There have been numerous cases that medical marijuana has helped, aid and cure certain diseases. But a growing new awareness in the medical community suggests that marijuana can also treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
This article provides a brief overview on what PTSD is and how marijuana is seen to potentially help treat it.
A “Medical Breakthrough” for PTSD Patients
The study and research for Marijuana on PTSD have spurred huge controversy when it was first released to the public. A lack of concrete data (experimentation on human subjects) and accessibility of the drug at that time (due to prohibition), proved to have posted huge factors in the research for medical marijuana on PTSD.
A group of medical experts in Colorado has embarked on a new study that pinpoints the effectiveness of Marijuana against PTSD. This study was recently approved and was funded by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and was also given the thumbs up for clinical trials on human subjects.
Before we move forward with the study, let us first understand what PTSD is and how it affects a person’s day-to-day life.
What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental or psychiatric disorder that happens following the experience of a life-threatening event with examples such as a natural disaster, military combat, serious accidents and sexual or physical abuse in adult or childhood.
Survivors usually return to normal if given time to heal but some people may have stress reactions that can stay for long periods of time or the stress might even get worst. These individuals who suffer from the severe kinds of stress are subject to developing PTSD.
The increase in stress levels may cause a person to relive the experience through flashbacks and nightmares. PTSD can also cause anxiousness that can be experienced throughout the entire day, making day-to-day life harder.
PTSD symptoms are classified into 3 sets…
- The first set of symptoms may cause the person to display aggression and anger when confronted with stimuli that can trigger remembering the traumatic event.
- The second set is isolation or staying away from people and places that may cause a trigger in remembering the event and feeling numb inside.
- The third set of symptoms includes paranoia, irritability and being uneasy.
PTSD is complicated because it can often develop into an array of disorders including depression, problems on memory and cognition, substance abuse and other problems regarding physical and mental health.
Now the big question at hand is…
How Can Marijuana Help treat PTSD Symptoms?
Neuroprotective effects of Marijuana have had several applications in dealing with mental or psychiatric health. PTSD proves to be a condition that is a promising candidate for treatment because the cannabinoid system is fundamentally related to memory, specifically memory extinction. Memory extinction is the normal and healthy process of removing associations from stimuli in the brain.
PTSD patients respond to stimuli and are forced to relive the trauma or event even if it is no longer appropriate.
Marijuana can potentially help aid memory extinction in these patient by reducing the association between stimuli may it be in the form of loud noises or environmental stress.
Recent Studies and Clinical Trials
A recent on-going study by the non-profit organization, MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) was given approval and was funded by the DEA, making it the first-ever legal trial of Medical Marijuana for PTSD Veterans to date.
The research will be conducted by administering botanical Marijuana to 76 U.S. military veterans who suffered severe PTSD. These men and women ages 18 and older, have been diagnosed with PTSD and have not improved after trying either medication or psychotherapy.
The study will be conducted by administering four potencies of marijuana with different ratios in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) the two main psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. The result of these trials will provide legitimate information in side effects, dosing, areas of benefits in patients and potentially the legislation of considering marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.
Although MAPS study is the first of its kind in a government’s standpoint, marijuana has proven to have already healed dozens of patients diagnosed in the United States. These patients turned to personal documentation and unsupervised experimentation, having social media and the internet serve as their outlet to reveal these findings.
STORIES FROM PATIENTS:
Tim Majerus – Former Military Officer
“A few of the veterans I worked with, like the terminally ill patients described above, chose to violate the law and use marijuana. Those who chose to do so were much better adjusted. They found that their chronic pain was lessened, and their PTSD was less debilitating and seemed to be in remission. These vets, like the hospice patients, found effective relief from their severe ailments from marijuana, a drug that is less addictive and less expensive than commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. In fact, marijuana is less harmful than alcohol”
David Counts – U.S. Military served in the Korean War
“The things I’ve seen in my life, it’s not been good,” said Counts, who copes with post-traumatic stress disorder by smoking medical marijuana. “It stays with me every day.”
He recently started using medical marijuana after a VA nurse recommended it to him, even though it’s an illegal drug under federal law.
“I’m gonna try and get off some of these pills,” Counts said. “I wasn’t feeling right.”
|Disclaimer: These are studies and medical trials done and supervised by medical professionals. Readers with PTSD symptoms and PTSD patients are still not advised to self-medicate as studies discussed deal with proper medical facilities and are carefully initiated without breaching laws and medical practice.|