Did you know that recent preclinical research demonstrates a connection between the endocannabinoid system and how our brains process trauma? On this #MedicalMonday we are diving into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, and how cannabis can help alleviate some symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, hyperarousal and flashbacks. Nearing the July 4th holiday, it is important to acknowledge this silent disorder that is affecting an average of 14% of our veterans. Not just veterans are affected though, in fact, upwards of 10% of Americans will cope with PTSD in their lifetime!
According to Cannabis Pharmacy by Michael Backes, the endocannabinoid system is partially responsible for creating, consolidating and extinguishing our traumatic emotional memories. PTSD alters the structure of our brains amygdala, which is responsible for emotional memory and fear conditioning. In the amygdala there are a high concentration of endocannabinoid CB1 receptors.
It makes sense then, that there is evidence displaying that cannabis can help reduce this acute response to stressors and the idea of perceived threats. When administered directly after memory retrieval, CBD was able to diminish learned fear expression and reduce recollection of fear memories.
It is recommended for PTSD patients to avoid cultivars high in the terpene pinene which could induce anxiety and memory recollection. Instead, go for those strains high in terpenes like calming linalool or limonene, an effect anti-depressant.