Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can negatively affect every single aspect of a person’s life. Aside from making it difficult to get out of bed each morning, PTSD can interfere with even the most basic of daily tasks. Common medications prescribed to treat symptoms of PTSD, can produce dozens of negative side effects. These side effects can be even worse than the original symptoms, which is why so many medical marijuana patients are choosing to treat PTSD with cannabis, instead.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety condition, caused by a traumatic event, such as military combat or assault. There are 3 common symptoms associated with the condition: flashbacks, social isolation, and hyper arousal. These symptoms are caused by a change in brain chemistry (hyper-responsive stress and adrenaline hormones) over time.
More specific symptoms of PTSD may include one or more of the following:
- persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, and/or shame
- diminished interest or participation in significant activities
- feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- consistent inability to experience positive emotion
- Irritable and aggressive behavior
- self-destructive behavior
- exaggerated startle response
- trouble concentrating
- difficulty falling and/or staying asleep
Side Effects of Commonly Prescribed Medications
Medication(s) typically prescribed for PTSD greatly depend on the severity and type of symptoms one is experiencing. The most common drugs are anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and benzodiazepines. These include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Latuda, Xanax, etc… While these medications can usually treat symptoms of PTSD, they can also intensify symptoms and produce dozens of severe, negative side effects like:
- increased appetite and weight gain
- loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems
- fatigue and drowsiness
- dry mouth
- blurred vision
- constipation or diarrhea
- dizziness, weakness, and/or unsteadiness
- thoughts about suicide or dying
- attempts to commit suicide
- new or worsening depression
- new or worsening anxiety
- feeling very agitated or restless
- new or worsening panic attacks
- new or worsening irritability
- acting aggressively, being angry, or violent
- acting on dangerous impulses
- extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
- other unusual changes in behavior or mood
Treat PTSD with Cannabis
Since marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug by the DEA, it is nearly impossible to get FDA approval on marijuana-based medications. With that being said, recent studies have found that marijuana has a profound impact on PTSD symptoms, through it’s relationship with our built-in endocannabinoid system.
This system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis or regularity in the body. PTSD symptoms are produced by an imbalance of endocannabinoids, specifically anandamide, within the body. If you suffer from PTSD, chances are your body lacks anandamide. Marijuana works to replace these missing endocannabinoids, therefore restoring the balance and relieving symptoms.
Of course, marijuana can produce mild side effects such as nausea, impaired motor function, memory issues, and drowsiness. Keep in mind that these symptoms are much less severe than the symptoms associated with PTSD. They are also less severe than the side effects produced by commonly prescribed medications.
One thing that we are now sure of, is the ability of cannabis to treat wildly different symptoms, associated with dozens of unique medical conditions. Many people, however, are still unaware of how the plant actually accomplishes this. For this reason, we’re addressing exactly how marijuana affects the systems of the body and produces such a wide range of medical benefits.
How Marijuana Affects the Systems of the Body
It’s important to understand that each of the systems below, rely on one another to keep the body functioning optimally. If one system is not functioning properly, all of the other systems will begin to suffer. Marijuana acts as a buffer, to help these systems function as they should and keep you healthy & happy!
The marijuana plant itself is made up of hundreds of different elements. The elements mainly responsible for the medicinal benefits are called cannabinoids. Chances are that you’ve heard of the two most popular cannabinoids: THC and CBD.
These components produce a lot of the effects on their own, but they each have several “off-shoots” that work to produce their own effects, as well. Of course, when these elements work together (entourage effect) the benefits can be even greater!
CBD is an anti-ischemic, meaning that it can reduce the risk of arterial blockage, thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke!
CBD and THC will work together in the circulatory system to increase blood flow to the brain. This will keep you strong, balanced, focused, energized, and clear-headed!
THCv, a relative to THC, will act as an appetite suppressant. This will come in handy if you’re trying to lose weight.
THC on the other hand, often acts as an appetite stimulant which is especially helpful to those suffering from eating disorder, or nausea from chemotherapy treatment.
CBD will reduce contractions in the small intestine, helping you to absorb more nutrients. When you suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s Disease, your small intestine may contract too quickly. This will usually result in loose, watery stool. Therefore, CBD can help reduce symptoms associated with these diseases.
Endocrine System and Immune Response
CBD and CBG will work together to slow, or even kill bacteria growth within the body, greatly reducing the risk of infection and illness. CBG will also treat fungal infections like Athlete’s foot or Ringworm.
