When the brain has experienced chronic extreme stress, parts of the memory are flash fried into what could be a “forever state.” This disease called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is caused by a triple play of fear, complete helplessness and terror experienced during extreme circumstances. Treatment by physicians are limited medicinally to antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents and pain medications. In most circumstances, these medications are ineffective. Doctors sometimes utilize antipsychotics and bipolar disorders drugs. This results in more treatment failures.
By the way, there should be no D in PTSD. It really is not a disorder, but the result of the horrible mental conditions our troops must endure to accomplish their mission(s) (jobs). So from this sentence further, it will be referred to as PTS.
In the case of antidepressants, success rates range down to only 10%. This means that out of every 100 individuals treated, only 10 will be successfully helped by the medication. With chronic use, many patients stop these drugs, due to their side effects which vary from lower sex drive, weight gain, anxiety, etc. In some studies, long-term benefits of antidepressants are only comparable to placebo (sugar pill). The more severe the depression, as in PTS, the more chance that antidepressants won’t work. It will not stop the flashbacks and most other symptoms of PTS.
Anti-anxiety agents like lorazepam, alprazolam, diazepam, etc. will cause more depression in addition to addiction. They should only be utilized for weeks, at most months, not years. Ultimately, this therapy worsens the condition.
Over 33% of our troops are coming back with PTS. Over 50% of those troops also have a corresponding severe pain situation due to injuries sustained in combat. Physicians treat these patients with opioids like oxycontin. This creates drug tolerance where patients need higher doses for the same effect. Results from chronic use are addiction and more depression. Rates of drug overdose with veterans were nearly 200% higher than in opioid treated civilian Americans.
Renovating Your Mind thinks that standard medical treatments take patients with PTS and make a very bad situation even worse. Under current federal guidelines, doctors are limited to what can be legally prescribed for these patients.
There are over 2 million military personnel that never signed up for a lower quality of life upon their return back to the civilian world. Medications for PTS make the demons proliferate rather than get exorcised from the body.
Besides those in the armed services, almost 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from PTS. This may occur because of a traumatic accident, rape or some other heinous situation. That memory comes back to haunt the individual with nightmares and flashbacks. They suffer from hyperarousal where anything (event or person) can trigger agitation or violent behavior. Numbing effects also occur where interest is completely lost in normal life. Positive emotions are no longer felt or displayed by the individual.
A very subtle example of PTS would be a dramatic event that happened during our lives. This could be the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, shock of the Kennedy assassination, Oklahoma City bombing or the explosive destruction of the NYC Twin Towers. The brain imprints the shock of this negative event together with all the things that we were personally experiencing at the particular time in our life. Most individuals only experiencing this through the media exposure continue to lead a normal life, however, that brief moment in time will be with us till death do us part.
Now take a situation where you are put into a location where you never have been before this moment. Where anyone, anywhere around you could be a harboring a potential explosive device. This could be a pregnant woman, a helpless child, an animal, etc. You’re moving through an area where you don’t know what to expect before you reach your destination. Where enemy snipers are just waiting for the perfect moment to take you down.
Suddenly, pandemonium hits, when your group is instantly confronted with enemy attack. Friends are getting seriously hurt or killed. Stress hormones are surging throughout your body.
You can never relax in these situations with adrenalin constantly produced to make you hypervigilant. Military in combat can never tell when it will be their last breath. Extinction of their fellow brothers is possible at every moment. The imprint that these events cause, are very difficult to wipe away. They are almost soldered into the brain with repeated stress-filled circumstances of war.
This is where the valuable green, marijuana, plays a role. It helps in giving back the vibrant mental quality that has been taken away by the harsh realities of battle.
Cannabis is being used to treat PTS. It is a viable alternative that can work to give a higher quality of life to the patient. Patients get more relief from their symptoms (anxiety and fear) compared to any of the other conventional drugs that are used for treatment.
Research shows that cannabinoid-like compounds are produced normally in the body. There are also cannabinoid receptors (CB-1 receptors) that allow cannabinoids to become activated, once they latch on to these sites. Once activated, they influence mood and memory.
Those patients with PTS have an excess of unoccupied CB-1 receptors in the brain. This excess is associated with fear and anxiety.
In addition, because of this condition, less natural cannabinoids are produced by the body. At this point, the body has a much higher demand for more cannabinoids.
That is where external cannabis comes to the rescue. Either smoking or vaporizing the plant is supplying what is needed to occupy those excess receptors. Once they have partnered with the incoming cannabis components, fear and anxiety is relieved. The memory of the traumatic event is dampened. Higher quality of life is bought back into the patient’s life again.
Studies in rodents with cannabis show these animals forget their bad memories by erasing their existence. Hopefully, studies will show similar results in patients. Then with treatment, metal prisons would disappear, never to incapacitate them again.
Bring good tears to your eyes. Follow the link below:
Oh what an even more wonderful world this would be. With cannabis treatment to allow veterans and others that experience traumatic events to once again be mentally free. “What a wonderful world this would be.”
Photo credit: Neil. Moralee / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: Jenny Leigh / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: Tom Lin :3= / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: The National Guard / Foter.com / CC BY
Photo credit: The U.S. Army / Foter.com / CC BY
Categories: Health, Medications, Mental Disease
Wow. Keep up the good work, Rob. To think there is some freedom from PTS for the ones who protect our freedom! It’s ok to let our veterans suffer, become alcoholics, drug addicted, die from accidental overdose or suicide.., but God forbid an herbal remedy become legalized and give hope and relief. You make an excellent case.
Its all about flawed perspective and what’s to be gained by the other side by prohibiting the activity.
The battle has long been lost and the conflict needs to be resolved, NOW! Thank you Lori.