Written by Tayla Moore of Firefly Medical
You probably already know that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a disorder in which an individual has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a dangerous, scary, shocking, or terrifying event. But you might not know that PTSD is linked to endocannabinoid deficiency, which might make the idea of treating PTSD with cannabis sound not quite so strange.
Because of its ability to slow down brain activity in the amygdala – the section of the brain that is responsible for emotions and memories – cannabis usage can help with the involuntary flashbacks and vivid memories associated with PTSD, as well as with related symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. But not every type of marijuana will produce the same effect. Certain strains and terpenes will be more helpful for treating PTSD than others, so it’s important to know what to look for when figuring out what type of cannabis you should use to treat PTSD. It’s also important to consider that different people have different reactions to the various types of cannabis, so what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you.
There is not one singular type of cannabis that is best for treating PTSD, but there are certain chemical profiles to search for depending on what symptoms you are treating. Choosing marijuana based on chemovars (also known as chemotypes), rather than choosing based on whether the marijuana is more of an indica or sativa, will more accurately help you determine the type of response you will have to a strain. There are three major cannabis chemotype categories known as Type I, II, and III. Type I contains high THC and low CBD, Type II contains balanced THC and balanced CBD with a rough ratio of 1:1, and type III contains high CBD and low THC.
THC is known to suppress REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – a stage of sleep that occurs at intervals and is characterized by faster pulse and breathing, increased dreaming and bodily movement, and rapid eye movements – which can help individuals who experience recurring nightmares. CBD is known to be directly connected to the ability to maintain sleep. Type I strains can benefit individuals by lessening the occurrence of nightmares and help with falling asleep faster. Type I strains can also intensify anxious thoughts, depressive tendencies, and paranoia. Type II strains may benefit individuals who are looking to gain assistance with day-to-day functionality and experience a reduction in depressive feelings. Even though Type II has a balance of CBD and THC, some people find the CBD content to be overly stimulating and the THC levels to be overly high.
Type III strains can benefit individuals by combating anxiety, supplying assistance with remaining asleep, and providing mood stabilizing effects. There have been reports on overly stimulating effects caused by products containing type III strains. Type I is more well known due to its popularity of high potency in THC, but that does not automatically make it the best chemovar for you. In order to help alleviate PTSD symptoms, you must keep in mind that the same strain that helps treat one symptom may not help with another.
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