct species of the marijuana plant. And they differ in appearance and the kind of ‘high’ they deliver.
In terms of appearance, Indica strains are shorter, have a deeper shade of green, and have broader leaves than Sativa strains which grow tall, have a lighter shade of green and thin leaves.
For the ‘high’, Indica delivers a body high where users experience body numbing effects besides the calming and sedative effects of the strain.
In terms of medical value, the body-numbing effects of Indica strains make them suitable in the treatment of chronic pain, lack of sleep, and inflammation.
Contrastingly, Sativa strains pack a punch when it comes to the ‘head high’ they deliver. Users experience euphoria (happiness), become energized and creative.
Medically, Sativa strains are suitable in the treatment of fatigue, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. However, in large doses, Sativa strains may increase anxiety and paranoia.
When it comes to PTSD, patients are often seeking calmness, relaxation, and clarity of mind and that’s why Indica is the best for PTSD.
But, the downside of Indica strains is their tendency to leave users feeling lethargic. So patients are at a disadvantage since they can’t get up and about to do their daily tasks.
However, that isn’t an issue with hybrid stains. These are strains come about when both the Indica and Sativa are crossed. The resulting strain is often a combination of the best of both worlds; the calming effects of the Indica plus the improvement in mood from the Sativa.
So, in essence, an Indica-dominant hybrid is the best strain for PTSD and anxiety. And as you will see ahead, they feature heavily in our list of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety.
11 of the Best Strains for PTSD and Anxiety
The best strains for PTSD and anxiety are based on the reviews and testimonies from patients who experienced remarkable relief for their PTSD and anxiety. And over time, these strains have worked well for patients with similar conditions.
Nonetheless, these strains shouldn’t trump the advice of your cannabis doctor. Remember, people react differently to marijuana, so what works for someone else may not work for you. Hence why you should speak to your cannabis doctor.
With that in mind here are 11 of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety:
1. Northern Lights Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: To start the list of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety is the Northern Lights strain. An Indica strain birthed from crossing the Afghani strain with the Thai strain.
Effects: This strain delivers euphoric effects that settle firmly throughout the body relaxing the muscles and easing the mind.
Then an accompanying body high takes over making the user feel lazy but at the same time bringing feelings of well being and happiness
Medical value: The Northern Lights strain tends to slow the mind’s racing thoughts making it one of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety. Additionally, this strain works well to relieve pain, improve sleep, reduce stress, and treat depression.
Time to use: The Northern Lights Strain is an evening strain because of its sleep-inducing effects.
Bonus Information: The Northern Lights strain is a ‘two-hit and quit’ strain meaning it’s a potent strain and low doses are enough to bring the desired relief.
2. Girl Scout Cookies Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Girl Scout Cookies strain or GSC is an Indica-dominant hybrid with a strong Sativa component. The GSC strain results from crossing the OG Kush with the Durban Poison strain.
Effects: This strain provides the best aspects of its Sativa and Indica heritage where euphoric effects are followed by full-body relaxation.
Medical value: The Girl Scout Cookies strain is favored among patients with PTSD because of its effectiveness in extinguishing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Moreover, the GSC strain helps with mitigating chronic pain, insomnia, appetite loss, and nausea.
Time to use: The Girl Scout Cookies strain is a great evening use strain just before going to bed for a goodnight’s rest.
Bonus Information: The ‘Girl Scout Cookies’ name brought so much controversy to this strain that it is now called the GSC strain.
3. Mimosa Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Mimosa strain is the first Sativa-dominant, hybrid strain that makes an appearance on the list. She is the result of crossing the Clementine strain with the Purple Punch strain.
Effects: In small doses, the Mimosa strain induces happiness and a motivation to take on any task that might beckon. However, upping the dose gets users sleepy and relaxed.
Medical value: Medical marijuana patients prefer the Mimosa strain when seeking relief from pain, fatigue, ADD/ADHD, nausea, and appetite loss.
For PTSD patients its ability to quell anxiety, stress, and depression makes it a top pick.
Time to use: The Mimosa strain is great for a wake and bake. Its mood elevation properties will give anyone the motivation to tackle the day.
