After experiencing a traumatic event, some people can develop a condition called Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This anxiety disorder can impair one’s quality of life, although the symptoms might not always be so noticeable from the outside. It can be difficult for a person to deal with this disorder and for their family and friends to be able to recognize what is wrong with them. It can even be hard for the person suffering to know that they have PTSD. Only a doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can properly diagnose PTSD. Luckily, more people are becoming aware of what PTSD is, how they can ask for help if they think they might have it, and how a wonderful cannabinoid called CBD can help in the treatment process.
The National Institute of Mental Health says that “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event… People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are not in danger.”
To be diagnosed with PTSD, the NIMH says an adult must have all of the following symptoms for at least 1 month:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom
- At least one avoidance symptom
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing means you are having flashbacks, dreams or unwanted thoughts about the event. It’s like you’re re-living the trauma over and over again. Avoidance is when you do not show up to places that remind you of the event. You may go out of your way to steer clear of a place that makes you feel those traumatic thoughts again. Arousal and reactivity is when you feel like you’re constantly angry, on edge, tense or can become easily bothered or startled. You may have anger outbursts that affect your loved ones, leave you feeling hopeless and making it hard to complete everyday life tasks like eating, getting enough sleep and concentrating on school papers or work meetings. Cognition and mood refers to symptoms such as losing interest in activities you used to love, experiencing feelings that seem out of place, having negative thoughts you just can’t shake, or finding it difficult to remember certain features of your traumatic event.
All of these symptoms can affect your quality of life and need to be addressed if you want to become your happiest and healthiest self. PTSD can be a debilitating mental illness, so if you think you might have it, please make an appointment with a psychologist or a psychiatrist who can evaluate you. If you think a loved one may be suffering, gently tell them your feelings, sit with them while you pull up a web page of PTSD symptoms and offer to accompany them to a doctors’ appointment for moral support. Never shame or blame; it’s OK to ask for help and to ask your loved ones to consider getting help.
The good news is that the cannabinoid CBD can help PTSD. If you are diagnosed with PTSD, talk to your doctor about treating it with medical marijuana. In 2016, The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) formally approved a controlled clinical trial to study the effectiveness of whole-plant cannabis as a treatment for (PTSD) in military veterans. This was a huge deal because it was the first time in history that any US federal agency had approved a trial with the ideal end result of making flower marijuana into a smokable drug. Now, in most medical marijuana states, PTSD is one of the conditions that is approved for receiving medical marijuana.
There are many human and animal studies suggesting that CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for disorders related to inappropriate responses to traumatic memories like PTSD. The National Center for Biotechnology Information clearly writes, “Many of the published studies suggest a decrease in PTSD symptoms with marijuana use.”
Military veterans are especially at risk for developing PTSD upon experiencing war trauma. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that upwards of 20 percent of the 2.7 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will experience post-traumatic stress or depression. These brave veterans are one of the groups who has found success in obtaining relief by medicating with CBD. Many have reported using CBD for both physical and mental ailments such as anxiety, body pain and inflammation, as well as to improve their mood and help them sleep.
Aaron Augustis, the founder of the Veterans Cannabis Group, says he “can attest to the medicinal effects of cannabis when dealing with a traumatic life event such as the war in Iraq.” The Veterans Cannabis Group is an advocacy group of Veterans for Veterans who use medical cannabis. They provide education, safe access, information on VA resources and benefits, and an opportunity for veterans to work with other veterans within the cannabis industry. Another group called Veterans Cannabis Project is also pro CBD, saying, “Our message is a simple one: Medical cannabis saves lives, and veterans deserve full, legal access.”
It’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says some research suggests that marijuana can actually be harmful to individuals with PTSD. But that is a case-by-case basis that should be determined between the patient and the doctor. Today, doctors can prescribe CBD to those with PTSD in most states where medical marijuana is legal. If you are a veteran or a person who has experienced a traumatic event, you may be able to find relief with CBD hemp flower. Talk to your doctor today.
National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
Medical Jane https://www.medicaljane.com/ailment/ptsd/
The National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26644963
Veterans Anonymous https://va.org/ \
Veterans Cannabis Group https://veteranscannabisgroup.com/
Veterans Cannabis Project https://www.vetscp.org/