Here’s How Cannabis Can Treat PTSD
Medical marijuana is used to treat a number of mental illnesses, including depression and anxietydisorders. As the research on medical marijuana grows, it’s becoming clear that cannabis can treat PTSD patients, too.
A lot of the available research on cannabis and PTSD is about PTSD patients — especially military veterans — who become dependent on cannabis. While some people do use marijuana as an unhealthy coping mechanism, cannabis can treat PTSD patients in a way that improves their overall quality of life. Here’s how.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a disorder that occurs in people who have experienced a traumatic event. These traumatic events can include military combat, abuse, sexual violence, natural disasters, and assaults, to mention a few examples.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), about 3.5 percent of U.S. adults suffer from PTSD, and it’s estimated that in 11 people will experience PTSD in their lifetime.
The symptoms of PTSD include:
- Intrusive memories and thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares about the traumatic event
- Avoiding anything that reminds the patient of the event, including people, places, and objects
- Hyperarousal including being easily irritated, struggling to concentrate or sleep, being easily startled, and having outbursts of anger. This might include participating in self-destructive behavior.
- Feeling guilty or ashamed, having a low sense of self-worth, feeling distrustful of others, and constantly feeling anxious or unsafe.
Many sufferers of PTSD are also affected by other mental illnesses, including depression, other anxiety disorders, and personality disorders.