Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder generally caused by a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, or a war. People with PTSD have intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings about their long-lasting experiences long after the traumatic event has ended. They may re-experience the event through flashbacks or nightmares. They may feel sad, scared, or angry. Recent studies have enlightened the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and cannabis use. Let’s check it out together.
Patients having post-traumatic stress disorder claim that cannabis use alleviates the symptoms by more than half in the short term. Many patients find it difficult to find adequate relief from their symptoms with conventional PTSD treatments, including antidepressants or psychological treatments such as antipsychotics and trauma-based cognitive-behavioral therapy. Not surprisingly, many are turning to other coping methods, such as medical cannabis use. This is particularly evident in the dramatic increase in the number of Canadian veterans receiving government reimbursement for medical cannabis; PTSD is a common reason for its use.
Substance use, including cannabis use, is common among trauma victims. It is easy to imagine that medication is a way to briefly escape negative emotions, with the risk of worsening symptoms in the long term. Results of clinical trials testing cannabis for PTSD treatment are still pending. Previous research linked cannabis use to the mental health of PTSD patients. However, it is not known whether cannabis worsens PTSD symptoms or whether patients with more severe symptoms treat themselves with cannabis. Most of the evidence for PTSD treatment for cannabis comes from patient success reports.
The Relationship Between Cannabis and PTSD
PTSD patients said for years that cannabis helped fight PTSD. Although research on the topic has been inconclusive, many PTSD sufferers continue to report that cannabis supports the treatment process. New research now shows the biological mechanisms behind this therapeutic effect. Two recent studies show how cannabinoids can help treat PTSD. Meanwhile, another suggests that cannabinoids may play a role in suppressing traumatic memories.
Both effects may be therapeutic for people with PTSD, according to recent research. One study looked at the effects of marijuana use on the amygdala response of people with traumatic anxiety, such as PTSD. Previous research has shown that cannabis has the potential to reduce anxiety and even prevent an increase in anxiety in threatening situations. However, to date, there have been no studies examining this response in adults struggling with trauma, such as adults with PTSD.
Addressing this challenge, this study looked at amygdala responses in three groups of participants: healthy controls who were not exposed to trauma, adults with trauma without PTSD, and adults with trauma with PTSD. Using a randomized, double-blind method, 71 participants received low-dose THC or a placebo. They were then exposed to threatening stimuli and tonsil reactions were recorded. People exposed to THC have seen their amygdala response reduced in response to the threat.
This means that those taking low doses of THC show measurable symptoms of anxiety and fear in situations where anxiety should be aroused. These results suggest that even people with PTSD may be less afraid of THC in their system, as they are found in all three groups. The researchers reveal that the drug can be useful as a pharmacological approach to treating stress and trauma-related psychopathology. A second study looked at another possible way in which cannabis could help people with PTSD: reduce the intensity associated with the memories of their trauma. This type of treatment for PTSD was previously proposed and suggested that cannabis could help patients with PTSD to change their traumatic memories with new ones.”
For most victims of traumatic events, these fears disappear after about 6 months due to the learning process from extinction. New memories of the traumatic trigger form and replace old ones. Someone with the traumatic experience of explosives falling from bridges may initially feel frightened when approaching a bridge, traumatic memories fill his mind. But after months of nothing bad happening around the bridges, most will start to believe that the bridges are safer because memories of safely navigating under the bridges build up. Old memories continue to linger, but they don’t raise anxiety when the trigger is there. Although most traumatized people remember traumatic events, these memories no longer trigger intense fears.
However, there is no such thing as erasure learning for those with PTSD. The trauma associated with old memories continues to cause problems. Cannabis stimulates CB1, a receptor in the endocannabinoid system, and has learned more about extinction in animal experiments. Interestingly, people with PTSD have endocannabinoid system dysfunction, which may explain why they cannot go through the normal extinction learning process. Hemp can initiate this process. Like their healthy counterparts, people with PTSD can reach extinction and heal PTSD by helping them recover from their trauma.
