Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.

Recent years have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding how medical marijuana or cannabis can be beneficial for treating PTSD / PTS.

Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

For many people, symptoms begin almost right away after the trauma happens. For others, the symptoms may not begin or may not become a problem until years later. Symptoms of PTSD may include:

Repeatedly thinking about the trauma. You may find that thoughts about the trauma come to mind even when you don’t want them to. You might also have nightmares or flashbacks about the trauma or may become upset when something reminds you of the event.

Being constantly alert or on guard. You may be easily startled or angered, irritable or anxious and preoccupied with staying safe. You may also find it hard to concentrate or sleep or have physical problems, like constipation, diarrhoea, rapid breathing, muscle tension or rapid heart rate.

Avoiding reminders of the trauma. You may not want to talk about the event or be around people or places that remind you of the event. You also may feel emotionally numb, detached from friends and family, and lose interest in activities.

Medical Marijuana Efficiency

Currently there are no effective specialized medications available for PTSD patients, but with research and new discoveries in our body’s therapeutic hotspot, the endocannabinoid system, research is beginning to pave new avenues of understanding and treating PTSD.

One investigator of PTSD and cannabis is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Martin Lee is a MAPS affiliate and director of Project CBD, and has studied PTSD and cannabinoids in depth.

“Researchers found that people with PTSD had lower levels of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid compound, compared to those who did not show signs of PTSD,” Lee wrote, “Innate to all mammals, anandamide (our inner cannabis, so to speak) triggers the same receptors that are activated by THC and other components of the marijuana plant.”

Simplified, one cause of PTSD is an endocannabinoid deficiency: The body stops producing enough endocannabinoids to fill receptors in the brain, this is where the cannabinoids found in marijuana play a therapeutic role. By replenishing these missing endocannabinoids with those found in cannabis, researchers think marijuana pharmaceuticals might bring PTSD patients relief from their memories.

“Scientists have determined that normal CB-1 receptor signalling deactivates traumatic memories and endows it with the gift of forgetting,” Lee said, “But skewed CB-1 signalling, due to endocannabinoid deficits (low serum levels of anandamide), results in impaired fear extinction, aversive memory consolidation, and chronic anxiety, the hallmarks of PTSD.”