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PTSD & Marijuana

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that originates from a terrifying event that a person has either experienced or witnessed. Sufferers can experience symptoms such as severe anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks as well as thoughts about the traumatic event that are uncontrollable. Over 500 years ago, marijuana was used to treat soldiers for “battle fatigue” as recorded by Portuguese doctor Cristobal Acosta. He found that the soldiers, “forgot their worries and could sleep without thoughts”, effects that are similar to the experiences of people who use medical marijuana to treat PTSD today. The area of the brain that is thought to be responsible for PTSD is the amygdala. The amygdala is associated with emotional memory and fear conditioning. PTSD changes the function and structure of the amygdala, changing the natural endocannabinoid system of the brain in the area that is associated with adverse memory extinction. PTSD patients have an abnormally functioning memory system, which cannabinoids can help repair. Many people who suffer from PTSD have found that they are able to cut back, if not fully eliminate, many of the pharmaceutical medications that they have had to use in the past. There are many studies from overseas that show the efficacy of marijuana for treating PTSD. Many studies are now being conducted inside the United States to corroborate these findings.

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