Researchers have discovered that cannabis can help. Low doses of THC or THC cannabinoids in combination with another CBD cannabinoid can increase the rate of disappearance of hard memories and reduce overall anxiety responses. Their studies found that THC provides an improvement in the extinction rate while CBD can help alleviate the potential side effects of higher THC doses. Current evidence from both healthy people and PTSD patients suggests that these forms of cannabis suppress expressions of anxiety and aversive memory without causing significant side effects. These studies provide answers to why cannabis helps PTSD patients feel better immediately and in the long term. However, future studies could help clarify a number of questions about how and when cannabis can be used effectively for PTSD and whether there are risk factors associated with using the drug for this condition.
Can Cannabis Cure PTSD?
For many years, the best indicator of cannabis’ effectiveness in treating PTSD has been anecdotal. Victims described benefits such as reducing anxiety and relieving insomnia. New studies are now trying to measure the evidence to support these claims and shed light on how various compounds found in marijuana provide relief. Events causing PTSD usually activate the body’s natural defenses and create what is known as the “fight or flight” response.
In most cases, this reaction is short-lived and the person can overcome the triggering event. However, some may experience persistent stress or anxiety long after the event is over. Not all traumatized people suffer from PTSD, and other life experiences, such as the death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. The symptoms of the disorder usually begin within three months after the event, but may take years to appear. Based on the data collected, a person diagnosed with PTSD should have the following for at least a month:
- At least one resurgent symptom (flashbacks including nightmares, frightening thoughts, and physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or sweating)
- At least one avoidance symptom (removal of places, events, or objects reminiscent of the traumatic experience, avoiding thoughts or feelings about the traumatic event)
- At least two signs of arousal and reactivity (feeling a little confused, nervous or tense, trouble sleeping, or having a nervous breakdown)
- At least two cognitive and mood symptoms (difficulty remembering the main features of the traumatic event, negative thoughts about yourself or the world, distorted feelings such as guilt, loss of interest in pleasant activities)
According to the data:
- It is estimated that 70% of adults in the United States will experience a traumatic event at least once in their life, and up to 20% of these people will develop PTSD.
- It is estimated that 5% of Americans (more than 13 million people) will experience PTSD at some point.
- About 8% of all adults (1 in 13 people in this country) will develop PTSD at some point in their lives.
- It is estimated that one in ten women will experience PTSD at some point in their life (women are approximately twice as likely to develop PTSD than men).
- Among adult males, military conflict veterans are the most susceptible group to PTSD. Study reports from the US Department of Veterans show that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD among veterans serving in the Vietnam era was 31% in men and 27% in women.
- Estimates of PTSD in Iraqi and Afghan veterans range from 13% to 30%.
For PTSD, antidepressants are prescribed, such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zolof, which act as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs treat some of the symptoms of PTSD, but according to a leading neuropsychopharmacology review: Although SSRIs are associated with an overall response rate of approximately 60% in PTSD patients, only 20% to 30% of patients have a complete remission. Additionally, many SSRI drugs have unwanted side effects that can include headache, nausea, drowsiness, restlessness, and sexual dysfunction.
There is no single drug therapy designed specifically for PTSD. Doctors agree that current pharmaceutical treatments, such as antidepressants, don’t work. In fact, we know very well that people with PTSD who use cannabis, a potent cannabinoid, often experience more relief from symptoms than antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. There is clearly an urgent need to develop new evidence-based treatments for PTSD. Given the limited success of drugs used to treat PTSD, the potential negative side effects of these drugs, and the limited general understanding of best treatment practices, many military veterans and others with PTSD are alternatives. Medicine is like cannabis, and this further research is now focused on discovering its potential benefits. While a growing number of people with PTSD reported positive results from self-administered marijuana, the first wave of medical research made a more concrete claim about the potential benefits of cannabis and hemp derivatives.
New Mexico was the first state to include PTSD as an eligible condition for medical marijuana use. The findings evaluated show that a significant proportion of veterans with PTSD use cannabis or its derivatives to control PTSD symptoms. Some patients report benefits in terms of reducing anxiety and insomnia and improving adaptability. Research has found a link between PTSD and low serum levels of brain lipid anandamide. This molecule is called the body’s own natural antidepressant. When anandamide levels are limited, the result can have a number of negative effects on the body, including chronic anxiety and fear of extinction. impaired memory consolidation, deterrent, and other PTSD symptoms.
