February 19, 2018

Medical Marijuana and PTSD: A Revolutionary Approach?

Post-traumatic stress disorder or commonly known as PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by exposure to traumatic experiences. PTSD is more severe when the victim is exposed to a traumatic psychological experience. PTSD patients face a range of symptoms from anger, stress, poor concentration to recurrence of the trauma, blackouts, development of phobias etc. While PTSD is generally attributed to fully grown adults, the truth is anybody can develop post-traumatic stress disorder. In children the symptoms normally differ from that of the adults. The symptoms displayed by the victim depends on the age of the victim. A kid below the age of eight may display PTSD symptoms by urinating on his bed, acting aggressive, vomiting, etc. Sometimes kids even lose their ability to speak due to untreated PTSD.

The conventional way of treating PTSD is through antidepressants and benzodiazepines. The problem with the conventional treatment is that in most cases it is ineffective, expensive and has fatal side effects. Due to the various disadvantages of the conventional treatment various doctors prescribe the use of medical marijuana for dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. Though the subject was too sensitive and controversial when it was first proposed, experiments have shown that treating PTSD with medical marijuana is actually very successful. Let us look at a few symptoms that can directly be treated with medical marijuana.

  1. Insomnia : Insomnia is one of the most prime symptoms of PTSD. Insomnia is generally accompanied with sleep terrors, nightmares, sleepwalking etc. Patients often experience their trauma all over in their dream state. Medical marijuana gives the patient a sound sleep which prevents any kind of disturbance during sleep.

  2. Anxiety : PTSD patients often feel restless which is caused by the extraordinary amount of stress that they frequently experience. Medical marijuana not only calms them down but also enables them to lead a normal life.

  3. Loss of appetite : Cannabis has always been known for triggering the taste buds of people and medical marijuana is no different. Victims of PTSD suffer from a loss of appetite which stems from depression and insomnia. Medical marijuana can play an useful role in regaining the appetite of a patient suffering from PTSD.

  4. Flashbacks : This is another common symptom among PTSD patients, and it is one of the most dangerous. PTSD patients often find themselves reliving the horrible trauma which can lead to depression or even more serious issues. Medical marijuana takes the edge off these experiences and allows the patient to have a clear headspace.

  5. Depression : Depression is categorised as the condition in which the brain secretes an inadequate amount of serotonin. Though depression is not very common among PTSD patients, multiple cases have been reported where a PTSD patient have developed depression. Medical marijuana is known to increase the secretion of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This characteristic of medical marijuana helps patients in their struggles against depression.

How does it work?

This is a frequently asked question among health enthusiasts and patients suffering from PTSD. People often wonder “how medical marijuana can help with PTSD?” and “Is medical marijuana any good when it comes to treating PTSD?”

According to studies marijuana erases memories and feelings connecting the patient to the trauma. Most PTSD patients report flashbacks on either the sound, or the sight or the smell of some particular object. This occurs for the simple reason that human beings associate these sensations to events and a simple stimuli can trigger a very nasty episode. Medical marijuana functions by removing these associations that are built in the brain. 

For more information, watch this video:

Medical Marijuana Laws

Due to the fact that medical marijuana is completely free of side effects, doctors over the globe are endorsing the use of medical marijuana to treat PTSD. The antidepressants that are conventionally used for the treatment of PTSD have fatal side effects such as irritation, severe headaches, sexual problems, suicidal tendencies, etc. For these mentioned reasons, various countries have accepted the use of medical marijuana in treating PTSD. But in various countries, patients suffering from PTSD are restricted from using medical marijuana as PTSD does not qualify as a mental disorder under the medical cannabis programme. Discussions over the potential allowance of medical marijuana is currently ongoing and a resolution can be expected in the near future.

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