Many people who suffer from trauma, also known as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can experience a wide range of depressing and debilitating symptoms. Canada is one of the countries with the highest rates of PTSD. Statistics show that 9.4 percent of Canadians suffer from some kind of trauma. With these numbers, it’s important to find an effective, yet still safe treatment for PTSD.
Source: Collective Evolution
Before you learn about marijuana for trauma, you should find out what exactly post-traumatic stress disorder is. Basically, it’s a result of a psychological trauma that causes a severe anxiety disorder. Patients with trauma experience anger, poor concentration, sleep problems, irritability, phobia of people, places, and experiences that may bring back any traumatic memories and feelings. Trauma is usually the result of a scary event, a shock or dangerous experience. PTSD patients usually don’t feel safe, even if they’re not under a direct threat at the time. When it comes to the time that PTSD develops after a trauma, it depends on the person. Sometimes a patient experiences the first symptoms right after the traumatic event, but it may also take months for PTSD to develop.
There are four categories that group the symptoms of PTSD:
Marijuana can help treat trauma symptoms and may even prove invaluable for treatment-resistant patients. All of us have the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors, which are spread all over our brain and body. What does it mean? Both physical and mental PTSD symptoms can be treated with marijuana.
Between 2004 and 2006 the Canadian Forces Health Services Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre in Ottawa supervised a study on medical marijuana for trauma on 47 PTSD patients experiencing nightmares related to the traumatic event. Over the course of a particular treatment, the study found that 72 percent of PTSD diagnosed patients experienced less or even none of those nightmares. Moreover, many of them claimed lack of flashbacks and better sleep.
When it comes to the symptoms of PTSD, many patients suffer from anxiety-related vomiting or nausea. Most people know about treating these symptoms in cancer patients, but lesser people know that using marijuana for trauma has many more benefits.
In order to understand all the benefits that come with using marijuana for trauma, you must learn a little about endocannabinoid system in the brain. The study conducted at New York University’s Langone Medical Center in 2013 found that PTSD patients have lower levels of a neurotransmitter called anandamide than people who didn’t suffer from trauma. Moreover, with lower levels of anandamide, people with PTSD have more cannabinoid receptors that are activated by these neurotransmitters.
Why is it so important? Basically, activated cannabinoid receptors work to help you forget traumatic and bad things that happened to you. However, when cannabinoid receptors aren’t working as they should, a person may end up with anxiety and eventually post-traumatic stress disorder.
It’s recommended to use marijuana for trauma because it acts as some kind of replacement for the anandamide and can stimulate your body to activate the same receptors as this neurotransmitter. Studies show that CBD helps us forget the source of painful feelings and thoughts, while THC combined with CBD may be excellent in reducing anxiety and quelling negative thoughts. However, THC on its own may increase the anxiety, whether you suffer from PTSD or not.
The use of marijuana for anxiety, trauma and depression, show both positive and negative effects, as some patients may feel a lessening of PTSD symptoms, while others may experience increased anxiety and paranoia. However, using marijuana for trauma and other post-traumatic related disorders is still way better than the pills prescribed by doctors for patients, as some of these drugs may cause self-destructing behaviors and suicidal thoughts. On the other hand, there is no link between using marijuana for trauma and increased suicide rates.
Studies show that post-traumatic stress disorder can lead to substance abuse. Many people decide to self-medicate with different prescribed drugs when a standard treatment fails. Surprisingly, those who decide to smoke pot get the best results. It’s of utmost importance to be cautious when choosing the best marijuana strain for trauma, because some forms of weed may be counterproductive when it comes to administering the levels of anxiety.
Studies conducted at the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center show that orally administered THC could help reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The patients were getting 5 milligrams of THC twice a day and the effects were very promising. Only 3 out of 10 people tested reported “adverse effects” to the THC treatment. Researchers found that THC improves sleep quality, lowers the frequency of nightmares and other PTSD-related symptoms. The most important thing is that orally administered THC is well tolerated and completely safe for patients with chronic PTSD.
When it comes to marijuana for trauma, there is still a lot of research to be done, but the results are promising and there is more to find out in terms of the role of cannabis in treating patients with PTSD. Trauma and marijuana have been linked with one another for years, but we finally have the opportunity to study this plant more in order to get the most of its medical properties.