5 Things To Know About PTSD, Weed and Veterans

Veterans, weed is the answer for PTSD

Life is a wonderful journey. It has highs and lows like an equalizer. It shifts with the currents of change while, like a rock, we stand calm amidst the torrent. Soldiers face torrents that test their deepest resolve contained inside the core. During the mission, a soldier will do what is necessary regardless of personal cost. When they return home, however, the mission is no longer clear. Many become trapped in past events while present life stalls or collapses around them. Weed is the answer for many veterans with the same question: How do I live after the military?

1. PTSD sufferers have a greater concentration of CB1 receptors

The endocannabinoid (ECS) system plays a very large role in the healing process for the wounded warrior. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is a part of the frontal lobe in the brain that is responsible for assessing risk and fear. PTSD shrinks this area causing the person to feel anxiety, fear, and hostility in new situations. The hippocampus, which is primarily associated with distinguishing new memories from old, is also severely reduced in volume. Due to this shrinkage, many PTSD sufferers are unable to watch violent war movies or anything that reminds them of past experiences. The brain literally can't distinguish the difference between reality and past events.

As we discussed previously, the white and grey brain matter is affected by THC and CBD. In a PTSD victim, the white fibers are greatly reduced in size as the brain regions shrink thus shifting the ratio of grey matter to white matter. In other words, the brain becomes more accustomed to thinking as opposed to feeling. The greater concentration of CB1 receptors makes the individual much more receptive to the effects of THC; primarily the relaxation and sedative effect.

2. Weed allows a soldier to clear his mind.

Hypersensitivity is the defining characteristic of PTSD. Situational awareness is ingrained into every fiber of a soldier's body. Sleep is never truly sleep after such a thing. Without the military system to give this heightened awareness a purpose, a soldier will start to go inward to find direction. Thoughts while alone then compound on each other, using past events to shape current perspectives, creating a divisive conversation within the soldier's mind.

Weed is the relief that soldier's seek to stop the gears from spinning. Past events, hair-trigger stimuli, and the physical impulses go away. Their thoughts disappear and they can lay back on the couch and listen to their breath move in and out of their lungs… and nothing else. Silence is the golden reprieve for the soldier dealing with PTSD.

3. Many veterans turn to weed as a last resort

Anti-inflammatories, water, rest, and opioids. That's the formula for the VA healthcare system. Add in physical therapy and a prosthetic or two and this should fix all the issues a veteran may experience (supposedly). Thousands of veterans and many years of impaired health care paint a different picture.

Speaking only for myself in this instance, I was one of those people that saw weed as a complete waste of time. One smoke session that temporarily, but completely, removed my sciatica was all it took for me to discover the potential of weed. Weed can be recreational and for some that's exactly what they need or want. For veterans, however, the first priority is and always will be healing.

4.Weed is the only medicine that addresses all issues at once

Let's talk about a veteran you know or have known in your life. They came home from the war or active service and at first seemed like everything was fine. Their drive defined their daily life. Each day was a new one to experience life to its fullest and to conquer whatever mission was at hand. Slowly, that drive turned to indecision and uncontrollable irritation and outbursts. Maybe it was the car that backfired, causing them to go into full-alert mode. Maybe it was the crying baby in the theater that forced them to storm out of the movie theater. Perhaps it was the family get together that escalated into something else entirely. These aren't uncommon scenes and veterans know them well.

Weed is… truly… the only medicine that addresses all of these symptoms at once. Weed allows a veteran relief from the constant body aches and injuries from war, the mood changes ranging from deep depression to uncontrollable anger, and the inability to maintain a healthy, loving relationship. The increased CB1 receptors and some trial and error to find the right strain eases the soldier onto the path of recovery.

5. Weed increases alpha-wave brain frequency sensitivity

What exactly does increased CB1 receptor activity mean? The short answer is that it increases a person's sensitivity to THC. The long answer is that this increased sensitivity allows a person to experience the alpha-wave inducing effects of THC on a higher (pun intended) level than average joe. Alpha brain waves are present during deep meditation, relaxation, and sleep. For the veteran suffering from PTSD these calming effects are the secret door to relief from memories and running thoughts. As an added bonus, without THC, the effects of meditation, yoga, and other activities heightens the person's ability to relax.