Can Cannabis Assist With PTSD Therapy? Researchers Are Looking Into It
Jun 14, 2018
Post-traumatic stress disorder, which has been known in older decades as battle fatigue or shell shock, is a condition that affects people who have experienced, or witnessed, traumatic events. While it is natural for people who have experienced trauma to need time to find their equilibrium again, people who develop PTSD can never seem to find their balance. They may experience flashbacks, anxiety, extreme reactions, and a slew of other symptoms. PTSD is a chronic condition, and it is something that sufferers have to base their entire lives around. There is no cure, but treatments can help those suffering from the condition control it, allowing them to live more normal lives.
While there are a variety of treatments available, research has begun asking whether marijuana is a viable option that's been overlooked until now.
Can Cannabis Treat PTSD?
Marijuana has been used by some of those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a way to self-medicate, and to deal with their condition. This has been a serious problem in the past, because there has been no research on whether or not marijuana was an effective treatment, and because marijuana was a prohibited substance that would lead to criminal charges if users were caught.
However, as medical marijuana, and even recreational cannabis, has become more widely available in the United States, scientists are finally getting a chance to look at what effects marijuana use can have on conditions like PTSD, as well as other anxiety disorders. And, though marijuana is not a miracle treatment when it comes to PTSD, there are some scientists claiming it might be more of a help than a hindrance when it comes to helping those with this condition live more normal, productive lives.
How Can Marijuana Help?
According to research, those who suffer from PTSD have an internal deficiency that marijuana often corrects, but which more commonly used medications like antidepressants do not. Anandamide is a compound the body naturally produces, and it is a endogenous cannabinoid compound. Put in common language, anandamide is something your body is supposed to produce, but those who suffer from PTSD shut down the production, which is one of the causes of symptoms.
What smoking marijuana does, at this point, is put outside cannabinoids into the body. Because there's a deficiency, the body accepts the new influx, and plugs them into the receptor sites that aren't being filled by the body's natural production any longer. The result is that the brain can chill out a bit, since these cannabinoids allow sufferers to unfocus on their traumatic memories, and focus more on the here and now.
It isn't a cure, not by a long shot, but it is a low-cost, effective way for many sufferers to get through the day.
Why "Many" and Not "All"?
There is no such thing as a universal treatment for PTSD because every sufferer is different. Which is why it behooves us to have the widest variety of treatments available, because that allows us to have something for everyone.
Marijuana is commonly used by individuals with PTSD, but the chemical effectiveness will vary from person to person. It's by studying those effects up close, something which scientists have only been able to do recently thanks to the changing laws and culture surrounding marijuana, that will lead to the next generation of treatments that may make living with this condition that much more bearable.
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