Category: Faces of Cannabis

Medical Cannabis and PTSD: Techniques To Remedy Invisible Wounds

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.

For the most up to date info on Cannabis Reports, follow us on Twitter, and like us on our Facebook page.

Faces of Cannabis: A Good Day of Cannabis with Linda Puliatch

Smoke Reports recently began filming for the upcoming campaign Faces of Cannabis. This project aims to highlight the human side of cannabis through stories of patients and their experiences with cannabis therapy. This multimedia campaign already has many participants, and yet there are still so many stories to tell. If you would like to share your experiences with the cannabis community, reach out to us through our contact page.

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We got to spend the day with one of our first patient advocates, Linda Puliatch. Linda did not yet have a medical cannabis recommendation, so we were fortunate enough to document the entire process of a patient getting a cannabis card and exploring a dispensary for the first time.

Let’s Meet Linda: Brand New Medical Patient

We want all of the stories you hear through Faces of Cannabis to come directly from the patients themselves. In the very near future, we will be releasing the video content in which Linda reports on her experience with medical cannabis. In this blog however, we simply want to express the type of material that we believe is important to distribute throughout the community.

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Linda is from Santa Cruz, California. She is approaching medical cannabis because circumstances in her life are different very now. After having major surgery, she now deals with symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, and was also on medication for depression. She wasn’t responding well to any of the pharmaceutical medication being prescribed to her by doctors.

“I didn’t like the chemicals. I didn’t like the pills. I didn’t like the anti-depressants they were giving me. I don’t like the way it makes you feel. It flattens your emotions. There are a limited amount of emotions you can have, high and low. It feels like you are living an artificial life.”

Linda’s daughter suggested she try cannabis therapy to try to alleviate some of her medical issues. Linda wants to control her anxiety and depression, and combat her troubles with sleeping. She also sees cannabis as a way to relax because she does not drink very often, but still wants to revel in similar social environments without feeling uncomfortable or out of place.

When we asked Linda about the information she was looking for that day, she expressed her desire for accurate knowledge. Like many people new to the medical cannabis community, it can be overwhelming to see the variety of cannabis products available. Especially for someone coming from a regimen of pharmaceuticals, knowing the effectiveness of a medicine is important to patients like Linda.

Getting a Medical Cannabis Card in San Francisco

This is not the first time we have documented someone’s experience getting a medical cannabis card. A few months ago, one of our users submitted a written log of his experience getting evaluated by a doctor for cannabis.

MMJ Doctor in San Francisco

MMJ Doctor in San Francisco

Linda’s experience getting her cannabis card for the first time shared many similar qualities with our previous story. She felt it was very much like a regular doctor’s office, with the same clean and secure feel. Linda also noted that she was impressed with the professionalism of the doctor, and how he was very informative and even provided some advice beyond cannabis use.

Checking Out the Nation’s Most Acclaimed Dispensary

Harborside Health Center in Oakland is one of the oldest and most acclaimed cannabis dispensaries in America. Founded by Steve DeAngelo in 2006, Harborside has been so successful in building its community that the city of Oakland fought federal government, asserting that HHC provides an indispensable public service, along with much needed tax dollars.

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Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA

Linda was very impressed with Harborside Health Center, saying that it “felt more like a bank” than a place where a federally-illegal plant could ever be sold. Harborside employees quickly signed Linda in and gave her a tour of the facility. This is a common practice for dispensaries when accepting a first-time patient at their location.

Prana Capsules

Prana Capsules

Linda was also lucky enough to experience another common dispensary occurrence: product demos! Prana Capsules was displaying its medicine and answering question from patients like Linda. Linda was interested in the product’s alleged effectiveness against insomnia, but ended up not purchasing because this particular line of capsules ran for about $140 per bottle.

Steve DeAngelo, Harborside Health Center

Linda was very excited to see all of the different flowers and products on display, and noted how organized it all seemed. After getting some more information from a Harborside bud tender, Linda decided on an Absolute Xtracts vaporizer cartridge, and some cannabis edibles created by brands like Kiva, Bhang, and Americann Gummi Cares. She also was happily surprised to receive her first-time patient freebie, a Solio Gem Drop.

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We checked in with Linda a few days later to ask her how the cannabis therapy was going. She is very happy with the Kiva Terra Blueberry Bites, particularly the fact that each bite is only 5mg of THC, so it is really easy for her to dose the medicine without ever feeling overwhelmed by the potency.

Check Out Linda’s Video and More Stories from Faces of Cannabis

Linda’s story will be the first of many compelling looks at how cannabis can positively affect humanity. Here at Smoke Reports, we believe cannabis is an incredibly personal journey, and while the methods that work for Linda may not work for you, answers to her questions, concerns, and insights will benefit anyone who is contemplating cannabis therapy for their condition.

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Filming Faces of Cannabis

Makes sure to check out Linda’s video to hear the story in her own words. If you would like to join Linda as a Faces of Cannabis advocate, please reach out to us through our contact page. For the most up to date info on Smoke Reports, follow us on Twitter @smokereports or like us on our Facebook page. You can also join the discussion in the comments section below, or through our social media links.