Many advocates claim marijuana is the panacea of just about any ailment, and perhaps the one most lauded is using marijuana for PTSD treatment.
For the advocates, this is a good choice. On an emotional level, it stirs up a sense of patriotism, as many returning veterans from our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are coming home with PTSD. Thus, there is a sense of obligation to relieve their suffering for the sacrifices that they made on our behalf.
From a practical and applied perspective, there is also evidence that marijuana for PTSD treatment could have some basis in fact.
So, if it could work, why not go for it?
First off, looking solely at evidence, the emotional aspect really plays little (if any) role. Even if it does play some part, there is no actual treatment of the PTSD. Instead, it is an avoidance of the issues that agitate the disorder.
What about those biological reasons?
This belief has been established based on a study by NYU that indicates people with PTSD have more available CB1 receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of various chemicals and pathways related to memory, pain, mood, and appetite. One of those chemicals is called anandamide, and the study showed that there were decreased concentrations of this neurotransmitter in PTSD sufferers.
The doctors could not say conclusively if this was the only missing chemical. They also had no record of their subjects’ anandamide levels before the traumatic event occurred. If it is a biological function rather than chemical, then it stands to reason that the shortage of receptors exists before the trauma. That means the issue exists before any trauma occurs.
While there is no definitive treatment for PTSD, focusing on the issue from a strictly biological perspective is negligent, since: a.) the memory is still there, and b.) mental health treatment as of right now is the best treatment for the issue.
Additionally, and perhaps most important to us as addicts and alcoholics, there is the issue of being excessively medicated. For example, if we are sore after exercise, there is a huge difference between grabbing the Tylenol or some prescription pain pills. Alternatively, if we need to cram for a test, grabbing an energy drink or cup of coffee is way different than doing crystal meth or cocaine.
In both of those instances, the end goal is the same, and it is resolved. However, there are reasonable alternatives that will both treat the issue, while at the same time not put us at greater risk for bigger problems as a result of their use.
For that very reason, it is important for us as addicts and alcoholics to consider things like therapy or non-mind-altering medications prescribed by a trained professional, rather than resorting to something like marijuana for PTSD, when it has proven to cause issues for us in the past.
Using Marijuana for PTSD Treatment: What Are Your Thoughts?
What are your opinions? Let us know in the comments!