Medical Marijuana for PTSD in Florida: Turn Trauma into Growth
Are you one of the 13 million Americans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Have you used weed for PTSD symptoms? Find out why many folks use cannabis for PTSD treatment. And how weed fits into new-age PTSD treatment based on post-traumatic growth. Let's explore the ins and outs of legal pot for PTSD healing and growth.
We’ll walk through the following topics:
- The Basics: Assessment, Symptoms, and Forms of PTSD
- What the Research Says About Cannabis for PTSD
- Best Strains for PTSD and Anxiety
- Medical Weed for PTSD AND Psychosis Treatment
- How It Works: Growth-Based PTSD Therapy
- Getting Started with Medical Weed for PTSD & Post-Traumatic Growth
About one in 13 people have PTSD in their lifetime. PTSD is trauma and stress-related disorder. It often stems from a range of traumatic events. Classic triggers are war, or serious accidents or natural disasters. PTSD can also start from mental, physical, and sexual abuse.
So, How Do You Know if You Have PTSD?
The American Psychiatric Association spells out specific facts.
- You’ve been exposed to a traumatic event
- You routinely experience the traumatic event
- You regularly avoid things that remind you of the trauma
- You’re often “on-edge” with heightened senses such as alertness
- Your PTSD symptoms last more than one month
- The disturbance causes impairment in your social and workplace functions
Do You Have PTSD Symptoms?
PTSD fight or flight response symptoms can vary in degree. They often cause significant distress and problems with function. Patients can get depressed, anxious, or engage in substance abuse. Suicidal thoughts or impulses are a serious problem. These in addition to other memory, physical, and mental health problems. Having sadness or anxiety can further strengthen PTSD symptoms.
PTSD can cause hyper-alertness and phobic reactions to traumatic events. These reactions take you back to that unpleasant time. The PTSD symptoms of severe weather survivors can get worse from approaching storms.
There are Four Main Classes of PTSD Symptoms
The American Psychiatric Association classifies PTSD symptoms.
- Intrusive thoughts such as vivid flashbacks and distressing dreams
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma and thinking/talking about what happened
- Negative thoughts and feelings, such as beliefs about oneself or others
- Arousal and reactive symptoms
Beyond disruptive thoughts and feelings, PTSD may also cause physical symptoms. Here the mind is having an adverse influence over the body. There is a two-way relation between mental and physical states. Stress and mental conflict from PTSD can lead to clear physical conditions. These conditions include increased heart rate and blood pressure and headaches. Fatigue, inflammation, or muscle tension may be present. Also, nausea, sleep troubles, and various types of pain may occur.
PTSD trauma-related pain acts like anxiety or sadness. It serves as a trauma reminder and, in turn, may worsen PTSD symptoms. A two-way relation also exists between PTSD and inflammation. So, what’s the relation between medical herb and PTSD treatment?
The Roots of Medical Cannabis for PTSD
It’s about anxiety reduction. Trauma survivors have been using medical weed for PTSD for some time now.
In essence, weed (distinctly CBD) serves as a natural PTSD treatment. It helps to control intrusive thoughts and images. Many veterans, weather survivors, and trauma victims use cannabis for PTSD.
PTSD folks have altered levels of CB1 receptors and cannabinoids in the blood. This imbalance may contribute to heightened arousal and other PTSD symptoms. So, medical cannabis works by targeting PTSD symptoms in the brain/body.
What the Research Says About Medical Weed for PTSD
The full-spectrum flower contains CBD, terpenoids, and other CBD compounds. CBD is the non-heady component of cannabis. They all act in synergy with THC to counteract the “high.” They also fight against the potential adverse side effects of THC. This relation bolsters anxiety and depressant fighting properties. This herbal synergy can enhance the oxidant fighting strength of the whole weed flower.
Cannabis stimulates and activates the CB-1 receptors. These cannabinoid receptors are a reason medical weed is used as an option for PTSD treatment. CB1 receptors play a role in helping trauma-related memories. They reduce fear-related anxiety and improve stress reactivity. This helps sleep quality. It also supports the re-learning of emotion-laden memories.
A 2018 review of medical weed for PTSD treatment summarized years of research. It shows how the “entourage effect” of CBD, THC, and other compounds in activated weed helps to:
- Dampen the strength and emotional impact of traumatic, stress-induced memories.
- Reduce irritability, agitation, and hyper-vigilance.
- Prevent extreme stress responses and increase stress coping behaviors.
- Improve sleep time and sleep quality and combat sleeplessness.
- Curtail nightmare intensity in PTSD patients with treatment-resistant nightmares.
- Balance natural serotonin levels to help severe sadness and suicidal impulses.
- Mitigate PTSD flashbacks, panic attacks, and self-mutilation.
- Enhance relief from trauma by decreasing conditioned fear responses-this, as well as pain and inflammation.
Best Strains for PTSD and Anxiety
CBD dominant strains are mostly non-psychoactive. Cannabis strains with more CBD and less THC were better strains for PTSD and anxiety. Why?
