Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition which affects many people who have lived through a scary, dangerous or shocking experience.

Feeling fear in a traumatic situation is normal and healthy. In fact, fear triggers the “fight-or-flight” response which will help an individual to react in the face of danger and protect themselves from harm. All humans experience a spectrum of reactions after experiencing trauma, yet the majority of people will recover without long-term effects. Those individuals who continue to experience negative reactions will likely be diagnosed with PTSD. People with PTSD often feel stressed, anxious and frightened even if there is no discernible danger. 

In recent years, PTSD has most frequently been discussed in relation to military personnel, but virtually anyone can experience signs of PTSD long after a frightening event.  People diagnosed with PTSD may exhibit symptoms ranging from uncontrollable negative thoughts, anger, sorrow, fear or isolation. Nightmares are also a common manifestation of this condition.

PTSD can have a devastating effect on the patient’s ability to work, on their ability to interact normally in social situations, and on their ability to maintain healthy relationships. The most common treatment methods include psychotherapy and anti-anxiety drugs. Unfortunately, only about a quarter of patients feel they have been “cured” by these methods, leaving the majority struggling without and end in sight. 

Can Medical Marijuana Help?

Now that cannabis has been legalized in Florida as a medical  option, researchers and physicians are evaluating its effectiveness for treating both physical and mental disorders such as PTSD.

Did You Know? In Florida, it is illegal to grow your own cannabis, therefore an evaluation and recommendation for a medical marijuana card is the best option for those looking to try this treatment.

The Safety of Medical Cannabis

In recent years, the opioid crisis has made news due to the addiction and death rate associated with the painkillers.

In contrast, there is no documented case of a cannabis overdose – whether by smoking, vaping, eating, or topical application. Unlike opioids and benzodiazepines such as xanax, medical cannabis does not affect brainstem structures which control breathing. In short, there really is no comparison.  Opioids are highly addictive and account for 115 deaths on average per day in the United States. Medical marijuana is not considered addictive, and has been responsible for zero overdose deaths, ever.
Cannabis can cause side effects such as rapid heartbeat and dilation of blood vessels, but in most cases, side effects are mild and easily tolerated by most patients.

Using Cannabis to Treat PTSD

Researchers have discovered that PTSD patients are lacking the cannabinoids necessary  to function normally. Substances in cannabis are known to assist people suffering from PTSD by blocking traumatic  memories, as well as minimizing flashbacks and nightmares. Healthy and deep sleep is important for cognitive capability and stable mental health, so preventing nightmares which disrupt the ability to sleep is an important benefit of cannabis. PTSD sufferers are achieving levels of emotional well being which allow them to function normally in society.

Should You Try Cannabis?

PTSD is one of the qualifying conditions which can be treated with cannabis. The best way to determine if medical cannabis is right for you is to visit a Sarasota doctor licensed to recommend this treatment.  Dr. Daniel P. Stein is a medical marijuana expert and can evaluate your situation, help you to apply for and obtain a medical marijuana card, and consult with you regarding the right course of action for your condition.