Medical Marijuana Treatment for PTSD
The use of medical marijuana for managing various conditions has seen a shift in recent years. Once controversial and problematic for its supposed addictive tendencies, now some states have legalized medical marijuana to treat various diseases. As of this writing, medical use of cannabis is now legal with a physician’s recommendation in 37 U.S. states.
One of the conditions known to benefit from the use of medical marijuana is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Several published studies, including the ones released by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, have documented the increasing frequency of medical marijuana users, especially among veterans who suffer from PTSD. Researchers have learned that cannabis can help patients cope with the sequela of the traumatic experiences.
More recent research has led to the discovery of the scientific or biological reason behind the effect that cannabis has among PTSD sufferers.
In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the use of medical marijuana for PTSD.
PTSD, as its name suggests, is the effect of experiencing a terrifying event. While most people can typically adjust after a difficult experience, PTSD’s effects can last for months or years and interfere with a person’s life.
Military veterans, as well as victims of sexual and physical assault or natural disasters, are at a higher risk of developing PTSD.
In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that about 15 million adults develop PTSD yearly, with 6 out of every 100 people experiencing it at some point in their lives.
As per a study in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, an estimated 354 million adults in war-torn countries may suffer from PTSD after surviving their predicament.
In general, PTSD patients manifest different symptoms including problems with sleeping and attending to their daily activities. They may also have mood changes and increased negative thoughts, while intrusive memories upset their sleep or awareness. They also tend to relive the traumatic experience through flashbacks, leading them to feel sadder, angrier, and more detached or estranged from their loved ones and the society.
As symptoms worsen, PTSD may make it harder for a person to maintain a standard quality of life. They may also suffer physically and have self-destructive behavior, such as alcoholism and drug abuse.
FDA-APPROVED STUDY ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR PTSD
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever clinical study on the use of medical marijuana for safely treating PTSD. Over a hundred veterans participated in this program and were given 1.8 grams of medical marijuana to smoke daily, tracking their progress in a journal.
During the study, 68% of the participants stopped showing PTSD symptoms within a year of the treatment. Medical marijuana apparently also saw the alleviation of the symptoms among 56% of the patients after 2 months of continued use.
RECENT RESEARCH REVEALS WHY MEDICAL MARIJUANA HELPS IMPROVE PTSD
Marijuana has long been classified as both a depressant and stimulant. As such, it may improve one’s mood while also promoting relaxation. Because of this, PTSD sufferers may feel calm and generally better after cannabis use or consumption.
However, more recent research suggests that certain biological mechanisms uniquely respond to cannabis, leading to its therapeutic effects.
A study conducted by researchers from Wayne State University, took a look at how cannabis affects the amygdala, which is the brain’s region primarily associated with emotional processes. In the double-blind, randomized study of 71 people, those exposed to THC showed reduced threat-related amygdala response or reactivity. The researchers concluded that cannabis potentially helps in modulating threat-related processing.
EFFECTS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON PTSD SYMPTOMS
In general, medical marijuana has been observed to deliver the following results:
Most PTSD patients’ number one complaint is insomnia. A component in medical marijuana, known as the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been proven to bring a therapeutic effect that minimizes sleep latency and sleep apnea.
When PTSD patients do get some shuteye, they may experience the most vivid nightmares. Cannabis apparently helps scale down reduced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, thus preventing these terrifying episodes from happening.
Diminishes chronic anxiety
Medical marijuana contains cannabidiol (CBD) that tempers the mood and feelings of anxiety. Thus, the PTSD patient may slowly experience fewer anxiety episodes or heightened fear and worry.
CBD and THC potency in medical marijuana activates certain receptors in the brain that can trigger happy thoughts and pleasant memories while preventing the retrieval of traumatic memories that affect a person’s wellbeing. It works best for PTSD patients who do not find relief with antidepressants and other psychiatric medications.
CONSULT THE BEST MEDICAL MARIJUANA DOCTOR IN FLORIDA
Advanced Pain Medical Center offers innovative pain management solutions with the expert use of medical marijuana in Gainesville, Florida. However, treatment using medical cannabis must be planned and monitored by a qualified physician.
Advanced Pain Medical Center’s Dr. Brent Stewart is an experienced and board-certified pain specialist who offers a wide range of pain treatments, including medical marijuana and CBD.
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD symptoms or other conditions that may benefit from medical marijuana treatment, schedule an appointment at our Gainesville pain management center today!
Aside from medical marijuana solutions, we also offer other pain management solutions and services, such as
Get the most out of medical marijuana’s benefits for PTSD. If you have any other questions, please contact us with your queries!
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Therefore, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.