CBD has the ability to reduce blood sugar levels, making it extremely beneficial to people who have been diagnosed as Diabetic. CBD can also treat skin conditions such as Psoriasis.
Muscular and Skeletal System
The cannabinoids CBD, CBG, CBC, and THCv, promote bone growth. This is extremely beneficial to patients suffering from Osteopenia and Osteoporosis.
CBD, CBN, and THC can reduce muscle spasms associated with disease like Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
One of the most common uses for medical marijuana is to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. THC, CBD, and CBC can work on their own to accomplish this, but may be even more beneficial when used together.
CBN and THC can oftentimes help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
CBD and THCv will reduce seizures associated with Epilepsy, as well as uncontrollable convulsions.
Another one of the most common patient requests for medical marijuana is to treat general stress and anxiety. CBD has proven itself to be highly-effective at reducing these symptoms.
Bonus: Whole Body Relief and Protection
Perhaps the most astounding benefit of marijuana is that THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG all have the ability to inhibit growth of tumors and reduce the spread of cancer cells.
Last, but certainly not least, THC, CBD, CBN, and CBC share the ability to reduce or eliminate pain throughout the body.
Amazingly enough, the benefits above don’t even cover all of the potential medicinal properties of this amazing plant!
Often times, when we think of medical marijuana, we picture it treating conditions like anxiety, depression, etc… Surprisingly enough, some people even utilize marijuana for weight loss! While cannabis is usually associated with increasing appetite, it can actually be quite beneficial as a weight loss method.
The American Journal of Medicine performed a study that showed regular marijuana use led to lower levels of fasting insulin and decreased belly fat. Your body normally gets its energy from the food that you eat. Fasting lowers insulin levels, forcing the body to pull its energy from stored fat, instead. Marijuana use lowers insulin levels which allows the body to shed excess weight, especially around the abdominal area.
Back in 2011, another study was conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology. It found that obesity rates are actually 33% lower in people who use marijuana regularly. Furthermore, using marijuana will also reduce stress & cortisol levels, aiding in the reduction of belly fat.
Different Strains, Drastically Different Outcomes
Not all strains of marijuana will decrease appetite, so if your goal is to lose weight, make sure you pick one that will not cause you to get the munchies!
Certain Sativa strains will not only suppress appetite, but they’ll also provide you with energy and focus. Sativa strains can include CBD and THC. CBD is mainly responsible for the energy boost, which makes it a great pre-workout option. Additionally, it can reduce pain which can help you have a better workout too!
In terms of weight loss, specific Sativa strains that contain a version of THC called THCV, can reduce appetite and improve digestion.
If you, or someone you know is looking to lose weight for health reasons, call us at (786) 224-4005 or schedule a free consultation online. This will allow you to speak with one of our licensed physicians and see if medical marijuana is right for you!
There are dozens of medical conditions and illnesses that marijuana has successfully treated. From anxiety, to the side effects of cancer treatment, or sleep disorders, to PTSD, marijuana seems to be able to do it all. This leaves us wondering, is there anything that it can’t do? In this article, we’re asking the question, “Can marijuana treat Parkinson’s Disease?
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
This is a permanent, nervous system condition, that typically gets significantly worse over time. Common symptoms include changes in posture, tremors, stiffness, slowed cognition, and movement/speech difficulties. While the disease itself is not fatal, it can produce fatal complications.
How is it Typically Treated?
Often times, Parkinson’s Disease symptoms are commonly treated with prescription medications. Although these drugs are usually helpful, they can produce a wide range of negative side effects including but not limited to:
- ankle swelling
- skin conditions
- involuntary movements
- memory problems
- liver damage
- problems urinating
Can Marijuana Treat Parkinson’s Disease?
Medical marijuana has proven itself to effectively manage symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. These benefits include:
- pain relief
- reduced tremors
- better sleep quality
- more ease in movement
- boost in mood and positivity
Furthermore, these benefits are widely provided by the muscle relaxant and analgesic effects of the plant.
For instance, one study conducted back in 2014, concluded that all 22 participants experienced a significant decrease in pain & tremors, within 30 minutes of smoking marijuana. They also experienced an improvement in sleep quality.
It’s important to note that medical marijuana, specifically THC, can produce side effects like:
- impaired thinking and movement
- memory problems
- mood changes
While a few of these are similar to that of the prescription medications, they are rare, temporary, and much less severe. Studies are currently ongoing, but the results so far are very promising.
If you think medical marijuana can help you and are interested in becoming a marijuana doctor patient, call us at (786) 224-4005 or schedule your free consultation online, with one of our licensed physicians.