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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most frequently associated with mental health issues experienced following war, but PTSD can affect anyone. This includes people who have been assaulted, endured a natural disaster, experienced childhood trauma, or dealt with other highly stressful events.
Characterized by vivid flashbacks, nightmares, and often debilitating anxiety, PTSD can seriously hinder someone’s quality of life. Group therapy, one-on-one counseling, and lifestyle enhancements like meditation are non-pharmaceutical ways to treat PTSD.
In addition to these treatments, there may be an alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals that can help people suffering from PTSD — cannabis. Veterans and other people experiencing PTSD have been using medical marijuana to treat their symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
It is important to note that one’s response to cannabis is highly individual, and you should consult with your healthcare provider before using medical marijuana for PTSD.
Are some “strains” (more accurately, varietals or cultivars) more effective than others for treating PTSD? Possibly, but it is perhaps more likely to do with the plant’s chemical profile (i.e., what cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids it contains) and the method of ingestion rather than the name of the strain.
Based on anecdotal evidence, here are five of the best cannabis strains for PTSD. However, we would not say that any one of these varieties of cannabis is necessarily better for a person who has PTSD compared to another. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another.
It is usually better to be discerning and determine what cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid profile works best for you and at what dosage. You may even find several preferences for different times of the day.
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A commonly mentioned cannabis varietal that helps with PTSD is OG Kush. This reputedly relaxing strain contains a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), clocking in at up to 25 percent. This high THC content makes OG Kush a popular choice among experienced cannabis consumers.
If you’re new to cannabis or prone to anxiety, you should start low and slow with any strain but especially THC-rich ones like OG Kush, which have the potential for powerful psychotropic effects. Fans of OG Kush describe feelings of intense euphoria, and the strain may be best used in the evening, as people also report feeling in a dream-like state.
If you’re looking for high CBD content, Cannatonic could be for you. Cannatonic is rich in cannabidiol (CBD), measuring up to 17 percent. The CBD-dominant Cannatonic also contains about 6% THC.
This strain can give you a mild to moderate high depending on your experience with cannabis and the THC:CBD ratio expressed in the final product. Some users report a reduction in anxiety and anger and an increase in calm after consuming Cannatonic.
This indica strain may offer relief from insomnia, a common symptom of PTSD. THC levels may exceed 20%, while CBD levels are usually negligible. A cross between Thai and Afghani parents, Northern Lights is powerful and known for producing the intensely sedating “couchlock effect.” This could be due to the amount of myrcene in the variety.
Northern Lights is not the ideal choice for daytime use and is considered best consumed when you want to fall asleep.
Unlike Northern Lights, Harlequin may be ideal for consumption during the day. This CBD-rich strain has also been praised as suitable for cannabis beginners. Harlequin has a fruity mango flavor profile, likely due to terpene myrcene. Anecdotal reports suggest that people consume Harlequin cannabis products to treat anxiety and depression, and chronic pain.
Harlequin has CBD levels similar to Cannatonic and is suitable for those who want a touch of THC but not too much.
Blue Dream is notable as the most popular strain of medical marijuana, and for a good reason. This THC-heavy strain (18%) has a comparatively small amount of CBD (2%) and is known for its balanced effects, both relaxing and uplifting.
Blue Dream also contains a diverse terpene profile of myrcene, beta-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, humulene, and limonene, which may contribute to this combined relaxing-uplifting effect. This combination can be helpful for someone whose PTSD symptoms include both depression and anxiety.
A sweet but tart blueberry taste makes Blue Dream an attractive choice for many people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is marijuana effective in the treatment of PTSD?
Marijuana may be an effective supplemental treatment for specific individuals with PTSD. Along with psychotherapy, stress management, and, in some cases, prescription medication, medical marijuana could help some people with PTSD feel better.
Can I use marijuana for PTSD if I’m taking an antidepressant?
Antidepressants and marijuana usually do not mix well, and combined use may increase the likelihood of adverse side effects. Speak with your doctor if you take an antidepressant or any other prescription medication and wish to use medical cannabis.
What are the best marijuana strains to treat PTSD?
Blue Dream, Cannatonic, and the ever-popular OG Kush are a few of the marijuana strains that some people have found helpful in treating PTSD, but everyone’s experience with cannabis differs. You may find other cannabis strains or products to be more effective.
PTSD is one of many qualifying conditions for accessing medical marijuana legally with state certification. Reach out to the healthcare professionals at Leafwell to apply for your MMJ card online.