As many as 8% of the US population will suffer from PTSD during their lifetimes. That’s around 24 million people.
For some, PTSD is short-term, requiring months of counseling and support. Others will deal with PTSD symptoms for the rest of their lives.
For many of these people, legal pot could offer symptom-relief where conventional treatments have failed.
Let’s explore some of the science behind using medical marijuana to treat trauma.
What is PTSD?
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health disorder caused by either a one time or prolonged life-threatening event such as:
- School shooting
- Terrorist attack
- Sexual assault
- Recurring abuse
The symptoms are severe and ongoing. They include:
- Intense anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Night terrors and nightmares
- Invasive memories
- Mood swings
- Physical or emotional reactions to stimuli
- Inability to eat
- Chronic pain
Almost everyone would experience some of these after a life-threatening event. But for most people, the symptoms dissipate with time.
When these symptoms last for longer than 2 weeks after an event, a person may be diagnosed with PTSD by a mental health professional.
This disease affects every aspect of life from work to relationships to enjoyment to being alone.
The VA (US Department of Veteran’s Affairs) released a report that concluded that veterans account for 18% of all suicides in the US.
Due to the nature of their work, veterans are highly likely to have been exposed to PTSD inducing events.
Why Suffers Turn to Legal Pot
For those suffering from PTSD, using legal pot isn’t just about reducing stress. It’s the one thing that allows them to function more normally.
It can help them better manage these awful symptoms to live more fulfilling lives.
MMJ Vs Opiates
There are treatments on the market for PTSD, but many of them are lacking. Cognitive behavioral therapy is common but leaves many PTSD suffers without relief.
Another treatment option is the use of prescription opioids, which can reduce associated pain, nausea and nightmares. But these drugs have serious side effects which include:
- Severe constipation
- Low sex drive
On top of this, opiates are highly addictive and sought-after on the black market. This adds a tremendous level of risk to the patient.
They may become addicted or otherwise misuse them. A child in the home may gain access. Someone may break in or steal them to sell. Accidental overdose and death can even result.
In this way, legal pot saves lives. Colorado saw a 6% drop in opioid-related deaths in 2016 while the rest of the country saw a drastic increase year over year. Guess what had happened the year before? They legalized marijuana.
What the Research Shows
It’s important to note that research is ongoing. For years, effective research has been hampered by strict laws that prevent human studies in the US and when they were allowed, it restricted the type of marijuana that could be used.
As you’re likely already aware, there are many strains of legal pot. That’s why we need experts to help us understand the differences.
We’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the US. But there is much anecdotal evidence to support to use of legal pot for PTSD. The ongoing controlled clinical trials will help confirm individual experiences over time.
For those finding no relief or seeking to avoid opiate side effects, the evidence is convincing enough to make the switch.
Not unsurprisingly, US veterans are among the loudest voices encouraging the country they served to increase research efforts. The FDA has recently approved a study that will provide more evidence. But it will take many years to complete.
Promising anecdotal studies include the following:
New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program
New Mexico was the first state to recognize marijuana’s medicinal value for those with PTSD. Participants in this study self-reported a 75% reduction in symptoms.
The Canadian Forces Health Services Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre Study
This study focused on nightmares. They found that 72% of participants reported far fewer nightmares when using legal pot.
New York University’s Langone Medical Center Study
This study had a slightly different focus. It sought to discover why some individuals are more susceptible to PTSD. They found that those with PTSD have a larger number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Cannabis is believed to work by blocking some of the input to these receptors, which may explain why legal pot may help reduce PTSD symptoms in some people.
In addition, people with PTSD were shown to have less of a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Like dopamine, anandamide has a calming effect on the body. Without it, fear and pain are much more intense.
Cannabis can mimic this molecule to produce a similar effect.
So…Does Medical Pot Cure PTSD?
It’s very important to note that research hasn’t shown that marijuana cures any disease. It helps reduce common symptoms of conditions. In fact, before it was outlawed in the US in the 1930s, it was well-known for its medicinal properties.
The American Medical Association even fought against the movement to make it illegal.
Legal pot may help reduce symptoms associated with PTSD.
Where Can You Get Medical Cannabis in Maryland
You can only get legal pot at a licensed dispensary. You will first get a doctor’s recommendation and get approved for a medical marijuana card for your condition.
Non-Maryland residents may apply for a card but must be under the care of a Maryland physician and living in Maryland at the time of registration.
Get Help Today
Are you suffering from PTSD? It’s time to talk to a doctor. There is anecdotal evidence that supports the use of cannabis in various forms to treat PTSD. Marijuana may provide you the relief you seek without the awful side effects that other drugs can have.
Don’t suffer any longer. Speak with one of our experienced consultants. Give us a call: 410-394-3936 or message us: [email protected].