There are numerous mental health issues, including PTSD, that are often treated with the use of cannabis. While some disagree with cannabis being an effective treatment, the proof is in the testimonials.
Cannabis is known to improve a multitude of health issues. If not, there wouldn’t be products available for medicinal purposes and the continual legalization of cannabis. One of the most notable areas of improvement is in mental health. Namely, individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are experiencing positive changes and improvements with many symptoms.
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are like anxiety disorder, but not exactly the same. These symptoms negatively affect work performance, relationships, and social interactions. A large number of people reported improvements in areas such as:
Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
Detachment from others
Hypervigilance, or enhanced fight or flight feelings
Overwhelming emotions and uncontrollable anger
In the Journal of Affective Disorders, a study of the correlation between cannabis and improvement in PTSD symptoms concluded that there was a marked improvement. The severe nature of the thoughts due to traumatic events were reduced by 62%, flashbacks decreased by 51%, anxiety by 57%, and a decrease in irritable behavior by 67%. However, the effects were not permanent.
None-the-less, any reduction in disturbing experiences is a plus, as cannabis is known to soothe mental health issues as well as heal other medical ailments. Whether cannabis is productive with healing or tempering, it’s still considered effective and helpful for PTSD symptoms.
The way cannabis works to improve symptoms of PTSD is interesting. Cannabis actually reduces activity in the amygdala of the brain. This part of the brain is directly associated with response to threats, namely fear. Cannabinoids are also thought to suppress traumatic memories.
A study at Wayne State University studied the theory of cannabis’ effect on the amygdala according to PTSD symptoms. Three groups participated in this study – this included control groups who were not exposed to trauma, those with PTSD who were exposed to trauma, and those without PTSD that were exposed to trauma.
Each group was either given THC or a placebo, then exposed to threatening stimuli. The participants who were really given cannabis, had less activity in the amygdala, thus proving the theory. Cannabis does have the ability to calm alarming and threatening thoughts.
In a process referred to as extinction learning, Professor of psychiatry at Yale University, R. Andrew Sewell, suggests that cannabis can possibly overwrite negative memories and create new ones. As fantastical as this may seem, if true, this process could help heal post-traumatic stress disorder trauma in a more natural way.
With the extinction learning process, traumatic memories can be lessened within 6 months’ time. For instance, triggers of bad memories, which can be any place or objects, can eventually be seen differently when nothing happens for long periods of time.
Of course, being exposed to these negatively formed triggers can, at first, be overwhelming. However, with the calming effects of cannabis, these same triggers, over the 6‑month period can become almost harmless in the minds of those who suffer from PTSD.
You see extinction learning comes from stimulating the CB‑1 receptor within the endocannabinoid system. It’s been found that people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder have an impaired endocannabinoid system cannot complete the extinction learning process naturally. But with the aid of cannabis, they can.
Although original tests were not completed, they were continued later on by researchers and proven to be true. In addition to the former information, researchers found that the combination of THC and CBD worked even better, providing a safer and calmer experience for PTSD patients. While THC worked to suppress these harmful memories, CBD stabilized THC to curb adverse side effects.
While there are some solutions for post-traumatic stress disorder with the use of cannabis, there is still so much we need to know. There are other questions pertaining to possible long-term help, and hopefully future studies will address those concerns. Also, there is a need for more answers about possible risk factors involved with cannabis use for PTSD symptoms. After all, the top priority is improving life for those who suffer from this condition, not causing harm.
While studies show improvements in this area, there’s still so much to learn. At LucidaClub, we believe in providing truthful and knowledgeable information about cannabis and cannabis products. However, it’s true that you can have a truly life-changing experience when enjoying a quality cannabis snack or soothing tincture. Try one for yourself and see how cannabis works for you.