Since time immemorial, man has had one consistent obstacle, time. Over the years, significant advancements have been made in almost every sector, but time remains the one aspect man has been unable to conquer, leave alone tame.
As you age, you will be more susceptible to diseases and other conditions. However, as you have already realized, you do not need to be old to be attacked by an infection. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, more medical conditions and ailments are being discovered in this era.
Additionally, WHO further notes these diseases and infections are spreading faster today than in history. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as globalization, interdependence, and mobility.
This mass shift in Marijuana has led to recent interest from scientists, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders in Marijuana industry. In turn, this has contributed to the recent legalization of cannabis in various regions of the world.
On the flip side, the medical field is more open to proven curative methods. This includes those that were previously shunned, such as Marijuana.
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Unlike before, people are no longer just dismissing a potential treatment just because of past controversy. And one of the greatest beneficiaries of this advancement is Marijuana – which is proving to host more cures than previously thought..
Some of the potential benefits of Marijuana include battling myriad pain-related conditions, mental and neurological conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson’s disease, amongst many others.
Is it right to praise Marijuana for the medical and health benefits so early into the study? Well, this is a rightly valid question. However, while cannabis is only now being legalized in different classifications, the medical field has been studying the effects of Marijuana for a while now.
Thus, while there needs to be more research in the area, there’s already conclusive scientific evidence that Marijuana works on a number of conditions, most notably PTSD.
Yes, such claims have been made countless times before. Here’s a comprehensive guidebook to help you better grasp the effects and impact of Marijuana on PTSD.
Chapter 1: What is PTSD and its accompanying symptoms?
Have you ever been through a traumatizing incident? It’s almost all you can think about, and for a while, it may even disrupt your day and peace of mind.
Fortunately, with time, you likely overcame the incident, and it no longer bothers you. But, can you imagine if the trauma never ended! What if the effects of the traumatic event were as vivid as when it happened? This is, in a nutshell, what PTSD is.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines PTSD as a psychiatric disorder whose prevalent occurrence is in people who’ve witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. The traumatic event can range from war, sexual harassment and assault, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, severe accidents, and other personal assault cases.
Over time, PTSD has been referred to differently with shell shock and combat fatigue being some of the common names – coined during the first and second World Wars.
While everyone has a degree of reaction to traumatic events, most people get past it in time. If you are suffering from PTSD, on the other hand, the traumatizing events could keep triggering, vividly taking your mind to the incident.
Moreover, it’s vital to note that PTSD and the symptoms can take anywhere from a few months to a year to develop.
There are several symptoms generally associated with PTSD, and these include:
By taking you back to the events of the dreading incident, PTSD can lead you to be paranoid all the time. You may get to a place where you don’t recognize what is real and what isn’t. In such a case, you’ll find it hard to trust anyone, leading to constant distrust and paranoia.
As detailed by the APA, PTSD is a psychiatric condition, and this simply means it can mess with your emotions. This leads to a continuous shift of emotion as you find people around you as suspicious and with malicious intent.
When you have PTSD, you feel like there’s no one left to trust. Like everyone is out to get you. This could further lead to a change in your thinking and reasoning processes. Moreover, as you doubt the people around you, you may end up ruining your peace of mind.
Feeling weak and defenseless
PTSD will have you always looking over your shoulder since you feel the traumatizing events are about to occur again. At the same time, you could also feel weak and vulnerable as you think someone or something is out to hurt you.
If you feel there’s always someone out to harm you, it’s challenging to engage with other people. Even with external parties’ efforts, you may find yourself withdrawing to be alone since you don’t want to trust anyone.
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In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, there is a more frequent number, appearing at least once a month. Some of these recurring symptoms include:
From the magnitude of the tragic incident, you may find it hard to remember exact events. However, most of what you remember can be used as a trigger to the event.
This difficulty in remembering every detail further heightens mood swings and the feeling of vulnerability.
