Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that can occur in people that have faced life threatening events, such as people who have served in the military, survived natural disasters, serious accidents etc, most people recover from these sorts of incidents fine although there are a lot who have a hard time overcoming their stress reactions and they can even get worse over time. This can develop into PTSD. Victims of this disorder may relive their traumatic experiences through flashbacks or in nightmares, they can face problems sleeping with effects that impair enough to have serious effects on a person’s life.

People with PTSD experience three different kinds of symptoms. The 1st symptoms involve reliving the trauma in some way such as being upset when confronted with a traumatic reminder or thinking about the trauma when you are trying to do something else. The 2nd set of symptoms involve either staying away from places or people that remind you of the trauma, isolating from other people, or feeling numb. The 3rd of symptoms include things like feeling on guard feeling irritable, or startling easily.

Cannabis has been viewed by many as a self-medicated coping drug for people with anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety condition that can be acquired by many things such as a traumatic event witnessed during military combat, this can include the likes of flashbacks and insomnia. Following the experience of a traumatic event the biological response in the body is to stop the production of anandamide in the limbic system (set of brain structures that supports a variety of functions including emotion and behaviour) when in presence of reminders in the surrounding environment that resembles or relates back to the initial event. The decreased stimulation of this part of the brain trigger anxiety and an intense fear.

The traumatizing memory flashbacks and anxiety people affected by PTSD get can’t be controlled and can happen at any point. Following the administration of THC in the body, receptors located in the limbic system will once again be stimulated which will prevent past memories from becoming so overwhelming and modulate the persons response in the presence of a trigger. This is why for Veterans, several states in the United States have approved the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

An article on speaks about a man called Elvis Alonzo who spent three years in the Marine Corps and 13 years with Glendale Police Department in Arizona, where he witnessed the murders and suicides that had left him emotionally crippled and unable to live a normal life. After being diagnosed with PTSD and prescribed medication for his condition that he says “turned me into a zombie”, a friend then suggested the use of cannabis instead to relieve his symptoms, he then says “It curbs my anxiety and makes me sleep fantastic”. This is just one of thousands of claims from veterans who also feel like cannabis has greatly helped with this condition and is also less addictive than the opioids and anti-depressants Veterans said were adversely effected their moods.

For more than a year, the American Legion group, a group that was established after World War I and has over 2 million members to date, has been fighting to reframe the debate of whether or not cannabis should be used to treat PTSD, arguing that access to it could both ease suffering and reduce the rate of suicide among soldiers who have had to face the horrors of war. According to a study done by the Department of Veteran affairs, roughly 20 Veterans a day commit suicide. Many veterans, such like Elvis Alonzo, claimed to have turned to medical marijuana as an alternative to the medication they were being prescribed, calling them “zombie drugs”.

Vaping has been greatly suggested as opposed to smoking mainly due to the efficiency and dosing consistency that comes with it. If instead vaping you will you approximately 30 to 45% less cannabis that you would use if smoking. Using a vaporizer is the best way to gain control and it will start to act within minutes. It is recommended to vape small doses of the cannabis shortly before exposure to any potential triggers.\par
Many legal medical marijuana provinces in Canada have listed PTSD listed as an approved condition for the use of cannabis for medical reasons. Even now there is increasing knowledge surrounding the use of medical marijuana for veterans and the effects it has on anxiety and depression, there is an evergrowing group of veterans who are using it to treat their PTSD symptoms to help them get back to living their lives as normal as they possibly can and we want to be able to provide them and help them with this process.