PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. We hear about this most when it comes to veterans and active soldiers but any traumatic experience can turn into PTSD including having many people close to you die violently, sexual assault, hearing gunshots on a regular basis and living in a home filled with chaos. It’s natural to feel afraid after a traumatic situation. The problem is when your body continues to respond to that event as if it’s fresh for an extended period of time.
According to the DSM-5 (the diagnostic manual for mental health professionals), to be diagnosed with PTSD you have to exhibit at least six of the following symptoms:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- Flashbacks: reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts
- At least one avoidance symptom
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
- Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
- Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Causes of PTSD
Not everyone who lives through a traumatic event will develop PTSD. As a matter of fact most people recover quickly and without any intervention. There’s some risk factors that play a part in whether or not it does develop. Risk factors include “living through dangerous events and traumas, getting hurt, seeing people hurt or killed, childhood trauma, feeling horror and having little to no social support.”
In the past, the prognosis for PTSD was pretty grim. These days we understand a lot more about it and the prognosis is good for these patients with both treatment and therapy. Now, there’s also EDMR therapy as an option.
Medical Marijuana and PTSD
This disease cannot be cured but medical marijuana eases symptoms to give patients a better quality of life. MM helps ease the anxiety and depression in patients. It can also help with both insomnia and fatigue as well as appetite. Additionally:
- One study, from researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, looked at how cannabis use impacts the amygdala response of those dealing with trauma related anxiety, such as PTSD.
- A second study, from researchers at Brazil’s Federal University of Parana, explored another potential way that cannabis could help those with PTSD – extinguishing the intensity associated with memories of their trauma.
- Previous research has shown that cannabis has the potential to reduce anxiety, or even prevent heightened anxiety in threatening situations.
Marijuana strains that help with associated proteins and anxiety include:
- Pennywise: This indica-dominant strain is as a mood and focus enhancer, this strain can help someone suffering from symptoms of PTSD.
- ACDC: This hybrid strain is 50/50, ACDC is said to help elevate the mood of those dealing with feelings of depression.
- Harlequin: This sativa-dominant strain is also CBD rich which is helpful because in some patients, too much THC just causes even more anxiety.
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