Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a major mental health problem for soldiers in combat and when veterans return home. New studies suggest that marijuana can help veterans and others that suffer from PTSD.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is a mental health issue that affects anyone who has been in a traumatic situation. Veterans that have been in combat suffer a great deal from PTSD, but others can also have post traumatic stress syndrome.
Symptoms of PTSD
Not everyone that has been in a traumatic situation or experienced something traumatic will develop PTSD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD symptoms are grouped into the following three categories. If you believe you or someone you know might suffer from PTSD, you can watch for these symptoms.
- Physical symptoms such as a racing or palpitating heart while reliving the traumatic experience like a flashback.
- Frightening thoughts that occur.
- Purposely staying away from and avoiding places, objects or events that might remind them of the traumatic experience.
- Feeling emotionally numb, a strong guilt or depression.
- Not remembering the traumatic event or the danger.
- The person with PTSD might be easily startled.
- A feeling of being on edge or tense.
- Problems sleeping.
- Angry outbursts.
How Marijuana Can Help PTSD
There are over 300,000 veterans diagnosed with PTSD currently in the U.S. Many of the prescriptions given to veterans with PTSD either do not work and or come with serious side effects.
The active chemical in marijuana is THC. Looking at the brains of animals that have been given THC, they found that it acts on the part of the brain that modulates fear and anxiety. Other studies with traumatized mice found that THC made the mice calmer and less anxious.
Another study found that THC had long-lasting results with reducing anxiety in people with anxiety disorders. This study found that further research is warranted.
New PTSD Studies with Marijuana
On March 12 of this year, researchers have been given the green light to purchase medical marijuana and start studying how marijuana can relieve PTSD in veterans. This study is long overdue and has been on hold for 22 years.
This new three month study is designed to find out what works and what doesn’t work. The study will divide 50 combat veterans that have been diagnosed with PTSD into groups. Each group will get 0.9grams (equal to two marijuana cigarettes) and either smoke marijuana or inhale it by vaporization methods. After each week, the veterans will submit their observations.
Marijuana and PTSD Conclusion
Considering the number of veterans suffering from PTSD and the terrible side effects of the current medications, it is hopeful that these studies will confirm that marijuana does relieve PTSD in veterans so they can regain their mental health.