Anandamide activates CB1 receptors stimulated in the brain by the absorption of tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) and other compounds found in marijuana. Studies link chronic stress exposure with reduced binding and expression of CB1 receptors in the hippocampus. This is a potentially important finding, as the hippocampus plays an important role in enhancing short and long-term memory. Memory consolidation disorders are believed to play a role in PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks and wakefulness.
Nightmares are one of the most common symptoms of PTSD, and various reports suggest the prevalence of the disease in veterans ranges from 50% to 90%. Medicines used to treat nightmares have shown mixed results. Meanwhile, new evidence suggests that some components of cannabis may help reduce the frequency of nightmares in people with PTSD. Some of the most convincing evidence comes from a Canadian clinical trial administering a synthetic cannabinoid called nabilone. As the study reports:
Most of the patients (72%) who took Nabilon had nightmares or the intensity of nightmares was significantly reduced. Some patients also noted subjective improvements in sleep duration, sleep quality, and reduced returns during daytime and night sweats. The results of this study demonstrate the potential benefits of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, in PTSD patients with poor nightmare control with standard medication.
Using Cannabis for PTSD Treatment
Cannabis continues to thrive as it is deemed suitable by governments for recreational or medicinal use. We are now in a period where we better understand what the plant is and how it can benefit the well-being of people with different causes. The main cannabinoids are CBD and THC, both of which are known for their medicinal benefits, but only THC has psychoactive effects. The medicinal efficacy of cannabis can be maximized by including various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found naturally in cannabis plants such as Indica and Sativa.
This better understanding has helped cannabis gain greater recognition as a source of treatment and relief for conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and pain. It has also been shown to be effective in helping people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can develop as a result of a traumatic event or a life-threatening moment like a fight or a natural disaster or attack. This leads to long-term memories and sleeping problems, as well as abnormal functioning at work or school. Not only that, a person can experience great emotional change and worldview, and these symptoms can make it nearly impossible to maintain a normal quality of life.
People who have had multiple symptoms for more than a few months are often at risk of developing PTSD. Psychotherapy and medication help PTSD patients suffering from emotional imbalance and potentially addiction, and cannabis emerged as another way to help them cope, let alone offer them an alternative. Safe against prescription drugs that can cause serious side effects. CBD and THC can help treat people with PTSD by enhancing the mediation of essential functions of the endocannabinoid system, including the consolidation and restoration of memory. By activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors in this core system, cannabinoids can stimulate the system to produce neurotransmitters that promote happiness, pleasure, and memory.
These cannabinoids play an important role in helping PTSD cases by preventing healing from underlying trauma, effectively preventing traumatic memories and nightmares, and promoting emotional well-being. This made it a popular treatment for PTSD patients, many of whom are war veterans. One study found that people with PTSD have far fewer neurotransmitters called anandamide than others. Anandamide is one of the most important endocannabinoids in the body, which are natural cannabinoids produced by the body. These work like cannabis as they stimulate the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for basic functions such as mood, happiness, fear, and restlessness.
Essentially, anandamides work as a natural antidepressant and can also affect memory. An endocannabinoid deficiency such as anandamides can also be used to induce PTSD symptoms such as anxiety and fear. Doctors agree that current pharmaceutical treatments, such as antidepressants, don’t work. In fact, we know very well that people with PTSD who use cannabis, a potent cannabinoid, often experience more relief from symptoms than antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. There is clearly an urgent need to develop new evidence-based treatments for PTSD.
Marijuana can also be used to minimize or prevent nightmares that are common in people with PTSD. Not only that, post-traumatic stress disorder triggers severe stress that puts the person in a constant state of consciousness and tension and makes sleep very difficult. Cannabis can help alleviate recurrent nightmares related to PTSD by reducing REM sleep and vivid dreams that occur during this phase. In fact, a study was done using a cannabinoid receptor stimulator called nabilone to test this hypothesis. This affected 47 patients who continued to have nightmares despite antidepressant use and regular visits with a psychiatrist. After treatment, 72% of patients no longer had nightmares or experienced a significant reduction in severity.
