Veterans with PTSD Get Relief from Cannabis

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a normal reaction to an abnormal experience. While the disorder can hit anybody, veterans – especially those who have served in war zones – are more likely to suffer from it than civilians.

But PTSD can result from many different types of experiences other than military service. Victims of childhood and/or sexual trauma, natural disasters and motor vehicle accidents also can fall prey to the ailment. The National Center for PTSD says about 8 percent of the U.S. population will have PTSD at some point in their lives and that about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year.

PTSD is a complex medical disorder with co-occurring conditions and traditional treatment of PTSD includes a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs: anti-depressants for depression, anti-psychotics for mood stabilization, sleep aids for insomnia and nightmares. Opiates and muscle relaxers are added for chronic pain and tight muscles.  Unfortunately, this pharmaceutical cocktail includes addictive substances and these drugs have debilitating side effects that often make PTSD worse, resulting in homicidal and suicidal tendencies.

Using marijuana to treat PTSD

Research is pointing to an alternative treatment for PTSD in the form of cannabis. According to the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University, “many of the published studies suggest a decrease in PTSD symptoms with marijuana use.” This is due to the fact that humans have an endocannabinoid system much like a central nervous or cardiovascular system.

Bradley E. Alger, a professor with the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, suggests that “endocannabinoids and their receptors … found in the brain, organs, connective tissue, glands, and immune cells … are one the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”

Cannabinoid Treatment Helps Veterans

Granted, more scientific research is needed to unmask the true nature of the human endocannabinoid system in order for PTSD to be completely healed. However, according to Psychology Today, cannabinoid treatment for veterans and other sufferers “may possess some benefits in individuals with PTSD by helping relieve haunting nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD.”

Best methods to treat PTSD with Cannabis

Non-Ingested Method:

TopicalsFor PTSD, non-psychoactive CBD based topical balms or salves that are applied externally on the body – may provide relief from chronic pain, sore/tight muscles, eczema and psoriasis that often accompany PTSD. This method is typically effective 10-15 minutes after application and can last for several hours.

Internal Consumption Methods:

Tinctures come in both psychoactive (THC) and non-psychoactive (CBD) forms that are administered under the tongue and absorbed sublingually. This method is effective within 3-5 minutes and can provide relief from insomnia and intrusive nightmares when taken prior to bedtime.

Edibles offer another non-inhalation method that can come in both psychoactive and non-psychoactive formulations and are consumed through capsules, food and drinks. It can take up to 90 minutes for the full effects to be felt and can last up to 6 hours. This option, while advanced for some, can provide a discreet, long-lasting form of CBD or THC cannabinoid consumption for PTSD.

Inhalation of cannabis is the most commonly known method and has the fastest onset time of only 1-2 minutes.  Full effects are felt within 15 minutes and can last for several hours. There are numerous options for inhalation, both psychoactive and non-psychoactive. CBD dominant products can be most effective for mood stabilization and anxiety or whenever an individual feels like they are becoming mentally unstable. THC dominant products may be most effective for severe depression, anxiety and chronic pain. Often times these are the most sufferable symptoms of PTSD.

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