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Understanding PTSD

Aug 17, 2017 03:22PM ● Published by Advisory Board

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threating or life-altering event. Symptoms include recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma, sleep problems, irritability, anger, poor concentration, blackouts, and a phobia of places, people, and experiences that remind the sufferer of the trauma.

For as long as humans have been suffering from trauma, we have been dealing with PTSD in some form. As our physiological development evolved, we gained a greater understanding of this and eventually gave it a name. During World War I, the term “shell shock” was used to describe what is now better described as PTSD. By World War II, shell shock was replaced with the term “combat stress reaction.” The phrase “post-traumatic stress disorder” didn’t appear until the 1980s, with the publication of the third volume of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is not a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in all medical marijuana states, but it does qualify in a number of states. After a long, persistent effort, the state of Colorado approved PTSD as a qualifying condition for Medical Marijuana. This is the first new qualifying condition added under the Colorado’s medical marijuana law since it was implemented in 2001.

Can Cannabis Help?
Individuals who suffer from PTSD experience a wide variety of symptoms. Many of these common symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia have been shown to have positive effects when medical marijuana is used. Medical marijuana can help people with PTSD by working with the body’s natural compounds to create a relaxing effect on the brain. Studies show that medical marijuana with high levels of CBD provide therapeutic effect on those with anxiety disorders.

Insomnia is another issue for those with PTSD, whether it is due to night terrors, paranoia, or OCD habits. The traditional method of combating insomnia with pharmaceuticals now has a new competitor.  Many sleeping medications, such as the benzodiazepines, convert deep sleep into lighter sleep, so that while the total amount of sleep may be modestly increased, it may not be of optimal quality. Due to cannabis’s long-standing scheduling with the federal government, there is currently limited research on cannabis and its effects on sleep. What we do know is that when compared to other common sleep aid methods, such as alcohol and pharmaceutical medications, cannabis has fewer long-term negative side effects. Marijuana has been found to decrease REM sleep while increasing slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep is the stage of sleep right before REM: in this stage, the body builds mental and physical energy.

Will Cannabis Work for You?
Save the date: Find out if cannabis is the right therapy for you. We invite you to attend PTSD and Cannabis, a free public event sponsored by Sensi Magazine and Stratos and hosted by Lux Leaf, on Thursday, September 28, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Visit LuxLeaf.com for further event information.
Features, Advisory Board

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