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PTSD and Marijuana: More Veterans to Gain Access

Earlier this week, the state legislature of New Jersey voted to add PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, and recently a judge in Illinois ordered that PTSD be added to the Illinois medical marijuana program, as well. While PTSD is most often associated with military veterans, it's an anxiety disorder that can happen to anyone who has been through an emotionally charged, traumatic experience, especially if that experience involved a threat of serious injury or death. The symptoms that point to PTSD include reexperiencing, avoidance, and episodes of hyperarousal that may include insomnia, social isolation, or flashbacks of the traumatic memory. PTSD persists over time because of changes that happen in the brain at the time of trauma that leave the brain hyper-responsive to adrenaline and stress.

Veterans across the country have been turning to marijuana for years to help soothe PTSD symptoms, and many are finding some relief for their symptoms. As many as 20% of military veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. VA hospitals in some states like Nevada and Maine allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for their PTSD patients, but many others do not have that opportunity.

That might change with a new PTSD and marijuana study that's currently underway to determine the benefits of marijuana on veterans with PTSD. Volunteer veterans in Maryland and Arizona will be asked to smoke up to two joints a day, and report on their progress. Different strains will be tested, as well, to determine which marijuana strains might be the most effective for treating PTSD symptoms. If the study helps show some tangible benefits, it might urge more states to add PTSD to their list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Marijuana is believed to help relieve many symptoms of PTSD including insomnia, anxiety, and depression, and there may be even deeper benefits that have yet to be fully understood and realized. One study found that cannabinoids aided in the memory extinction process in mice, a finding that has huge applications for PTSD sufferers. The mice were exposed to a noise which was followed by an electric shock. After a few days, the shocks were discontinued but the mice were still exposed to the noise that used to precede the electric shock. In the mice that received the cannabinoids, they were able to readjust to the sound after a few days and no longer had a flinching response in fear of the anticipated shock. The mice that did not receive any cannabinoids never adjusted to the noise and showed the same flinching response as if they were going to get shocked even after the shocks had been eliminated. So why is this relevant for PTSD sufferers? People with PTSD can react to triggers in their environment that remind them of the intial trauma they experienced. For example, the sound of firecrackers can bring back memories and emotions associated with gunfire for those who have lived through such encounters. If cannabinoids can help mice develop memory extinction that allows them to disassociate stimuli from a learned response and instead react with a new response, human sufferers of PTSD could possibly find the same benefits.

To get the most benefit from using marijuana for PTSD symptoms like insomnia, the Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access website recommends low to moderate doses, preferably in the form of edibles that provide a precise, measurable dose. If you're taking marijuana for PTSD and you know you're going to be in a potentially triggering situation, the Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access website advises vaping or smoking a small to moderate amount, several times, in advance of the potentially triggering situation. As with any medicine intended to treat a health condition, it's always best to talk to your doctor first to find out the best type of medicine for you, how much you should take, and how often.

If you suffer from PTSD and you're lucky enough to live in a state that allows medical marijuana use for your symptoms (or if you live in a state like Colorado that has recreational marijuana), why not give marijuana a try and see if it could be of benefit? It could very well be the missing key that opens a new path toward hope and healing.

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CannaSaver Blog

Best Strains for PTSD or Anxiety

Posted by CANNASaver on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 in Canna Blog

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that affects many men and women around the world. Though often associated with military veterans, PTSD can also develop after a traumatic experience in one’s life.

PTSD can occur in anyone following a traumatic event. 

Symptoms do vary but are often extremely debilitating. Those affected with PTSD may flashback to the extreme trauma through a hyper-aware brain and nightmares. This can bring difficulty concentrating or sleeping. 

Cannabis usage for those with PTSD or anxiety has become an option for dealing with mental ailments (definitely something we like, vs some of the prescription meds that are handed out).

Let’s look deeper into PTSD and marijuana, with our goal being that we find the best strains for PTSD or anxiety. 

ptsd or anxiety

Why Marijuana For PTSD & Anxiety

The relationship between PTSD and marijuana has more to it than one may think at first. Though THC and CBD don’t occur naturally in our bodies, they interact with our endocannabinoid system which kick-starts a variety of beneficial biological processes.

People dealing with PTSD often have some kind of deficiency in their endocannabinoid system. By consuming marijuana, PTSD symptoms tend to lessen with the introduction of THC/CBD. These cannabinoids gradually bring balance in their thoughts.

So, with that said, let’s get into some of the best strains for combating PTSD.

Best Strains for PTSD

We’ll go through a list of sativa strains and indica strains.

best sativa strains for ptsd or anxiety

Sativas

These are more “uppers” and have you feeling more active, alert, etc. Like a coffee or something in cannabis form.

