In the United States, more people are turning to medical marijuana to deal with pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than ever before. They’re noted as two of the most common conditions for getting a cannabis prescription. But is turning to marijuana really the best treatment for emotional and psychological problems? Or can it contribute to more long-term negative effects of drug use? The truth is that there is not enough high-quality evidence to prove either side.
Researchers at the Veterans Health Administration have published studies that encourage people to use caution when turning to marijuana for medical use. “If cannabis is being considered for medical use, it should certainly be after all well-established treatments have failed,” said Dr. Sachin Patel, one of the university researchers.
So far, 28 states have approved the legal use of cannabis for medical purposes. Up to 85 percent of Americans using cannabis are doing so to deal with some kind of pain. There is also some evidence of how cannabis use helps reduce nerve pain, although the available data is not yet sufficient enough for this to be conclusive.
The studies further showed that those who turn to cannabis rather than other positive therapy treatments may be exposing themselves to other risks, such as increased risk of car crashes, psychotic episodes and cognitive impairments. Researchers also studied veterans with PTSD and found that, in some cases, their symptoms had worsened after using marijuana.
Can Marijuana Help With Chronic Pain Relief?
Some groups of cannabinoids in cannabis plants contribute to pain relief and the “high,” or the happy feeling that results after smoking, inhaling or orally ingesting marijuana. This is because of the THC, cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, which is responsible for affecting parts of the brain that control pain regulation, emotion, stress and memory.
However, researchers are still exploring whether marijuana can actually help with chronic pain.
“The potential benefits and harmful effects of medical marijuana should be evaluated and compared against other available treatments, such as physical therapy, spine interventions, pain medications and surgery,” said Dr. Dermot P. Maher, an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Anesthesiology.
In the USA, well-defined recommended doses are not yet available. Combinations of different varieties of weed or cannabis mixed with tobacco can also be harmful. The wrong dosage or trouble using an inhalator makes the topic of medical cannabis something that must still be thoroughly researched before becoming a reliable medical solution.
PTSD Treatment: A More Recommended Therapy
To properly treat post-traumatic stress disorders, you must focus on treating the memory of the traumatic event — not simply nulling it. There are different techniques used by professionals in drug rehabilitation centers that have been found to be much efficient in dealing with PTSD patients.
These are therapies such as allowing the patient to be open about their experiences, giving them a safe space to talk about it and have powerful conversations that will aid in long-term healing. They may also have negative memories of the trauma, which may be warped perceptions or based on a limited view of the experience.
The focused treatments help these patients overcome those unhelpful beliefs and reframe the experiences. This way, they don’t have to just “forget” the trauma but can live normal, productive lives without letting the traumatic memory disable them.
Sometimes, the treatments require patients to visualize negative experiences or relive painful moments. But these types of healing therapies have proven to be far more effective than simply smoking cannabis and numbing the feelings of pain.
If you know someone who needs PTSD help, or assistance in overcoming their heroin or other drug-related addictions, the Crosby Clinic offers PTSD treatment and therapy. Call us today for a consultation or treatment recommendations.
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