Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs after people experience life-threatening instances like military combat. It can also occur after harrowing experiences like natural disasters or sexual assault. Symptoms usually start soon after the event, and PTSD sufferers relive the episodes over and over, suffer from flashbacks, insomnia, and social isolation. Sometimes, it can take months or years for the symptoms to appear. Medical Marijuana is a treatment for folks suffering from PTSD and is a non-addictive solution.
Most people with PTSD feel very jittery and are always on the lookout for danger. They typically have trouble concentrating, and are quick to anger and startle easily. They also have a tendency toward reckless behavior like drug use, smoking, drinking or reckless driving.
Many of the drugs given for PTSD have terrible side effects. Soldiers talk about falling asleep on the job because they’re so heavily drugged. Many have turned to cannabis to help treat PTSD.
Martin Lee is the director of Project CBD and has studied PTSD and the effect that cannabinoids have on the disorder. Cannabis has more than 60 natural components called cannabinoids, or chemicals that are the active compounds of cannabis. Examples are THC, CBG, and CBD.
The human body also has natural cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, and researchers have found that PTSD sufferers have lower amounts of an endocannabinoid called anandamide. As it turns out, THC and other cannabinoids from the marijuana plant trigger the same brain receptors as anandamide.
Several states have approved medical marijuana specifically for PTSD, however, the Veterans Administration (VA) says to “use caution”. Seeing a doctor to review your PTSD symptoms and discussing which MMJ products will be most effective is a way to cautiously use MMJ to treat PTSD symptoms.
More research is definitely needed, but there is a very large body of anecdotal evidence that cannabis brings significant improvement in the quality of life to PTSD sufferers. People who use cannabis have great symptom relief. TV personality Montel Williams had this to say: “As a sufferer of multiple sclerosis since 1999, I use medical marijuana to ease my painful spasms. Marijuana allows me to function normally instead of having to endure the debilitating side effects and mental fogginess that I found accompanied opiate-based painkillers. I strongly endorse the mission of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access.”
Researchers believe that replenishment of the endocannabinoids by way of the cannabis plant can bring relief to PTSD patients. When signals are normal from the brain receptors, traumatic memories are deactivated and people can naturally forget. Lack of anandamide means faulty signaling, so the PTSD patient relives the episode over and over.
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