Cannabis and Alternative Therapies for PTSD: A Quick Reference

Alternaleaf Team
Written by
Alternaleaf Team
Aug 3, 2022
Last updated:
Dec 15, 2023

Twelve percent of Australians will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over their lifetime, according to Beyond Blue.

With limited options for treatment, a PTSD diagnosis may cause folks to seek out a medical cannabis doctor, hoping that an alternative therapy can help alleviate their symptoms.

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychological condition that comes about after a person has experienced a traumatic event that made them feel unsafe, scared for their life, or scared for someone else’s life and well-being.

It presents as a complex set of reactions in the body that are the result of going through terrifying events, especially if they occur more than once. And while many experience trauma, those with PTSD have symptoms that last more than four weeks and can disrupt daily life.

It’s not uncommon for folks living with PTSD to also have another mental health issue, such as substance use, anxiety, or depression. This is why treatment plans for this condition should be tailored to each individual’s unique diagnoses and situation.

If left untreated, there’s a good chance that the symptoms of PTSD will not go away, and can even get worse with time.

Symptoms of PTSD

While there are many symptoms of PTSD, not everyone will experience all of them. However, some of the most common are feeling especially on edge or alert all the time, or having the sensation that you’re experiencing the traumatic event all over again.

These may cause you to go out of your way to avoid any reminders of the horrible situation you endured in order to avoid triggers. You may also find yourself in a state of emotional numbness, leading you to feel disconnected from the people around you.

Other symptoms may include trouble sleeping, nightmares, changes in heart rate and breathing patterns, being easily startled, and memory loss. People with PTSD may also engage in risky behaviors, lose interest in things they enjoy, and feel distressed overall.

Complications can result from PTSD, leading to heart disease, nerve issues, and other health conditions (likely due to inflammation). An increased suicide risk is possible as well.

Causes of PTSD

When it comes to causes of PTSD, there are a variety of traumatic events that provoke the onset of the condition. Chief among them are bad accidents such as car crashes, for example, which can leave people seriously injured or close to death.

Surviving sexual abuse and rape is another common cause of PTSD, including childhood sexual abuse. It’s notable that PTSD is significantly more common in women than it is in men, though not solely due to being more at risk of sexual violence.

Other events that can cause the onset of PTSD are serving in military combat, living in a war zone, enduring a natural disaster like flooding or bushfires, losing someone you love in an abrupt and/or violent manner, and experiencing a serious medical event like a stroke.

Experiencing multiple traumatic events can make you more prone to developing PTSD. Fortunately for those with the condition, while there’s no cure for PTSD, there is treatment – and hope.

Treatments for PTSD

For those suffering from the impacts of PTSD, especially serious cases that last beyond four weeks of symptoms, the importance of treatment can’t be understated. Additionally, your treatment plan can be multi-pronged, including working with a medical cannabis doctor.

One good way to begin treating PTSD is with psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), and/or group therapy.

Medication can also treat PTSD, especially in severe cases of the condition. Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs for this condition are antidepressants and anti-anxiety. medications.

Then there are complementary forms of treatment for PTSD, including supplements, exercises like yoga and meditation, having a support pet or equine therapy, acupuncture, and more. These forms of treatment are used in tandem with more conventional PTSD treatments.

As to what you may find working with a medical cannabis doctor if seeking alternative therapies, it’s possible that medical cannabis may be prescribed to you to treat PTSD. Some studies have shown a link between cannabis consuming and a reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Living with PTSD

PTSD is a very real medical condition that can cause significant disruption in people’s lives. Fortunately, there are options for those seeking both conventional and alternative treatments for the condition, including working with a medical cannabis doctor.

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