PTSD is an anxiety-related disorder, and is often developed after exposure to a traumatic event. Warfare, assault, traffic collisions and threats to a person’s life are common causes. There is usually an increase in flight-or-fight responses and/or a “shutting down” of emotions. Mental and/or physical distress to trauma-related cues, dreams related to the traumatic event, dramatic alterations in thinking and disturbed thinking are other symptoms.

Antidepressants – particularly of the SSRI subgroup – and counselling are the first port of call for those suffering from PTSD. However, this is not always effective, and many medications like benzodiazepines may make things much worse. Whilst cannabis’s efficacy for PTSD is still being researched, many veterans have used it to alleviate the symptoms of “shell shock”. 

Check out the pros and cons of medical marijuana treatment for PTSD.

Positive Benefits

• Cannabis contains several stress-busting terpenes like linalool, caryophyllene and borneol

• CBD may improve regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the brain, helping reduce anxiety

• Helps to “destress”

• May help keep the mind off of reliving traumatic experiences

• Terpenes like pinene can help prevent hyperventilation, which can cause chest pains and further anxiety

• CBD and caryophyllene work on CB2 receptors, helping reduce anxiety

Potential Side Effects

• Some strains may increase anxiety

• Can cause an initial increase in heart rate

• Can cause depersonalization

• May not be useful if suffering from other physical & psychiatric conditions, where medications may be contraindicated by cannabis