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Cannabis for PTSD

Cannabis for PTSD - helpful? Here, we look at the science behind why cannabis can reduce the symptoms that accompany this debilitating condition.

Jason SanderJason Sander · May 29, 2021 · 4 min read
Cannabis for PTSD

Those who both suffer from PTSD and have tried consuming cannabis for help with its symptoms have been saying for years that it helps. New research has shown why this is, and here we discuss the science behind it.

People who suffer from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, deal with a debilitating condition that can make living life almost unbearable. PTSD can cause those with it to experience nightmares, a detachment from friendships and family, chronic depression, alcohol problems, and so on. In some heartbreaking cases, PTSD can lead to thoughts of self-harm and suicide.

Cannabis for PTSD - What the Science Says

Much of the research up until recently has been inconclusive, but studies from 2020 show why consuming cannabis for PTSD can help. One of the studies has to do with the impact that cannabinoids can have on activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the human brain that is responsible for our response to fear, aggression, and anxiety. It also has a primary role in how we process emotions and make decisions.

Another study indicates that cannabis can possibly help diminish or even extinguish the traumatic memories of PTSD sufferers. These studies further indicate what those who consume cannabis for PTSD have already known but didn’t have the science to prove why it’s therapeutic. Previous studies on the potential impact cannabis can have on anxiety, both in helping with the brain’s response to anxiety and reducing the severity of anxiety when presented with threatening situations.

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However, studies on cannabis for PTSD specifically have been lacking or nonexistent. A study from Wayne State University involved 71 participants. Some were administered a low dose of THC and others were given a placebo. The participants were then exposed to potentially threatening and anxiety-inducing images or sounds and the responses from their brains were recorded. The authors of the study concluded that “THC modulates threat-related processing in trauma-exposed individuals with PTSD, and may prove advantageous as a pharmacological approach to treating stress- and trauma-related psychopathology.”

"THC modulates threat-related processing in trauma-exposed individuals with PTSD, and may prove advantageous as a pharmacological approach to treating stress- and trauma-related psychopathology.”

Whole-Plant Medicine

As promising as these studies on cannabis for PTSD are, they involve mostly administering isolated THC. As we’ve explained before, cannabis has over 100 cannabinoids and THC is just one of them. As more much-needed cannabis research is done, we may discover that the “entourage effect”, meaning a combination of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, can offer more help for PTSD sufferers than THC alone. It’s also important to mention that these studies involved low doses of THC, and that high doses of the cannabinoid - especially in those who are experienced - might make mental health issues worse.

In addition to the above studies, there is a solid amount of research that indicates how a balanced endocannabinoid system (ECS) can help with mental health. Few, if any medicines have such a remarkable impact on the ECS, a system in the body responsible for many aspects of our well-being. And in many states, a qualifying condition for cannabis is suffering from anxiety. At the very least, cannabis should be looked at as a safer alternative to opioids and looked at as a medicine that shows potential to help with mental illness.

HashDash - Education for Cannabis Consumers

We hope you found value in our content on cannabis for PTSD. Did you learn something, or have anything to add? Let us know - @hashdash on all platforms, except for Instagram, where we are @hashdashdotcom.

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Thanks for reading! Please consume responsibly.

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Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.
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