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Medicinal cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)



Around one million Australians experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a curable anxiety illness. It occurs when people are exposed to severe traumatic or life-threatening events. Following the event, people may experience feelings of dread, worry, and persistent recollection of the traumatic incident, making it difficult to manage their daily lives.


PTSD symptoms can range widely, from minor adjustments to daily routines to withdrawal and numbness, to upsetting memories or physical discomfort.

Medicinal cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


The primary signs of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the tragedy through dreams, flashbacks, or recollections.

  • Consciously ignoring any recollections of the trauma.

  • Negative emotions and ideas.


PTSD may be a persistent, debilitating disorder with severe consequences for sufferers and their families. It may also result in other illnesses like depression or drug misuse. Recovery is nevertheless feasible with the appropriate care and assistance.

While many believe that PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) only affects veterans, data indicates that 12% of Australians will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Psychotherapy and other pharmaceutical approaches are included in the treatments. Cannabis has gained acceptance as a PTSD therapy during the past ten years.


What Is PTSD?

The DSM-5, a diagnostic guide for mental health problems, describes PTSD as a crippling stress-induced mental disease brought on by alterations in the brain after exposure to a traumatic or life-threatening incident. The inability to suppress fear is brought on by changes in the brain.

People with PTSD feel dread and anxiety in situations that are both comparable to the original incident and utterly unrelated to it, which causes the brain to replay the original event. The patient then enters a cycle of panic, worry, and anxiety as a result of reliving the trauma, which has an influence on the person's life and general well-being.


What Symptoms May Indicate PTSD?

What Symptoms May Indicate PTSD?

PTSD frequently manifests as anxiety, but with heightened symptoms and a focus on a particular memory or traumatic experience.

Daytime drowsiness, nightmares, hyperarousal, panic attacks, and other sleep disorders are frequently brought on by worry, memories, and hyperarousal. The patient generally experiences anxiety or anger when symptoms first occur because they want to defend themselves. The patient frequently has no idea what brought on or provoked the emotions.

The effects of these emotional and mental assaults may make it difficult for the person to interact with others or engage in normal activities. The quality of life is frequently and significantly impacted by PTSD and its concomitant conditions, such as anxiety, sadness, and sleeplessness.


Conventional treatment of PTSD.


Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment modalities are available to manage PTSD.

Pharmacological management includes antidepressants and prazosin. The drug prazosin is used to control flashbacks and nightmares.


Nonpharmacological treatment such as psychotherapy for PTSD includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).



Role of the endocannabinoid system in PTSD.


The endocannabinoid system is a biological system that is present in all vertebrates. The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolizing enzymes. Cannabinoid receptors are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. Two major endocannabinoids are Anandamide (AEA) and 2AG. The Endocannabinoid system is activated when these endocannabinoids (AEA and 2AG) bind to the endocannabinoid receptors. Activation of the endocannabinoid system will help to maintain the homeostasis of the body. The last puzzle of the system is the metabolizing enzymes FAAH and MAGL whose function is to metabolize the endocannabinoids once it has activated the receptors.


The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in managing our mood, memory, sleep, appetite, pain, and inflammatory response. Studies have found that activation of the CB1 receptor by anandamide in the brain helps us to forget averse memories. It is found that patients suffering from PTSD have heightened expression of CB1 receptors in the brain. It is postulated that anandamide-mediated endocannabinoid dysregulation could be the reason for PTSD.


PTSD And Medicinal Cannabis.

THC and CBD are the two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Hence, they are also called phytocannabinoids. They are called cannabinoids because they activate the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. The primary component of the cannabis plant, THC, is responsible for the euphoric effects. On the other hand, CBD, a substance that is not psychoactive, counteracts the effects of THC.


A 2014 research that appeared in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs investigated medicinal marijuana's capacity to lessen PTSD symptoms. According to the findings, taking medicinal cannabis reduced the symptoms of PTSD in individuals by 75%.


PTSD And Medicinal Cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis prescribers evaluate each patient individually to identify the appropriate cannabinoid mixture for their circumstance and experience. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can have diverse effects at different doses, so it's critical that all patients, including veterans, seek the advice of a medical practitioner when contemplating cannabis medications as a therapeutic option for mental health.


As with any therapeutic good, medicinal cannabis also has side effects the common side effects of medicinal cannabis are, dizziness, drowsiness, lack of concentration, impaired short-term memory, dry mouth, psychosis, depression, paranoia, and nausea.


The use of medicinal cannabis for various ailments is still in the experimental stages and we need further high-quality research studies and data before medicinal cannabis can be made available as a mainstream treatment modality.


In 2016, the Australian Federal Government legalized the use of medicinal cannabis. More than 100 cannabis products are now available for prescription. The majority are oral preparations oils or tablets that contain cannabidiol or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Other products made from dried flowers are also available.


Because the majority of the goods are unregistered pharmaceuticals, prescriptions must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration Special Access Scheme-B or Authorized Prescriber Scheme.


The majority of medical professionals are still getting to know the nuances of prescribing cannabis-based medications in Australia and other countries. Research investigating the efficacy of medicinal cannabis for treating PTSD symptoms may provide some long-needed hope for those with PTSD and their families.


Summary.


Cannabis has gained acceptance as a PTSD therapy over the past ten years. Around one million Australians experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a curable anxiety disease. Symptoms can range widely, from minor adjustments to daily routines to withdrawal and numbness, to upsetting memories or physical discomfort. The quality of life is significantly impacted by PTSD and its concomitant conditions, such as anxiety, sadness, and sleeplessness. Cannabinoids in cannabis, including CBD and THC, may help alleviate these symptoms.


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