Cannabis and PTSD: One Veteran’s Story
This Veterans Day, we celebrate every man and woman who put service above self to protect the freedoms we hold dear. To honor their courage, we’re sharing a story from one of our former team members – United States Marine Corps veteran Cody Elliott – about his experience of the beneficial relationship between cannabis and PTSD.
Exploding Marijuana Myths
Cody joined our team back in 2017 as a quality control manager. At that point, he had already experienced the transition from prescription medication to medical marijuana. But this healing journey didn’t happen overnight. “Being a surfer kid from California, I knew about cannabis – but I didn’t understand its medicinal properties or the positive effects it could have on my life.”
This is true for many PTSD sufferers. Knowledge of cannabis is often limited to a one-time party experience or informed by commonly held societal beliefs about it. The problem is, many of these aren’t entirely accurate.
For decades, marijuana has been vilified as a dangerous, mind-altering drug. As a result, little was known about its effects – beneficial or otherwise. And its regulatory status as an illegal schedule-1 substance made it especially difficult to study.
Today, while researchers are still working to fully understand its benefits, we certainly know more than we once did about medical marijuana and its promising effects on a variety of conditions, including PTSD.
The National Institute of Mental Health describes PTSD as a reaction involving the body’s natural fear-based “fight or flight” response. Following a traumatic event, this response – meant to help us avoid or escape potential danger – is supposed to shut off, allowing the system to return to calm.
For some, however, the response never fully dissipates, keeping the body and mind in a state of persistent stress. PTSD results when a person experiences (or re-experiences) this fight or flight response at times or in settings where it may not be warranted,
leading to symptoms like:
● Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks, memories, or dreams
● Avoiding certain places, events, objects, or thoughts relating to the event
● Strong physical reactions – being easily startled, feeling constantly tense, engaging in
reckless behavior, or having difficulty sleeping/ concentrating
● Emotional fallout – negative thoughts about oneself or others, loss of interest in activities,
feeling socially isolated, or having difficulty experiencing happiness/ satisfaction
The Potential Benefits of Cannabis
Science Daily cites a study in which cannabis is shown to reduce recurring thoughts about a traumatic event by 62% and flashbacks by 51%.
What’s more, more than 400 subjects involved reported a 67% reduction in irritability and 57% reduction in anxiety. This is likely because of the plant’s various chemical compounds, or cannabinoids. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is often associated with the euphoric “high” sensation.
CBD (cannabidiol) is believed to be responsible for body relaxation with effects like anxiety and pain relief, improved sleep, and more.
For veterans like Cody, medical marijuana offers a more plant-based approach to healing – and one that can help them avoid some of the unwanted side effects that accompany prescription medication. “Once I retired from the military, I began to explore my options with cannabis. It makes me a happier person and frees me from the constant worry about frantically searching for my pills anytime I experience symptoms.” While the Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system
doesn’t officially distribute cannabis or promote its use, many veterans are choosing to explore it as an option in the 30 states where it is legalized.
The Future of PTSD and Cannabis
As cannabis becomes an increasingly available alternative to medication, a growing number of cultivators are getting in on the action. Whether users seek to mitigate symptoms of PTSD, relieve other physical ailments, or simply enjoy the experience, one important aspect to consider is the purity of your product. Many growers use chemical pesticides in their cultivation process and some claim a “no-spray” approach that still relies on organic or plant-based oils.
At Autumn Brands, our steadfast commitment to the environment and to the safety of our customers leads to a more pure product. Using innovative methods based on six generations of regenerative Dutch farming, our integrative techniques allow beneficial creatures like ladybugs to coexist peacefully. The result? A truly pure, potent plant medicine with all of its natural healing properties preserved. You can trust our selection of premium flower, pre-rolls, pre-filled cartridges, and NEW healing salve for a superior, holistically-based experience.
Browse our full collection now at AutumnBrands.com and follow us @AutumnBrands on Instagram for the latest product releases. Look for the ladybug stamp on all Autumn Brands products at select Southern California dispensaries to be sure your product is pure.