Using Medical Marijuana to Treat PTSD in Florida
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be an almost impossible ailment to live with. Flashbacks, severe anxiety, depression, constant "fight or flight", and even drug addiction can occur as a part of the disorder.
PTSD has a variety of causes. Most people associate it with soldiers returning from combat who have not had a chance to process all of the trauma they have been through, and this is one of the major causes. However, there are many other causes of PTSD that are not as well-known. For example, "Complex PTSD", or "C-PTSD" is becoming increasingly recognized. Rather than stemming from a single, extremely traumatic incident, this type of PTSD stems from chronic low to moderate-level trauma. It can be equally damaging.
Of course, as with any psychiatric disorder, the first line of treatment for PTSD is talk therapy. Your physician may not be equipped to do this, so it's important to find a psychiatrist who specializes in treating it. There are also prescription medications used to treat symptoms of the disorder, such as "Prazosin" and benzodiazepines. However, these pills have their fair share of side effects. Benzodiazepines can be especially dangerous, as they tend to be addictive, and they are one of the most difficult types of substances to withdraw from.
However, patients and their physicians need not worry about these anymore. The vast majority of states, including Florida, have legalized medical marijuana to treat both psychiatric and physical conditions. Although marijuana is considered a "Schedule I" substance federally, the federal government does not pursue people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state's laws.
If your treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is not benefiting you, or you have yet to explore the different treatment options to treat PTSD, you may benefit from discussing medical marijuana options with your doctor. Unlike the movies and news may portray the plant, it is not only fit for recreational use. With recent research, scientists have been able to isolate its various constituents and test them for medical use. The entire "stoner" stereotype was invented by the entertainment industry, and patients should know that marijuana is far less addictive and dangerous than other commonly prescribed substances.
How Does Medical Marijuana Work?
Many patients get overwhelmed managing their symptoms, even with regular doctor visits and prescription medication. However, medical marijuana in Florida works a bit differently than getting standard prescription medication.
First, we will discuss the process of receiving a "medical ID card," or essentially a license to purchase marijuana legally. Then, we will talk about the various constituents of cannabis that may benefit you.
First, you must talk to a doctor who specializes in Florida marijuana certifications. This is where you would consult with our team at Cannabimed. Our physician will assess your medical history, ask questions about your current treatment regimen, and determine whether you may benefit from the substance or extracts of it. If your physician does determine that you could benefit from it, they will write a "certification" valid in the state of Florida that will allow you to visit a dispensary.
The dispensary will verify your certification and ID card and then admit you. You can discuss various treatment options with dispensary employees, although it's always recommended that you consult a physician about the specific cannabis regimen you should take to ensure that you have no medication interactions or undesirable effects. Although cannabis is not deadly, and there has never been a single case of a death solely due to the substance, using it incorrectly may result in unpleasant, temporary effects.
All About Cannabis for PTSD
It's important to educate yourself on what's in cannabis before consuming it. While there are hundreds of cannabinoids contained in the plant, many of them are in such a small quantity that they are almost irrelevant. However, there are two major constituents of the plant: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Most people associate THC with cannabis. It's the primary constituent of most plants and is what induces a "high" or feelings of well-being and euphoria in some people.
However, CBD also plays an important role in these plants. Although it is almost always of a lower quantity than THC, this compound has plenty of effects that can be beneficial for patients suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These include anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effects, pain-killing effects (analgesic), and more. However, this compound is often falsely called "non-psychoactive". While it is not known to induce a "high" like THC, it still does have psychoactive effects.
Types of Cannabis for PTSD
Now that you know some basic facts about the prominent cannabinoids, the next important thing to be aware of are the various ingestion methods of marijuana. Most people associate it with being smoked, similar to how tobacco is smoked in a cigarette. In order to smoke it, you would need to purchase "flower", or a piece of harvested cannabis. Some people are wary of inhaling combusted materials, and smoking is not an option for some people.
Next is "vaping". While sometimes "flower" is vaped, more often "hash" (or a concentrated form of cannabis or a specific cannabinoid) is vaped. This means that it is heated within a vaping device, and then put out in the form of vapor, rather than smoke. Although there have been some recent news articles proclaiming that vaping is dangerous, the instances they cite are from black-market vape pens, which emphasizes how important it is to consult a physician and obtain it legally.
You may also purchase a "tincture" at a dispensary. This, like "hash", may be a "full-spectrum extract", or a total representation of a real cannabis plant. It may also be isolated CBD, THC, or another more rare cannabinoid. That's why it's very important to read the ingredients carefully and ask your physician about the right type of tincture for you. Tinctures are usually in the form of "droppers", and may be used in a sublingual manner or can be swallowed.
Finally, there are "edibles". Edibles almost always have only THC or only CBD in them. Pay very careful attention to the dosage of any edible! You will notice that a "dose" is often a very small piece of the food or gummy that you purchase. They usually take between a half hour and two hours to take effect.
THC or CBD to Treat PTSD?
CBD is legal in most states "over-the-counter" because it is not high-inducing. It is also less potent than THC.
THC is far more potent, especially in high doses. Generally, the isolated form of both is less effective than a combination, or just the plant itself smoked or vaped.
Only you and your doctor can determine the correct ratio of cannabinoids to treat your condition. Although your certification and ID card allow the purchase of anything inside a dispensary, you should stick to what your physician recommends!
This plant has been proven to be an effective medication to help stop symptoms of PTSD by the NIMH, so there is great promise in its use in their complex, years-long study located here. However, overuse of it may lead to undesirable symptoms, such as paranoia.
In order to give medical marijuana a fair shot to help put an end to the horrible symptoms of PTSD, contact Cannabimed today to schedule your evaluation today.