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PTSD and Medical Marijuana

Patients in Pennsylvania can now legally obtain medical marijuana to alleviate anxiety, sleep disruption and other symptoms associated with PTSD.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a devastating mental condition that can occur after a traumatizing event has made a person fear their life was in immediate danger. PTSD can be the aftermath of a powerful assault on the person’s mind and emotions. Conventional treatments for PTSD may not be effective in some patients, causing many to self-medicate with cannabis (marijuana) to improve their quality of life.

Antidepressants and benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat PTSD symptoms, however many people prefer using cannabis as a natural alternative to these drugs.

 

Cannabis as treatment

Debilitating PTSD symptoms that can be alleviated with cannabis include:

● Insomnia
● Severe anxiety
● Fear
● Lack of appetite
● Anger issues
● Irritability
● Flashbacks
● Depression or general sadness

Researchers believe cannabis works by removing associations to painful memories. This is helpful in PTSD patients who have flashbacks when they smell, hear or see something associated with the traumatic event that caused the PTSD. By extinguishing memory associations, PTSD patients may gradually see symptoms improve.

Proponents for cannabis as treatment argue that the side effects of cannabis are trivial compared to side effects of pharmaceutical drugs given to treat PTSD. Common side effects of cannabis include mood improvement, increased appetite, cotton mouth and red eyes. These side effects are compared to those of antidepressants which may include agitation, headaches, sexual problems and even suicidal thinking.

Links

The Use of a Synthetic Cannabinoid in the Management of Treatment-Resistant Nightmares in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics

CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics

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Preliminary, Open-Label, Pilot Study of Add-On Oral Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Clinical Drug Investigation

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A positive association between anxiety disorders and cannabis use or cannabis use disorders in the general population- a meta-analysis of 31 studies

National Innstitutes of Health

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The endocannabinoid system as a possible target to treat both the cognitive and emotional features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

National Institutes of Health

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