Like it or not, the chance of experiencing some sort of trauma over the course of your life is pretty realistic. Traumas can happen to anyone: from traffic accidents to your house catching fire, finding yourself caught up in a war, or the sudden death of a child or loved one. Life has a nasty habit of taking sudden drastic turns. So how do you cope with traumatic events? People differ in their responses. Some develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and get nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. Psychotherapy and medication can help, but cannabis may be useful in treating PTSD, too.
Life After Trauma
We all hope for a peaceful life with a minimum of drama and shocking events. Realistically, though, that has a faintly fairytale ring to it of ‘living happily ever after’. Sadly, that’s not how life usually goes. On average, more than one in two people experience actual traumatic events at some point in their lives. Walking into a supermarket robbery or being a sexual abuse victim is more likely than most of us would like to admit.
No matter how traumatic an event may be, however, developing PTSD is by no means a given. Some people get to terms with trauma in a matter of weeks or months. Stress and anxiety soon fade to the background. Failure to cope well with trauma can lead to developing post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a chronic condition that can cause various physical and mental problems:
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Intense anxiety (including panic attacks);
- Jumpy, fearful mindset;
- Withdrawn behaviour;
- Sleeping problems;
PTSD can have disruptive consequences for daily life. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can be crushing (since nobody truly understands what you’ve been through), while panic attacks and recurring flashbacks can make you feel deeply insecure. In addition, PTSD can make it very hard to concentrate on on your job or studies. PTSD symptoms are usually treated with medication and psychotherapy. However, the calming properties of cannabis have scientists interested in the potential of marijuana in PTSD treatment. We take a look at the benefits involved in using cannabis for this condition.
Veterans, Cannabis & PTSD
One group of PTSD patients who prove especially likely to use cannabis for symptom relief are traumatized army veterans. In the US in particular, more liberal legislation, high numbers of (former) army personnel with traumas, and better access to cannabis have led many veterans to try cannabis for their PTSD issues. It appears that many of them turn to marijuana once regular antidepressants and anxiolytics fail to bring relief. Let’s find out what makes cannabis so interesting as a natural treatment option of PTSD.
How Cannabis Can Help Control Trauma And PTSD
Cannabis can influence our body and brain by working with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to affect various processes. The ECS is tasked with preserving our physiological balance, a job for which it need cannabinoids. These cannabinoids act as messenger, binding to cell receptors to relay messages to other cells. Cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, including THC, CBD, and CBG, are accepted by the body just like the highly similar endocannabinoids it produces itself, allowing them to perform this task too. This begs the question: what potential does cannabis have in treating PTSD?
Replenishing Cannabinoid Deficits
Martin Lee is a researcher investigating the consequences of PTSD. In his position at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), he found that many people suffering from PTSD have cannabinoid deficits affecting their ECS. Their bodies produce insufficient endocannabinoids of their own, which causes disruptions into specific processes. Using cannabis could help replenish these deficits, however, giving patients a chance to recover.
Fewer Nightmares On Cannabis
Many people use cannabis as a natural means to help them sleep better. This implies another benefit of cannabis for PTSD patients. Recurring nightmares are one of the most prevalent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Participants in a 2019 study were given 5mg THC twice a day. This improved their quality of sleep, with fewer bad dreams to disturb them.
Hypervigilance is a common symptom in many anxiety disorders, including PTSD. It means being in a heightened state of readiness. Hypervigilance can alter the brain’s chemical makeup, which in turn changes how we respond to our environment. Cannabis (with emphasis on indica strains) can help people relax, both in the physical and the mental sense. This relaxing effect can help lower hypervigilant states, which can bring vigilance back within its normal boundaries.
Positive Influence On The Amygdala Response
Researchers at Detroit’s Wayne State University have studied the influence of cannabis on the amygdala in trauma-induced anxiety disorders. The study was made up of three subject groups: a healthy control group, adults affected by trauma without suffering from PTSD, and a third group with PTSD. All 71 participants received either low doses of THC or a placebo. They were then exposed to a series of threatening stimuli while their amygdala response was monitored.
