Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that is usually caused by a violent, devastating, or life-altering event; such as military combat, sexual abuse or assault, violent crime, or similar circumstances. People living with PTSD cope with a wide variety of systems, including nightmares, vivid flashbacks, panic attacks, inability to focus, avoidance, depression, and extreme mood swings. Each person’s experience is unique, which means there is no universal treatment for PTSD. Most physicians recommend a combination of therapy and prescription medications, along with other activities like regular exercise, meditation, or yoga. More and more, experts are recommending cannabis as an incredibly therapeutic treatment for PTSD.
Medical cannabis for PTSD
Cannabis treats PTSD in several ways. Both CBD and THC work to reduce anxiety, which can be one of the most debilitating symptoms of PTSD. Multiple studies have shown that CBD reduces stress and anxiety, while THC enhances the mood and fights depression. Cannabis also helps treat insomnia and improves the quality of sleep in patients plagued with PTSD-related nightmares. Studies show that cannabis consumption reduces REM sleep, the stage of sleep where dreams are most vivid, allowing patients to fall asleep and stay asleep without the fear and stress brought on by nightmares.
Patients also report that cannabis-based treatments help stabilize their mood, allowing them to focus and function throughout the day without the overly sedative side effects of most pharmaceutical options. Most recently, researchers found that PTSD patients have an endocannabinoid deficiency – meaning that their systems are lacking the cannabinoids they need to function at a normal level. Cannabis treatments replace the lost compounds, restoring the body’s ability to cope with stress and anxiety.
More studies are needed, but thanks to expanding medical cannabis laws and changing societal attitudes, millions of people living with PTSD are already finding relief in cannabis-based treatments.