The list of conditions medical cannabis may be effective in treating grows ever longer. As more research is conducted, more evidence accrues for cannabis’ potential effectiveness in treating many different conditions. It seems to be as effective in managing the side effects of cancer treatments as it is for managing chronic pain.
Researchers are now studying the potential effects of medical cannabis on mental health. Research shows cannabis may have positive effects when used in the treatment of anxiety. It’s also showing promise for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What effects might medicinal cannabis have on the PTSD patient?
Relief from Anxiety
One of the most common symptoms of PTSD is anxiety. This manifests in many different ways. It may take the form of obsessing over the trauma. It can sometimes be more general, leading to worries about day-to-day life. Patients may have panic attacks. Many find everyday tasks distressing. Others worry about the trauma being repeated.
Cannabis acts on the central nervous system, suppressing the stress response. Stress responses often result in heightened awareness and paranoia, in addition to feelings of nervousness or anxiety. By suppressing this response, cannabis may help PTSD sufferers.
Since cannabis blocks the stress response, research suggests it promote a sense of relaxation and ease. A person using medical cannabis may feel less worried and more at ease.
Relaxation allows patients with post-traumatic stress disorder to cope with everyday tasks they may find stressful otherwise. Intrusive thoughts and unpleasant memories may be kept at bay by particular cannabis strains.
Many PTSD sufferers have difficulty sleeping. Many experience insomnia. Others find their sleep disturbed by persistent nightmares, often connected to the trauma they’ve experienced. In some cases, PTSD sufferers may actually sleep more, similar to how patients with depression may increase their hours of sleep without finding relief from a feeling of constant exhaustion.
Cannabis can assist in all of these situations. Many different strains claim to promote drowsiness and sleep, much the same way they promote relaxation. For those suffering from insomnia and recurrent nightmares, medicinal cannabis may help them get a good night’s sleep. Good quality of sleep is integral to recovery and coping.
For those whose sleep disturbance tends in the other direction, some strains of cannabis claim to promote alertness and mental clarity.
Certain medical cannabis strains also claim to promote mental clarity, alertness, and focus. While that may sound counterintuitive to the treatment of PTSD, it may actually be very helpful.
Many PTSD patients become incredibly focused on the trauma or on their own stress response. They may begin by experiencing a small amount of anxiety, but the anxiety builds on itself until it becomes a full-blown anxiety attack. Others may become obsessive about the trauma whether they wish to or not. Some experience unwanted memories intruding into everyday experiences, while others purposely focus their attention.
Cannabis may be able to promote relaxation while also focusing the attention wholly on the activity or task at hand. Intrusive memories and thoughts may be kept at bay. The patients are able to entirely immerse themselves in the activity.
Can It Help You?
Studies suggest medical cannabis shows promise for helping PTSD patients get relief of their symptoms. When combined with other therapies and treatments, cannabis might be an effective part of any treatment plan for PTSD.
Talk to a qualified medical professional to ask how medical cannabis could help you and if you’d be qualified to receive authorization.