While most people associate PTSD with veterans and think that it can only happen to people who have witnessed particularly blood battles and gunfights. But the truth is, a surprisingly large number of people, including normal civilians, suffer from PTSD.
In fact, according to some research agencies, around 60% people suffer some form of severe trauma in their lives, which, if left untreated, can result in PTSD. And while it is true that people who have served in active military service are more susceptible to the condition, the fact remains that nearly anyone can be affected by it.
But what makes PTSD particularly troublesome is that this is a psychiatric disorder, can ruin numerous lives, and has no definite treatment even today. True there are many different types of therapies and mind numbing medications available, none of them are 100% effective, or affordable.
This is probably the reason why so many people started asking whether cannabis would be able to help. And today we are here to tell you that it can!
But before we begin with that, let’s spend some time understanding what PTSD actually is.
What is PTSD?
The American Psychiatric Association defines Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a psychiatric disorder which is caused by witnessing, causing, or living through a particularly troubling and traumatic experience. It can be caused by nearly anything, from battles and bloodshed, to witnessing someone’s death, a raping, acts of terror, violent assaults, and even living through a natural disorder.
Naturally, soldiers who have faced active military duty, police officers, firemen, rescue workers, and even paramedics and doctors are more likely to witness such events, and hence we mostly hear about them suffering from the condition.
However, PTSD is not only limited to front-line heroes, and normal civilians can also suffer from it. Those who are suffering from PTSD often find that they have disturbing feelings and thoughts about it for a long time after the event has occurred.
While PTSD has been around for quite a long time, it was poorly understood until recent times. For example, it was called “shell shock” during the first world war soldiers suffering from it were told to “pull themselves together” and “be a man”.
Today, however, we know that PTSD has no link whatsoever with weakness, and is perfectly normal and natural response to trauma.
Signs of PTSD
While most people who experience trauma do relive it and suffer from the experience directly after the event, it is not diagnosed as a disorder if the symptoms do not last for a month or cause significant distress to the victims home and professional life.
There are three different forms of PTSD people mainly suffer from:
1. Reliving the event
More commonly known as re-experiencing the symptoms, victims of this form of PTSD find that they are unable to escape their horrors, both consciously and subconsciously.
While many people find that they are unable to forget their traumatic experience, for others, the trauma can be triggered by a reminder. For example, hearing about a sexual assault or an accident may induce a panic attack.
Similarly, many veterans find that they suddenly cannot endure innocent loud noises, such as the sound of a backfiring car or the breaking of glass without believing that it was happening all over again.
Often, this can be accompanied by hallucinations, making the experience dangerous for the victim and those who are around him.
Often, victims of PTSD try to avoid any situation which may remind them of their own traumatic event. While for some this is simple and quite effective, for example an army veteran avoiding places which may make him angry, or a retired firefighter buying an electric stove to avoid looking at fires.
However, in some cases, people with this form of PTSD may try to block everything out, and only become emotionally numb. They think that it might be better to avoid emotions altogether, rather than feel angry and afraid again. This is quite dangerous and unhealthy, both for themselves and the people around them.
3. Negativity and guilt
Trauma often leaves behind feelings of guilt and shame. Many people often end up thinking that the entire event was their fault, and they are to blame for it.
For example, many soldiers and policemen develop a strong and overpowering sense of guilt for their actions, while rape victims blame themselves that they allowed it to happen.
Cannabis and PTSD
There are different types of psychotherapies and anti-anxiety medications available in the market, none of them are 100% effective. In fact, unless you have a very good insurance policy, many may just be out of your budget range.
Which is where cannabis comes into play. It has long been considered a self medicating and “coping” drug, and today, anecdotal evidence and scientific both prove that it is so much more.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has paved new avenues for understanding and treating PTSD. In fact, the researcher at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) found that people with PTSD tend to suffer from lower levels of anandamide, an indigenous compound found in our bodies.
Luckily, THC activates the same receptors as anandamide, i.e. the CB1 receptors, which in turn deactivates traumatic and disturbing memories and endows the body with the gift of forgetting.
Top 3 Cannabis Strains for PTSD
It is important to know that not all cannabis strains are similar. While some may help you manage anxiety and fight PTSD, others can induce paranoia.
Which is why finding the best strain for yourself is extremely important. But worry not, for we are here for you. Below are our top 3 cannabis strains for PTSD.
Powerful, potent and relaxing, Blue Dream is an extremely famous medicinal strain. The sativa dominant hybrid possesses both physical and cerebral effects, and sets in almost immediately, making it the perfect strain to use in emergency situations.
One of the most beloved strains of all time, OG Kush doesn’t really need an introduction. Its high THC levels, combined with pleasant and euphoric effects are all a PTSD patient could ask for.
Named after the famous movie, Pineapple Express is quite a delicious and potent strain. Its medicinal capabilities are legendary, and the strain is all but guaranteed to be a fun and effective way to deal with PTSD.