When suffering from PTSD, you’ll get flashbacks of the incident, which could worsen the situation if not carefully managed and treated.
Even the smallest of objects can trigger a flashback and this is why most people who have PTSD tend to avoid objects or people related to the event.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a weighty medical condition that should be taken seriously. If you suspect you have PTSD, you should consult the services of a qualified professional. Additionally, if you notice someone around you suffering from the above symptoms, it could be PTSD, and the best thing is to encourage them to see an expert.
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Chapter 2: Are there existing PTSD treatments?
After you have been diagnosed with PTSD, there are several treatment options available. However, each of the options varies in its effectiveness due to varying and unique reasons.
That being said, you should not delay seeking professional help if you suspect you could be suffering from PTSD. Some of the available treatment options have a higher degree of success if administered early.
There are two main categories of PTSD treatment opportunities, namely medicinal therapies and psychological therapies. It is worthwhile to mention that while some people have received help from the two types of therapies, there are vast numbers of patients who get little to no help from these traditional therapies.
1. Psychological therapies
PTSD is a mental condition, and as such, one of the most recommended modes of treatment is psychological treatment.
This essentially involves scheduling to meet a medical professional who specializes in PTSD. In some cases, a combination of psychological and medical therapies are augmented to boost the treatment’s effectiveness.
Psychological therapy is further divided into three subcategories. These are;
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
As suggested in the name, this treatment focuses on changing your way of thinking and perception about various issues.
In most PTSD cases, you’ll try and avoid the traumatic event that led to the condition. This, however, is not an effective coping strategy.
The CBT treatment seeks to identify triggers and help you slowly face them, that in the end, they have no negative effect on you. Through the procedure, you’ll also learn how to resume your daily activities, even when they involve going back to a routine that the trauma occurred in – such as driving.
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Side effects associated with Cognitive – behavioral therapy
This therapy has various adverse effects linked to it, such as; increased suicidal thoughts and tendencies, alienation of close family and friends, withdrawal from society, and emotional instability.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
This is a rather new treatment idea that is currently used by a majority of psychologists today. It involves having you follow the therapist’s moving finger slowly.
As you follow the therapist, they will try and recall some of the events leading to your PTSD. This helps both the patient and the therapist to understand the event of the tragic incident better.
Side effects associated with EMDR
This treatment procedure has been linked with side effects such as; emotional stress, increased nightmares, and insomnia.
Group therapy treatment
This method is commonly used for a group of people –often suffering the same kind of traumatic events. It is often used by the military to help active and retired members cope with traumatic incidents.
It is effective, especially for those sharing similar experiences. Other than the military, the treatment is used on sexual harassment victims.
Side effects associated with group therapy
Not everyone is as comfortable sharing their problems in a group. For some, it may trigger side effects such as panic attacks, anxiety, and emotional imbalance.
2. Medicinal Therapies
There are a number of recommended medications to help manage and alleviate symptoms related to PTSD. Most of these drugs are classified under antidepressants such as Phenelzine, Sertraline, and Paroxetine, amongst many others.
Unfortunately, out of the above mentioned antidepressant drugs, you’ll be surprised to learn only Paroxetine and Sertraline are approved and certified for the use of PTSD patients. Additionally, some have been approved with little to none certification, research, or verification.
Some of the conditions qualifying you for PTSD medicinal therapies include;
- You’re unwilling or unable to get psychological PTSD treatment
- Psychological treatments have proved disadvantageous and ineffective for you
- You’re suffering from other conditions –such as clinical depression, that need both therapies for the best possible results
Side effects associated with medicinal therapeutic practices
Drugs such as Paroxetine have been known to cause a feeling of nausea and general sickness. You may also experience constipation while on the treatment.
Other side effects closely associated with medicinal therapy include dry mouth, blurred vision, diarrhea, and several others.
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Chapter 3: How does medical Marijuana interact with PTSD?
There’s usually a lot of talk about living with PTSD. Most people will advise you to learn how to live with the condition. This means that you have to get used to the aforementioned symptoms throughout your life.
