Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 9.2% Canadians and is twice as likely to occur in women as compared to men. The disorder can occur at any age and is typically caused by a traumatic event or perceived threat which causes a physiological reaction. PTSD is common in cases of child abuse, sexual violence and combat, although not everyone who experiences these types of events develops PTSD and symptoms vary greatly between individuals.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
How Does PTSD Affect The Brain?
PTSD is caused by hyperarousal and long-term stress of the primitive brain which causes chemical changes to occur. Individuals with PTSD suffer from a state of constant hyperarousal and are extremely sensitive to events or situations that trigger negative memories of the event. Individuals with PTSD may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares and experience intense emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness.
Traditional Treatments for PTSD
Counselling, medication and support groups are all viable and effective means of treating PTSD. Depending on the person and the frequency of their symptoms, one method may prove more effective than another.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT):
CBT an effective form of counselling that helps people suffering from PTSD understand their trauma and how to manage and cope with the stress by mitigating the symptoms.
Family therapy involves those closest to the person affected by PTSD learning more about what the individual is going through. It can help communication and strengthen the familial bond in order to support the individual suffering from PTSD get through difficult times.
Group therapy is similar to family therapy, except that it involves a group of individuals suffering from PTSD discussing their condition in a group setting. These groups can be helpful for individuals suffering PTSD to know that they are not alone in their struggle.
Did You Know?
Qualified Canadian Armed Forces veterans can receive 100% coverage for costs associated with a medical cannabis prescription. Apollo is here to help.
Cannabis and PTSD
There are numerous subjective reports that cannabis has a significant role to play in the treatment of PTSD but further research is warranted to determine exactly how cannabinoids can manage symptoms and help treat the symptoms of PTSD.
A 2013 study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence looked at the prevalence of substance use among patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The study found that motivation for substance use was frequently attributed to sleep difficulties. Researchers found that participants with higher PTSD scores were significantly more likely to consume cannabis to help them sleep. The study concluded that cannabis was an effective coping mechanism for subjects looking to improve their sleep patterns, although further research is warranted to determine how cannabis acts on a physiological level.
Another study published in the Journal of psychoactive Drugs looked at reports of patients with PTSD who used cannabis to manage their symptoms. The study found that patient scores on the Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS) were reduced by 75% in individuals who used medical cannabis. The results found that “cannabis is associated with reductions in PTSD symptoms in some patients, and prospective, placebo-controlled study is needed to determine efficacy of cannabis and its constituents in treating PTSD”.
Apollo Clinics Can Help
Apollo Cannabis Clinic is an evidenced based clinic who has been conducting observational research on medical cannabis and PTSD since 2014. The staff includes health care professionals to assist patients of all ages and backgrounds.
In order to access Apollo’s services, begin by visiting apollocannabis.ca to fill out an intake form. Once the information has been submitted and reviewed an Apollo representative will contact you to book an appointment with one of our doctors.
During the initial appointment individuals will disclose their medical history and past cannabis use, and the doctor will determine an appropriate treatment plan with regards to cannabis. It is important to be honest and open with the doctor as it will provide them the best chance at helping individuals manage their PTSD with cannabis.