Generally, when people think of a seriously sick and suffering medical cannabis patient, they imagine a person that is bound to a wheelchair, fighting through cancer treatment, or another condition that is visually validated.

“Seeing is believing” is a widely accepted manner of thinking, but how can you see a condition that is as invisible as it is crippling and dangerous? I am talking about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Many people are under the misconception that PTSD only affects individuals that served in the Military. According to the National Center for PTSD, between 7 and 8 percent of people will experience PTSD symptoms at some point in their life.

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Contributing Author: Anthony Rangel

My PTSD is from abuse as a child, being forcibly drugged with pharmaceutical cocktails for 12 years, and being trapped for multiple years in a facility that attempted to re-program me to become someone different than I was.

As you can probably imagine, I have not had any intention of seeking help from our drug-crazed society of Western medicine. My chosen medical treatment is a mix of medical cannabis and mind-body medicine.

Through the use of these complimentary treatments, I have been able to not only live my life with minimal impact from PTSD, but also operate to my fullest potential as a collective founder, veteran/human rights activist, and a holistic caregiver.

Why Cannabis?

Cannabis has always been hailed for its ability to relax its users. This is due to the endocannabinoid system (eCB) relationship with the stress response system of the human brain. Stress decreases the production of anandamide (AEA), increases the production of 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), and exposure to chronic stress reliably causes a downregulation or loss of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors .

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Research suggests that the eCB signaling in humans regulates many of the same areas of the brain responsible for vulnerability to stress-related psychiatric conditions like depression or PTSD.

This is where paying attention to what type of cannabis you intake plays an important factor. When attempting to elevate a stress-related psychiatric condition, it’s important to use a strain that promotes relaxation. For some patients, this is an “Indica-dominant” strain like Blackberry Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, or Blueberry.

What is Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind-body medicine focuses on the powerful ways in which mental, emotional, social, and spiritual factors can directly affect health. One of my favorite methods is Yoga. Yoga is scientifically proven to increase cognitive functions, aid insomnia, reduces stress, and many more wonderful benefits.

An Artist Depicts Moksha

An Artist’s Depiction of Moksha

One of the core principles of yoga, according to David Gordon White, is an analysis of perception and cognition. Through deep breathing and stretching practices the practitioners are able to expanding their consciousness and even cleanse their internal perceptions to achieve the ultimate goal of yoga:  “moksha” (liberation).

Two Treatments Working Together

We have discussed both treatments individually, but how do they work together to help? One of the main triggers of PTSD is stress. Cannabis can be a very fast-acting relief to stress, similar to an inhaler for asthma sufferers, whereas yoga promotes long-term relaxation. This creates a very effective means of reducing the severity and frequency of anxiety attacks or PTSD “flare ups”. Both yoga and cannabis aid the body against insomnia.

It is believed that stress plays a role in sleeplessness and nightmares as well. If you decrease the amounts of stress on your body and mind, you are able to maintain peaceful thinking which may help decrease the frequency of nightmares during REM sleep. When you are well-rested, your mind and body will function better!

PTSD is a very real condition that many people around the world suffer from every single day. The most important thing to know is that you are not alone in your struggles, as personal as they may be. There are many different treatment options available and not all of them include you taking dangerous drugs. Before you decide that you’ve tried it all, give cannabis a try.

Cannabis helped myself and many other people regain control of life again.

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Anthony Rangel is the founder and president of Natures Remedy Collective in Livermore, California. Mr. Rangel is dedicated to making cannabis accessible to patients. He actively advocates for medical cannabis at Livermore city council to improve their laws on cannabis. Mr. Rangel is also a chapter president for the organization Grow for Vets.

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