In our previous articles about using marijuana to heal PTSD, we defined post-traumatic stress disorder, explored medical opinions about why it happens, and gave a list of PTSD symptoms.
We also talked about the fact that marijuana and PTSD affect the same regions of the brain—regions involved in memory, mood, and fear.
I personally suffer from PTSD.
It started when I endured a brutal, violent, military-style police raid on my marijuana garden.
The trauma continued while I was in jail before I could post bail, and then for the year I fought the charges in court.
Jailers and my own attorney gave me the horrific prediction that I’d end up in prison, where I’d be raped and die of HIV.
I was having nightmares about the raid. Every time I saw police officers or police cars, I’d panic, really panic.
Sometimes I became full of rage, depressed, and physically ill.
The trauma of the original raid was magnified by fear that I’d be sentenced to prison.
For a while, I felt like committing suicide.
The original experience, and the symptoms that came after it, are typical examples of how a person develops post-traumatic stress disorder.
I tried several doctors and psychiatrists who were cool with medical marijuana, but had no idea how to fit it in to a therapeutic process.
They were old school doctors who relied on pharmaceuticals.
Then they sent me to a clinical psychologist who knows a lot about using marijuana to heal PTSD.
Using marijuana to heal PTSD is different than the regular way people use marijuana, and it’s based on research that shows how cannabinoids help extinguish memories, she said.
The counselor explained that some types of marijuana also benefit PTSD patients by providing sedation, mood elevation, pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and other effects that counteract PTSD symptoms.
The first step in PTSD therapy is to explore your emotional and physical health in general, not just as it relates to PTSD.
Many of us who suffer from PTSD have health problems that contribute to or are caused by PTSD, the counselor explained.
Some of us who have PTSD have pre-existing physical or psychological issues that make us more susceptible to PTSD.
For example, if you experienced domestic violence as a child, a serious car accident, bullying in school, or other traumatic events, it could have made your brain get stuck in a “fight or flight” mode that can be more easily triggered by later traumatic events.
The second step the counselor recommended was for me to stop using pharmaceuticals and alcohol.
Because using marijuana to heal PTSD involves brain chemistry, memory, and physical health, you don’t want alcohol or other drugs in your system interfering with the marijuana, the psychologist explained.
The next step was to find the right strain or strains of marijuana.
I already knew this would be a very important goal, because some marijuana strains make my PTSD symptoms worse, and others make them decrease.
In the next article on using marijuana to heal PTSD, I’ll describe how the counselor helped me find the best marijuana strain for PTSD.
Please note I’m not a medical doctor, and I’m not offering “official” medical advice.
Also, please forward these articles to anyone who may be suffering from PTSD and is interested in using marijuana to heal PTSD. This information can save lives!