Nearly eight million Americans across the nation suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. Those suffering from PTSD could have experienced a traumatic event, been a victim of abuse, witnessed violence, or simply have a family history of depression and anxiety. Veterans are one of the largest groups susceptible to PTSD. If you or someone you know suffers from PTSD, you should be informed of what new treatments options such as Medical Marijuana are available. Medical cannabis has recently become available in Boca Raton for qualified patients suffering from PTSD and similarly debilitating conditions.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is classified as a severe anxiety disorder that is a result of psychological trauma. Those suffering from PTSD will feel anxiety, fear, and shock under normal conditions even when there is no danger present. PTSD can develop immediately or even years after a person has been exposed to trauma. The main symptoms of PTSD include re-experiencing memories of their trauma, avoiding thoughts or feelings related to their trauma, mood changes, and physical and emotional swings.
Current PTSD Treatment Options
Standard medical treatment for PTSD is divided into two categories: psychotherapy and medication. Different schools of thought argue over which method is more effective, while others agree that a combination of therapy and medication shows best results. The four main medications used to treat PTSD are SSRIs, SNRIs, Prazosin, and anti-anxiety medications.
SSRIs, otherwise known as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, work to relieve moderate symptoms of depression. They increase serotonin levels in your brain, in turn, helping to balance your mood. SSRIs have a wide range of side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and sexual dysfunctions.
SNRIs, or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, are similar to SSRIs and work to adjust your mood. Side effects are reduced but can last several weeks after treatment has stopped. Side effects include sweating, loss of appetite, insomnia, constipation, and more.
Prazosin was designed to reduce nightmares and help patients suffering from PTSD sleep. Prazosin does cause several minor side effects such as headaches or lightheadedness, but also major side effects including chest pain, breathing difficulties, loss of bladder control, and other severe effects.
Anti-anxiety medicines are designed to help people relax and feel more comfortable with PTSD. Unfortunately, anti-anxiety medicines often become addictive and habit-forming. Over time, patients taking anti-anxiety medicines will need to continually increase dosages in order for the medicine to have any effect.
If you are a first-time patient or returning to LifeBoost please fill out this form to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation with Dr. Stratt.
Advantages of Medical Marijuana For PTSD
As current medications for PTSD have numerous and sometimes severe side effects, research into other options has found that medical marijuana could be a perfect solution. Medical marijuana immediately showed a 75 percent reduction of symptoms when used by those suffering from PTSD. Nightmares and flashbacks were reduced in patients using medical marijuana and it allowed them to sleep with ease.
Medical marijuana activates a number of cannabinoid receptors in your brain. When these receptors are activated, studies show that anxiety is overall reduced and you are able to more easily forget bad or scary events that may have occurred. When these receptors are not activated, fearful memories tend to linger and anxiety levels increase. Aside from the tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, component of medical marijuana, CBD or cannabidiol seems to be particularly useful in lowering anxiety levels.
While anxiety and other PTSD symptoms are reduced through the use of medical cannabis, the common side effects associated with medical marijuana are negligible. Typically medical marijuana can make patients feel hungry, dry mouthed, or slightly drowsy. Severe side effects of medical marijuana have not been exhibited.
Although further testing on medical marijuana is underway, immediate results show that PTSD sufferers are able to sleep more easily and experience lower levels of anxiety through the use of medical cannabis without the negative side effects associated with other prescription drugs.