Bonus Information: Many users liken the effects of the Mimosa strain to a strong cup of coffee on steroids.
4. OG Kush
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: OG Kush is a hybrid strain whose parentage includes the Chemdawg, Lemon Thai, and Hindu Kush strains.
Effects: The OG Kush rewards its users with mixed head and body effects.
Users are likely to feel euphoria and a body buzz followed by a talkative high. With OG Kush, even the most introverted user becomes a social butterfly.
Medical value: Medical marijuana patients gain from the reduced stress, anxiety, pain, and depression OG Kush provides.
Time to use: The OG Kush is perfect for an early evening to decompress and relax.
Bonus Information: The OG Kush strain has one of the highest levels of THC available in a marijuana strain in the world.
5. Do Si Dos Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Do si dos strain is an Indica dominant hybrid whose true parentage is a bit unclear.
Some believe it’s a cross between the GSC and Face Off OG strains while others say she is the heir of the OGKB and a GSC phenotype strain.
Effects: Do si dos starts with a quick cerebral rush of euphoric energy which fades into a sedating feeling. Users experience this as an in-your-face buzz that slowly melts into the rest of the body.
Medical value: The Do si dos strain is a medical-grade marijuana grade whose body effects lean towards the sedative side. Patients gain relief from chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and inflammation.
Time to use: Do si dos is a strain best reserved for the late afternoon or an early evening.
Bonus Information: The Do si dos strain is very powerful so it’s best to cautious when medicating.
6. Granddaddy Purple Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Grandaddy purple strain is a popular Indica strain whose genesis is either the crossing of the Mendo Purps, Skunk, and Afghanistan strains or the Bug Bud and Purple Urkle strains.
Effects: The potent effects of Granddaddy purple manifest in the mind and the body where there’s a fusion of cerebral euphoria and physical relaxation.
Thoughts float around in a dreamy buzz yet the body may remain fixed on one spot.
Medical value: The Grandaddy purple strain combats several debilitating conditions. For instance, stress, chronic pain, insomnia, appetite loss, anxiety, depression, and appetite loss.
Time to use: Light up the Granddaddy purple strain at the end of the day to destress and dispel any negative thoughts.
Bonus Information: Granddaddy purple is a creeper; meaning it may take a while to feel the effects. So overdoing it is a risk. As a beginner, it’s best to take your time since the effects may overwhelm you when they kick in.
7. Northern Berry Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Northern Berry strain is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain that comes from crossing the Northern Lights strain with the Blueberry strain.
Effects: The Northern Berry strain delivers a very intense experience for both the body and the mind.
Users will experience awesome Sativa effects which get overtaken in no time by the lethargic effects synonymous with Indica strains.
It’s a strain that new patients could easily overdo and the result is an early unscheduled nap.
Medical value: Because of the Northern Berry’s heavy sedating effects, patients with chronic pain and insomnia will benefit most from this strain.
Additionally, patients with anxiety and depression can count on Northern Berry to wash all their worries away.
Time to use: The Northern Berry is one to knock you out cold so light it up before bedtime to get a full and uninterrupted night’s rest.
Bonus Information: This strain is so potent that patients may not even experience the mood-lifting effects and instead drift off into a heavy sleep immediately.
8. Pineapple Express Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Pineapple Express strain is a Sativa dominant hybrid with the DNA of the Trainwreck and Hawaiian strains.
Effects: Users report feeling energized, focused, aware, and creative after a hit of the Pineapple Express strain.
Additionally, users feel a sense of calmness and stimulation at the same time.
Medical value: Medical marijuana patients enjoy the Pineapple express’ ability to reduce pain, anxiety, fatigue, inflammation, muscle tightness, and depression.
Time to use: This potent Sativa strain provides a long-lasting energetic buzz, perfect for the afternoon; the perfect daytime strain.
Bonus Information: There is a movie named after the Pineapple Express strain (Pineapple Express) that is a great watch.
9. ACDC Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The ACDC strain is a balanced hybrid whose origins are the Cannatonic and Ruderalis strains.
ACDC is unique to the other strains on the list because of its significantly high CBD content and low THC content making it the go-to strain for medical marijuana patients.
