PTSD occurs after the sufferer experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, which includes but is not limited to; natural disaster, military combat, abuse (physical, sexual or emotional), and accident or injury.
Although defined as one condition, PTSD can be broken down into types depending on the person’s symptoms - these are known as condition specifiers and they make it easier to diagnose and treat the illness. Types of PTSD include:
Complex PTSD: Refers to the PTSD experienced after prolonged or repeated trauma (eg. continual abuse, human trafficking) - can have more severe psychological implications than a once-off traumatic experience.
PTSD symptoms can be triggered by noises, situations, words or people that remind someone of the traumatic event. Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms can be divided into four groups:
Post traumatic stress disorder also presents differently in men and women. Women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD and wait on average 3 years longer than men to seek help. Women are more likely to:
Men are more likely to experience the typical symptoms of PTSD such as re-experiencing, avoidance and arousal concerns.
PTSD affects every individual differently and is dependent on the trauma type, how long the trauma lasted and individual biology.
PTSD’s symptoms can make life very difficult, and in extreme cases may lead to self harm and/or suicide if the symptoms become too overwhelming. Cannabis provides a natural remedy for PTSD by lessening the severity of the anxiety-adjacent symptoms. PTSD and generalised anxiety disorder share most of their physical symptoms, and can therefore share treatments as well. Despite being a mental condition, anxiety presents itself physically through a variety of symptoms, such as elevated heart rate and tense muscles.
Cannabis (specifically the CBD compound) slows the body’s communication with the central nervous system, resulting in slower breathing and heart rate, as well as a more relaxed muscle state - making it a suitable treatment for symptoms of both anxiety and PTSD. All research has supported that medicinal cannabis as a treatment for PTSD is most effective when administered in conjunction with talk therapy, so it’s important to consult a healthcare professional to determine what is the best solution for you and your condition.
If you or a loved one are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and are considering medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, please speak to your GP or to one of our SAS accredited doctors here.