Golden Goat 

Golden Goat is an incredibly popular strain that was created here in Colorado. The strain has a high THC potency, usually between 23-25%. The smells Golden Goat puts off are definitely unique.  The taste is similar to something tropical but also spicy. 

Golden Goat is known to help treat stress, anxiety, pain, insomnia, and depression.

Harlequin

Harlequin is a delightfully balanced cannabis strain with a high CBD content. Being higher in CBD than THC, the strain has little to zero psychoactive effects. The higher CBD levels help to treat anxiety and pain. 

Harlequin has stinky smells with tropical tastes of mango and pineapple. This strain is able to lift moods with happy feelings as well as providing focus. 

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is a strong sativa strain with its namesake being a pungent aroma with diesel gas-like aroma.  This strain is typically pretty high in THC being between 20-25%. 

Sour D has a quick onset time with energizing effects. Consumers state that the strain helps treat stress, depression, and pains. The strain is long-lasting which will leave you stress-free and relieve pain.

best hybrid strains for ptsd or anxiety

Hybrids

These are halfway between “uppers” and “chillers.” A perfect mix, really, although each strain can lean a certain way or other.

AC/DC 

AC/DC is yet another high CBD strain on our list. 

This strain is evenly balanced between indica and sativa. 

AC/DC helps relieve pain without feeling noticeably high. This is often ideal for people with PTSD to ease the way they feel. 

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a slightly sativa dominant strain that induces euphoria and relaxation. With PTSD often causing the inability to relax, Blue Dream has a rep for lifting moods and boosting social confidence.

OG Kush

OG Kush is a classic strain being the cross between Chemdawg and Hindu Kush. The strain leans to be heavy indica which allows strong relaxation. OG Kush has many layers of flavor and aroma. 

OG Kush is often considered ideal for PTSD sufferers since the high is known to be euphoric with a full-body calm.

This strain is a great option for those suffering from pain, inflammation, and depression.

best indica strains for ptsd or anxiety

Indicas

Lastly, these are the “chillers” or relaxers. They’re usually ones that lay you down softly and tuck you into bed and read you a bedtime story.

Afghan Kush

The legendary Afghan Kush is a pure 100% indica. Afghan Kush has heavy, body-heavy effects that will move your body into bed with ease. With the strain being rich in CBD, Afghan Kush is one of the best strains for managing anxiety symptoms in those who tend to experience anxiety/paranoia when getting high.

Afghan Kush has a pleasant earthy scent and sweet taste undertones of old-school hash. It has dense buds amounting to an abundance of trichomes. This strain will take the distractions/pains you may have accumulated during the day and melt them away like butter.

Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is a great strain for people wanting relief from PTSD or anxiety. This strain is made up of the strains Big Bud and Purple Urkle. Granddaddy Purple has pleasant aromas of blueberry and grape. 

Granddaddy Purple is extremely effective in helping with PTSD symptoms such as pain, insomnia, nausea, and anxiety. The strain is a great way to reduce the anxieties you are feeling, causing them to come down to much more manageable levels.

Skywalker OG

Skywalker OG is a great way to bring balance to the force, or eh, PTSD/anxiety symptoms. The way of the Jedi suggests Skywalker OG for full master mode. High and enlightened we will definitely get. 

Skywalker OG is a delightful cross of Blue Dream and Pineapple Express (both great strains as well). The Strain ranges between 20-23% THC. Skywalker OG is a relaxing, pleasant, and clear thinking high. The flavor profile consists of citrus and floral. The strain has the aroma of earthy and citrus scents.  Skywalker OG leaves consumers in a happy/elevated state of being. 

Skywalker OG provides a sleepy kind of high which is great for beating insomnia and allowing for an amazing night's sleep.

worst strains for ptsd or anxiety

The Worst Strains For PTSD/Anxiety

Green Crack

Green Crack may sound scary for a reason. It is a strain known for maximum energy and thinking. The energy Green Crack provides is incomparable to other strains. Green Crack’s chemical biology means it has the ability to enhance focus, but at the risk of unwanted paranoia/anxiety. For anxiety/PTSD, I definitely say to stay away from this strain. Your demons will encircle you.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer can be an extremely anxiety-inducing strain. The strain’s ability for heightened creative effects can cause those with anxieties to have heightened worries and stresses. 

Trainwreck

For PTSD, you may not want this “Trainwreck”. The high levels of THC can cause extreme head rushes which those who suffer from anxiety disorders can often find unpleasant.  

And there you have it. Now, we most certainly don't want to convince you that cannabis is the cure for PTSD or anxiety, nor should you just get off any prescribed medication, but there are some more natural ways to deal with what you're dealing with.

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