Even when you’re having a good day, you should be worried about getting panic attacks, paranoia, and mood swings. Clearly, this is no way for anyone to live as no one wants to live life looking over their shoulder.
And when you’re lucky to get a medical prescription, you still have to suffer from the unending side effects that can sometimes turn adverse.
Lucky for you, there’s another option where you get to lead a healthy life and get over the traumatic events that left you with PTSD.
Since most of these treatments and therapies are ineffective, time-consuming, and flawed, researchers have tried looking for a suitable alternative. This is what first led researchers to look at the relation between PTSD and cannabis.
The results in studies on the effect of Marijuana on PTSD have been overwhelmingly positive. This is good news for people from all walks of life. This is because more people would have access to Medical Marijuana than they would through conventional PTSD remedies.
Additionally, Marijuana is relatively cheaper if compared to the overall cost of seeking PTSD treatment. PTSD remedies are not priced for the wealthy and financially stable. You can now access affordable and available remedies even when your insurance won’t foot the bill.
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How does medicated Marijuana help combat PTSD?
Cannabis is a known stimulant to the endocannabinoid system. This is the system in the body responsible for your immunity, metabolism, appetite, and the communication transfer between the cells and memory. Continuous studies have proved medical Marijuana as one of the most effective remedies against PTSD and the accompanying symptoms.
Cannabis can be broken down into two main components, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). The CBD receptors help suppress your memory in relation to PTSD events.
Consequently, this can help you forget events leading to the traumatic incident. This is, largely, why medical Marijuana is highly effective against PTSD and the accompanying symptoms.
In fact, in multiple studies, medical cannabis has been linked to forget PTSD events successfully. While these results are not permanent, you can find the right balance between taking a recommended dose of Marijuana and dealing with PTSD.
What PTSD symptoms does Medical Marijuana treat?
It would rather be unfair to give a blanket statement claiming Medical Marijuana as the cure to all PTSD issues. Let’s instead investigate the effects of Medical Marijuana on PTSD the same way done with conventional therapies and treatment options.
When you consume Marijuana, it has various effects on your body at different levels. Some of these effects can further help in the management and alleviation of PTSD symptoms such as;
Marijuana helps fight insomnia
Since a majority of PTSD patients suffer from conditions such as anxiety, painful flashbacks, and nightmares; insomnia is a pretty common occurrence. If you find it hard to sleep because of these or more conditions emanating from PTSD, Medical Marijuana may be the best solution.
The THC in cannabis helps you feel relaxed and at ease, which will help you sleep better and longer. This is one of the key advantages of treating PTSD with Marijuana as it impacts the length of your sleep, but it also helps you get into a deep sleep state. And when you wake up, you’ll be feeling all fresh and ready to combat the day’s challenges.
No more anxiety
Anxiety is the other commonly diagnosed condition for those who have PTSD. In fact, studies show that one in every two PTSD patients suffers from anxiety and depression.
Anxiety is a serious condition as it attacks your mind’s optimum functioning capacity. Consequently, this may leave you unable to execute tasks you were otherwise competent in.
Medical Marijuana – especially that containing high CBD levels, has proved results in battling stress, anxiety, and depression.
Additionally, medical cannabis has also been liked by boosting your mood. This gets you fired up for the day despite challenges.
You can now sleep in peace… without nightmares
As seen above, sleeping is a big issue when you have PTSD. First, you will likely struggle to get any sleep. When you do, you may find yourself waking up after a short while due to anxiety, insomnia, and recurring nightmares.
The unfortunate bit about not sleeping is that its effects cascade down to your day. Without enough sleep, you won’t be active enough to do anything considerable. Of course, you could try coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages. However, these are often a short-lived remedy as you cannot substitute sleep for energy drinks.
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Even when you are able to sleep, you will barely get quality sleep as nightmares are a prevalent symptom in PTSD patients.
