It’s reasonable to say that most individuals will suffer through a traumatic event at some point in their lives, but for a majority of us, the accompanying feelings of anxiety and fear will subside naturally with time.However, for over 13 million Americans (according to sidran.org), that is not the case. This 5% of the U.S. population live lives governed by self-isolation, painful flashbacks, and a number of other psychological symptoms, damaging their relationships as well as distorting their perspectives on the world around them. A long misunderstood disorder, treatment options for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) were always rather limited, leaving many either unwilling or unable to proceed with them, aforementioned treatment options mainly consisting of prescription medications and psychotherapy. Unfortunately, the latter option is very hit or miss and the former could result in an individual with PTSD to consume a variety of medication that may potentially have harmful or bothersome interactions. But in recent years, advocates have been championing cannabis as an effective treatment for PTSD. You don’t have to look very hard to find a video or article about an individual with PTSD detailing how THC and or CBD has helped them overcome this serious mental illness, and throughout this article I’m going to go over the interactions between those diagnosed with this disorder and THC as well as CBD. Before I start though, just a quick disclaimer: due to the relative recency with which cannabis has been legalized, clinical studies into any matter regarding cannabis have been notoriously hard to pull off, perspectives on cannabis as a treatment for PTSD may change for the better or worse depending on the results of less-inhibited studies that will likely be yielded in the future. But without further delay, get down to the details regarding marijuana’s most well known compounds and PTSD.
For those of you who are unaware, cannabidiol (CBD for short) is a naturally occurring and non-psychoactive compound of cannabis that is known for its anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory properties. Former in a legality flux, thanks to the recently passed omnibus farm bill (which you can read about here), CBD products have been legalized throughout the entirety of the United States. This newfound accessibility has been a platform for advocacy regarding the clinical study of CBD and its interactions with various medical and psychological conditions. A mental disorder that is often a point of discussion when it comes to potential applications for clinical CBD-oriented research is PTSD. In studies, CBD has been shown to positively influence the cannabinoid system, helping one’s brain work towards keeping them in a state of emotional homeostasis. With three of the defining symptoms of PTSD being hyperarousal, anhedonia (the inability to find pleasure in activities one normally takes pleasure in), and avoidance, CBD could be effectively used to reduce severity of this disorder’s most common symptoms. For the millions in the United States who were suffer from PTSD following a traumatic event in their lives, the widespread legalization of CBD could be a safer alleviation of the burdening symptoms that accompany Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly referred to as THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid that is known for its appetite stimulating and mood enhancing properties. While arguably the favorite acronym of cannabis enthusiasts everywhere, THC shows great potential in regard to the treatment of PTSD due to it sleep encouraging, anti-anxiety, and nightmare mitigating qualities. With the discovery of some SSRIs (a commonly prescribed class of antidepressant) being no more effective than placebos, the need for an effective treatment for PTSD is now larger than ever, and cannabis may be a qualified candidate. Unfortunately, unlike CBD, the 2018 Farm Bill did nothing in regard to the federal legality of THC. However, with each passing year, more and more states are accepting cannabis-friendly legislation that allows those in need to obtain marijuana. With some of the staple effects of marijuana use opposing the deficits created by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, those affected could benefit immensely from the use of cannabis, freeing them from having to rely on potentially ineffective medications that come with a host of negative side effects. As a safer alternative to pharmaceutical options the viability of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD is undeniably considerable despite this opinion having yet to be proven by clinical research.
Each year, cannabis becomes more widely accepted throughout the US and the rest of the world due to its versatility and small number of remotely significant associated risks. As someone who spent much of his life surrounded by current and former military personnel, I’ve seen firsthand how devastating PTSD can be for individuals as well as their loved ones and actually want to work with those affected in the future (should I get the opportunity). Needless to say, I find research into the discovery of a safe, effective treatment for PTSD to be of great importance. THC and CBD have shown great potential as safe and reliable sources of alleviation from the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, unfortunately, legislation and a lack of clinical research into the matter is a hindrance to the acceptance of these cannabinoids as viable treatment options. In regard to legislation, if you live in a state wherein THC is still illegal, advocate for its use and or contact your senator to express your opinion on the matter. While this may seem like a meager course of action, with the acceptance of cannabis amongst state governments growing each year, widespread legalization as well as federal legalization are on the horizon for United States and every voice of solidarity on the matter counts towards changing the political landscape as it pertains to marijuana. In regard to the need for clinical research, push for the funding of aforementioned research and or aid in funding it yourself if you are capable. While the willingness to explore the qualities of cannabis in a clinical setting is very present within the scientific community, the lack of resources with which to do so is just as present. With marijuana still possessing federal illegality, government funded research into the benefits of cannabis are limited to say the least. But I digress, I hope this article has been able to shed some light on the applications of CBD and THC as effective treatment options for those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For those looking to contact their senators, you can find out how by clicking here, and as always, keep it a mile high.
Travis A. Denver Co.
An accomplished scholar, researcher, athlete, writer, and editor, Travis is always aiming to keep himself on the forefront of content creation. Most of his free time is spent practicing mixed martial arts, hitting the slopes, or adventuring with his beloved canine companion, Fate.