The endocannabinoid system has broad impact throughout the body and mind, and cannabis contains a large range of the specific compounds that impact this system. In varying ratios; therefore the effects of cannabis on the body can be quite diverse depending on the strain and dosage ingested.
The endocannabinoid system is integrally related to memory, specifically memory extinction. Memory extinction is the normal, healthy process of removing associations from stimuli. The implications for people with PTSD is that cannabis can help reduce the association between stimuli that triggers the memories of the traumatic situations in their past.
Scientific study has revealed that normal CB-1 receptor signaling can deactivate traumatic memories, essentially giving the brain the capacity to “forget”. Skewed CB-1 signaling, which could be from endocannabinoid deficiency, can result in fear, chronic anxiety and aversive memory consolidation, the primary symptoms of PTSD.
Current anecdotal evidence (including testimonials from our member base) is revealing that the use of therapeutic cannabis provides a significant improvement in the quality of life for those who suffer PTSD. In light of all evidence currently available, it is striking that the FDA refuses to investigate cannabinoids for the treatment of anxiety disorders like PTSD yet they have approved studies of MDMA, the club drug Ecstasy, for the treatment of PTSD (Doblin, 2002).
As more and more people with PTSD turn to natural remedies, time will tell just how effective cannabis can be as a therapy in alleviating what can become life debilitating symptoms.
Getting the most of Cannabis for PTSD
The latest findings by Dr. Mechoulam, the Israeli scientist who identified THC as the psychoactive compound in marijuana, and decades later discovered the brain’s endocannabinoid system and the endogenous neurotransmitter anandamide, suggests the following dosing guidelines to get the most relief.
“Use low to moderate doses with as stable a blood level as possible for general anxiety and depression symptoms. Taking cannabis products orally produces the most stable blood levels.
- 10mg doses of well balanced edibles work well for many of our members. We suggest Edipure ORGANIX, Sensi Chew-Sativa or Hummingbird Lane Sativa or CBD rich tinctures for daytime use.
Since peak levels will produce the most soporific effect, administration of oral cannabis right before bed should produce the most benefits for improving sleep patterns.
- A grain of rice sized dose of FECO Oil administered nightly is another option for those with PTSD. Simple to administer and inducing deep rest, many of our members find this their best defense and the best way to build up their endocannabinoid system.
- For those with lower tolerances, we recommend the Bhang CBD Chocolate Bar, our number one product for sleep. A little goes a long way and this is fantastic way to maximize your cannabinoid intake on a daily basis.
If the goal is to use cannabis to facilitate extinction of the response to PTSD triggers then small to moderate doses of cannabis vapors should be administered shortly before planned exposure to a potential trigger. A series of regular extinction sessions will produce better results than a single session.
- Smoking or vaporizing flowers is the easiest and fastest method to relief. We suggest starting with strains lower in THC (less than 15%). If flowers are not an option for you, this is where personal vaporizers are a perfect choice as they are easy to use, discreet and can be used virtually anywhere without detection. Remember to always take small sips as needed, rather than big inhales.
If cannabis appears to make aversion, fear, or aversive memories worse, then the dosage should be lowered. If feelings of fear do not improve with lower doses then discontinue use of cannabis as fear-extinction aide.”
- This point made by Dr. Mechoulam is exactly why we encourage members to keep a log of their experiences with various strains. When you find the right strain and calibrate the right dose that works best for your body, that is when the real magic of cannabis happens.
TIP: Those who suffer PTSD should always start slow and small when experimenting with new strains and products. When smoking or vaporizing, take sips instead of inhales, wait 10 minutes and assess how you feel. When using ingestibles such as edibles or tinctures, always take the smallest dose and titrate up as needed. You can always add more, but you can’t re move it once you’ve swallowed it.
Further Reading: Skunk Magazine August 2016