The Best Medical Cannabis Strains For PTSD | CAC
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The Best Medical Cannabis Strains For PTSD

best cannabis strains for PTSD

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Traumatic events can have a lasting impact on both the body and the mind. They can result in a state of extreme stress and anxiety that can last for months or even years after the event. This anxiety disorder is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Everyone’s experience of PTSD is unique. However, symptoms can severely impact one’s ability to navigate day-to-day life. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Medicinal cannabis strains affect individuals differently. Strains must be carefully matched to the individual’s specific symptoms of PTSD and anxiety to maximise their efficacy.
  2. In the UK, medicinal cannabis can only be legally accessed through a specialist doctor who will evaluate its suitability for your condition. Obtaining cannabis through legal and licensed channels is essential.
  3. It’s critical to consult with a specialist before incorporating medicinal cannabis into your treatment regimen, as it may interact with other medications commonly prescribed for PTSD.
  4. Non-cannabis therapies like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), exposure therapy, and lifestyle changes should be used in conjunction with medicinal cannabis for a more comprehensive approach to managing PTSD.

Coming to terms with traumatic events can take time, even with the aid of a qualified mental health practitioner. However, there is evidence to suggest that medicinal cannabis use may help to mitigate the symptoms of PTSD, aid recovery and prevent the disorder from impinging on a happy and productive life.

That said, some cannabis strains are more conducive to easing the symptoms of PTSD than others. Here, we’ll look at the best strains for dealing with this condition, and why they have the right balance of compounds to combat its symptoms while minimising the risk of adverse side effects.

best cannabis strains for PTSD

PTSD symptoms explained

It’s perfectly natural to feel upset, confused and angry following a traumatic event. However, for those with PTSD, the trauma can linger, resulting in a state of extreme anxiety, panic or depression that persists for months or even years after a traumatic event.

Once again, it’s important to remember that every experience with PTSD is unique. However, most with the condition experience similar symptoms which can often include:

  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Flashbacks and nightmares in which one relives traumatic experiences
  • Intrusive thoughts or distressing images and sensations
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Extreme anxiety or panic attacks
  • Hyperarousal (feeling stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode)
  • Sickness, trembling, pain and other intrusive physical sensations

What to look for in cannabis strains for PTSD

Multiple studies have linked medicinal cannabis use to a pronounced reduction in PTSD symptoms for the majority of participants. However, those experiencing symptoms of PTSD can, and should, choose specific strains that are matched to their needs.

There are hundreds of chemical compounds within the cannabis plants, including cannabinoids which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to regulate mood and aid sleep, as well as terpenes which can cause an ‘entourage effect’, increasing the efficacy of the cannabinoids. Terpenes can not only enhance the positive effects of certain cannabinoids, they can also help to reduce the risk of unwanted side effects.

Some strains, for instance, contain high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While THC can induce a feeling of wellbeing or euphoria, it can also have the unwanted side effect of paranoia which may actually exacerbate PTSD symptoms. Terpenes, however, can manage the flow of certain cannabinoid molecules to receptors within the body to prevent feelings of paranoia and facilitate a sense of wellbeing and relaxation.

Broadly speaking, the best strains for PTSD will be:

  • Type III strains with higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD) and less THC
  • Type II strains with a fairly even balance of CBD and THC
  • Strains containing terpenes that are found in plants that are commonly used to aid sleep or relaxation (e.g. linalool in lavender and pinene in pine tree oils)

Those whose symptoms are more depressive may benefit from Type III strains with low THC levels and high concentrations of helpful terpenes, while those who experience states of extreme anxiety may benefit more from Type II strains where CBD and THC are more balanced.

best cannabis strains for PTSD

Best cannabis strains for PTSD and anxiety

Just as everyone’s experience with PTSD is unique, everyone’s experience with certain medicinal cannabis strains is unique. However, these strains are often used to aid those experiencing symptoms of PTSD and heightened states of anxiety.

These include:

Harlequin

Harlequin is an excellent entry-level strain for those new to medicinal cannabis use. It has very low levels of THC (typically around 5%) but higher levels of CBD. This makes it a good choice for relieving stress and anxiety without undue intoxicating or sedative effects.

The primary terpene in this strain is myrcene which has a demonstrative anxiolytic effect and is even used in the transportation of live fish to prevent anxiety when in transit. The terpene profile is rounded out with pinene and caryophyllene that selectively target the CB2 receptor of the endocannabinoid system, making them effective for relieving anxiety and depression.

ACDC

Like Harlequin, ACDC is a high CBD and low THC strain that’s easy to incorporate into virtually any lifestyle. At around 1% THC, it has virtually no intoxicating effects yet its 13% concentration of CBD and terpene profile make it well suited to easing the anxiety that often comes with PTSD. Like Harlequin, ACDC has a myrcene-dominant terpene profile enhanced with pinene and caryophyllene.

Lavender Kush

Lavender kush is an Indica-dominant hybrid strain that is known for its dense buds and floral, slightly spicy aroma. This is higher in THC than other strains mentioned here and can often have a sedative effect, making it better suited to those who experience insomnia as a result oKushSD.

As the name suggests, linalool is prominent in this strain’s terpene profile, but it also features pinene, myrcene and caryophyllene.

Lemon Diesel

Lemon Diesel’s terpene profile is myrcene-heavy, incorporating caryophyllene, pinene and, of course, limonene. As such, it has a distinctive fresh citrus aroma and taste.

As well as having anti-inflammatory properties, this CBD-heavy strain promotes relaxation without impairing cognitive function.

LA Confidential

LA Confidential is a versatile indica strain that’s used in a wide range of medicinal use cases from PTSD and general anxiety to chronic pain and gastrointestinal disorders. CBD and THC are well balanced, helping users to feel calm and relaxed.

A potent entourage effect is achieved with anxiolytic terpenes such as pinene, myrcene and caryophyllene.

best cannabis strains for PTSD

FAQs

What legal considerations should I be aware of when using medicinal cannabis for PTSD in the UK?

In the UK, medicinal cannabis is legal under specific circumstances and must be prescribed by a specialist doctor. Patients need to go through a thorough evaluation to determine if medicinal cannabis is suitable for their condition. It’s crucial to understand the legal requirements and ensure that cannabis is obtained through legal and licensed channels to avoid legal issues.

Anyone who has suffered from psychotic episodes or has a diagnosis of schizophrenia will not be eligible for medical cannabis treatment options.

Are there potential interactions between medicinal cannabis and other medications for PTSD?

Yes, medicinal cannabis can interact with other medications commonly prescribed for PTSD, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and sleep aids. These interactions can alter the effectiveness or increase the side effects of both the cannabis and the medications. It’s important to consult with a specialist before starting medicinal cannabis to discuss potential interactions and adjust medication dosages, as necessary.

What are some non-cannabis therapies that can be used in conjunction with medicinal cannabis to manage PTSD?

Conventional therapies that can complement medicinal cannabis in managing PTSD include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), exposure therapy, and support groups. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, and maintaining a healthy diet can also help manage symptoms. Combining these therapies with medicinal cannabis under the guidance of a healthcare provider can provide a holistic approach to managing PTSD.

Which cannabis strain is the best for you?

While you may experience positive effects with any of these strains, our expert team takes a highly personalised approach in carefully matching strains to the individual’s symptoms.

Here at CAC, we endeavour to provide patients with unbiased information and a platform where they can contribute to the community through reviews and sharing experiences. If you are a current medical cannabis patient and feel like helping the wider community out, head on over to the clinic pages and leave a detailed review of your experiences. Your input is invaluable to others in the community who may be considering using medicinal cannabis to manage their PTSD and anxiety.

 

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