Passing of Proposition 215 by various states opened them to the treatment of multiple ailments using medical marijuana. However, not all diseases are legally treatable using cannabis. To use medical marijuana for the treatment of a condition, it must be qualified.
Among the qualifying conditions, treatable using medical marijuana is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The leading cause of this stress disorder is going through a traumatic experience. The main people who are associated with PTSD are war veterans due to the trauma they experienced on the battlefield. However, this is a small population of the total number of people who have PTSD. The dissociative symptoms associated with the disease affect one’s productivity and relationships with others.
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Physiological Changes Caused by PTSD
Here are the changes in the brain caused by PTSD:
- Amygdala.which is the part of the brain that recognizes fear becomes hyperactive
- The prefrontal cortex which executes functions decreases
- The hippocampus that’s responsible for one’s memory develops issues
- There’s increased negative feedback system due to interference with hyperarousal and hypervigilance
- Dysfunction occurs in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis which results in hyperactivity
Traditional Treatment of PTSD
The most common prescription to treat PTSD is the use of antidepressants that target neurotransmitters in the brain. In most cases, PTSD is mistaken for depression, which is a different mental health disorder. The 2010 Veterans Affairs (VA)/Department of Defense (DoD): recommended the following treatments for PTSD:
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
Unfortunately, these treatments didn’t produce the desired results. Here are some of the interesting observations made:
- To achieve the desired results, up to 9 patients had to be tested
- There’s a 20 to 30%chance of patients using pharmaceutical drugs having a recession
- Veterans who were involved in combat have shown resistance to these drugs
For years, there’s been a lot of research to identify with alternative options to help treat PTSD effectively.
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Marijuana’s Role in Treatment of PTSD
Two strains of cannabis are used in the medical world: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Marijuana contains chemical elements known as cannabinoids. The two most popular are CBD and THC.
THC is responsible for the psychoactive element in weed while CBD minimizes these properties.THC is responsible for the high you feel when you smoke weed. Research has shown that CBD has immense medical benefits and is effective in treating various ailments. The body has its chemicals, endocannabinoids which can work well with the cannabinoid system. Combining the two methods results in a stress-coping mechanism.
Once you take THC, it activates the dopaminergic neuron, which leads to the production of dopamine, the hormone that helps deal with stress. The hormone is also known as the ‘happy hormone.’ Since our bodies don’t have cannabinoid receptors, there’s minimal risk of overdosing. The central nervous system has CB=1 receptors, which are responsible for how the neurotransmitter system works.
Research on PTSD and Medical Marijuana
- In a study by Roitmann and his colleagues, ten Israelis with PTSD were used as subjects. One of the subjects was using medical cannabis to manage their PTSD symptoms. With time, the subject made incredible improvements in the symptoms.
- Another study by Tull and his colleagues, 202 participants were involved. In the experiment, people were asked to recall a traumatic experience. The study aimed at observing any spikes in hormonal activity. According to the results, people who had used marijuana in the past showed stable coping behavior compared to the others who exhibited increased anxiety levels.
- Researcher, Greer, studied 80 subjects who had joined the New Mexico medical marijuana program. The subjects had intense PTSD symptoms. However, after using marijuana, 75% of the patients displayed a reduction in PTSD symptoms.
How to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card to Treat PTSD Symptoms
- Engage a qualified physician to get a recommendation
- One needs to be 21 years and above
- For minors, a caregiver can be registered in their place
- A state-issued card or license card can be used as proof of identity
- One must apply in person
Having followed the right process and complying with the above requirements, you should receive your card by mail within 35 days since verification takes 30 days. When picking the card, you don’t need to carry your medical records since the state office has a form that will collect details of your condition.
The medical marijuana card is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. When the card expires, you are required to apply one through the same process. You can engage an MMJ card provider who will take your picture and add it to the card.
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