Throughout prohibition, cannabis has been considered a self-medicated “coping” drug, which doesn’t exactly bode well for those who see cannabis use as part of the addictive coping measures that PTSD sufferers tend to display. There is overwhelming evidence that PTSD and cannabis go hand-in-hand. But while most studies point out the prevalence of marijuana abuse among PTSD patients, some pose the question in reverse: could cannabis be effectively treating PTSD? This study seems to think it’s possible.
Because there are no dedicated medications available exclusively for PTSD, researchers are looking to our body’s therapeutic hotspot—the endocannabinoid system—to understand alternative treatments for PTSD. The upside of using a CBD-rich cannabis for PTSD is that we get to see the plant for its medicinal properties, beyond the psychoactive. When we separate that attribute, we can see why individuals with PTSD might self-medicate with marijuana before obtaining a medical diagnosis and recommendation for cannabis treatment.
Users of CBD products have also touted it’s effectiveness in helping with some of the other ailments associated with PTSD, including:
- Eye Pressure
- Chronic Pain
According to this review paper controlled cannabidiol administration is safe and non-toxic in humans and animals, and doesn’t induce changes in food intake, nor does it affect physiological parameters like the heart rate, body temperature or blood pressure. High doses of up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD seem to be well tolerated in humans, although dry mouth is a side effect that should be expected.
As America breaks down one of the biggest roadblocks to research in cannabis for PTSD, voting state-by-state (Minnesota being the latest, as of this date) to use it medicinally, more people are gaining access to marijuana. More doctors—and even some addiction professionals—are becoming advocates of the drug. By opening the door for more research, we should further solidify cannabis’s medicinal value and help doctors to be more open with their patients about the realities of prescription drug use for PTSD and the reduced risk of harm if they choose to incorporate cannabis into their treatment regimen.
North of the border, on December 10, 2016, the Canadian province of Manitoba saw its first Marijuana for Trauma center opened on Saturday morning; it is the13th such center in Canada to open. Marijuana for “By aiding in memory extinction, marijuana can help patients reduce their association between stimuli (perhaps loud noises or stress) and the traumatic situations in their past. Recent studies have shown medical marijuana to be effective in 85% of those who suffer from PTSD.”