Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been around for generations as being the most researched mental illness. Psychiatrists in the late 1800s studied trauma victims from a psychological perspective to gain more knowledge of PTSD. Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we witnessed military combat soldiers returning from war experience symptoms of PTSD. But what exactly is PTSD?
Generally, post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. People diagnosed with PTSD often describe it as reliving the trauma over and over in your mind without knowing how to stop it. Major symptoms include panic attacks, insomnia, mood swings, overwhelming emotions, and self-destructive behaviour. Yet, despite the years of research, there hasn’t been a definitive solution in how to treat PTSD.
Cannabis and Trauma
Depending on the severity of the trauma, symptoms of PTSD can last anywhere between months to years. We commonly see this in soldiers coming back from service as they try to acclimate themselves to civilian life after living in a warzone. While the Veterans Association (VA) provides medication and other resources to help veterans assimilate to civilian life, medical cannabis isn’t on the approved list of prescriptions. But it wasn’t until 2013 that veterans started using cannabis to treat symptoms of PTSD. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reported a total of 9 percent of veterans in the U.S. reported using cannabis. Cut to 2020, and the number skyrocketed to 20 percent.
“Cannabis helps to treat PTSD pretty well, actually probably better than some people even realize,” says Alex Gould, co-founder of Mr. Hemp Flower. Mr. Help Flower is a cannabis company that distributes organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp from licensed USA farms. “It’s able to help reduce anxiety which is one of the major things PTSD sufferers have to deal with. Cannabis can also help PTSD sufferers to sleep better. Many PTSD sufferers are plagued with nightmares and insomnia.”
How Cannabis Could Help Us Cope With Trauma or Even PTSD?
When the topic of PTSD comes up, the majority of people assume that the only group affected by the effects of PTSD are veterans. However, research shows there are different variations of post-traumatic stress. These can occur at any point in time, regardless if they served in the combat zone. However, with the recent global pandemic, many have stated it has given us all a collective trauma. Research states how the Coronavirus pandemic has been stressful and has given people symptoms of PTSD. Some of which include the fear of future infection, death, economic hardship, and other stressors related to total isolation.
As PTSD begins to spread, cannabis can be a powerful tool to cope with the overwhelming symptoms. “I won’t say that it cures it, but it does help to treat it,” says Gould. “It makes PTSD more manageable and easier to cope with. … so that the PTSD sufferer can function at relatively lower stress levels, and feel normal.” Although cannabis has been a shining light as the next holistic option for mental health, it’s not approved by the FDA. It also remains a Schedule 1 drug in many locations. Depending on the state you live in, cannabis use remains illegal.
Yet, the majority of people who use cannabis for PTSD have sung its praises and continue to do so. If cannabis can help people’s needs and ease the mind to focus on the present, then the option of medical cannabis should be a must. And as local governments slowly navigate this new world of cannabis into the market, cannabis users continue to use this natural plant to aid this infamous disorder.