Research conducted by the National Center for PTSD suggests that 7-8 individuals out of 100 are likely to experience PTSD at some point in their lives. In Canada alone, 1 in 10 people experience some form of PTSD during their lifetime.
Any event resulting in mental or physical trauma can result in PTSD, which is why the disease has no limits to whom it can affect. In recent years, cannabis use in PTSD patients has increased significantly since the positive health effects of the plant have proven to ease its symptoms. Can cannabis help treat PTSD? Let’s find out.
PTSD and its symptoms: How does cannabis help?
PTSD is a severe mental disorder with its symptoms varying from person to person. People with PTSD have reported feeling agitated, experiencing some form of memory impairment, developing acute insomnia, and having nightmares.
The condition also increases the risk of developing other mental health problems – anxiety, anorexia, depression, etc. In severe cases, individuals have reported having vivid flashbacks and “reliving” their traumatic experiences, which can be a setback for treatment.
While some people tend to relieve their symptoms through a combination of conservative treatments such as behavioural therapy, anti-depressants, and other medications, there are several side effects associated with these methods. Many are still unsatisfied with the limited number of treatments available for PTSD and are looking for alternatives that provide some form of relief with lesser side effects.
With many countries legalizing marijuana, we are gaining more insight into the benefits this plant carries. This insight is propelling cannabis as a potential substitute for PTSD treatment. It contains several chemical compounds that have a plethora of health benefits and therapeutic effects for its users. Especially its main cannabinoids – CBD, with its medicinal properties and THC, with its psychoactive effects.
Combinations of these cannabinoids, accompanied by terpenes, and flavonoids, have proven to maximize the plant’s medical efficacy. With one study by MedReleaf that displays the positive effects of cannabis use in veterans with PTSD. 59% of the individuals in the study reported improved symptoms and better social lives.
Even though marijuana might not cure PTSD, the way it affects your body makes it a potential alternative for treatment. THC and CBD are chemical compounds that interact with your endocannabinoid system in such a way that it regulates your essential functions and improves consolidation of memory. The presence of these cannabinoids in your body stimulates CB1 and CB2 receptors, which in turn, produce neurotransmitters concerned with promoting better memory, happiness, and pleasure.
The activation of these cannabinoid receptors allows relief from several symptoms concerned with PTSD. Patients have reported quite a few improvements after prolonged cannabis-use, including:
- A reduction in anxiety – Chronic anxiety is a common symptom associated with PTSD, with people finding it hard to perform well in their social life. Medicinal marijuana naturally relieves stress and anxious feelings, leading to an enhanced and elevated state of mind.
- Less nightmares – PTSD patients suffer from severe nightmares offset by their traumatic experience, which can seriously deteriorate mental health. Marijuana is proving that it’s capable of reducing REM sleep – a stage of the sleep cycle concerned with vivid dreams. With reduced REM sleep, there is a reduced risk of nightmares as well.
- Helps insomnia – Due to continuous flashbacks and nightmares, people struggling with PTSD find it hard to get a good night’s sleep. THC has proven to increase the quality of one’s sleep and reduce the amount of time it takes one to fall asleep. Both aspects of sleep are crucial in treating insomnia.
Cannabis for PTSD – what does the latest research say?
Beyond the obvious ways that marijuana can help PTSD symptoms, actual research is proving the interactions of cannabinoids may be clinically beneficial. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology stated that there was a reduced risk of PTSD-induced major depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts amongst Canadians who used cannabis more frequently.
Some cannabinoids found in marijuana plants are also capable of preventing flashbacks associated with PTSD. They do this by blocking the retrieval of traumatic memories stored in the brain, reducing the chances of a patient “reliving” trauma. An endocannabinoid called anandamide has similar effects on the nervous system. It is one of the primary natural cannabinoids produced by our bodies, which stimulates the endocannabinoid system, contributing to several bodily functions such as regulating mood, fear, anxiety, etc. Anandamide can also act as a natural anti-depressant.
Surprisingly, research suggests that PTSD patients have a lower concentration of this compound in their bodies. Lack of anandamide can contribute to increased levels of anxiety and fear, which might be a logical explanation of its absence in such patients. THC has similar anxiety-reducing effects as anandamide, which might mean that cannabis can be the next big thing in PTSD medications.
Best strains for PTSD and anxiety
When choosing the best for you keep in mind, strains high in CBD are better for elevating the mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety. In contrast, THC dominant strain works better at night when you are looking to get better sleep. Here are some top strains to help relieve PTSD –
Blackberry platinum is an indica dominant strain which can make you feel relaxed, elevate your mood, and is perfect for people with Insomnia.
With a sweet taste and earthy aroma, Death Bubba boasts high levels of THC for soothing results. The strain is well-known for its therapeutic effects and relaxing buzz.
Blue Dream is a sativa dominant hybrid that relieves feeling of anxiety and is ideal for daytime use, for energy purposes.
Known to be Snoop Dogg’s favourite strain, Master Kush is one of the most famous indica dominant strains around. It offers total body relaxation and can help people with eating disorders.
THC and CBD – the future of PTSD treatment
While research regarding the benefits of Cannabis for PTSD is still ongoing, cannabinoids like THC and CBD are proving to influence the body’s endocannabinoid system, promoting sound mental health, providing quality sleep, and reducing flashbacks associated with PTSD.
If you or someone you know, could benefit from the healing powers of cannabis, always choose a quality product. Like the extensive collection of premium goods, available at MMJDirect.