Medicinal marijuana has already been legalized in over 23 states with more considering legalization. As a result, researchers are still finding new and surprising benefits of marijuana use. Recent studies shows the benefits of marijuana including its powerful healing effects for victims of trauma. Using Marijuana as Treatment for Trauma, depression and PTSD deals not only to the physical but also to the mental aspects.
Physical and Mental Trauma
People often think trauma is just a mental health issue. Buy many forms of trauma have a strong physical component as well. Think about traumatic brain injuries where the brain has been physically damaged by one or more severe blows to the head. This physical damage can cause a range of emotional and cognitive issues.
Physical pain and injury can often trigger emotional or mental trauma disorders like PTSD and depression. Although the causes of these different types of trauma vary, researchers have found that cannabis is also surprisingly effective at treating both mental and physical trauma.
Marijuana for Traumatic Brain Injury
U.S. based researchers from National Institute of Health (NIH) first discovered the benefits of weed as a healing agent for some types of brain trauma as far back as 1998. This rodent-based study showed that THC has neuro-protective properties that reduces inflammation throughout the damaged part of the brain.
Since then other studies have confirmed that not only does marijuana help reduce inflammation in human brains, but also one of the only effective treatments for the long-term emotional and cognitive effects of the physical traumatic brain injury. The most recent cannabis research is even showing positive links between cannabis and the reversing of the physical effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.
Depression and PTSD
However, some of the most powerful and controversial work involves PTSD patients. The benefits of marijuana are increasingly being discovered in the areas of PTSD and depression treatment. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety condition caused by disturbing episodes, such as military combat or sexual assault. Many of these victims are combat veterans. Medical marijuana alleviates the worst of their symptoms without many of the nasty side effects traditional pharmaceutical drugs have.
Marijuana does more than just relax patients with mental health disorders brought on by trauma. Research from Europe shows that cannabis actually works to heal parts of the brain where the neuro-processing functions have been damaged. Marijuana is actually a healing agent not just being a way to relieve symptoms. Furthermore, one of the key ways that cannabis may help people with PTSD is by improving sleep. Cannabis use can impact dreaming, and among those with PTSD, it may help to reduce the frequent and disturbing nightmares that are among the most distressing symptoms of the disorder.
As medical marijuana grows in acceptance, scientists and doctors are likely to continue to discover additional benefits. It’s crucial for patients that the list of benefits to marijuana include not just a select few diseases. Already, there is some data to show that medical marijuana can actually lower healthcare costs in some populations. This new research shows the power of cannabis to treat and even heal trauma patients. So now, wide access to medical marijuana is more important than ever.