As the state’s medical-marijuana program enters its third year, Ohio patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have begun to see a new path to healing.
Medical cannabis has been shown to be effective at treating PTSD. However, there is not a certain type or dosage that works for all patients. Furthermore, some PTSD patients who are recommended cannabis by their doctor can struggle to navigate how and when to medicate to achieve the most benefit.
Here are some of the ways you can use cannabis to cope with the difficulties of this trauma-related anxiety disorder:
1. Using cannabis for sleep
Cannabis can not only help people with insomnia fall and stay asleep. It also can help prevent nightmares associated with mental health disorders. As part of your nighttime routine, cannabis can help relax your body. We recommend taking deep breaths and meditating as part of your bedtime cannabis regimen. This can help ease anxieties before bed, which can reduce sleep disturbances and help you get the rest you need.
2. Mindfulness and presence
Cannabis and PTSD have a dynamic relationship. MMJ can help break negative thought cycles common in people with anxiety or depression. Breaking these patterns of thinking can help PTSD patients be more present and mindful in their daily lives. This can lead to better self-care and a general sense of more peace in their lives.
A recent study found that a single session of mindfulness meditation can significantly help relax PTSD patients who struggle with mild to moderate anxiety. Perhaps a meditation/medication session with cannabis could become part of your PTSD treatment?
3. Appetite regulation
Despite the stereotype that weed gives you the munchies, not all cannabis leads to an abundant appetite. Though it is true many strains stimulate the urge to indulge in a tasty dish. Here, cannabis can provide further impetus for healing for PTSD patients.
In fact, MMJ can do a great deal of good for regulating your appetite when you have PTSD. Depending on the individual, anxiety spikes can either cause over-eating or under-eating. It’s well documented that many patients who struggle to get enough nutrition can be helped by cannabis as it stimulates their appetite.
However, other studies have shown that some marijuana strains actually can have the opposite effect. So pay attention to the strains and terpene profiles to see what effect you experience and adjust accordingly. If you’re unsure of your options, consult with your doctor or dispensary budtender about which products may work best for you.
Bonus: Cannabis has also been known to help those who struggle with PTSD to consume less alcohol, which can aid in helping them achieve and maintain a healthier weight.
4. Reconnecting with the body
People with PTSD can have racing, negative, or confusing intrusive thought patterns as a symptom of anxiety. Cannabis can interrupt these thought patterns, making it easier to identify and communicate pervasive thoughts and feelings. In doing so, this can help more effectively treat underlying beliefs rather than just symptoms of those beliefs. By helping people stay present in therapeutic exercises, a healthier personal foundation upon which to build a more fulfilling and functional life emerges.
PTSD sufferers can be fearful and have a difficult time being vulnerable or trusting others. MMJ lowers inhibitions, making it easier to talk openly and honestly with a therapist, doctor, psychiatrist, or another member of your care team or support system.
It is important to be open and honest about your treatment, struggles, and victories. Moreover, finding the right care team for you is equally significant.
5. How To Get Help
Are you an Ohioan who suffers from PTSD and would like to be evaluated for your condition? To prepare for receiving a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana, please visit the website EliteEvals.com to start your assessment today.
Heaven Leigh Yoxtheimer is an Ohio Medical Marijuana patient, advocate, and expert on using cannabis to live well with Complex PTSD. She is Managing Editor for MedicateOH and founder of Just Us Buds Alliance, a progressive media outlet, as well as Blessed With A Complex, a CPTSD publication. She resides in Dayton, OH and spends her days manifesting better tomorrows for the cannabis community.
Please consider helping MedicateOH continue to do important reporting on patients who are healing their trauma with cannabis as well as assist us in building specific profiles of cannabis strains that are proving to treat Ohioans’ PTSD by donating today. Donations are tax-deductible and will benefit future patient education initiatives.