Treating PTSD With Cannabis
The healthcare landscape has continued to evolve as doctors and researchers explore novel approaches to treat complex conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Cannabis has recently stepped into the limelight for its potential to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of PTSD. In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind using marijuana for PTSD and discuss the pros and cons of consuming the drug for that purpose.
What Is PTSD and What Are the Symptoms?
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a traumatic event (either by experiencing it or witnessing it). Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Many people who go through traumatic events have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping afterward, but with time and treatment they usually get better. That said, if your symptoms worsen, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.
Can Cannabis Treat PTSD?
Preliminary studies suggest that the compounds in cannabis known as THC and CBD may help alleviate some PTSD symptoms by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating mood and anxiety.
Symptoms that cannabis can help mitigate include:
- Flashbacks and Nightmares: Some patients report a reduction in the frequency and intensity of traumatic memories.
- Anxiety: Cannabis has been known to calm the nervous system, which can help reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Insomnia: Indica strains are often cited for their sedative effects, which can help improve sleep patterns in PTSD patients.
- Emotional Numbness: Small doses of cannabis can assist in restoring patients’ emotional responses without overwhelming them.
It’s important to note that while cannabis may offer symptom relief for some, it’s not a cure for PTSD and should only be used as prescribed by a doctor.
What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Using Cannabis for PTSD?
While cannabis is often cited for its therapeutic effects, it’s important to consider the potential risks and side effects of using it for PTSD. Frequent cannabis use can lead to dependency and the development of a high tolerance, which can make it so that you require higher and higher doses to achieve the same relief.
Some individuals who use marijuana for PTSD may experience exacerbation of their anxiety and/or paranoia. Moreover, cognitive impairments such as difficulties with memory and attention have been associated with long-term cannabis use. Respiratory issues due to smoking and potential drug interactions are concerns that should not be overlooked either.
It’s critical for patients considering using marijuana for PTSD to consult a doctor first.
Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Prescription for PTSD?
In many regions where medical marijuana is legal, PTSD is recognized as a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana prescription.
As of early 2024, the states that specifically include PTSD in their lists of qualifying conditions are as follows:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Ultimately, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before using medical cannabis for PTSD, even if doing so is legal where you live.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Card through the Sanctuary
At the Sanctuary Wellness Institute, our certified professionals are well-versed in the medicinal benefits of marijuana and work closely with prospective patients to help them access the treatment they need. By choosing the Sanctuary, you can ensure a streamlined path to obtaining your MMJ card, with support at every step, from evaluating eligibility to completing your state’s registration.
Embrace a holistic approach to your health and wellness journey with the Sanctuary as your ally.
How we reviewed this article:
- Mayo Clinic (2024). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Emily Earlenbaugh (2020). New Research Reveals Why Cannabis Helps PTSD Sufferers
- Susan A. Stoner (2017). Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- American Lung Association (2024). Marijuana and Lung Health
- Marijuana Policy Project (2024). PTSD and Medical Cannabis Programs
Jake Peter received his journalism degree from Emerson College and has been writing content for the Sanctuary Wellness Institute since 2021. He is passionate about all things cannabis.