Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a wide-reaching condition that affects a significant amount of the population. In fact, in Canada alone, 10% of the population suffers from the disorder. PTSD can be onset by any exposed or experienced trauma and knows no bounds on who it can affect. Recently, cannabis use amongst those who are diagnosed with PTSD is on the rise. Why? The natural plant health effects are being proven as a treatment for the disorder. Let’s explore the latest on cannabis and PTSD, how it can help symptoms and 5 strains patients can turn to.
What is PTSD and How Can Cannabis Help
PTSD is a condition with many symptoms that can lead to other mental health issues, too. Depending on the severity from patient to patient, many can re-experience their traumas through nightmares or flashbacks. Disorders that often accompany PTSD are depression, substance abuse, narcotics, or anxiety. Patients of PTSD often are jittery or feel ‘on the edge’, or conversely feel numb to emotions. In addition, many become angry or irritable easily and have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
With few medications or treatments approved to help treat PTSD and the varying symptoms, those suffering from the disorder have begun seeking alternative methods. Especially considering the number of side-effects that the normally prescribed anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications can offset. One of those alternative methods being, cannabis.
THC and CBD, the two main compounds or cannabinoids from cannabis have healing and stress-relieving properties that can help aid the condition. This is shown by a number of studies, including a recent Canadian survey. Experts at the British Columbia Centre for Substance Use published in 2018 that 60-65% of those with PTSD had less depressive symptoms and thoughts of suicide when using medical marijuana to treat the disorder.
While cannabis might not be a ‘cure’ for PTSD, its cannabinoid effects are helpful at influencing the systems that produce its symptoms. Cannabis contains over 100 cannabinoids that each have their own therapeutic effects. Plus terpenes, that add the specific scents each strain has, and their own benefits, too. When consuming cannabis, these cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a variety of systems, through its network of receptors. These receptors act as messengers, sending messages throughout the body to regulate ‘homeostasis’ or feeling ‘well’ and balanced.
To give you an idea, here is a number of body functions that the endocannabinoid system and cannabis can influence the body positively and to help PTSD –
- Chronic pain
- Immune system response
- Motor control
- Cardiovascular system functions
- Skin and nerve functions
- Bone growth
- Reproductive system functions
- Liver functions
The Research behind Cannabis & PTSD
One of the most key functions of the endocannabinoid system, that cannabis can influence PTSD symptoms is memory. Cannabinoids can help prevent the re-living of traumas or traumatic memories and experiences from resurfacing. Recently, there has been another internal connection between PTSD and cannabis, too. That comes from an internal neurotransmitter known as anandamide.
Anandamide is a primary endocannabinoid that is found in abundance in the body. Natural endocannabinoids work in the same way that cannabinoids do, functioning to keep well-being and the body ‘well-balanced’. This endocannabinoid specifically is responsible for regulating functions like mood, fear, anxiety and happiness. In fact, it’s referenced commonly as the ‘bliss’ molecule. Not surprisingly, It’s been found that PTSD patients have lower levels of anandamide overall.
What early research into cannabis and PTSD has found is that anandamide might play a key role in improving the symptoms of the condition. Not only has one study showing that CBD enhances the signalling of anandamide. But the cannabinoid can also increase the production and levels of the compound. Conversely, scientists are coming across a number of similarities between THC and anandamide. Finding the connection that they both internally work with receptors to provide their effects of euphoria and tranquility.
5 Strains to Help Relieve Symptoms of PTSD
Since every cannabis strain contains its own levels of cannabinoids, terpenes and effects overall, some are better than others for treating the symptoms of PTSD. The strains noted by patients for providing therapeutic effects typically have high levels of THC and moderate levels of CBD for marijuana. Here are the top 5 strains real-time use has shown to have beneficial effects for PTSD sufferers.
Trainwreck is a sativa dominant hybrid boasting high levels of THC that can be helpful for PTSD symptoms. Its effects are energizing for daytime use, and produces an overall ‘giddy’ feeling of euphoria.
Bubba Kush is a well-balanced hybrid strain that delivers a calming body buzz, with joyful and exhilarating effects. It’s ideal for unwinding at nighttime for those with PTSD, due to its relaxing and sedating benefits.
Tropicanna is another sativa dominant hybrid that contains whopping levels of THC, up to 27%. The strain strengthens focus for daytime use, and is uplifting in nature for busting bad mood moods.
Blackberry is an indica dominant strain that’s preferred for nighttime for PTSD symptoms. It’s sedating for sleep issues that may plague patients, while alleviating depressive thoughts.
Lemon Sour Diesel is an award-winning sativa dominant strain that is preferred by medical users like PTSD patients, for the energy it provides for daytime use. Its effects are fast-acting and highly euphoric.
Beyond just puff, puff, passing your PTSD troubles away a number of specially formulated CBD:THC tinctures are now available on the market. These oils combine unique levels of the two cannabinoids for amplified healing. Since research so far has shown high levels of THC and CBD are helpful, finding an equal ratio is ideal. However, 2:1 or higher levels of THC : CBD can be therapeutically helpful as well.
Cannabis for PTSD – An Elevation for Healing
Even though research is still in its infancy, so far things are looking up for PTSD patients who are using medical marijuana for treatment. Cannabis for PTSD is increasing in use, as experts in the field continue to uncover how or why certain cannabinoids can help the disorder’s symptoms. If you’re self-exploring with cannabis for PTSD, just out MMJDirect.co’s wide collection of cannabis goods, that may be able to help.