Not only that, but many patients also reported improved sleep quality and duration, and decreased daytime returns and night sweats. The study showed that cannabinoids may play a much more effective role than many prescription drugs and antidepressants that have been shown to be useless in comparison. Regulations regarding marijuana have improved, but still are unattainable for many who might be using them to relieve PTSD symptoms.
CBD tends to be viewed more positively than THC, which makes it possible for PotNetwork Holdings, Inc. makes it available through major distributors. They offer safe and non-toxic CBD alternatives to ineffective and addictive prescription drugs such as opioids to improve the quality of life for people with PTSD. POTN manufactures and sells CBD-infused products such as foods for easy consumption, tinctures for convenience and effective dosing, and vaping for those who enjoy drinking hemp oil for relaxation and relaxation. There are also creams to relieve pain with the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious illness that affects many people around the world and significantly affects the quality of life as its various symptoms such as nightmares, social dysfunction, and emotional instability can paralyze people like veterans. other people with serious trauma. . Cannabinoids like CBD can help strengthen the body’s endocannabinoid system and promote sleep, prevent the formation of traumatic memories, and improve physical and emotional well-being to alleviate these devastating symptoms of PTSD.
Cannabis Helps PTSD: A Scientific Approach
More attention has been paid to potential cannabis use in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, as we all know, treating PTSD has been difficult to resolve. Ideally, neurobiological mechanisms of mental disorders can be evaluated using animal models. However, even under the best of circumstances, this can be difficult to achieve, especially when it comes to PTSD. Among other things, the paradigms used to model PTSD are often the same as those used to model depressive disorders and anxiety. Of course, PTSD shares multiple endophenotypes with depression and anxiety, making it difficult to distinguish underlying processes in animal models.
Also, PTSD only develops in a small proportion of people who are exposed to extreme stress. However, this is rarely considered in most animal models. Several reviews published in the literature have made several recommendations that may help increase the validity of animal models. Ultimately, these models would require multiple behavioral tests to simulate suspected PTSD symptoms in humans, but the stimulation of intrusive thoughts is clearly not possible. In addition, gender-specific differences, history of traumatic encounters throughout life, and analyzes of PTSD-related genetic and epigenetic effects affecting glucocorticoid receptors should be considered.
To understand the processes that drive the development, maintenance, and treatment of PTSD, it is necessary to consider the effects of stressors on various neurobiological processes. Acute stress events typically affect the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, promote intestinal microbial changes, stimulate the release of many metabolic hormones and various neurotransmitters, and affect microglial activity and release as well as neurotrophin function. With chronic stress experiences, some of these neurobiological processes are sustainable and eventually lead to excessive neuronal activation or the imposition of critical resources (allostatic overload) and promote the development of psychological pathologies.
The brain processes that control the development and persistence of PTSD are not fully defined, and much of what is known comes from preclinical studies in animals, contextual processes, emotion regulation, and executive function. in that respect, they look extraordinary. Consequently, the characteristics of PTSD in humans have been attributed to neuronal dysfunction in the middle prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and hippocampus, and reduced connectivity between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. In addition, a low endocannabinoid tone (ECB) contributes to the overactivation of the amygdala and the symptoms of anxiety and hyper-excitement that are characteristic of PTSD.
Can Cannabis Treat the Symptoms of PTSD?
In contrast, it may be effective in promoting many of the weaker aspects of PTSD, such as hyper-stimulated anxiety, sleep disturbances, memory, and cognitive impairments, sensitivity to pain, as well as depression, and anxiety. emotional numbness and suicide. Over-arousal anxiety can act as a driving force for symptoms such as reliving, avoidance, and emotional lethargy. Also, other characteristics of PTSD, such as dissociation, are more important in women than in men. These distinctive features of PTSD can provide clues for the most effective treatments for the disorder.
