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Is Medicinal Cannabis an Effective Treatment for PTSD?

A photo of a hand spelling the words Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The letters are black but the first letter in each word is highlighted in red.

Medical Cannabis products are increasingly being touted for their many medical benefits. Could they be an effective PTSD treatment?

As their use becomes more acceptable across the globe, researchers are exploring the various ways in which medicinal cannabis can bring relief to people who suffer from health problems including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental illness which occurs after a traumatic event.

PTSD is commonly associated with military veterans. But it can happen to anyone as a result of any intense negative experience that results in physical and/or psychological stress. Examples include traffic collisions, natural disasters, and childhood trauma.

PTSD shows up in different ways for different people. Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety, including associated physical symptoms such as high blood pressure
  • Mood swings, e.g., depression, anger
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt and/or shame
  • Recurring nightmares and flashbacks about an event
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Emotional numbness and withdrawal
  • Insomnia  

Alcohol and drug dependency are often co-occurring disorders alongside PTSD. Suicide or attempted suicide is sadly common.

When these symptoms affect our ability to carry out daily functioning or impact relationships in our lives, we should seek medical help.

For more information on PTSD and its symptoms, visit the CMHA website.

PTSD Treatment Options

Medical care including psychiatric support is essential for helping individuals cope with PTSD symptoms.

CMHA recommends that people suffering from PTSD first consult their family doctor. From there, a PTSD sufferer can be referred to a specialist experienced with PTSD.

Treatments might be one or a combination of:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Support groups
  • Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication
  • Therapy and/or medication for comorbidities (associated conditions)

PTSD Treatment and Medicinal Cannabis

Pharmaceutical medications can play a role in the treatment of PTSD, but they often come with undesirable side effects. In a worst-case scenario, they can be addictive.

Because of these risks, some PTSD sufferers are turning to medicinal cannabis to help treat PTSD symptoms.

A growing chorus of veterans and first responders use medicinal marijuana for PTSD.

While the evidence is far from conclusive, most clinical studies are encouraging about medicinal cannabis in the treatment of PTSD.

Many sufferers consume medicinal cannabis for PTSD by smoking marijuana flowers (dried marijuana plant leaves).

But smoking marijuana, like cigarettes, can lead to lung damage. People with asthma or other respiratory problems should be particularly cautious.

You Don’t Need to Smoke Marijuana to Find Relief

If you want to try medicinal cannabis for PTSD but don’t want to smoke marijuana, we have some good news. 

The two active components in medical cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have both shown promise in combating some PSTD symptoms.

Both THC and CBD are available in liquid formats, mainly capsules and tinctures.

Although the amount of THC in flowers has greatly increased through genetic engineering, it is still nowhere close to the concentration of THC in distillate, which is typically almost 100%.

As such, only a small amount of THC oil is required to get the desired dose.

Capsules and tinctures make it easy to measure and manage the amount of THC being consumed. This is the opposite of smoking flowers where the amount of THC varies from plant to plant and among the various strains.

As with THC in flowers, THC oils will get you high, and in sufficient amounts will impair cognitive and motor functions. In some people, THC can exacerbate feelings of paranoia and anxiety.

So if you are not familiar with THC-based products, you will want to be careful with dosing…or you can try CBD.

CBD has no known side effects. And will not get you high. While studies on the effectiveness of CBD in treating PTSD are inconclusive, there nevertheless seem to be strong indications it might be as effective as THC.

Whether you are starting with a CBD product, a THC product, or a blend of the two, we recommend starting with a small dose. This will allow you to gauge the initial effects. You can then slowly increasing the dose until you find the amount that gives optimum relief.

More information on dosing can be found here.

Hope for PTSD Sufferers

Living with PTSD will remain a challenge requiring an ongoing treatment plan. However, medicinal cannabis offers hope as a complementary therapy, particularly as an alternative to smoking marijuana.

Lune Wellness specializes in medicinal cannabis oils and tinctures. They come in both THC and CBD, as well as blended formulations. Our THC products are made from 100% pure distillate.

You can learn more about our quality products here.

If you have comments or questions, please contact us at support@lunewellness.ca. We’re always eager to help.

The Staff at Lune Wellness