Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that develops after you experience a traumatic, life-threatening, or highly stressful event. Examples include sexual assault, war, death of someone close, or a natural disaster. This is an anxiety disorder that can make it difficult to function to have a “normal” life. It can last from months to years effecting social relationships, the ability to work and carry out daily tasks like going to the grocery store. Common symptoms include overwhelming feelings of fear, sadness, anger, hopelessness, or irritability, nightmares, negative outbursts, and being on guard.
In PTSD, the part of the brain responsible for the “flight-or-fight” response, called the amygdala, becomes overactive. Its job is to heighten our senses to be ready to act during perceived threat. Another part of the brain that assesses the threat and brings the “flight-or-fight” response down when there is no actual threat is called the prefrontal cortex, and it becomes under-active.
Many patients have reported medical marijuana to help in PTSD. According to an article published by Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at University of Washington, anecdotal and case-reports showed evidence marijuana decreased flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and hyperarousal in PTSD. A recent trial showed canniboids, an active compound found in medical marijuana, lowered the amygdala’s response and increased the prefrontal cortex response to threat. Other research has noted participants re-experienced the trauma decreased and had less avoidance of situations that reminded them of the trauma. These continued reports make medical marijuana an effective treatment for PTSD.
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