Can cannabis help veterans with PTSD?
Have you ever wondered if cannabis can help Veterans with PTSD?
If so you're not alone!
The growing awareness of prescription drugs' side effects is having an unexpected side-effect.
It encourages people to resort to alternative and holistic forms of medication.
With promising health benefits, cannabis is one of the most sought-after natural medicines available that people want to incorporate into their daily lives.
Research shows human beings have been aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis plants for centuries.
But only when the modern scientific evidence started showing the cannabis plant could provide effective relief from several health conditions, have more and more people been reincorporating it into their daily routines.
Several people believe the natural healing potential of cannabis could help veterans to deal with PTSD.
The preliminary scientific evidence is starting to emerge that verifies marijuana can help individuals to address symptoms of PTSD.
Before shedding light on how veterans can benefit from cannabis to treat their PTSD-related symptoms, let's briefly discuss what PTSD is.
What is PTSD?
Here is the part where I post the definition. (Boring, but necessary)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that "Develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event." According to NIMH.NIH.gov, PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by stressful, frightening, or distressing events.
In other words, the experience of a scary, shocking, or dangerous event leads to a mental condition where sufferers face several mental issues.
The symptoms may include trouble sleeping, reliving the event repeatedly, avoidance of situations or memories, cognition issues, mood swings (being easily startled, on edge, or angry), and more.
PTSD and Veterans
Military personnel is specifically prone to PTSD as a mental disorder.
During war, veterans face situations where they come face-to-face with life-threatening events, see horrific sights, and encounter smells they can't describe or forget.
Due to the nature of the job, it is not uncommon for troops to fall victim to PTSD more than the civilian population.
According to estimates, about 7 to 8% of the US population experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
This percentage is much higher among military veterans, and the exact number depends upon which conflict they have endured.
For instance, the percentage of the military population developing PTSD who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom ranges between 11 to 20%.
And, approximately 30% of Vietnam War Era Vets have developed or will develop PTSD symptoms.
What does PTSD look like in veterans?
According to the National Center for PTSD, "a person with PTSD may appear angry, tense, or worried. They may also come across as numb, distant, or detached. Veterans with PTSD may also be easily aggravated, jumpy, or excitable while also showing symptoms of being more demanding or protective at the same time."
Relationship issues are not uncommon with PTSD either: How PTSD hurts relationships.
"PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem-solving. These problems may affect the way the survivor acts with others. In turn, the way a loved one responds to them affects the trauma survivor. A circular pattern can develop that may sometimes harm relationships." According to PTSD.VA.gov, who goes on to write a great example of how a trauma survivor might react.
Unfortunately, PTSD often causes people to feel detached from others.
People with PTSD often describe feeling numb, having a hard time getting close, or feeling little to no emotions.
There are several responses people suffering from PTSD bring to situations that can negatively affect family and friends.
It is not uncommon for family and friends to feel hurt, bitter, or discouraged, especially if they don't recognize these symptoms as normal reactions to PTSD.
A positive approach requires that you understand PTSD responses enough to know they are a common way of dealing with this condition.
I know that this is a lot to read, so I will end this before it gets any longer.
Because I respect your time, I will end here and post Part 2 next week.
Next week's post will look at how it is for veterans to live with PTSD, talk about if cannabis can help with PTSD, and the best forms of cannabis for people who have PTSD.
Until next week,