Recently, medical marijuana has gained traction as a viable medication to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Often, people with PTSD use cannabis to calm their mind and reduce the frequency of nightmares.
People suffering from PTSD should consult a trusted doctor before experimenting with cannabis treatment. Large doses of THC may result in panic attacks or heightened anxiety; on the other hand, careful dosing and utilizing a wide spectrum of cannabinoids can have a pleasant, relaxing effect. CBD is another common cannabinoid offering a more subtle treatment. It is often referred to as being non-psychoactive, but this is a misnomer. CBD will not create the same stoned effect as typical THC dominant cannabis, but it does help ease a patient’s mind. Additionally, large doses of CBD do not cause panic attacks and appear to be, at the very worst, sedative.
As a society, we are still attempting to gain a real understanding of PTSD as we simultaneously unfold the medical properties of cannabis. PTSD exists across a diverse population of people. Fortunately, cannabis comes in a variety of forms that offer a wide range of effects.
The right type of cannabis treatment can help PTSD; however, every patient is different, and the optimal cannabis treatment plan may be difficult to pin down. Although we may not have all the answers when it comes to cannabis and PTSD, we are marching forward with optimistic progress. Here are three things you may not have known about PTSD and cannabis:
1. New Mexico paved the way for the United States by being the first state to list PTSD as a qualifying condition for cannabis in 2009. This provided Americans with the first modern glimpse of cannabis treatment for PTSD. More recently, a retrospective study surveyed a group of these patients and found that cannabis had indeed helped reduce their PTSD symptoms. Unfortunately, this study is largely anecdotal and surveyed a patient pool that was already in favor of cannabis treatment.
2. The US Department of Veterans Affairs suggests that treatment providers not ignore the potential benefits of medical marijuana when dealing with patients suffering from PTSD. Although cannabis is still seen as a dangerous drug by the majority of the federal government, the DVA cautiously acknowledges that many veterans suffer from PTSD use cannabis and report positive changes in their symptoms. At the same time, the DVA voices concern about cannabis’ potential negative side effects and points to the lack of randomized, controlled studies to support their lack of faith in cannabis treatment. They would like medical providers to be cautious when dealing with veterans, PTSD, and cannabis; however, they do not deny that some patients may see benefits from this type of medication.
3. In January 2017, America’s first clinical trial of whole plant medical marijuana for veterans with PTSD began. Several months prior, the non-profit research and education organization MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) received approval from the DEA to produce this randomized, controlled trial. This differs from past studies completed by NIDA because it covers whole plant medicine rather than isolated cannabinoids. When the study is complete, hopefully, it will further our understanding of how cannabis may benefit those suffering from PTSD.
Do you, or do you know someone that suffers from PTSD? If you’re in the Ann Arbor, MI area, contact Arbors Wellness for more information on how medical marijuana may be able to help.