Medical Marijuana has been known to induce deep sleep by reducing the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) as you sleep.
Sleeping has several cycles, and nightmares mostly occur during the rapid eye movement stage. With medical Marijuana, you’ll have reduced REM cycles, which will, in turn, significantly reduce the occurrence of nightmares while you sleep.
It is worthwhile to mention that these are just some of the major benefits of taking medicated Marijuana. There are a lot more benefits that you will still get to enjoy when taking Marijuana for PTSD symptoms.
Other symptoms have been excluded from this list, as there may be ongoing studies in the field. Fortunately, in the recent past, there have been accelerated efforts to try and exhaustively study the effects of medical Marijuana on various ailments, including PTSD.
This means it is only a matter of time before these studies are completed, and most of the other benefits are clearly visible from the studies’ outcomes.
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Chapter 4: Is there a relationship between medical marijuana and PTSD nightmares
Sleeping, as already established, is an important task. And, just not any sleep will do. Just like everything else needs a rest to recharge, the body also needs to sleep to recoup energy and analyze the day’s events.
When you have trouble sleeping due to nightmares, you will likely have difficulty accomplishing anything else. Even easy tasks will seem long and dreadful. If you are working, lacking a proper sleeping session will likely lead to your lowered performance and output at work.
If you are studying, not sleeping will make it nearly impossible to study. This is from the short attention span, lack of comprehension, difficulty committing things to memory, or even remembering simple details, all effects of sleeplessness.
Now, imagine you are driving, and you are having a hard time concentrating on the lane you are on, the cars ahead and behind you, and the traffic rules. This sounds like the perfect recipe for disaster.
These are just but a few examples of what you might be going through if you are having a hard time getting quality sleep. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what PTSD patients go through.
In many cases, when you have PTSD, you have to drop your work, school, and other activities. Driving yourself to the mall may prove the most challenging task in your day.
This is the reality most people living with PTSD suffer from as they cannot sleep, and when they do, it turns to never-ending nightmares. In a way, it almost feels like your life is a nightmare, whether you’re asleep or awake.
Is there a way Marijuana can help you sleep if you are a PTSD patient suffering from sleeplessness?
Before investigating the relationship between medicated Marijuana and nightmares, you should first realize dreams are an integral part of your being.
While it is not exactly clear why you and almost everyone else dreams, its importance has been rightly solidified by science. The dreams you have, have a significant impact on your mood and feelings. Your dream might end up influencing how your day pans out.
Take, for instance, you have a disturbing dream about someone close to you passing on. The truth is, throughout the day, most of what you will be thinking is what the dream means. In most instances, you may end up calling the person just to check on them.
If dreams are that powerful, you can now understand just how frightening a nightmare can be. Now, imagine the kinds of nightmares you would be experiencing when suffering from PTSD. These nightmares would be about the most dreaded event in your life. And to make it worse, the nightmares would be a recurring event, sometimes happening multiple times in a single night.
Fortunately, if you or someone you know has PTSD, there’s cause for joy as research has shown that Marijuana can be highly effective in combating nightmares. These studies reveal that the CBD compound found in cannabis can help eliminate nightmares. Additionally, it could work as a coping and therapeutic technique and could also help your mind by keeping it from accessing hidden traumatic events. Consequently, this will lead to better management of your sleeping patterns.
How does medical Marijuana affect REM sleep?
Did you know you can dream anytime you sleep? But, that’s not all; some dreams are more vivid than others. These vivid dreams are what occurs during the REM phase. This is the time when you’re deep asleep, and your brain remains mostly active. This is different from a lucid dream, where you have some knowledge that you might be in a dream.
Is there a way to target and control the recurrence of these dreams if dreams happen at a specific point in your sleep? That’s where Medical Marijuana comes into play.
Research shows that the CBD elements found in medicated Marijuana can affect your dreams’ duration and intensity. This is good news for those who have PTSD as it means to an extent, the recurring nightmares can be controlled. In time, these scary dreams could disappear altogether.
