A recent study shows promising evidence that using cannabis PTSD treatments can be effective in reducing and even eliminating symptoms.
In the study, 150 participants with PTSD were classified into two groups. One group used dispensary-bought cannabis to treat their symptoms and the other didn’t use any cannabis at all. The year-long study showed the group that used cannabis had their PTSD symptoms diminish significantly compared to the non-users. They were also 2.57 times more likely to stop meeting the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for PTSD compared to the non-cannabis users.
Although further testing is needed, this study shows cannabis’ promise as a non-opiate treatment for PTSD.
That’s positive news for PTSD sufferers looking for alternative treatments. Below you’ll find more information on PTSD and the facts on how cannabis can help you.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health condition that impacts individuals exposed to traumatic events in their past. The person may have experienced the event or witnessed it. PTSD is normally associated with military combat veterans, but anyone can show signs of it.
African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos in the U.S. have higher instances of PTSD. Women have PTSD at twice the rate men do. If the symptoms aren’t addressed, PTSD can interfere with a person’s everyday life.
Effective cannabis PTSD treatments, including certain compounds found in cannabis (cannabinoids), can be vital to lessening your symptoms and helping improve your quality of life.
Common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Avoidance – Refusing to talk about the event. The person may avoid anything they associate with the event including other people and places.
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions – Trouble sleeping and concentrating. Also, aggressive and reckless behavior, such as drinking excessively.
- Intrusive memories – Nightmares, flashbacks and memories of the event. Anything that reminds the person of the traumatic event can also trigger extreme distress.
- Negative changes in mood and thinking – Experiencing a sense of detachment from those closest to you. Feeling hopeless and numb.
How Can Cannabis PTSD Treatments Help?
Several universities, including the University of California San Diego, participated in this study. One of the key takeaways was that cannabis didn’t just mask PTSD symptoms or simply act as a sedative. Instead, it appears to have repaired how the person’s brain deals with the trauma causing their PTSD.
Another finding was that the majority of the cannabis users preferred THC flowers. This cannabinoid lowers activity in the part of the brain associated with a response to something dangerous. This in turn reduces a person’s fear and anxiety, both of which greatly help PTSD sufferers.
Using cannabis as a PTSD treatment sounds promising but much more research is needed to address the most effective way to use it. Right now, there are still legal barriers to conducting comprehensive studies. As these barriers continue to come down, scientists can delve deeper into how cannabis impacts the brains of PTSD sufferers. That can lead to an improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD.