How does medical marijuana help PTSD patients?
PTSD or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder usually triggered by a traumatic event. About 7-8% of Americans have PTSD at some point in their lives. The most commonly used treatments are medications such as SSRIs. However, these medications come with side effects and complications that can make PTSD worse.
On the other hand, medical marijuana can help patients suffering from the draining mental and physical symptoms of PTSD. These patients often have a hard time going about their daily lives until they’re treated. Medical marijuana can improve their quality of life. Because of this, many PTSD patients are now turning to medical marijuana.
PTSD is a mental health issue that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life threatening event. Many people find that they’re developing PTSD after combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
If you’ve experienced one of these things, it’s normal to have higher anxiety levels. It’s even common to have have a hard time functioning in your daily life. However, if those symptoms get worse, last several months, and/or have come on suddenly, you may have PTSD.
There are three main types of symptoms for PTSD:
- You’re reliving your trauma regularly in nightmares, flashbacks, or unpleasant memories.
- You have a hard time feeling anything other than numbness, and you avoid anything that could remind you of the event.
- You’re unable to calm down, focus, or otherwise rest.
If you think you are suffering with PTSD, call a doctor or a therapist. They will go over your symptoms with you and develop a treatment plan.
Post Traumatic Stress and Marijuana
Quite a few studies have suggested that medical marijuana is a safe and effective alternative to treat PTSD. The core of PTSD is an extreme learned fear response. That fear and anxiety will have physical and mental symptoms in the patient.
Studies have indicated that medical marijuana can calm the physical fear responses. Anytime a patient can work through the learned fear, it will have less of an obsessive hold on them.
THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives you the “high” has particular benefits toward PTSD. Studies are pointing out that as much as 50% of PTSD sufferers are deficient in a fatty acid called anandamide. This fatty acid helps regulate fear and relaxation responses in your nervous system. THC is a cannibinoid, which can temporarily take the place of this fatty acid.
Medical Marijuana for Veterans and Trauma Sufferers
Thanks to recent decriminalization laws across the country, more and more people with PTSD are considering medical marijuana every year. Trauma sufferers and veterans seeking treatment for PTSD are able to get medical marijuana easily and legally.
The American Legion, a U.S. Veteran Association, recently held a press conference proclaiming their approval for medical marijuana. They explained the tragic reality that soldiers experience an incredibly high rate of PTSD. The Legion took a scientific standpoint, supported by personal anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana is supporting veterans with PTSD.
Nevertheless, veterans aren’t the only ones benefiting from medical marijuana treatment. The treatment is also beneficial for people who have experienced any kind of trauma in their past. It can help them function in their everyday lives more normally, fending off the depression that can accompany anxiety and PTSD.
How To Get Prescribed Medical Marijuana
Getting a prescription for medical marijuana varies from state to state. Most of the time, only certain doctors will prescribe it. However, thanks to new laws being in place across the United States, it’s becoming more and more common. There are websites that will help you find a doctor near you that can prescribe it.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with PTSD, consider seeking medical marijuana as a treatment instead of SSRIs. Together with your therapist, medical marijuana can help you work through your fears and get back to your daily life. It can help you relax and cope with the trauma rather than hide from it.