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ptsd cbd or thc

Sewell theorized that cannabis might be able to jump start this process – allowing those with PTSD to access extinction learning like their healthy counterparts, and curing the PTSD by helping them to move on from their trauma. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete his research before he unexpectedly passed away in 2013.

A second study, from researchers at Brazil’s Federal University of Parana, explored another potential way that cannabis could help those with PTSD – extinguishing the intensity associated with memories of their trauma. This mode of treating PTSD was first hypothesized by Yale associate professor of psychiatry R. Andrew Sewell who suggested that cannabis may be able to help PTSD patients “overwrite” traumatic memories with new memories in a process called ‘extinction learning’.

This means that those who took low doses of THC showed measurable signs of reduced fear and anxiety in situations designed to trigger fear. Since these results were found in all three groups, it suggests that even those with PTSD were able to experience less fear with THC in their system.

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For most who experience traumatic incidents, these fears subside after 6 months or so because of the extinction learning process. New memories of the traumatic trigger form and override the old. Someone with a traumatic experience of explosives being dropped from bridges, may at first feel terrified as they approach any bridge – with traumatic memories flooding their mind. But after months of nothing bad happening around bridges, most will begin to feel bridges are less dangerous, as many memories of driving under bridges safely accumulate. The old memories still linger, but they don’t cause the increase in fear when the trigger (like the bridge) is present. So while most with trauma remember the traumatic incidents, those memories no longer trigger intense fear.

Amy Rising, an Air Force veteran, smokes medical marijuana. Rising has been working on legislation . [+] for veterans’ freedom to treat PTSD with medical cannabis. (Photo by Kevin Cook for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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The authors conclude that the research suggests “that THC modulates threat-related processing in trauma-exposed individuals with PTSD” and add that the drug “may prove advantageous as a pharmacological approach to treating stress- and trauma-related psychopathology.”

The Wayne State University study took on this challenge, and studied the amygdala responses in three groups of participants – healthy controls who had not been exposed to trauma, trauma exposed adults without PTSD and trauma exposed adults with PTSD. Using a randomized, double-blind procedure, the 71 participants were either given a low dose of THC or a placebo. Then they were exposed to threatening stimuli and their amygdala responses were recorded.

Ptsd cbd or thc

Given the increasing availability and use of cannabis among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the addition of PTSD as an eligible diagnosis in several U.S. medical cannabis programs, the efficacy of dispensary-obtained cannabis needs to be thoroughly examined.

While there are more than 400 chemical entities and 60 known cannabinoids present in marijuana, it is the two primary cannabinoids – CBD and THC – that have received the most attention for their role in mitigating certain symptoms of PTSD. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce conditioned fear responses in laboratory trials, and anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals with PTSD who suffer from similar “trigger point” responses to remembered traumas may benefit from the CBD content in marijuana.

PTSD, CBD, AND THC

In the absence of codified best practices for treating PTSD with medical marijuana, many patients have created their own therapy routines based on a combination of trial and error and shared advice. Evidence, such as the aforementioned 150-person study, suggests that many of these patients are successfully finding a degree of relief from their self-titrated marijuana therapies and may have identified the specific varieties of botanical marijuana that provides the most effective ratios of THC:CBD for treatment of their individual condition.

Current PTSD & Cannabis Science

* Over the course of one year, cannabis users reported a greater decrease in PTSD symptom severity than non-users, and

2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO.

Scott Shannon

This article describes a retrospective chart review of adult psychiatric patients with a diagnosis of PTSD who consented to treatment with CBD as augmentation to routine psychiatric treatment at an outpatient psychiatric clinic. All current patients with a diagnosis of PTSD were considered for treatment with CBD between February 2016 and May 2018. Patients were not excluded based on the presence of other psychiatric comorbidities (aside from an active thought disorder) or concurrent use of cannabis. The diagnosis of PTSD was established through clinical evaluation by a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or physician assistant). Inclusion criteria for the present analysis required a cut-off score of 33 on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for the DSM-5 (PCL-5) 19 and a minimum of two consecutive follow-up appointments after the initial intake appointment. The final sample consisted of 11 adult patients with a diagnosis of PTSD and who met inclusion criteria.

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4 Department of Naturopathic Medicine, Wholeness Center, Fort Collins, CO.