Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder and Complex PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Uniquely by either personally experiencing a traumatic event or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time, therapy, good self-care, and at times medication intervention, they get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD or Complex PTSD.
A Few Of CPTSD/PTSD Symptoms
One of PTSD’s prevalent symptom is having whats commonly known as a “PTSD episode or attack”. Early signs of an episode evolving consists of extreme anxiety, excessive talking or rambling, and mild paranoia. One can usually depict a PTSD episode brewing by looking at the sufferer’s face. Physical changes of anxiety is increasing can be noticeable. Skin starts to turn red and blotchy, breathing speeds up with shorter breaths, and they’ll begin to get antsy or fidgety. Then, they may begin to talk about how someone who is disrespecting them or who has ill intentions to cause their family serious harm. Furthermore, paranoia fueled conversations are redundant and their descriptions of some imaginary plan that someone has becomes the sufferers reality. This made-up plan to cause harm includes very scary details and unfortunately their loved ones become their captive audience.
When these milder symptoms evolve someone with CPTSD or PTSD will turn into hypervigilance. Hypervigilance is similar to paranoia. In addition to the paranoid behavior they commonly experience visual and/or audio hallucinations of the traumatic event. By the same token this is what a flashback is like.
Hypervigilance & Dissociation
Hypervigilance is also similar to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptom of dissociation. Dissociation is a version of disconnecting with the present moment and/or reality.
Most individuals have experienced dissociation but in a very different way. Have you ever found yourself five miles passed the turn you were supposed to take while driving? Perhaps you were super focused on something that you were thinking about. Only when you realize that you missed your turn, you have no recollection of how or when you missed your turn or anything that you may have seen during that five miles of road. A PTSD sufferer experiences the same phenomenon but much more intensely. A PTSD or CPTSD brain can disconnect with reality for hours – even days depending on the severity of the episode.
Currently, PTSD is commonly treated with psychotherapy efforts that include exposure therapy, which exposes patients to trauma they experienced but in a safe way, cognitive restructuring, which helps patients make sense of the bad memories, and stress moderation techniques, which teaches patients how to reduce their anxiety. Antidepressant medications are often prescribed to help curtail feelings of sadness, anger, worry and numbness. These medications can sometimes have side effects like headache, nausea, sleeplessness or drowsiness, agitation and sexual problems. Another alternative is CPTSD or PTSD cannabis treatment.
PTSD Cannabis Treatment Findings
PTSD cannabis treatment has been identified as a non-abrasive treatment that aides PTSD patients in managing their symptoms13. Two major cannabinoids found in Cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), influence the body’s endocannabinoid system. In fact, this plays a chief role in managing emotional homeostasis and in regulating memory processes. Cannabinoids found in cannabis activate the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid structure. Which in turn regulates the release of neurotransmitters and produces a wide range of effects on the central nervous system. Additionally, will improve both pleasure and alternation of memory processes2. The cannabinoids block the repetitive recall of a traumatic event. Consequently amplifying its expansion while reducing its production of extreme anxiety1,9,12.
These effects help PTSD patients manage the three core symptoms of the condition. Above all include re-experiencing, dissociation, hypervigilance, and hyperarousal through PTSD cannabis treatment. PTSD patients reported a 75% reduction in PTSD symptoms, as measured by the Clinical Administered Post-traumatic Scale, when they were using cannabis compared to when they were not8.
PTSD Cannabis Treatment and Prevention
Military veterans, non-combat PTSD, and CPTSD sufferers use PTSD cannabis treatment as a coping regimen. Especially those whose condition causes difficulties controlling their emotions and stress tolerance. An improvement in sleep patterns in those who suffering from insomnia or nightmares is another primary motivating factor for cannabis use in PTSD patients2,5,9. The more severe the PTSD symptoms, the more that military veterans and non-military PTSD victims wish to use cannabis to as a coping mechanism4,5,6. Pre-clinical evidence supports CBD as having considerable potential as a treatment for PTSD when it’s administered acutely as symptoms arise rather than as a long-term treatment3.