Effects: The ACDC delivers immediate relaxation followed by a sense of well-being and a gentle tingling sensation. Because of its low THC content, users do not get intoxicated.
Medical value: The ACDC strain might be the best medical marijuana strain because of the number of conditions its unique composition treats. For example, chronic pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, neuropathy, arthritis, and many more.
Time to use: The ACDC strain is a perfect daytime strain since users can go about their business minus the worry of intoxication.
Bonus Information: Unlike the rock band, ACDC won’t rock your world as most strains on the list do but it rocks when it comes to treating several ailments.
10. Pink Hawaiian Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: The Pink Hawaiian strain is a Sativa-dominant hybrid with Hawaiian and Cotton Candy Kush roots.
Effects: The Pink Hawaiian strain feels like a rush of euphoria and creative thinking with a burst of energy.
Additionally, users may feel rather chatty and sociable besides feeling air-headed, making them incapable of focusing on one particular thing.
Medical value: The distracting effects of the Pink Hawaiian strain are perfect for forgetting any recurring negative thoughts and worries. A prime strain for PTSD patients.
Moreover, the Pink Hawaiian strain helps with ADD/ADHD, glaucoma, cramps, and chronic fatigue.
Time to use: The Pink Hawaiian strain is a great daytime strain.
Bonus Information: Like OG Kush, the Pink Hawaiian strain is a recipe for talkative social gatherings.
11. Strawberry Banana Strain
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: Finally, saving best for last, is the Strawberry Banana strain aka ‘Strawnana’. It’s an Indica dominant strain made from crossing the Bubble Gum Strain with Banana Kush.
And it is a darling for patients with PTSD. Definitely one of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety.
Effects: The Strawberry Banana strain manifests itself first as a mild buzz, slowly building up into an intense cerebral high and then transforming into a powerful sedative force.
This journey relaxes both the minds and bodies of users. A perfect cocktail of euphoria and calm.
Medical value: Strawnana delivers patients from stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and insomnia. And as mentioned above, ‘Strawnana’ works great for patients suffering from PTSD.
Time to use: The Strawberry Banana strain is an evening use strain due to its sedative effects.
Bonus Information: Like its name, the Strawberry Banana strain’s aroma is mostly bananas and a trace of strawberry which gives off great fruity vibes.
Speak to a Cannabis Doctor when Considering Marijuana for PTSD
Awareness of the best strains for PTSD and anxiety isn’t all it takes to fully benefit from the therapeutic properties of marijuana.
To begin with, in most states where medical marijuana is legal, patients need to have a medical marijuana card; which gives them access to marijuana dispensaries besides legal protection when using, buying, and possessing cannabis.
This brings up the first question, can you get a medical card for PTSD?
Yes, patients suffering from PTSD are eligible for a medical card in the following states:
This also applies to the question, “Can you get a medical card for anxiety and depression?”–Prominent symptoms of PTSD.
For the states listed above, the first step when getting a medical card is an MMJ recommendation from a cannabis doctor.
This brings up another question, “Can a psychiatrist prescribe medical marijuana?”
The answer is no. Only qualified cannabis doctors are eligible to ‘prescribe’ medical marijuana.
Getting an MMJ recommendation for PTSD patients also involves a PTSD evaluation for a medical card.
What is a PTSD evaluation for a medical card?
This is a consultation a patient has with a cannabis doctor to find out whether medical marijuana could be the best treatment option for the patient’s PTSD.
How much does a PTSD evaluation for a medical card cost?
Depending on the state you come from, the cost of a PTSD evaluation for a medical card varies. However, patients who choose Quick Med Cards should be confident of getting the cheapest med card in the state.
Why choose Quick Med Cards for my PTSD evaluation for a medical card?
Apart from the PSTD evaluation for a medical card and MMJ recommendation, Quick Med Cards patients have access to our experienced, skilled, and empathetic cannabis doctors who structure a personalized cannabis treatment plan for patients to get the most out of their marijuana treatment plan. At no extra cost.
What about CBD Oil for PTSD?
CBD oil has drawn the attention of many patients for the number of chronic conditions it’s said to cure.
