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Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with Medical Marijuana

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects individuals who have suffered through trauma, and afterward experience altered mental states when experiencing “triggers” that cause them to relive their experiences. This may result in insomnia, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and generalized anxiety that makes it difficult to participate in normal, everyday life.   PTSD affects between 10 and 15 percent of veterans on the whole; with the numbers varying somewhat depending upon the conflict they were involved in. Things that may seem very normal – for instance, fireworks on the Fourth of July – may cause veterans who were involved in deadly conflicts to relive their experiences; since the sound of fireworks is similar to that of gunshots. PTSD is not a sign of weak will or cowardice, but is the result of a traumatic event – especially when suppressing normal human instincts – to run when confronted by gunfire; to be silent when in pain; or to run toward a disaster rather than away from it. These traumatic experiences leave their marks, and can cause massive disruption in the lives of those affected. Twenty veterans per day die as a result of suicide, and much of this can be attributed to the difficulty in treating PTSD, and ensuring stable mental health. Currently, treatments for PTSD include different types of therapy designed to suppress, desensitize, and reprocess events to help veterans better deal with the events they had to face. Medications are also available – largely antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc). Of course, there are negative side effects from many of these medications – and while benzodiazepines are an excellent short-term solution to acute anxiety, they are also extremely addictive and risky to prescribe to someone already experiencing suicidal thoughts. In 2016, a Canadian medical marijuana company called Marijuana for Trauma opened a location in Alberta to treat PTSD in military veterans, with the idea that prescription medications dull the ability to process trauma, and therefore do not allow the veteran to recover; but instead mask the process entirely. Marijuana, on the other hand, soothes without removing an experience entirely. This allows trauma therapy a greater chance of success; reducing situational avoidance and anxiety to manageable levels. Without these obstacles, our veterans are given time to heal. Have you considered medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD? Are you a combat veteran? Please reach out if we can help you cope with your trauma.