Medical Marijuana and PTSD
Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who use medical marijuana report that treatment alleviates anxiety, helps establish regular sleep patterns, and stabilizes mood swings.
WHAT IS POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER?
A severe anxiety disorder, PTSD may develop in individuals who have seen or experienced something disturbing, such as an assault, combat, accident, or natural disaster. The patient continues to feel stressed and anxious long after the event, due to the brain’s normal fight-or-flight response becoming altered.
Approximately seven to eight percent of the population will experience the effects of PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for PTSD. Around eight million adults will be suffering from PTSD during any given year.
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER SYMPTOMS
PTSD often shows differently in different patients. While symptoms usually start within three months of the traumatic incident, they can sometimes lay latent and only surface years later. In order to be classified as PTSD, symptoms must last more than a month and be extreme enough to interfere with relationships or work.
Patients must demonstrate the following for at least one month to receive a PTSD diagnosis, per the National Institute of Mental Health:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- At least one avoidance symptom
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
- Flashbacks (re-living the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating)
Avoidance symptoms include:
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
- Being easily startled
- Having angry outbursts
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
HOW MEDICAL MARIJUANA HELPS POST-TRAUMATIC STRESSDISORDER PATIENTS
Research studies, coupled with PTSD patient testimonials advocate medical marijuana’s ability to soothe anxiety, calm sleep disorders, reduce aggression and stabilize mood swings.
Multiple studies have found the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) – a Non psychoactive marijuana compound –to counteract anxiety. New York University psychiatrist and researcher Esther Blessing has said:
“I think there’s good evidence to suggest that CBD could bean effective treatment of anxiety…”
Psychiatrist Sue Sisley goes further:
“I think the most intriguing thing is that a single plant can provide monotherapy for this whole constellation of [PTSD]symptoms.”
There is Research to suggest that PTSD patients may be deficient in anadamine, an endogenous cannabinoid compound. This deficiency could inhibit cannabinoid receptor CB-1, which is how we deactivate traumatic memories, and helps us to forget these traumas. Scientists claim CBD slows the re-uptake of anadamine and its inhibition by certain enzymes.
Additionally, in 2016 a Frontiers in Pharmacology study found that CBD may decrease fear expression, disrupting memory reconsolidation, and enhancing extinction (the process by which exposure therapy inhibits learned fear). This may lessen the effects of learned fear– a condition that triggers the fight or flight response at inappropriate times.
Before purchasing cannabis from a medical marijuana treatment center, Florida patients must first qualify for a medical marijuana certification; Mary J MD provides qualified patients with the state-required recommendation to complete this process.