As Wednesday, November 11, 2020, is Veterans Day, Marijuana Doctor would like to thank all U.S. military members for their service. We’ll also take this opportunity to share how Florida’s combat veterans suffering from PTSD (aka post-traumatic stress disorder) might find relief through medical marijuana.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects more than 12% of U.S. veterans. There are an estimated 150,000 veterans currently living with PTSD in the State of Florida. As Florida’s medical marijuana program comes of age, the number of veterans treating their condition with medical marijuana is on the rise.
Although PTSD may often be thought of as affecting combat veterans, they aren’t the only Floridians suffering from PTSD. Individuals who have suffered physical and mental abuse and other forms of trauma can also develop PTSD.
Even the drastic isolation measures and fear produced by the Covid-19 pandemic and current political climate can cause people to experience symptoms such as panic attacks, high anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares that often come with PTSD. As a result, the number of PTSD patients in the state is growing quickly.
As of the beginning of 2020, fewer than 300,000 Florida medical marijuana cards had been granted. Since then, the numbers have skyrocketed up to well over 420,000 card-carrying patients.
So, let’s talk about how veterans and others suffering from PTSD are using medical marijuana to treat their condition and greatly improve their quality of life.
Using medical marijuana to treat PTSD
Although trauma and violence are often thought to be the cause of PTSD, the fact is that not everyone who experiences combat, violence, trauma, or abuse will develop PTSD. This suggests that there may be an underlying condition present in PTSD patients that is triggered by trauma. A theory has emerged in recent years that suggests a condition known as endocannabinoid deficiency might be the culprit.
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoid compounds that are produced naturally by our own bodies. The cannabinoid compounds produced in cannabis flowers (aka marijuana), such as THC and CBD, are technically referred to as phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced in plants).
Endocannabinoids have been shown to play a vital role in the regulation of mood. It seems that an imbalance in the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) might be the cause of chronic conditions that often arise in PTSD patients such as anxiety, fear, and depression. Although feelings of sadness, fear, and anxiety are normal, it seems that in PTSD patients, the processes that regulate these moods are inhibited.
When a person is in danger, the brain naturally produces compounds that put us on edge and prepare us to fight or flee. And when danger passes, a different combination of neurochemicals calms us down and produces feelings of safety. In PTSD patients, sudden bouts of fear and panic seem to be triggered too easily and in situations that are not life-threatening. Also, in a healthy individual, these symptoms would dissipate shortly after the danger passes. However, this latter process, known as fear extinguishing, seems to be lacking in PTSD patients. It’s now believed that an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system may play a role in triggering anxiety as well as in extinguishing fear.
Although several systems are involved in these processes, one endocannabinoid in particular called anandamide seems to play a role in conditions such as anxiety and depression. Anandamide is responsible for regulating the production and uptake of a hormone known as serotonin.
An imbalance in serotonin levels and receptors seems to be common in patients suffering from high anxiety, depression, insomnia, and nightmares. Studies have shown that supplementing the body’s own endocannabinoids with the phytocannabinoids found in both hemp and medical marijuana tends to increase serotonin levels and relieve these symptoms.
What are the best medical marijuana strains and delivery methods for PTSD patients?
The ideal medical marijuana strains and delivery methods for PTSD patients really depend on the patient. For example, if a patient is trying to deal with panic attacks, strains that are low in THC and delivery methods that offer a faster onset time such as vaping, smoking, or tinctures, are recommended. On the other hand, if a patient is suffering from sleeplessness or nightmares, a strain that is higher in THC and a delivery method with longer-lasting effects such as edibles might be ideal before bedtime.
In some cases, PTSD patients suffer from a variety of symptoms and might benefit from having a variety of formulas and delivery methods on hand — for example, low-THC inhalable products to treat panic attacks, and higher THC products to help induce drowsiness and reduce nightmares.
Minimal dosages should be used to start out with since optimal dosages can vary from patient to patient. Over the course of a few days or weeks, a patient can slowly work their way up to a dosage that provides optimal relief. If the patient begins to feel unwanted effects such as paranoia or daytime drowsiness, the dosage should be cut back until those effects are sufficiently diminished.
It’s important for PTSD patients to discuss their symptoms and needs with a qualified budtender at a local medical marijuana dispensary to determine which strains and delivery methods are ideal for the patient.
Another important fact to keep in mind is that many PTSD patients find that their symptoms can be relieved by CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid derived from hemp. High-quality CBD products can be purchased at our offices or online without a medical marijuana card.
How to get a Florida medical marijuana card for PTSD
Marijuana Doctor is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, affordable, and convenient care. This is reflected in the fact that we are Florida’s leading provider of medical marijuana card recommendations. At Marijuana Doctor, we’ve helped over 25,000 patients obtain a Florida medical marijuana card. In the process, we’ve earned more than 1,500 5-star reviews.
Our board-certified physicians will evaluate PTSD patients to determine if the patient qualifies for a medical marijuana card. Our helpful staff of Patient Care Specialists will assist the patient in registering with the Florida Department of Health and locating nearby medical treatment centers (MMTC).
In closing, all of us here at Marijuana Doctor would like to reiterate our deepest gratitude to all U.S. veterans and service members. We wish you all good health and happiness. We offer veterans a discount on evaluations and on in-office purchases of CBD products to help you save money.