Chances are you know someone who is touched in some way by Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Whether it is you, a family member, or friend, PTSD affects many lives. Veterans and others who have undergone extremely traumatic experiences are finding that medical marijuana for PTSD is a viable treatment of symptoms.
Common symptoms of this condition include:
- Overwhelming negative emotions about the traumatic event
- Intrusive memories that interfere with normal daily life
- Emotional detachment
- Nightmares, insomnia, and difficulty sleeping
- Physical reactions like excessive sweating, rapid and shallow breathing, and even nausea or vomiting
- Substance abuse
- Symptoms of avoidance
- Intense distress that is obvious
Many of these symptoms may be minimized with the use of medical marijuana. The endocannibinoid system in the brain is linked to Veterans. This can be very beneficial for individuals who are suffering from PTSD. Marijuana may help veterans or any individual start to forget the traumatic memories, and relieve the anxiety and other PTSD symptoms that occur.
Facts on Marijuana for PTSD
Experts believe that approximately 1 out of 5 US veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, and these veterans are caught in the middle when it comes to marijuana for PTSD. The federal government still classifies this drug as a Schedule 1 substance which means it has no medical use, in spite of the fact that over 20 states have legalized medical marijuana.
Veterans who use the VA for treatment do not normally have the option of using marijuana for their PTSD unless they do so on their own. This may be changing though since the Senate passed FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill. This bill has language that will allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients that reside in states where it is legal for medicinal use.
Veterans are Not the Only Ones who Suffer From PTSD
While much of the focus on marijuana for PTSD is on veterans who come back with this condition many people who never served in the military also suffer from this disorder. Any extreme trauma or traumatic experience can result in this condition if the body does not return to normal after the event has ended and some time has gone by.
Physical or sexual abuse, fatal auto accidents, terrorist attacks, war, and other events that are highly traumatic can trigger symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms can interfere with normal daily activities, a restful sleep, and the mental and physical health of the individual. It is time that outdated beliefs and commercial biases against medical marijuana for PTSD so that sufferers can finally get relief.
Federal Marijuana Laws
One reason that many people do not use marijuana for PTSD is the way that the drug is Veterans. Some believe that the federal government will prosecute them even if medical marijuana is legal in their state and PTSD is a recognized condition that qualifies. Attempts to change the federal laws and classification on marijuana are being made but the process is slow.
The Myth that Marijuana Users Just Want to Get High
Another concern before using marijuana for PTSD is the myth that there is no such thing as medical marijuana and this group consists of stoners who simply want to get high. This stigma hurts those with PTSD because it can prevent them from getting the treatment and symptom relief that they deserve. Marijuana should be considered an option, especially for those who do not respond to other treatments.
Until recently there was a lack of studies that have been performed on marijuana for PTSD but that is also changing. One study actually examined whether using marijuana within hours of the traumatic event could help lessen or even prevent PTSD by preventing Veterans of the event and associated memories.
Those suffering with PTSD should speak to their medical provider about how medical marijuana can help them.