Why Researchers are Promoting Cannabis Use for PTSD
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder commonly referred to as ‘PTSD,’ is a disorder caused by traumatizing events of one’s life. This means that traumatic experiences can have a negative long-term effect on those afflicted. Since trauma affects everyone differently, PTSD can appear in a multitude of fashions. Undoubtedly, the most common example of PTSD can be found in military veterans as they have seen enduring unspeakable acts. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was believed to be a thing until the early 1980s when it was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders or DSM. This was likely a response to the homecoming of Vietnam War Veterans.
Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can encompass a multitude of adverse effects. Some of the more common symptoms associated with PTSD are behavioral, psychological and can have physical repercussions. Individuals who suffer from PTSD are often easily agitated, detached from certain emotional ties, experience night terrors, insomnia, and even a lack of appetite. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can also present severe episodes of anxiety, panic, and depression.
How cannabis can help combat PTSD
Currently, it is believed that cannabis can help ward off the adverse effects associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In fact, most states that offered medical cannabis via a medical marijuana card (or MMJ) exclusively lists Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a qualifying medical condition to be approved for an MMJ. This is because cannabis has been found to combat multiple symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Cannabis can be used to uplift mood, increase appetite, and reduce episodes of anxiety and panic in some patients. Cannabis can also help those who have insomnia caused by PTSD. Cannabis can also help in removing episodes of trauma almost completely, according to a recent study.
Recent findings concerning cannabis and PTSD
A recent study performed by cannabis researchers at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI.) observed how cannabis application influences the amygdala response of those dealing with anxiety related to trauma, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The amygdala is the part of the brain that regulates emotions. Former research has displayed that cannabis has the ability to decrease anxiety or even block intensified levels of anxiety in unsafe circumstances. By this logic, patients who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can use cannabis to help mitigate the agitation and emotional instability that is often associated with the disorder.
The science behind cannabis, video games, and a great time
Another study that was performed recently that showed promise toward combating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is gaming. Specifically, the video game Tetris can assist in decompartmentalizing repressed emotions and thoughts linked to ‘common’ forms of trauma. This is a game that dates back to the 1980s. It is one of the most popular handheld video games of all time. It is believed that the variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of the Tetris blocks combined with the variety of falling speeds and rotations can help ‘defrag’ the human brain. Participants of the study believed that after hours of indulging in Tetris, they seem to have become ‘at peace’ with their previous run-ins with trauma. Other participants claim to have completely forgotten their previously-stated traumatic experiences. Despite initially forgetting these experiences, participants remained emotionally available to talk about their trauma. The science behind this study likely is a direct response from the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for preserving our memories (good and bad.) The style of how Tetris is played requires hyperactivity from the hippocampus. This, in theory, assists in the removal of unnecessary information, such as bad thoughts and traumatic experiences. Maybe the key to moving past trauma is with a little weed and a few video games?