5 Cannabis Strains That Can Help Manage PTSD
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have experienced trauma. Perhaps you don’t even recognize it. But, if you survived 2020, you’ve experienced global, institutionalized trauma. From COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our lives and in our communities, to political and racial tensions boiling over, some say that PTSD is more prevalent now than ever.
It makes sense, too. The threat of catching the novel Coronavirus rages on. There are over 12 million Americans unemployed. Over 400k lives have been lost. In one way or another, we’ve all been affected by this pandemic. While cannabis is not a cure-all, it can surely help for many of us. With trauma-informed consumption on the rise, we’ve found 5 cannabis strains that can help you manage new or resurfacing PTSD symptoms.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event/s will develop PTSD. Due to previous learned coping skills and/or lived experiences, many are able to move through these experiences with resilience.
Yet, for up to 10% of people who survive a traumatic experience, the reality is much darker. These individuals are plagued by recurring thoughts, flashbacks, and other symptoms of PTSD. For some of these survivors, cannabis has proven to be a supplement to help confront, manage, and heal from these experiences.
Cannabis for PTSD
Many have already known that cannabis can help with PTSD, but a lack of peer-reviewed data to support its efficacy has kept this largely secret. Thanks to two new studies, we are on our way to more inclusive, reputable studies on cannabis use for PTSD.
One study, out of Wayne State University in Michigan, analyzed how cannabis use can impact the amygdala part of the brain in those dealing with PTSD. The amygdala is what controls our fight, flight, freeze, or fawn responses during a traumatic experience. Researchers concluded that “low doses of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can produce anxiolytic effects, reduce threat-related amygdala activation, and enhance functional coupling between the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex and adjacent rostral cingulate cortex (mPFC/rACC) during threat processing in healthy adults”.
5 Cannabis Strains That Can Help Manage PTSD Symptoms
ACDC is unlike most cannabis strains seen in dispensaries. Due to its significant presence of CBD, or cannabidiol, and lower than usual THC content, ACDC is said to help elevate the mood of those dealing with feelings of depression. A cross between Ruderalis and Cannatonic, this strain is an evenly balanced hybrid at 50 percent Sativa and 50 percent Indica.
Just try not to get discouraged by the name, be it reminiscent of one of Stephen King’s diabolical characters and all. Pennywise also contains higher levels of CBD, but is more indica-dominant. Many swear by indica-dominant strains for managing PTSD symptoms. Known as a mood and focus enhancer, this strain can help someone suffering from symptoms of PTSD.
3. Sour Kush
A cross between Sour Diesel and OG Kush, Sour Kush is a relaxing indica-dominant hybrid. Said to provide a boost of overall happiness, this strain is best consumed in the evening. Perhaps those suffering from nightmares, insomnia, or night terrors, all commonly associated with PTSD, would benefit from trying this strain of cannabis for PTSD.
4. GrandDaddy Kush
Yes, there’s a theme here. GrandDaddy Kush is also an indica-heavy strain used for its relaxing effects. This strain is one of the most popular strains on the West Coast and is known for its striking purple color. Like Sour Kush, GrandDaddy Kush is commonly used in the evening. However, while it's said to help those battling insomnia, others report this strain helps to focus and concentrate so daytime use is also common.
Harlequin is another CBD-rich cannabis strain commonly used for those with PTSD, Depression, and anxiety, however, this strain is more sativa-dominant and commonly consumed during the daytime. Because this strain isn’t going to get you incredibly high due to its higher CBD and lower THC content, this cannabis strain is popular when you need to be fully present, while also managing symptoms of PTSD.
Individual experience with trauma-informed cannabis consumption varies. If you are able to work with a canna-positive therapist or doctor, please do.