In addition to this point of view, it has been suggested that pharmacological manipulations of endogenous cannabinoids can be used in the treatment of PTSD. As with many other alleged benefits of cannabis, most of the supporting evidence in humans comes from anecdotes or case reports and observational studies that provide little evidence of a causal relationship. For example, people with PTSD traits often use cannabis to self-medicate, which indicates that the drug reduces anxiety and arousal and improves sleep. Importantly, PTSD has been associated with increased cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) expression and decreased eCB-anandamide8 peripheral levels as well as a compensatory increase in the presence of CB1. Over-treatment of threats and anxious arousal properties.
There is evidence that cannabis or some of its components, particularly THC and CBD, can reduce specific symptoms of PTSD. In this sense, in one small study, supplementation of 5mg THC twice daily improved sleep quality, and nightmares reduced the rate of PTSD hyperstimulation (PTSD administered by a doctor to scale) and severity. general symptoms. The synthetic analog of THC, nabilone, improves sleep, reduces nightmares, and reduces other PTSD symptoms in patients. However, THC appears to have limited beneficial effects on PTSD and therefore many aspects of the condition remain unchanged.
In addition to potentially reducing PTSD symptoms, cannabis also reduces the tendency to inflammation and can aid in mental illnesses involving high levels of inflammation in the brain. This would include a subgroup of depressed people where inflammation may be a component of the disease and help control threats related to PTSD in trauma survivors. In fact, anti-inflammatory agents can reduce the properties of PTSD in an animal model, and in humans, PTSD is accompanied by an increase in circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, cannabinoids can potentially act against PTSD by activating cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) receptors that promote anti-inflammatory effects with microglia.
The Activity of Cannabinoids on PTSD
Behavioral and neurobiological changes in rodents vary according to the type of stressor experienced and its chronicity, and change over time, as observed in the development of neuronal sensitivity. The course of PTSD may also involve dynamic processes, including a period shortly after trauma when disease features incubate and appear with time-dependent variations in awareness of neural function. It is uncertain whether other changes will develop in the processes underlying PTSD in the coming months. It is also unclear whether different treatments will be more effective at different stages of the disease.
The effects of cannabinoids on PTSD symptoms may also arise due to a range of processes, such as an impairment of anxiety memory consolidation, less importance of normally important stimuli, or a decrease in memory. anxiety. Terrible memories faded. Since cannabinoid variations can act as a critical part of stressor adaptation, these changes may develop over time after suffering the trauma, as seen in relation to the memories of the trauma. It should also be noted that the group of PTSD symptoms as well as the extent and type of trauma in humans will change over time after trauma and the effectiveness of cannabis-related treatments may also change.
There is much to be evaluated regarding the efficacy and safety of cannabis in treating PTSD and other conditions. Among other things, there are unanswered questions about effective dosages for various diseases, how long the drug should be taken before positive effects can be expected, possible gender-specific differences in the mode of action of cannabinoids, and to what extent they can be expected. Side effects are expected in some people. Also, given the different effects of THC and CBD on emotional behavior and cognitive function, it is necessary to determine the ratio of the various cannabis components (e.g., THC versus CBD) that are most effective in promoting therapeutic effects.
Important studies in animals have shown the benefits of cannabinoids in treating PTSD. Unfortunately, legal restrictions on cannabis access and use have limited the evaluation of the medical use of cannabis in humans, including the treatment of mental disorders. However, limited research in humans has shown that cannabis can enhance the unique properties of PTSD. However, these studies had a small number of participants, did not distinguish between conditions that favor the disorder, and did not take into account when the disorder was treated and when the trauma occurred. This is because, overall, studies are of poor quality and extensive studies are still needed to evaluate the effectiveness of cannabis use in treating PTSD.
However, preclinical studies and several reported clinical studies support a more detailed study of the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of PTSD. As with many other situations where new treatments are emerging quickly, it is important to distinguish between genuine remedies and those that are mere hope. It is regrettable that research on the safety and efficacy of cannabis in various diseases has not kept up with social reforms regarding its use. The recent legalization of cannabis in Canada could provide an opportunity to undertake the necessary research to determine if cannabis treatments are more than snake oil.
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