Medical cannabis and its effect on post traumatic stress disorder.

In the world we live in today, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is progressively increasing, in fact it is estimated that since the recent introduction of updated techniques used to quantify PTSD, the number of isolated diagnosis has increased by 50%. Patients include individuals who have experienced trauma, be it through war, violence, rape, the loss of loved ones, economic distress or natural disasters.

As with most mental health problems, doctors have associated this condition with increased stress and anxiety. The underlying cause comes back to the manner in which your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress. While not everyone exposed to the same traumatic situation will develop PTSD, this is probably directly related to the inherited aspects of an individuals developed personality, often referred to as one’s temperament.

We would expect that in the day and age we live in, with the profound technology and dedicated institutes, neurological pharmaceuticals would have made progress in cases of PTSD. However, neurosurgeons admit that the condition isn’t fully understood, in fact, neither are the drugs effects on curing or relieving it. One thing that is statistically evident though, is the contraindications of ingesting these synthetic chemicals and the side effects that follow, often more permanent than temporary.

Antidepressant medications including fluoxetine (better known as Prozac) and paroxetine may or may not improve symptoms a small amount, however they fail to treat the root of the mental problem. These medications do not have enough evidence to support their use and it is absurd that they are more often than not prescribed. Sexual dysfunction in over 70% of both males and females is a risk doctors are willing to accept, in the hope that medicine will treat the minor symptoms.[1]

Not to mention the list of hundreds of known side effects, carefully organized into categories of more common to less common in the following links on drugs.com:

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/fluoxetine-side-effects.html
http://www.drugs.com/sfx/paroxetine-side-effects.html

These include loss of appetite, psychiatric side effects such as increased anxiety, effects on the nervous system, irregular heart activity, gastrointestinal dysfunctions, decreased metabolism or hypothyroidism, genitourinary difficulties such as erectile dysfunction, common skin problems, allergic reactions, immunologic flu syndromes, increased risk in bone fractures, abnormal/ blurry vision, pharangitis.

There are enough research papers containing substantial proof to support that, certain strains, of marijuana can help reverse PTSD. An example of one such study was performed academically in New Mexico in 2009 for the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs”, whereby data was collected from 80 psychiatric evaluations of patients and symptoms were scored. Over 75% of patients on medical marijuana were found to have dramatic results in favor of cannabis. New Mexico has since the first state to legalize cannabis for the treatment of PTSD. The full research paper can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2013.873843

In concluding, it is easy to accept that medical cannabis, as a natural solution, is far more effective in the fight that many face against nowadays against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Alternatives such as these will never threaten to exploit patients, neither their health or economically. If you’re looking for a proven solution, medical cannabis is the way to go.

Reference:
1) Clark MS, Jansen K, Bresnahan M (November 2013). “Clinical inquiry: How do antidepressants affect sexual function?” J Fam Pract 62