It turned out that the THC group showed lower amygdala activity. These subjects displayed less anxiety in situations designed to trigger the sensation. These results were observed in all three groups, indicating that THC can reduce anxiety in PTSD patients. The researchers concluded that THC has a regulatory effect on threat processing in PTSD patients. This property makes CBD Oil a viable option for PTSD treatment in the future.
Lowers Intensity Of Anxiety
A research team at Brazil’s Federal University of Parana investigated whether cannabis can help reduce the intensity of traumatic memories. The setup was based on professor R. Sewell’s idea that traumatic memories can be overwritten by new memories, a notion called ‘extinction learning’.
This process can be used to extinguish trauma by repetition. Imagine a war veteran who gets anxious near bridges, because he recalls how explosives were thrown at him from a bridge during his deployment. After returning home, the veteran is likely to avoid brides altogether to prevent feelings of anxiety. The primitive reptile part of his brain warns that going near the bridge will kill him. However, if the veteran can be persuaded to go under the bridge and repeat the process several times, his brain will start to understand that bridges aren’t lethal after all. The anxiety is extinguished through the formation of new, non-traumatic memories.
People with PTSD appear to lack a healthy person’s capacity for extinction learning. Associations with the traumatic memory keep triggering anxiety responses. Professor Sewell thought, however, that cannabinoids could help out here. Cannabis stimulates the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which have been shown to improve extinction learning in animal trials. In case of trauma, cannabinoids may boost the process and grant PTSD patients renewed access to this learning mechanism. This could enable them to recover from their traumatic experiences. Sadly, however, Sewell passed away before he could complete his research.
The Brazilian research team carried on the line of investigation, however. Their multi-study review demonstrated that cannabis can prove useful. Low THC doses paired with CBD seem to speed up extinction of traumatic memories. Apparently, cannabis helps reduce anxiety as seen in PTSD. THC improves the extinction process, while CBD helps counter the side-effects of THC.
Cannabis To Improve Sense Of Calm In PTSD
There are many people who grow their own weed for the plant’s many alleged medical benefits. But what if you want to grow cannabis to increase your control over PTSD: which seeds should you order? We will hand aspiring growers a few suggestions below, but do keep in mind that success is never guaranteed. Always take conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder seriously. Weed is no miracle cure, and we advise anyone to seek professional help for mental and physical health problems in general!
As mentioned, researchers note that indica cannabis strains prove particularly helpful in controlling the symptoms of PTSD. Our selection of indica-dominant variants gives you plenty of choice, both in terms of their relaxing bodybuzz and with respect to flavour preferences and parent genetics. Our kush cannabis strains are worth a try for anyone aiming to pair mental tranquillity with relaxed muscles.
Growing Amsterdam Genetics Cannabis Seeds For PTSD
Being spoiled for choice in picking Amsterdam Genetics seeds is a good thing, especially when it comes to PTSD. Individual expressions of post traumatic stress disorder vary both according to personality and symptomatic nature. This depends on individual character traits, underlying trauma types, and severity of symptoms. We are more than happy to help growers find the best choice in cannabis genetics to control their specific PTSD problems.
You’ll find plenty of suggestions for growing suitable weed variants in our blogs on cannabis strains to help you relax. Make sure to check our info on cannabis for stress and anxiety disorders. And don’t forget to consider the benefits of growing CBD seeds with high cannabidiol levels. Of course, our CBD Oil and CBG Oil supplements are good alternatives to increase your grip on PTSD.
Always Take Cannabis And PTSD Seriously
If you have had a traumatic experience and you’re still dealing with negative consequences, you could try cannabis to find a sense of calm. It can help you sleep better, have fewer flashbacks, and possibly tone down the impact of your traumatic memories. Whatever you do, though, always make sure you act safely and responsibly. Consult a doctor if you are already using medication. The various cannabinoids in marijuana can sometimes interact with specific types of medication. Moreover, it is important to take both cannabis and PTSD symptoms seriously. Weed is no miracle cure: seeking professional support and talking about your problems with people close to you is always a good idea!
Anyone planning to grow their own cannabis, whether for PTSD or otherwise, will find the knowhow they need in our many Grow Blogs. Paired with the best cannabis seeds you’ll find online, even the greenest grower can make a flying start to that first home-grown harvest!