IMPORTANT: All information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. None of this information should be construed as medical or treatment advice for any specific person or condition. Cannabis has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA, and there is limited information on the side effects of using cannabis as a medication. You should always consult a licensed physician in all matters related to your health.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is the result of a traumatic, often violent event, such as combat, sexual assault, or other physical abuse. When PTSD occurs, the mind creates a memory of the traumatic event, which is repeatedly recalled. When that traumatic memory is recalled, the body responds as if the event is being experienced again. The result can be anxiety and panic attacks, sleep disturbances, sweating, tunnel vision, and other symptoms that are tied to the body’s natural flight response. This repeated trauma recall depletes serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
PTSD affects many aspects of daily life, and there is no one-size-fits-all remedy. Physicians often recommend a combination of therapies for their patients. In addition to prescription medications, regular exercise such as yoga, and meditation and breathing exercises can play a role.
Cannabis medicine has also become a common part of the conversation when it comes to treating the many unpleasant symptoms of PTSD. It may work to treat PTSD in a variety of ways.
Whereas prescription medications often force a message to the brain, cannabis medicine works more naturally with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to restore depleted serotonin and dopamine to normal levels.
Both CBD and THC may be beneficial in the treatment of PTSD, and when used in combination, many patients report symptom improvement. CBD is commonly used to treat stress and anxiety, and THC has been shown to enhance mood to help combat depression.
What may be most promising for PTSD patients is cannabis’ role in treating the sleep disturbances and nightmares that often go hand in hand with PTSD. Studies show that high-THC cannabis induces deeper sleep and reduces vivid dreams. This results in reduced anxiety around falling asleep, and allows patients to get more restful sleep.
Cannabis provides daytime benefits, too. Patients report improved focus and function without the overly sedative side effects that can accompany pharmaceuticals taken during the day.
If you’re interested in learning more about the potential benefits of cannabis medicine, speak with your doctor about joining the large number of patients that have found cannabis to be a natural and effective treatment for PTSD. And if you’re interested in getting your medical marijuana card, NETA is here to help.