Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that causes severe anxiety, stress, depression, and nightmares. It can occur in anyone who experiences, perceives or witnesses trauma. Could dabbing cannabis concentrates help to treat the symptoms of PTSD? This article talks about what PTSD is and how dabbing could help those diagnosed manage the condition.
Could concentrates help manage issues with trauma? PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, results when post-traumatic stress doesn’t resolve, leaving people in kind of an emotional paralysis.
PTSD & Cannabinoids
Studies on the topic of treating PTSD and its subsequent mental health issues reveal that some patients may greatly benefit from using cannabis. Post-traumatic stress manifests in many ways and its symptoms often cause interference in all aspects of normal life, which amplifies stress and anxiety from the “disorder”.
Before we get into the science behind why dabbing could help manage symptoms of PTSD, a little bit about the traditional thinking around trauma and why it may not be the complete picture to what trauma is and why it lingers, developing into what we’ve labeled to be a disorder.
The medical community uses the term “disorder” when referring to prolonged post-traumatic stress, but this gives patients the idea that the condition may be something they must leave with for the rest of their lives.
In my opinion and the opinion of several doctors, trauma can be healed and released through a variety of treatments and therapies. Not all psychologists or doctors agree on exactly how to treat trauma or how post-trauma works.
Each patient warrants a different therapeutic and pharmacological approach, the idea is that people diagnosed with the condition can get better and that it’s not a life sentence to have PTSD.
About Post-Traumatic Stress, Anxiety, & Depression Disorder
In recent years, post-traumatic stress disorder has gained more public awareness and is usually associated with veterans of war. However, PTSD can affect anyone who experiences trauma, life-threatening or not. People who experience military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, and physical and sexual abuse can all experience the stress disorder.
PTSD is a mental disorder that occurs after experiencing, or even just witnessing, a serious trauma or life-threatening event. An estimated 70 percent of people in the U.S. have experienced at least one traumatic event, and 20 percent of those reportedly struggle with PTSD symptoms.
Not all cases of PTSD are diagnosed or treated. Meaning that many people living with trauma are often misdiagnosed with general anxiety, stress, depression, or bipolar disorders. Many types of pharmaceutical drugs are used to treat these types of conditions, but by in large in the U.S., the trauma and mental health issues have grown into a crisis.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that some 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but what happens when stress becomes overwhelming?
Anxiety disorders usually never develop on their own. They are nearly always a symptom of a deeper problem. If you’re experiencing problems with anxiety, ask your self these questions.
- Am I sleeping well and feeling well rested?
- Am I chronically stressed, ill, or suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition?
- Are drugs or other substances interfering with my mental health?
- Am I I eating healthy and getting enough exercise?
Mental Health Statistics & Sleeping Well
Getting enough quality sleep is key to being able to handle daily stresses. Another important step to reducing anxiety is identifying the things that trigger stress. Those triggers are usually buried into our daily lives at work and home.
In late 2016, Medco published a report examining the use of mental health medications among over 2 million insured people in the US between 2001-2010. They found that in those 10 years, the numbers of people using anti-anxiety, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and ADHD treatments and medications had increased 22%, rising to 1 in 5 adults by 2010.
- People with anxiety disorders are six times as likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who don’t have anxiety
- Nearly half of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety
- According to The Scientific American, over 10% of adults have reported taking prescription drugs for problems with emotions, nerves, or mental health
According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 16.1 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama had the least access to mental health care, and interestingly the highest rates of imprisonment.
You see, there is a serious problem with our normal approach to treating not only PTSD and trauma in general but also mental health overall, especially in the United States. I wish I could say that the pills are helping, but for many people, that’s just not the case.
Dangers of Tradition PTSD & Anxiety Medications
Many of the drugs used to treat these conditions and symptoms of PTSD, such as opioids, NSAIDs, and benzodiazepines are often toxic to the body or brain and lose efficacy quickly, leading to tolerance, addiction, and early death.
You’ve probably heard about the North American opioid crisis underway caused by misuse and overprescribing by doctors to patients with everything from anxiety to stomach pain. If you haven’t, here are a few data points to quickly catch you up.
- 1,000 Americans are treated every day in emergency departments for not using prescription opioids as directed
- More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose
- Opioid-related overdose deaths have been increasing for 15 years, mostly connected with prescription opioids
- Opioid-based drug sales quadrupled from 1999 to 2010
Dangers Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Consuming NSAIDs increases the risk of heart failure by 19%, and the risk increases proportionately rising with the amount taken7. Byron Cryer, MD, and spokesperson for the American Gastroenterological Association is quoted saying NSAIDs are responsible for more than half of all bleeding ulcers.8
NSAIDs have a negative effect on kidney health, increasing one’s risk of renal failure. They are also associated with Reye’s syndrome – a rare disorder in causing liver and brain damage in children and teens. 9
We’re not doctors here at Dabdayz by any means, but research suggests that you should put down the NSAIDs immediately and switch to safer alternatives.