Another fundamental question to ask is, is there a need to control your dreams? The simple answer to that is a resounding yes. This is because by controlling your dreams, you can then influence your sleeping patterns and quality.
Moreover, if you have PTSD, you need to find a way to get over the events leading to PTSD. This becomes an awfully difficult task when your dreams serve as a constant reminder.
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Imagine if someone put a plate of your favorite meal in front of you, but asked you not to eat it. This is similar to trying to treat PTSD, while the events are always fresh on your mind.
The best way to not eat the food in front of you is by getting it out of your view, this way, you won’t think about it as much. In the same way, when you get rid of the frequency in which you have recurring nightmares, you better your chances of overcoming PTSD and any accompanying symptoms and conditions.
If you have PTSD and have been having regular nightmares, there’s reason to smile as medicated Marijuana will help you get to the next step of your healing process.
A noteworthy point to mention is suppressing the REM phase of your sleep can sometimes lead to complications. This is why you should first consult a professional before taking any marijuana. This way, they can recommend a suitable dose tailored to help you combat nightmares. While some people insist on self-medicating, if you want the therapy to yield any results, you should talk to a medical professional well versed in the field.
Chapter 5: What is the difference between THC and CBD in treating PTSD?
Depending on the region you’re in, Marijuana may be legalized either for medicinal or recreational purposes. If your region only allows Medicinal Marijuana, you will need a prescription from the doctors in order to access medical cannabis.
If you’re living in a region where you can consume Marijuana recreationally, you are also advised to consult a doctor before making any decisions either.
The insistence on consulting a medical professional is for them to advise on the strain you should consume. This is because Medicinal Marijuana has a set limit in both the CBD and THC components.
These two components combine differently to affect you in various ways. For the longest time, there was a standing debate on which of the two elements was best suited to combat PTSD. This led to multiple kinds of research on the myriad marijuana strains available today.
While there’s still contention over the quantity of both these components, much of the debate has been quenched from a scientific perspective. Then, which of the two compounds is best for treating PTSD? Before seeing which the superior compound is, you must first analyze the importance of each.
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Impact of treating PTSD with CBD vs. THC
Some of the benefits of using Marijuana with higher CBD content include;
- CBD treats anxiety, restlessness, and depression
- It helps manage your feelings by boosting your moods, energy and motivation levels
- It helps fight vertigo, nausea, and dizziness in the face of a triggering event
- Helps combat recurring nightmares
- CBD also contains anti-psychotic properties
On the other hand, the benefits of using Marijuana with a higher THC content are;
- THC helps relieve headaches and migraine pain
- It reduces nausea by improving muscle relaxation
- It stimulates your appetite
- It’s known for inducing sleep and sustaining a healthy sleeping pattern
- Helps reduce thoughts of paranoia, tension, and overall anxiety
- It helps you sleep better and for longer
- THC also increases your mood and creativity
Now you are in a better situation to know which component would work best for you. However, this information does not lessen the importance of seeing a professional as opposed to self-medicating.
The physician will help you key in on the right levels of each component. Additionally, medicinal Marijuana is highly cared for, and all the components carefully calibrated. This is not your everyday street weed.
Can you combine both THC and CBD?
One of the most commonly asked questions is whether you are allowed to combine these elements to treat PTSD. The short answer to this is yes, and you can mix the two compounds.
Each component works great on its own. This is especially advantageous when you know the benefits of each as you can choose the right compound. However, you can also choose to mix the two components, which is okay.
The only thing you have to watch is the ratio used when mixing. If you favor one compound, you’ll mostly enjoy the benefits of one. Here’s where you’ll once again require expertise. An expert will help you get to the desired ratio in order to have the best chance of combating PTSD.
Chapter 6: Is there supporting evidence to manage PTSD with Marijuana?
Some of the claims listed above on the effects of medicinal Marijuana may sound like far fetched tales to a few people. As a result, and to stamp on authenticity on the information above, here are a few medical studies and research on the effects of Marijuana in treating PTSD.
