- Politics and Social Issues
Marijuana as a Treatment for PTSD
According to a study conducted by Researcher Andrew Holmes at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, experiments conducted on animals have shown that THC, the chemical in marijuana most responsible for the feelings of euphoria, relaxes that part of the brain known to enhance fear and anxiety. This study, and many others similar to it, has finally sparked the federal government's interest in studying this further. The Department of Health and Human Services has recently signed off on a proposal to research the use of marijuana as a treatment for PTSD. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have been pushing for this legislation for a while now and as a result, Maine and a few other states have allowed those with PTSD to use marijuana as a treatment.
The only issue being raised thus far is the length of time, after "getting high," the drug may be able to act as medicine. Although the "high" produced has shown to have positive effects on the symptoms, the "high" hasn't lasted long enough to be considered a long-term treatment of PTSD. Other "drawbacks" have been found that concern the researchers, such as impaired motor function, increased appetite, and short-term memory loss. One solution Holmes and other researchers have looked into is the use of drugs that have a THC-like response on the brain. They've found that the use of these drugs increases the activity of the brains natural cannabinoids, aptly called endocannabinoids, resulting in a much longer suppression of symptoms and an exclusion of the other "drawbacks."
As more and more of these studies come forth and prove that the use of THC or THC-like medications can be used to treat people with PTSD, our understanding of the interactions between the brain and THC will increase and, hopefully, the use of THC as a medicine will be extended to other disorders and it's validity as a proper medicine will be acknowledged.