Dangers of Benzodiazepines (Happy Pills)
In a systematic review of adverse effects caused by the most common drugs used to treat Bipolar disorder researchers found that benzodiazepine-based medications and others commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and depression are detrimental to nearly the entire body and brain.
I’ll refer you to this link for more information on the risks associated with common anxiety medications. Common adverse side effects include mental cognition problems and skin health issues. The study in the question presented evidence that these types of pharmaceuticals have the potential to damage nearly every system in humans including,
- Sexual and reproductive
All of these systems show damage from common medications used to treat BP, PTSD, and other anxiety disorders. Essentially, all of the major organs, brain, and bodily functions are adversely affected.
Clearly, there is now not only an issue with mental health in the U.S. but also to the drugs we choose to use to treat our mental health on a mass scale. But don’t worry.
Keep reading to find out how dabbing could help manage anxiety and PTSD symptoms long enough to allow time and space for trauma to heal.
A guided systematic review by American and Canadian clinicians and psychologists published in the Clinical Psychology Review late 2016 reported that cannabis could have a huge social impact on addiction and death from prescription drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines due to their efficacy in replacing prescription drugs and helping with addiction.
Let’s take a closer look at how cannabinoids from cannabis in concentrates used for dabbing might help with PTSD and anxiety
What is CBD? Can It Help With PTSD?
CBD is a powerful anti-anxiety drug, or anxiolytic. It has an uplifting effect on mood by altering the neurological activity and biochemical signals in the brain.
Because of CBD’s effect on anxiety from stress and depression, scientists are investigating it now as a serious treatment for many types of anxiety disorders.
Researchers reviewed four types of studies –
They found evidence strongly supporting CBD as a treatment for multiple disorders including –
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- General anxiety disorder
How? Basically, CBD turns down the volume on our stress responses. It’s able to alter our brain chemistry, but without inducing the unwanted psychoactive effects associated with THC.
CBD and other cannabinoids trigger a process called retrograde signaling. Neurological activity related to stress response and anxiety slow down, allowing you to relax.
CBD, THC, & Dabbing To Manage Anxiety or PTSD
Remember, you don’t have to smoke weed to take CBD! You don’t have to take pills constantly either! Patient reports suggest that inhalation is the fastest acting method of administration for treating acute anxiety, stress, and pain.
Concentrates are potent botanical extracts from cannabis that are vaporized and inhaled. This is called dabbing and yes, you can dab CBD and not get high. The benefit of consuming little to no THC is that you don’t experience the psychotropic effects associated with marijuana.
Also, depending on a person’s genetics, environment, personality, and the potency and dosage consumed, THC can potentially trigger anxiety, stress, or paranoia. Using THC heavily when young and chronic marijuana use from a young age is associated with early psychotic episodes in those at risk for mental health problems.
What’s important for people using cannabis to manage symptoms of anxiety or PTSD to understand is how to find the right type of cannabis concentrate, the right potency, ratio of CBD: THC, and the right dosage. Everyone is different and responds differently to cannabis.
You can learn more about CBD, THC, and how to find the right concentrates for dabbing in our other articles linked below. Now that we know a little about dabbing CBD, let’s look more into the science behind why it may be beneficial for those with anxiety and PTSD.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System & What Are Cannabinoids
The hypothalamus and limbic structures of the brain host stress-sensitive nuclei of neurons and specialized receptors. Data suggests that the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the brain points to the significance of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of neuroendocrine and behavioral stress responses.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of specialized receptors on the outside of cell walls and the substances, cannabinoids, and others, that bind with. Yeah, the human body produces it’s own cannabinoid compounds! Cool, right? They are named after the compounds discovered in the cannabis plant because, molecularly, they are very, very similar.
Both phytocannabinoids and endogenous cannabinoids act similarly in both humans and animals, or pretty much every creature with a spinal cord and central nervous system. You can learn more about this incredible regulatory system in our other articles linked below.
CBD & Traumatic Memories in PTSD
In a recent review of the clinical and neurobiological evidence that suggests cannabis resin’s ability to mitigate PTSD symptoms, researchers articulately describe why PTSD suffers are experiencing symptom relief from cannabis and cannabis concentrates. They write,
“… Cannabis can dampen the emotional impact of traumatic memories through synergistic mechanisms that might make it easier for people with PTSD to rest or sleep and to feel less anxious and less involved with flashback memories.”
The major and most common symptoms of PTSD include –
- Mood swings
- High stress
- High anxiety
- Traumatic memories
Much of trauma is based on memory. In a recent review of cannabis medicines used to treat PTSD published in Drug Testing and Analysis: Psychedelic Substances edition, researchers discuss their findings.
