Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or commonly known as PTSD is a mental disorder in which the human mind has trouble comprehending traumatic experiences such as traffic accidents, war, sexual assault or child abuse. While diagnostic measures are case sensitive, the use of cannabis has been researched and proven to make beneficial strides in managing, and even curing PTSD.
Medical professors at the University of Calgary have conducted research on the subject and found that weed can be effective in curing PTSD. The relationship of the two comes in from THC levels in the cannabis and the cannabinoid receptors in the brain’s endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System
This system is found in the brain. It is the system responsible for most of the basic body functions like appetite and sleep. The system is made of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced chemicals that control appetite, sleep, and also boost the body’s natural healing process. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are chemical compounds that alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. This means that pain and uncomfortable feelings are blocked and replaced by a soothing feel good feeling, like in the case of cannabis. These cannabinoids are acknowledged by cannabinoid receptors, otherwise known as CBs. There are two types; CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are found mostly in the brain, with some in the lungs, heart, kidney, muscle, and liver. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and the blood. The CB1 receptors acknowledge the euphoric and psychoactive effect of the THC in weed. The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, acknowledge cannabinoids Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabigerol (CBG), both which have medicinal properties.
The CB1 and CB2 receptors speed up healing processes in the affected areas when they acknowledge the cannabinoids in the body. PTSD cases are specific to their cause. War soldiers that went through traumatic experiences that left them with either mental health damage, painful injuries or just psychological stress, in general, can gain the medicinal advantage of marijuana.
The CB1 acknowledges the THC and in turn, masks away the pain. The high that cannabis releases is a feel-good feeling that helps PTSD patients cope with the pain, stress levels, anxiety or sleeplessness. The CB2 then works together with CB1 to initiate and boost the natural healing process. It works as a catalyst, accelerating effects of other drugs prescribed to the PTSD patient.
The progress of weed in treating PTSD can only go as far as each specific case dictates. Cannabis for PTSD treatment in the case of physical pain from injuries inflicted by war, sexual assault or child abuse is more effective than psychological cases. For stress levels, weed is a rather temporary solution. When the high feeling fades away, the patient is left feeling “normal” again and has to face the reality of things. Doctors prescribe weed in minimal amounts as excessive use of marijuana, no matter the cause, have adverse effects. Therefore, weed is primarily used as a complement to other PTSD treatment options, at least until further research is done on the subject.