CBD heavy strains with low THC content:
- Fixes abnormal brain activity. This helps to reduce anxiety, sadness, and psychosis.
- Help you feel uplifted and in a good mood without being "stoned."
- Bolster cognitive performance and reduce memory impairment.
- Offer anti-inflammation properties for folks who have PTSD with pain.
- Regulates abnormal sleep-wake cycles. This helps patients with PTSD, anxiety, and chronic pain.
- Enhances sleep quality and amount of sleep. This helps reduce fatigue and supports daytime alertness.
So...what’s better: Indica or Sativa for PTSD?
Sativa relaxes with the benefit of a mild hypnotic. Sativa herbs high in CBD may be the best strains for PTSD and anxiety. And for PTSD patients have sleep problems...the more CBD, the more sleep relief.
Cannatonic is a high-CBD hybrid strain mix of MK Ultra and G13 Haze. The strain is a hybrid between Indica (50%) and Sativa (50%). But this CBD heavy strain doesn't impact your body and mind like many Hybrids. It is unique in that it helps you feel relaxed. All the while, it elevates your mood at the same time.
Indica and THC heavy strains are helpful for falling to sleep. They also reduce nightmares related to PTSD and improve short-term sleep. However, high THC strains can disrupt overall sleep quality and well-being. This is seen more when they are used long-term.
Ongoing studies reviewing cannabis for PTSD are currently underway. The highly awaited findings will help us grow the best strains for PTSD.
Medical Weed for PTSD AND Psychosis Treatment
PTSD and symptoms of psychosis, such as visions, often coexist. The Journal of Molecular Psychiatry published a 2018 study. Researchers found a marked genetic overlap between schizophrenia and PTSD. Schizophrenia is a common type of psychotic disorder.
An earlier review looked at 32 people with a psychotic disorder. They found that 53% of them also had PTSD symptoms. The study also found those with the worse trauma saw the worse psychotic and PTSD symptoms. This suggests that both PTSD and psychosis may be trauma-induced. Treating PTSD may provide antipsychotic benefits at the same time.
CBD is well-known as a non-mind bending and natural treatment for psychosis. Based on a study in Translational Psychiatry, CBD assists the endocannabinoid anandamide. This plays a role in decreasing psychosis and improving treatment outlook.
THC, on the other hand, has the reverse effect on psychosis and PTSD symptoms. The Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology reviewed PTSD and weed in 2016. They saw frequent daily use of high THC strains can increase the odds of developing psychosis. PTSD patients with certain genetic traits that heighten response to stress and trauma are at higher risk.
Many with PTSD with psychotic illness consume high THC strains. These patients may have poorer prognosis from those who refrain from high THC strains. Having PTSD, psychosis, and schizophrenia is more complex. It’s best to find an expert doctor up-to-speed on all treatment options.
How It Works: Growth-Based PTSD Therapy
Relying on medical weed to help quality of life for PTSD is not in itself a complete treatment. Yes, using cannabis for PTSD can help to fight disturbing thoughts and feelings.
A mix of cannabis AND mental health treatment has been shown effective. This approach provides a much, MUCH better PTSD treatment outlook. This is also seen with more severe PTSD. It should be an option for folks not responding to either approach alone.
New approaches to PTSD treatment are coming of age. These focus on raising human experience beyond just helping PTSD symptoms. In addition to stress reduction, knowing a trauma response is key. Accepting growth is part of cognitive-behavioral PTSD treatment focused on post-traumatic growth.
Using treatments like medical weed to help PTSD symptoms is just one piece of the puzzle. Effective treatment of PTSD requires positive emotions and healthy friendships. Also, engagement, meaning, purpose, and gratitude are needed. Being mindful and having a positive outlook is helpful.
Getting Started with Medical Weed for PTSD & Post-Traumatic Growth
Chronic PTSD can speed up aging and raise the odds of several health issues.
Drugs are the first line of defense when it comes to mental health issues. Doctors rely on them in PTSD, anxiety, sadness, and psychosis. Although they fight depression and psychosis, there are many side effects. Antiseizure drugs, benzos, and synthetic PTSD drugs are commonly used as well.
It is crucial for us to pump the brakes on the downward spiral of PTSD. Reducing the impact of its symptoms is just the first step. Success is moving towards post-traumatic GROWTH. This attains a complete state of mental and physical well-being. Cultivating mindfulness for enabling life problems is also essential.
Find a cannabis doctor who knows how to help you get the most out of life. Truly flourishing may be the magic key to achieving sustained PTSD relief. If you are experiencing a traumatic event and taking prescription drugs for flashbacks or disturbing thoughts, there is help. If you are suffering from PTSD as one of your health conditions and think you will qualify for a medical marijuana card.
Are you a veteran, hurricane victim, or trauma survivor? In Miami, if you have PTSD, we may be able to help. Let us help you down the path of healing. Schedule an appointment at our new cannabis clinic today. We’re at 649 NE 79th Street. Our doctors are experts in the safe use of legal weed for PTSD. We can point you in the right direction for post-traumatic GROWTH. More information on PTSD can be found at the Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD webpage.