Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects about 8 million Americans in a given year, causing them to be mentally stuck in a danger mode and remain physically alert.
National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that about 50% of women and 60% of men experience at least one traumatic event throughout their life, causing some to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD symptoms are highly debilitating and negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life. Unfortunately, no cure exists for PTSD, and the common treatment isn’t equally effective for every patient. In addition, others might not want to deal with the side effects of prescription medication and be searching for alternative ways to treat the condition.
Can Delta 8 THC help with PTSD? Let’s find out!
Medical Cannabis for the Management of PTSD Symptoms
Using cannabinoids for the management of PTSD isn’t new. In 2009, upon the recommendation of an eight-member advisory board of physicians, New Mexico became the first U.S. state to list PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. Today, all medical cannabis programs except for Alaska’s and South Dakota’s incorporate PTSD enabling more than 300,000 to use cannabis as an alternative treatment for the disorder.
Medical marijuana’s benefits for managing PTSD symptoms are now gaining more attention in the medical community and researchers. The first FDA-regulated study on the benefits of smoking medical cannabis suggested that smoking cannabis can help treat symptoms of PTSD.
The study found that cannabis users reported a more significant reduction of symptoms over a year and were more than 2.5 times as likely not to meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD any longer than those who did not use cannabis.
Another study of 80 patients with PTSD who were administered medical cannabis in New Mexico found about a 75% reduction in symptoms indicating cannabinoids’ potential to facilitate the extinction of aversive memories.
Cannabinoids and Their Role in PTSD
Cannabinoids are the reason why medical marijuana helps patients manage PTSD symptoms. These chemical compounds can interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) and deliver various outcomes.
The two most well-known cannabinoids are Delta 9 THC and CBD. The first is to blame for marijuana’s high, while the latter is a trending non-psychoactive ingredient amongst wellness enthusiasts. Both cannabinoids interact with endocannabinoid receptors within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, CBD has much lower CB1 and CB2 receptor affinity than THC and doesn’t cause any of the common side effects of THC or psychoactive experience.
Research of cannabinoids’ potential for treating PTSD symptoms is still at its early stage, but studies suggest that both CBD and THC might work as an alternative treatment for PTSD.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
The CBD vs. THC ratio is the primary difference between two cousin cannabis plants – hemp and marijuana. Hemp has only trace THC amounts and is rich in CBD; thus, it’s not psychoactive like marijuana. Marijuana, on the other hand, yields high THC content and has a low CBD amount.
Medical marijuana has a high dose of delta 9 THC, which acts on endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune system. Although its interaction with the ECS system might set the hope of the medical community for treating PTSD symptoms, like prescription medications, it can cause several side effects and, in small portions of patients, even worsen PTSD.
Delta 8 THC – Less Psychoactive Hemp-Derived Alternative
As the interest in cannabinoids and their effects rises, new cannabinoids emerge on the scene, including delta 8 THC – a minor cannabinoid and a less psychoactive variant of THC. Delta 8 THC is almost identical to Delta 9 with its chemical structure, only it has a double bond 8th carbon chain, unlike delta 9, which has it on the 9th chain (hence the names).
Another primary difference between delta 9 THC and delta 8 THC is their source. Delta 8 THC derives from federally legal hemp. So naturally, it reaches only 1% in the mature hemp plant, so manufacturers convert CBD to delta 8 in a lab. As a hemp-derivative, delta 8 THC products with no more than .3% THC are legal at the federal level. Still, some states like Alaska have made it illegal even when hemp-derived.
Unsurprisingly, many consumers are now wondering if Delta 8 THC can help with PTSD. The primary advantage of delta 8 THC is its lower psychoactive potency, especially beneficial for those who want to experience milder effects while using cannabis to treat PTSD.
Can Delta 8 THC Help With PTSD?
Although, for now, there’s no definite answer to whether delta 8 THC can serve as an alternative treatment for PTSD, and there is more research to understand its effects on PTSD patients better, that doesn’t stop consumers from trying delta 8 THC for PTSD.
Several veterans have reported improved quality of life after using delta 8 THC products and their benefits, such as pain relief, allowing them to reduce their opioid intake. If, until now, THC and medical cannabis were the primary subjects of medical research, delta 8 THC is now likely to get the researchers’ attention. In addition, even though the science has yet to investigate delta 8 THC’s benefits for managing PTSD symptoms, numerous studies suggest that cannabinoids can play a role in PTSD management through the interaction with the ECS system.