Medical Marijuana is Good for PTSD
We’ve had reminders in the news as of late of just how important it is that the Alabama Legislature opted to include PTSD as one of the qualifying conditions to get an Alabama Marijuana Card.
With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the horrific events of that day have once again been in the news. First responders as well as past and present military personnel around the nation who were embroiled in the attacks and the aftermaths in Afghanistan and Iraq have been sharing their stories.
Just listening to those stories can be traumatic, so one can only imagine what it was like for those who lived through them. And one can also easily understand why so many veterans suffer from PTSD.
In fact, veterans have played an important part in passing medical marijuana laws around the country, and many of them who advocate for legalization have been motivated by their own experiences with PTSD.
Fortunately, not only will veterans in Alabama soon be able to treat PTSD with medical marijuana, but so will any Yellowhammer State resident who has the condition.
And when you consider how challenging it can be to successfully treat PTSD, as well as how effectively medical marijuana can alleviate the condition, it becomes clear how crucial including it as a qualifying condition was to the wellbeing of Alabamans.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a form of anxiety that is rooted in some past traumatic event. The symptoms of PTSD are many and varied, and each patient may experience them in personal, individual ways. Those symptoms can include insomnia, intense phobias, blackouts, difficulty concentrating, and hallucinations. In the worst cases, patients may experience violent or suicidal thoughts and urges.
Traditional PTSD treatment options
There are several treatments for PTSD patients, but they aren’t always effective and usually come with significant side effects.
PTSD is so tricky to treat because it involves two very different sets of symptoms: physical and mental.
Although PTSD is a mental health problem and therefore psychological in nature, it can cause physical symptoms. And because there are no traditional PTSD treatments that can address both the physical and mental symptoms of the condition, patients must often undergo psychological counselling in combination with a cocktail of prescription medications.
And further complicating treatment is the fact that traditional PTSD meds are often associated with significant and intolerable side effects, such as weight gain and diminished sex drive. And as PTSD patients must often take a number of meds, they also then face a number of side effects. When you remember the inconsistent efficacy of PTSD meds, that means that patients are often enduring a range of side effects while seeing little benefit.
Medical Marijuana Effectively Treats Both Kinds of PTSD Symptoms, Reduces Use of Other Meds
Marijuana has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for both psychological and physical symptoms of PTSD. Scientists theorize that this is because there are cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and throughout the body, enabling marijuana to treat both kinds of symptoms.
The PTSD symptoms that can be treated with medical marijuana include (but are not limited to!) anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain, sleep disorders, difficulty focusing and hallucinations.
Not only do PTSD patients who use medical marijuana often find relief from their symptoms without the side effects of traditional meds, but those patients are also less likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol as well.
PTSD Isn’t Just About Veterans, but Their Stories are Persuasive
While anyone who has suffered a trauma could potentially develop PTSD, veterans are the community perhaps most associated with the condition.
And as those veterans find relief with medical marijuana, many of them have joined up with and even started lobbying and advocacy groups to travel to states that either do not have medical marijuana programs or that do not recognize PTSD as a qualifying condition. Often, these veterans’ stories are highly effective at broadening access to medical marijuana for everyone, veterans and civilians alike.
For example, Texas recently expanded its medical marijuana program to recognize PTSD as a qualifying condition. The original sponsor of the legislation, Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick, had initially intended only to allow veterans to use cannabis to treat their PTSD.
But as she listened to veterans tell their stories, they also told her how they’d seen medical marijuana benefit civilians with PTSD too. As she continued her research and learned just how widespread PTSD is, and how debilitating it can be, Klick supported expanding access to the general population, and now all Texans with PTSD can treat it with medical marijuana.
“I really question some of the PTSD statistics we have nationally,” Klick told the Houston Chronicle. “It doesn’t capture all of those that might be suffering from PTSD.”
PTSD Statistics Reveal Millions of Sufferers
The idea that PTSD may be more widespread than statistics suggest is a sobering one, because statistics suggest that there are an awful lot of people suffering from the condition.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 6% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. That’s 21 million Americans who are predicted to suffer from an absolutely debilitating condition. And unfortunately, not all of them will have access to one of the most effective treatments for PTSD.
Fortunately, Alabama Recognizes PTSD as a Qualifying Condition
We don’t know how many Alabamans are suffering from PTSD, but if the VA’s national estimate of 6% holds true for the state, there could be hundreds of thousands of them. And fortunately, each of them is eligible to find relief with medical marijuana.
Otherwise, those Alabamans would have no choice but to use traditional PTSD meds, with side effects that can include sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal distress, and impaired cognition or “brain fog.”
But now those Alabamans will have the chance to experience relief in a safe, natural way. Relief that could have benefitted an unknowable number of Alabamans who are no longer with us, and that will benefit an unknowable number to come.
Could Medical Marijuana Benefit You?
If you’re an Alabaman who is suffering from PTSD or any of the qualifying conditions, why not find out if medical marijuana is right for you?
Reserve an evaluation with one of our compassionate doctors today, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as Alabama’s medical marijuana market is up and running. Not only will you meet with your new doctor from the comfort of your own via a telemedicine appointment using your smartphone or computer, but you’ll save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Alabama Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-5633, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Alabama Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.