A group of UK and Brazilian researchers teamed up to study the effects of Cannabidiol on trauma. They published their findings in the 2016 December issue of Frontiers in Pharmacology.
The team of international researchers wanted to find out if CBD has any effect on fear retention. They found that CBD “reduced contextual fear memory expression.”
The researchers used mice that had been subjected to fear conditioning. They studied how the rat’s memories related to biochemical responses in the brain.
CBD changes the way that the memory processes memory and fear in relation to the present experience. This indicates that CBD concentrates could potentially be of enormous help to those who suffer from PTSD.
What about dabbing CBD to manage other symptoms of PTSD such as stress, anxiety, depression, and overall mental health? Well, the science and countless patient reports support it. Keep reading!
Studies Show Dabs Effective on PTSD Symptoms
How can dabbing help with stress and anxiety? Cannabis medicines put the brakes on the neurological processes that are used to respond to stress, which reduces anxiety levels. It also addresses biochemical imbalances associated with depression
Findings published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research suggest that CBD can block the long-lasting behavioral consequences of “threat-stress”. CBD’s affinity for binding with the emotional signaling receptor cell 5-HT1A is thought to be the reason why.
Threat stress is an overwhelming and paralyzing sensation from projecting fear onto everything and anything. It’s thought to happen because, even if only subconsciously, one feels under imminent threat or attack by something.
In fact, both CBD and CBDA, cannabinoid compounds from cannabis, have an affinity for binding with the neuro-receptor, 5-HT1A, which is essentially a signaling hub linked to emotional balance and is the target of most modern anxiety disorder medications.
U.K. & Brazilian Studies on CBD Extract
In a 2005 U.K. review of [cannabinoids] in bipolar affective disorder, the authors concluded that both THC and CBD acted similarly to bipolar medications in their ability to alter the synapse activity in neurons.
In particular, they suggested that bipolar patients might benefit from medical marijuana. Comparitivly, THC is a powerful psychoactive chemical that works well for many, but for some, high doses can trigger anxiety and panic, or paranoia.
The presence of cannabinoid receptors in specific regions of the brain related to emotional indicates that the endocannabinoid system is vitally important in regulating mood and emotions.
In 2014, another team of scientists out of Brazil using animal models would validate the previous studies’ conclusions. They found that CBD was having an antidepressant and anxiolytic, or antianxiety, effect on the animals during their study.
Vanderbilt Researchers Study Concentrates & Stress-Induced Anxiety
Researchers at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee think they’ve figured out the mechanism of stress-induced anxiety. They suggest that deficiencies in the endogenous cannabinoid called anandamide, or the bliss molecule, predicts acute stress-induced anxiety symptoms.
They continue in their article, published in the journal Translation Psychiatry, by suggesting that,
“Augmenting the body’s endocannabinoid system may be an effective therapeutic strategy to mitigate the adverse behavioral and physiological consequences of stress.”
Using cannabidiol we can develop safe and effective medicines that could potentially remedy symptoms of stress and anxiety.
This information is of great medicinal value considering the growing concerns about traditional pharmaceuticals like benzodiazepines and opioids. Normal anxiety medications are toxic, addictive, and deadly, actually making anxiety worse.
Dabbing To Manage Insomnia From PTSD Symptoms
Cannabidiol; is a safe, effective anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, mood stabilizer by working with your body’s own innate systems of health and wellness. And, it does so without the typical adverse side effects associated with traditional pharmaceuticals.
Could dabbing cannabis concentrates help people with PTSD to sleep better? CBD has been reported by many to help them sleep better. PTSD patients suffering from insomnia for instance, or nightmares could finally get a good night’s sleep by trying CBD. Similarly, THC is also a helpful short-term sleep aid in small dosages.
However, further research is needed about its long-term effects on sleep. Actually, some studies show that THC may disrupt regular sleeping and reduce REM sleep.
Are CBD Extracts Safe & Effective For PTSD?
A cannabis patient survey of 100 adults in Hawaii shows the most serious acute side effects reported of cannabis inhalation are a cough and dry mouth, only being reported in 6% of patients. Accordingly, patients reported an average 64% relief of pain. Half reported relief from anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
There are mounting evidence and research to support anecdotal claims of PTSD and depression patients finding relief in cannabis and dabbing cannabis concentrates. IT can help individuals relax thanks to its anxiolytic properties, and it can serve to reduce tension in muscles, and even as an antidepressant for emotional instability.
These attributes contribute to cannabis’s ability to induce sleep and relaxation. Sufficient sleep can address a variety of potential factors causing frequent insomnia and stress.
Lastly, consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional before experimenting with concentrates. If you have a family history of mental illness use caution with cannabinoids and other psychotropic substances.
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