There’s evidence to suggest, however, that the benefits of CPTSD and PTSD cannabis treatment go beyond an interim time-frame. Findings support that cannabis is capable of minimizing the severity and emotional effects of traumatic memories9. In addition, ingesting cannabis, as a PTSD cannabis treatment, shortly after the exposure to an intensely stressful event can help prevent the development of PTSD and symptoms7 . This shows similarity to the studies conducted about the prescription drug Propranolol. Propranolol is a medication that lowers blood pressure. Clinical trials have shown that taking propranolol shortly after experiencing a traumatic event, also prevented PTSD symptoms from developing.
Several U.S. States have Approved CPTSD and PTSD Cannabis Treatment
As of February, 2017, 20 U.S. states have approved medical cannabis distinctively for CPTSD and PTSD cannabis treatment. Participating States include:
Several non-participating PTSD cannabis treatment States are considering allowing medical cannabis to be used for the treatment of numerous medical and mental health conditions. Other states require a medical doctor’s authorization for CPTSD or PTSD Cannabis treatment. These states include: California (any debilitating illness where the medical use of cannabis has been recommended by a physician), and Massachusetts (other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician). In Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical cannabis as long as a DC-licensed physician approves the PTSD cannabis treatment.
PTSD Cannabis Treatment Statistics
- PTSD and CPTSD patients saw a 75% remission of their symptoms. Respectively measured by the Clinical Administered Post Traumatic Scale. The measurement covered when they were using cannabis compared to when they were not. PTSD symptom reports of patients evaluated for the New Mexico Cannabinoids Program.
- Evidence from human studies indicates that CBD found in cannabis has considerable potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders.
Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.
- A review of published evidence finds that cannabinoids help PTSD patients manage their condition’s three major symptoms (dissociation, hypervigilance, and hyperarousal). Furthermore, helping improve the sleep for those PTSD patients suffering from insomnia and nightmares.
- Use and effects of cannabinoids in military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26195653
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References For CPTSD And PTSD Cannabis Treatment Findings:
- Akirav, I. (2013). Targeting the endocannabinoid system to treat haunting traumatic memories. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 124. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3776936/.
- Betthauser, K., Pilz, J., and Vollmer, L.E. (2015, August). Use and effects of cannabinoids in military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 72(15), 1279-84.
- Blessing E.M., Steenkamp, M.M., Manzanares, J., and Marmar, C.R. (2015, September 4). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neuotherapeutics, Epub ahead of print. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26341731.
- Boden, M.T., Babson, K.A., Vujanovic, A.A., Short, N.A., and Bonn-Miller, M.O. (2013, May-June). Post-traumatic stress disorder and cannabis use characteristics among military veterans with cannabis dependence. The American Journal on Addictions, 22(3), 277-84.
- Bonn-Miller, M.O., Babson, K.A., and Vandrey, R. (2014, March 1). Using cannabis to help you sleep: heightened frequency of cannabinoids use among those with PTSD. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 136, 162-5.
- Bonn-Miller, M.O., Vujanovic, A.A., and Drescher, K.D. (2011, September). Cannabis use among military veterans after residential treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 25(3), 485-91.
- Campos, A.C., Ferreira, F.R., and Guimaraes, F.S. (2012, November). Cannabidiol blocks long-lasting behavioral consequences of predator threat stress: possible involvement of 5Ht1A receptors. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 46(11), 1501-10.
- Greer, G.R., Grob, C.S., and Halberstadt, A.L. (2014, January-March). PTSD symptom reports of patients evaluated for the New Mexico Cannabinoids Program. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 73-7.
- Passie, T., Emrich, H.M., Karst, M., Brandt, S.D., and Halpern, J.H. (2012, July-August). Mitigation of post-traumatic stress symptoms by Cannabis resin: a review of the clinical and neurobiological evidence. Drug Testing and Analysis, 4(7-8), 649-59.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (2014, April 15). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/definition/con-20022540.
- Potter, C.M., Vujanovic, A.A., Marshall-Verenz, E.C., Bernstein, A., and Bonn-Miller, M.O. (2011, April). Posttraumatic stress and Cannabis use coping motives: the mediating role of distress tolerance. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25(3), 437-43.
- Trezza, V., and Campolongo, P. (2013, August 9). The endocannabinoid system as a possible target to treat both the cognitive and emotional features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 100.
- Walsh, Z., Gonzalez, R., Crosby, K., S Thiessmen, M., Carroll, C., and Bonn-Miller, M.O. (2016, October 12). Medical cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 51, 15-29.
- What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? (n.d.). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.