Can Cannabis Really Treat PTSD?
By Aug 01, 2019 0 Comments
You may be aware that researchers and medical professionals are studying the relationship between cannabis and post-traumatic stress disorder. What are their conclusions? Can cannabis really treat PTSD?*
Here’s a brief and high-level overview of cannabis and PTSD as well as answers to some common questions about whether or not medical marijuana can help.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological condition that’s typically caused by a traumatic experience. Most of the time we talk about PTSD in relation to military service although its onset can also occur in anyone who has experience trauma. In many states, PTSD is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use.
Contributing factors to PTSD
Research has found that a phenomenon called fear learning can contribute to anxiety-latent conditions such as PTSD. When fear learning occurs, fear from a past traumatic experience triggers a fight or flight response at unforeseen or inappropriate times.
For example, a soldier who was impaired by a bag that contained an IED may panic at the sight of similar bag in a familiar and safe shopping center. As a result, adrenaline and stress levels surge, leading to changes in the chemical centers of the brain and subsequent side effects.
Unfortunately, most medications used to treat PTSD only offer temporary relief.
How Cannabis Can Help
A study published last year showed much protentional for successfully treating anxiety-related disorders with cannabis. The study focused specifically on CBD which is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, also known as a cannabinoid.
Some believe that CBD can enhance extinction, which could inhibit patients’ learned fears. One way PTSD patients can address learned fears is through exposure therapy. In exposure therapy, PTSD patients are exposed to stimuli that trigger traumatic memories in a safe space. In this practice, the goal is to desensitize patients. Ingesting CBD can also decrease fear expression and disrupt memory reconsolidation which is responsible for strengthening long-term memories associated with fear.
The Future of PTSD and Cannabis
Doctors are including cannabis and CBD in their treatment plans for patients with PTSD more and more. Plus, many states that didn’t previously allow PTSD patients to acquire medical marijuana are reforming their requirements because of research new research that support cannabis as a viable PTSD treatment.
As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, cannabis does have the potential to help patients suffering from PTSD. While more research is necessary for a conclusive answer, medical marijuana patients in several states have found the use of cannabis helpful in the treatment of PTSD symptoms.
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*In accordance with regulations, we cannot make health claims regarding our products.