Cannabis Vs. Pills Part 2

Cannabis Vs. Pills Part 2

***Continued Part 2 Cannabis Vs. Pills

Last week we covered a few points that I think you may like, such as:

  • What is PTSD

  • PTSD and Veterans

  • How PTSD Hurts Relationships

If you have not yet read it, you can CLICK HERE TO READ IT!

Living with PTSD

Often those suffering with PTSD experience flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, and other frightening thoughts. They purposely try to stay away from things that may remind them of the event. For instance, they avoid smells, places, and objects that could remind them of what they have experienced.

The symptoms of PTSD also include arousal and reactivity symptoms whereby veterans may easily get startled, feeling on edge, and display angry outbursts. Trouble sleeping is also common among war veterans.

Shedding light on sleep deprivation, National Sleep Foundation explains such individuals feel like they need to be alert. They try to avoid the anxiety that comes with nighttime or subsequent darkness and nightmares.

In addition to these symptoms, veterans may experience cognitive and mood changes as well. Usually, they find it difficult to recall the entire traumatic event, and they feel guilty about their part in the event. It is not uncommon for them to get negative thoughts about themselves and the world at large. Sometimes they lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.

Can cannabis treat PTSD?

The research exploring the relationship between cannabis and PTSD is limited. But the results of preliminary studies show that hemp-derived compound CBD can help address symptoms of PTSD.

A 2019 review of the literature investigating medical cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, and PTSD found CBD may help address PTSD symptoms. However, the researchers recommended further research to determine its therapeutic uses, effectiveness, and safety.

Another research exploring the link between CBD and PTSD suggests that CBD intake immediately after a traumatic event prevents the brain from developing memories that later cause PTSD symptoms.

Yet another study showed that drugs acting on the endocannabinoid system reduce PTSD symptoms that a person may experience after the memory extinction process. It is because the endocannabinoid system affects anxiety and memory that plays a significant role in the development of PTSD.

Still, it is unclear why CBD works as a treatment for PTSD. However, some people believe that CBD affects PTSD symptoms by influencing the amygdala and the hippocampus in the brain.

The best forms of cannabis for PTSD

There are several ways to use cannabis products such as topicals, edibles, oils. Multiple studies have investigated the effectiveness of CBD to treat PTSD when taken in different forms.

A 2019 study found that people experienced a reduction in their PTSD symptoms who took CBD capsules alongside the traditional counseling.

Another study that examined the effects of CBD oil when applied to the skin found it effectively addressed anxiety and sleeping problems in a child with PTSD.

A 2018 literature review suggests that a combination of THC and CBD may help address PTSD symptoms.

Despite these preliminary studies showing the potential of cannabis compounds to treat PTSD symptoms, clearly, there is a need to carry out further research.

Cannabis use to treat PTSD symptoms among veterans

Various anecdotal accounts suggest that veterans who live with PTSD could experience a reduction in their symptoms by using cannabis.

Doug Distaso was an Air Force personnel. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and chronic pain in an Air Force plane accident. 

He was placed on more than a dozen medications by the doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“I was taking everything from opioids and antidepressants to benzodiazepines and sleeping pills,” Distaso told a website. “Like countless other veterans, this combat cocktail of drugs I was prescribed quickly threw my life into a tailspin, affecting my ability to perform at work and straining my relationships at home.”

Distaso experienced severe side-effects of the prescription drugs that affected his health and family life as well. Even he left his wife and family.

“What brought me back to my family, my career, and myself was medical cannabis. It helped me get off the pills and back in control of every facet of my life,” Distaso said.

“Sadly, for millions of veterans who rely solely on their VA healthcare benefits, federal law ties the hands of their VA doctors and cruelly denies these veterans access to medical cannabis as a treatment option,” he said.

Distaso now runs a Veterans Cannabis Project that advocates for veterans’ access to cannabis and supports veterans who seek treatment options beyond opiates and other addictive drugs.

“It is time for Congress to authorize doctors at the VA to recommend and assist veterans in accessing medical cannabis and require the VA to research the impacts of cannabis on common veterans’ health issues,” Distaso noted.

Next week's post will look at Cannabis and the VA, Cannabis and Veterans Groups, Best strains for veterans with PTSD, and I'll go over my final thoughts for the series.

--- To Be Continued ---

P.S. If you want to show support to veterans struggling with PTSD alone in silence, a Make America Chill Again t-shirt is a great way to show other veterans they're not alone!

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