About 6 out of every 100 people in the U.S, at least 6% of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Antidepressant medicines and therapy in a timely manner help with the symptoms for PTSD patients… but the long use of these medications carry secondary effects that sometimes prevent them from fully living their lives.
More and more people are considering the use of Medical Marijuana for PTSD patients. An article from 2020 showcase studies that report how the consumption of cannabis or CBD suggest that the plant’s cannabinoids can have an effect for the extinguish of traumatic memories.
Meanwhile other shows how cannabis can reduce activity in the amygdala – a part of the brain associated with fear responses to threats
An alternative that more and more people are considering is the use of medical marijuana thanks to it anxyolitic effect that can help with sequels of anxiety and depression on PSTD patients.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that some people develop after experiencing or seeing a traumatic event. This episode can be life-threatening, such as war, natural disaster, car accident, or sexual assault. But sometimes the event is not necessarily dangerous. For example, the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.
It is normal to feel fear during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers a “fight or flight” response. This is the way the body seeks to protect itself from possible dangers. It causes changes in the body, such as the release of certain hormones and increases alertness, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
Over time, most people usually recover well. But people with PTSD don’t feel better. They feel stressed and scared long after the trauma is over. In some cases, PTSD symptoms may start later. They can also come and go over time.
The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medication, or both. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy: Seeks to educate about the symptoms. It teaches how to identify what triggers them and how to manage them. There are different types of talk therapy for PTSD
Medicines: They can help with PTSD symptoms. Antidepressants can help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feelings of inner emptiness. Other medications can help with sleep problems and nightmares
There are a multitude of science-backed reasons why cannabis and CBD may work for PTSD. Some of them are:
CBD can be used to improve regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the brain. This helps reduce anxiety and increase the amount of important hormones and nutrients moving through the brain.
Cannabis can help keep the mind from reliving traumatic experiences through the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in retrieving memories.
Terpenes like pinene can help treat respiratory dysfunctions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), which are more common in those with PTSD.
People with PTSD have been shown to have less anandamide available in their bodies. Increasing the amount of anandamide available in the body can help improve mood and reduce fear and anxiety.
CBD can help promote sleep with fewer disturbances and nightmares.
Cannabis can be used as an alternative to benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are not recommended (contraindicated) for the long-term treatment of PTSD, yet they continue to be prescribed.
One study suggests that cannabis can reduce PTSD symptoms, at least in the short term. The same study shows that inhaled cannabis acutely reduced PTSD symptoms by more than 50%.
On the other hand, the use of cannabis and CBD for PTSD comes with potential side effects.
According to the results of research conducted at the University of Haifa (North). “The administration of synthetic marijuana (cannabinoids) shortly after a traumatic event can prevent typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome in rats, both those caused by trauma and recurrent distressing memories,” says a statement from the university.
The study states that these effects were stopped when the drug neutralized the chemical transmission between emotional receptors in the brain.
The importance of the study lies in the fact that it contributes to the understanding of the cerebral reaction that produces the positive effect of cannabis on this syndrome, which supports the need for clinical trials with humans to examine its potential.
According to the Israel Medical Association, around 9 percent of the Israeli population suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. For contrast in one major study from U.S army that looked over 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, about an 13,5% deployed and nondeployed tested positive for PTSD.
Researcher Akirav, who has already conducted several studies in this field, claims that the use of cannabis within an appropriate “time window” after a traumatic event reduces symptoms of post-traumatic stress, as tests with mice have shown.
According to the statement, the mice exposed to trauma “showed an increase in the expressions of two of the receptors associated with the processing of brain emotions: CB1 and GR”, a reflex that was mitigated in those that had received the dose of cannabis. “The results of our study suggest that connectivity in the brain’s fear circuitry changes following trauma, and that administration of cannabinoids prevents this change from taking place,” the scientists concluded.
Please note that this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with your doctor.
Consulting a doctor regards the use of Medical Marijuana to treat Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder may be one of the qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card in Maryland. If you are interested in learning more, you can schedule a telecall or fill an New Patient Registration Form today.
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