Stress, anxiety, and depression are among the myriad of symptoms and disorders driving many patients to use medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), these three psychological disorders are part and parcel of what they go through each day.
PTSD became a recognized mental health disorder in 1980. It describes a set of cognitive issues some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening or traumatic event. Some traumatic events that may cause PTSD include combat experiences, surviving a natural disaster or car accident, and sexual assault.
PTSD occurs when a person has trouble coping with their experience for months or years after the incident. The disorder can happen to anyone, and certain factors increase the likelihood of someone developing PTSD; most of which are out of any individual’s control.
Given the complexities of diagnosing and treating PTSD, there are only limited options for patients when it comes to effective treatment. Other than various forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and a handful of pharmaceuticals with harmful side effects, there aren’t many options for patients struggling with PTSD.
Fortunately, one organization, called MAPS, founded in 1986, seeks to change all that. This non-profit develops research to explore the medical, legal, and cultural contexts in which people can benefit from the careful use of medical marijuana and psychedelics.
Given the long battle to end marijuana prohibition, which scheduled federally and illegal in 31 of the 50 states, the small number of symptom-specific, effective medications for PTSD, the FDA finally allowed MAPS to engage in its first government-approved trial to investigate medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. The study, which is ongoing, will explore whether smoked marijuana reduces PTSD symptoms in 76 American veterans diagnosed with chronic, treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder. All participants are over 18, both men and women, and have a diagnosis that hasn’t improved with medication or psychotherapy.
Although the study is still ongoing, the treatment of PTSD is an enormous consideration for the one million troops deployed within the last decade. Our growing number of veterans reveals a tremendous need for effective treatment of PTSD. Conservative estimates of veterans who served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD hovers between 11-20%, while some non-governmental research suggests that the number of veterans suffering from PTSD is actually closer to one in five.
While research in America catches up to reflect the needs of patients with PTSD, studies abroad have conducted clinical trials and research on the efficacy of marijuana when it comes to relieving the symptoms of the disorder. Last year, a team of Canadian psychologists published the most comprehensive cannabis research review ever conducted. For the study, researchers pored over 60 different published studies and articles examining the use of both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Their findings indicated that marijuana truly has the power to enhance—and in some cases—save lives.
Until recently, our awareness of marijuana as a potentially helpful treatment for PTSD was mostly anecdotal. With the publication of this study and the MAPS trial, we are finally seeing the potential for medical marijuana start to being realized by doctors, clinicians, and governments alike.
Regardless of your diagnosis, our dedicated and knowledgeable staff are here to help guide you to the relief that is right for you. Give our team a call or stop by our medical marijuana dispensary, located conveniently on the Las Vegas Strip.
If you’re an out-of-state patient, we honor all state-issued medical marijuana cards, so be sure to bring yours with you when you visit!