Is this a result of effective marketing or is there actual medicinal value in the CBD products available online?
The answer is both.
CBD oil manufacturers are notorious for marketing their CBD oils as the natural elixir that heals almost all chronic conditions.
Of course, there is a lot of exaggeration to these claims, but, CBD oils do have therapeutic benefits.
For instance, cannabidiol or CBD, the main constituent of CBD oil, is the non-psychoactive element in cannabis with a plethora of medical uses.
CBD is preferred over its cannabinoid compatriot THC because it delivers healing minus the intoxicating effects.
Most importantly, for patients, is CBD oil a possible solution for PTSD?
Yes indeed. Because of the presence of CBD, CBD oil for PTSD may:
- Help the extinction of traumatic memories and block their reconsolidation (As seen with animal models)
- Increase sleep duration and sleep quality
- Reduce stress
- Cut anxiety and anxiety responses
- Improve mood
Patients stand to benefit from these medicinal properties should they decide to add CBD oil to their PTSD treatment.
Even so, there’s one significant drawback in picking CBD oil for PTSD.
Not all CBD oils are made the same.
Disadvantages of CBD oil for PTSD
First, commercially available CBD oils aren’t FDA-approved for PTSD treatment. What does this mean?
CBD oils don’t undergo rigorous medical testing compared to other FDA-approved drugs before going to market.
In fact, CBD oils aren’t marketed as medicine but as supplements, which means they don’t undergo regulatory processes like medicine.
Secondly, because of the unregulated nature of the market, there’s no standard when it comes to making CBD oils. So different manufacturers use different methods to extract CBD and the substances they use in their oils.
One study found that out of 84 CBD oils purchased online, the majority were mislabeled when tested. Additionally, most had less CBD than indicated, and some even contained THC.
This inconsistency among CBD oils makes it difficult for testing and dosing.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that develops in individuals after they experience or witness an intense and life-threatening traumatic event.
Causes of PTSD
- Serious accidents
- Physical or sexual assault
- Abuse including childhood and domestic abuse
- Witnessing natural disasters
- Experiencing a serious health issue such as being admitted into the ICU
- Losing a child
- War and conflict
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD often comes with a host of behavioral, mood, and psychological symptoms. For example:
- Hypervigilance (a state of extreme alertness where you become extremely sensitive to your surroundings).
- Hyperarousal (like hypervigilance, but instead, a person may lose contact with reality)
- Self-destructive behavior
- Social isolation
- Intense flashbacks
- Severe anxiety
- Mistrust or extreme paranioa
- Unwanted thoughts
- Frequent nightmares
- Susceptibility to drug addiction, for example, alcohol abuse. Consider alcohol treatment options if you or your loved one struggle with alcoholism.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities enjoyed before
Marijuana Use and PTSD among Veterans
The events of combat make veterans very susceptible to developing PTSD.
The numbers from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs paint a grim picture of how many brave men and women often develop PTSD after returning from service.
Data from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that the number of veterans using marijuana medically was more than double that of the general population.
Whereas most veterans using cannabis endorse its use citing improved coping, reduced anxiety, and better sleep where does the Department of Veteran Affairs stand?
First, the VA does not endorse the use of medicinal cannabis because of its classification as a Schedule I drug by federal law. But, the VA also states that veteran participation in state marijuana programs does not affect eligibility for VA care and services.
Moreover, VA providers are open to having discussions about cannabis use among veterans but clinicians cannot recommend medicinal weed.
The VA’s stance may seem like walking on eggshells since they don’t discourage the use of the drug among veterans nor do they completely voice their support.
Perhaps soon, when medical marijuana is legal at the federal level will the VA take a confident stance either for or against cannabis.
- Cannabis may be effective in greatly reducing the symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and hyperarousal in PTSD patients.
- Misuse of marijuana, among PTSD patients, in particular, may aggravate symptoms.
- CBD oil may be an effective non-psychoactive solution in the treatment of PTSD.
- More research is required to determine whether medical cannabis may be the best medical option for PTSD patients.
- Despite the limited research, current clinical and preclinical data suggest that cannabis may offer therapeutic benefits for PTSD.
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