According to the American Psychiatric Association, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental disorder that affects approximately 3.5% of U.S. adults each year.
An estimated 1 in 11 people are diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. They have to deal with symptoms like extreme anxiety, panic attacks, uncontrollable thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares regarding the scary event they had experienced.
In some instances, these overpowering symptoms lead to a person committing suicide.
Speaking of treatment, psychotherapy and medications (antidepressants & anti-anxiety drugs) are usually prescribed for PTSD patients, but medical marijuana has long been touted as being helpful for those suffering from PTSD.
Many patients have been stating that marijuana helps with their PTSD. And now, research studies on the effectiveness of medical marijuana in helping PTSD patients deal with this mental disorder have come to light.
Positive Research Findings
Research studies conducted recently have indicated that cannabinoids present in marijuana may help in the treatment of PTSD,
While one of the studies reveals how marijuana can decrease activity in the amygdala (brain part linked with fear responses to threats), another study indicates that cannabinoids could help extinguish traumatic memories. Both these positive effects have the potential to be therapeutic for PTSD patients.
The first study was conducted by researchers at Wayne State University, located in Michigan. This study focused on checking how marijuana use impacted the amygdala response of people dealing with trauma-related anxiety, like PTSD.
On completing the research, the authors stated that the research suggests that THC present in marijuana modulates threat-related processing in trauma-exposed individuals with PTSD.
They further mentioned that the drug “may prove advantageous as a pharmacological approach to treating stress- and trauma-related psychopathology.”
The second study was conducted by researchers at the Federal University of Parana in Brazil. They examined another potential manner in which marijuana could help PTSD patients – by extinguishing the intensity linked with their traumatic memories.
The researchers carried out a comprehensive review of marijuana literature from the year 1974-2020. They investigated evidence from controlled human trials to support/deny the view that marijuana helps in the ‘extinction’ of memories linked with trauma.
The researchers discovered that marijuana could assist in the process of extinction of memories. They found that low doses of THC or THC combined with CBD helped boost the extinction rate for challenging memories & decrease overall anxiety responses.
The authors concluded that the current evidence from healthy humans, as well as PTSD patients, indicates that these forms of marijuana “suppress anxiety and aversive memory expression without producing significant adverse effects.”
To conclude, we can say that the findings of these research studies offer answers for why people suffering from PTSD find marijuana to be helpful.
But, more importantly, they offer a ray of hope for the future with regards to medical marijuana being used as a treatment option for PTSD!