People using cannabis for PTSD is nothing new, but very worth discussing. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has gone by many names over the years. It was called shell shock during World War I. It was called combat fatigue after World War II. However, you don’t have to go to war to experience trauma. Traumatic events can cause PTSD to develop in all types of people. In fact, it’s much more common than you might think. This is one thing giving extra hope to those who are interested in consuming cannabis for PTSD.
60% of all men and 50% of all women will go through some sort of traumatic experience at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for PTSD. 7-8% of the U.S. population will have PTSD during their lives, with 8 million adults suffering from the effects of PTSD each year. If you’ve ever experienced it yourself, then you know how scary it can be. Nightmares and trouble sleeping is very common. It can cause panic attacks, high levels of anxiety, detachment from family and friends, and all sorts of other self destructive behaviors. All of these symptoms have been leading those suffering with PTSD, and their loved ones, in search of a remedy. For some, cannabis may be the answer.
People with PTSD, whether from the horrors of war, or a simple car accident, have long been praising the positive effects of cannabis. Science is finally starting to catch up to all of the anecdotal evidence. In a published study, conducted in Detroit, MI, researchers were able to determine that low doses of THC, administered to patients with PTSD, is effective at reducing fear and anxiety. This is great news. It indicates that cannabis has the potential to help treat people suffering from excess stress and trauma related issues, like PTSD.
Another way cannabis is being shown to help patients with PTSD, is through a process called extinction learning. It’s being supported by research coming out of Brazil. Extinction learning is when the your brain essentially forgets traumatic memories, and replaces them with new, more pleasant memories. Scientists have found that THC, not only reduces anxiety, but also suppresses aversive memory expression. In other words, it gives people the ability to block out the negative feelings and emotions associated with and caused by bad memories.
Both of these studies support the years of anecdotal evidence we’ve been hearing from people with PTSD who have been sharing about how cannabis has helped them achieve a better quality of life. This can sometimes mean a better quality of life for the entire family, as PTSD in one family member will typically put stress on others. With the research and science behind the medicinal benefits of cannabis for PTSD and other medical conditions starting to officially back up what medical cannabis patients, and cannabis advocates alike, have been saying and fighting for, for so many years, hopefully more people and families can finally find relief.