In New Mexico, between 2009 and 2011, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program carried out research on the effects of Marijuana on PTSD patients. The study results showed a reduction of PTSD symptoms by 75 % when the patients were on controlled cannabis.
In a different study, medical Marijuana was found to be a suitable remedy to combat PTSD amongst army veterans. The study detailed an all-round improvement in dealing with insomnia, depression, and anxiety amongst veterans.
In Canada, an independent study found cannabis to be one of the best solutions for dealing with PTSD symptoms.
These –and more studies have helped pave the way for the use of medicated Marijuana, especially in the treatment of PTSD.
Additionally, in the last few decades, the use of medicinal Marijuana has been on the rise and is only expected to grow even further.
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Chapter 7: What are some of the ways to use Marijuana in PTSD treatment?
Today, there are various ways to consume Medicinal Marijuana. These varying methods make it easier for anyone to consume as you’ll find a way that suits you best. Some of these ways are;
If you are not comfortable with smoking marijuana, one of the best alternatives is ingesting edibles. Medicated cannabis is available in capsule form, making it easier to take for most people. The capsule contents can be customized to suit your needs and requirements.
You should note that edibles can take a while before kicking in, but when they do, the effect can last for hours. This makes them an ideal solution for PTSD treatment.
Tinctures are oil-based forms of medicated Marijuana. They are applied under the tongue and take about 5 minutes to be absorbed into the bloodstream. If you have recurrent nightmares, you can use them just when you wake up, which will help you sleep better.
Inhaling (Vaporizing or smoking)
This is the most common marijuana consumption method. It’s easy and rather straightforward, and once inhaled, it only takes a few moments for the effects to kick in.
When you start off consuming medicinal cannabis, you start with a lower dose, and if that is not enough, you can then gradually increase to match the required and desired effect. If you are having trouble getting the right measurements, you can always consult a health professional in the area.
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Chapter 8: What are the best medical marijuana strains to use on PTSD?
Cannabis is available in several strains, and each has a different composition of THC and CBD levels. This is why you should have a doctor prescribe the best remedy to help with a set of conditions. An alteration of the doctor’s prescription can have entirely different effects. Here are some of the top preferred marijuana strains.
OG Kush (Hybrid)
This is one of the highly sought after strains when it comes to medicinal Marijuana. It is known for inducing euphoria and relaxation and has a 20-24% THC level and 0.2% CBD level.
Because of the high THC levels, it will help you sleep better and reduce any insomnia and nightmare occurrences. When taken to treat PTSD, OG Kush is best taken at night.
Blue Dream (Hybrid)
Blue Dream is often referred to as one of the most sought after strains for treating PTSD. This is because it can help you reduce social anxiety and improve your general mood and outlook on life. Blue Dream has a 17-24% THC level and 0.1-0.2% CBD level.
Master Kush (Indica)
Another highly preferred strain is Indica. While the plant is relatively short, it takes less than two months to flower, and the yield is quite high.
Some people tend to steer away from it due to its faintly pungent and earthy flavors.
If you are looking for something to make you feel relaxed and laid back, cannatonic is the strain for you. It is a blend between the NYC Diesel and Reina Madre strains and is often referred to as the ‘CBD Queen’ and has a THC level of 15%.
Pineapple Express (Hybrid)
This is the right strain for you if you are looking to relieve stress and increase good vibes.
After taking it, you’ll experience a sense of euphoria and boosted energy.
It is known for its stimulating scent mirroring mangoes and apples, and it tastes like pineapples. You’ll not only love the high, but you’ll also enjoy the experience when taking it.
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Traumatic experiences are amongst the hardest to overcome. If you are going through one right now, remember there is hope, and with the right help, you’ll be able to get over the trauma.
Medicated Marijuana can help you get past the trauma, whether you are trying something new, or other therapeutic approaches have not worked for you.