Many psychologists suggest that birth is the first traumatic event for a human being. Everyone has experienced anxiety and depression because we all had traumas. However, there are times when these experiences are more than just annoying and potentially harmful. There is a difference between traumatic and temporarily distressing events. Trauma is any event that a person recognizes as dangerous or threatening and has a lasting effect on that person's well-being. According to the National Center for PTSD, around 50% of women and 60% of men experience a traumatic event at some point in their life. People experience trauma from many causes, including war, abuse, discrimination, crime, and natural disasters. These experiences frequently cause emotional and physical responses that can last for many years after the event. The effects of trauma can affect a person's relationships, health, work, and general viewpoint. People experience events differently. What could be traumatic to one person might not be traumatic to another. After a traumatic event, it is normal to feel anxious. People may find they are more nervous than before, or they may avoid certain places or people that remind them of the trauma. People who have experienced trauma may also have difficulty sleeping or focusing on tasks. For most, the anxiety reactions and symptoms go away in a short time. People who experience these symptoms to the point where they interfere with their daily functioning in life can be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating disorder that occurs in a subset of individuals following life-threatening trauma such as sexual and physical assault, of course, military fighting, and disasters. Although there are several treatments for PTSD, there is a need to help people who have PTSD and do not benefit from these treatments. Individuals continue to experience pronounced PTSD symptoms after treatment. In response to strong demand, several USA states have established laws that allow the medicinal use of cannabis by people with PTSD. Unfortunately, there has been very little scientific evidence on the suitability of marijuana as an alternative therapy for PTSD. The study below aims to determine if cannabis can reduce PTSD symptoms in 76 military veterans with PTSD. After screening and meeting the study requirements, participants are randomly selected to receive one of four types (Blue Dream, OG Kush, Pineapple Express, and Master Kush) of cannabis. These diversify based on THC and CBD levels. During the study, each participant smoked two of the four types of cannabis, up to 1.8 grams per day, for three weeks. Participants can smoke their 1.8 grams of cannabis every day at any time and use as much as they need. After every 3-week cannabis use period, they must stop smoking cannabis for two weeks. It means during these two weeks, no cannabis use is allowed. The study results will help researchers better understand the risks and benefits of cannabis use in veterans with PTSD. They can use the information to aid in shared decision-making between people with PTSD and their doctors or therapists.
The Symptoms of PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that some people can experience after trauma. According to studies, approximately 7 to 8% of people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Nobody knows exactly why some people develop PTSD and others do not. Some circumstances that can affect the development of PTSD include:
- Feelings of helplessness, horror, and intense fear after the event,
- Receiving little social support after a traumatic event,
- Dealing with additional stress after the event,
- Pre-existing mental health or substance use disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Usually, symptoms appear within three months of the traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear for months or years. There are four categories of symptoms that occur in patients diagnosed with PTSD:
- change in mood and thoughts.
Not everyone experiences this the same, but for a formal diagnosis of PTSD to be made, all four points must be experienced by a person for more than a month. Frequently, when a person thinks of PTSD or trauma, it is about military fighting. Up to 14% of military staff involved in combat operations in the war zone reported symptoms of PTSD.
PTSD is usually followed by depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. Fortunately, there are ways people can deal with the aftermath of trauma to lead full and meaningful lives, even if trauma has lasting effects or begin to develop PTSD. These options include various forms of treatment, such as certain types of trauma-focused medication, psychotherapy, and group support. The findings on the therapeutic potential of cannabis products, often Delta 8 THC products, have been considerably improved in recent years through many clinical studies. Therefore, the use of these preparations can be helpful in patients who do not have sufficient relief from symptoms such as spasticity, pain, nausea, vomiting, or poor appetite under conventional treatment.
The Use of Delta 8 In PTSD Treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by the inability to recover from stress. Reaction to a traumatic event is a widespread disorder in the world. Currently, several psychotherapies are empirically supported for the treatment of PTSD. Due to treatment refusal to treatment type, non-response, and discontinuation. Many people continue to experience severe symptoms and meet the criteria for PTSD outcome treatment. New observational and early clinical evidence suggests that Delta 8 THC may have the potential to reduce or release several symptoms in people with PTSD, including sleep disorders and anxiety. Some evidence has suggested Delta 9 (THC) may serve to lessen nightmares in people with PTSD. Other studies have shown the beneficial anti-anxiety effects of CBD.
However, there have been no randomized controlled trials of cannabis in any form for PTSD. The use of medical marijuana to treat anxiety and depression can have positive and negative results, depending on which studies you read. In some studies, PTSD symptoms were significantly reduced in some people yet, symptoms have become worse in other people, and problems with paranoia may become worse by the influence of the drug. It is important to note that similar opposing effects have been found in the popular medications prescribed by doctors for PTSD. It is of the highest importance to consult your doctor before considering any treatment for your PTSD. Each case can be different and may require further care. The antidepressants can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. But often, these conditions of anxiety can be worsened by antidepressants as well. Some of these drugs can even induce suicidal thoughts and behavior. Research into medical cannabis and suicide has not yet found a definitive causal link.
PTSD and many other anxiety disorders are significantly influenced by learning about fear, which research has proven time and time again. At unfavorable times, some reflexes can be triggered by learned fear from a traumatic experience. For example, in a safe and regular mall, a small bag could evoke panic in soldiers. For instance, because an exploding bag injured him or his comrades. Changes in brain chemistry can occur caused by stress and high adrenaline levels.
Cannabinoid deficiency can be a trigger for PTSD as well. Endocannabinoid deficiency has been found in people with PTSD. A recently identified CB1 receptor can signal the deactivation of traumatic memories. This endocannabinoid deficiency theoretically leaves a void that the cannabinoids from medicinal marijuana can fill. Unwanted side effects are often experienced by those taking regular PTSD medications, which usually only provide temporary relief.
However, recent studies conclude that the use of marijuana may briefly reduce symptoms associated with PTSD and mentions that it may not be an effective treatment in the long run. Washington State University administered a study that analyzed self-reported data from more than 400 patients with post-traumatic stress disorder before and after smoking (vaping) cannabis. They have collected more than 31 patient records over a long period. Flashbacks to the traumatic event were reduced by above 50% on average among the participants. The study shows that anxiety was decreased by 57%, and intrusive thoughts and irritability reduced by 62 and 67%, respectively. However, the reductions were not permanent, as the study suggests. According to Washington State University associate professor of psychology and senior researcher Carrie Cuttler, marijuana use appeared to be a "patch" for PTSD that can "temporarily mask" symptoms.