Until recently, PTSD has been one of the most difficult conditions to treat. Well-intentioned doctors would throw a smattering of ineffective and debilitating pharmaceuticals at a patient along with some variant of therapy and hope for the best.
Much of the time, these hopes were never realized, and the patient continued to suffer.
Recently, however, modern research has shed some light on this shadowy affliction and cannabis has emerged as one of the most effective treatments available (and patients find cannabis to be more effective to treat PTSD than pharmaceuticals).
Brain Chemistry of PTSD
Martin Lee, a researcher with MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Research, found people with PTSD had uniformly lower levels of an endocannabinoid called anandamide compared to controls. The experience of PTSD appeared to reset their baseline endocannabinoids at a lower level permanently.
Endocannabinoids are involved in regulating dozens of biological and psychological functions, so addressing this deficiency through the highly refined chemistry of cannabis, people experiencing the diverse effects of PTSD can find relief.
Why CBD is so helpful for PTSD
In particular, CBD has been shown to be effective for PTSD. CBD and PTSD aren’t always associated together but CBD has shown to help. CBD does not directly stimulate the endocannabinoid system. Instead, it acts by inhibiting the enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids, much like an MAOI works by blocking serotonin destruction. This raises the levels of anandamide and symptoms are relieved.
Furthermore, because CBD does not directly stimulate the CB1 receptor in the brain, it is not intoxicating. It doesn’t get you high; it just brings relief. No impairment. No sleepiness. No effects that may prevent you from working or participating in society.
6 of the Best High CBD Strains for PTSD
Cannatonic is a popular high CBD strain that can be found in most places around the country, but there can be quite a spread in the actual THC:CBD ratio depending on the growing conditions. Some growers manage to coax their CBD levels all the way up to 20%, making this a potent medicinal strain. It typically has very low THC content, so there’s virtually no high in this one, making it perfect staying alert and present to life.
Pennywise has a CBD:THC ratio of around 1:1, so it will have a little more of a buzz than other strains, but it has a reputation for being mellow and light, reducing anxiety and leaving the user relaxed yet alert and functional.
Harlequin is one of the most reliable high CBD strains available, with a CBD:THC ratio of approximately 5:2. This is one of the most effective strains out there for treating pain and anxiety, providing relaxation without sedation.
Hawaiian Dream is a cross between the hugely popular Blue Dream and Hawaiian, which adds a stronger CBD content to the pleasant uplift of Blue Dream. Many patients choose this high CBD Sativa-dominant to manage anxiety, pain, and inflammation without the physical heaviness or brain fog associated with many strains.
Charlotte’s Web gets its name from a young girl, Charlotte Figi, whose untreatable epilepsy was profoundly helped by this strain. This got the attention of Dr. Sanjay Gupta who then featured her story, and this strain, on his CNN documentary series. Because the THC content in Charlotte’s Web is so low, the strain is technically considered industrial hemp. Its low THC content makes it ideal for those sensitive to the effects of THC.
AC/DC comes in at a whopping 20% CBD for many growers, giving it a powerful medicinal punch. One reviewer reports that this strain brings on “immediate relaxation, a sense of well-being, and a very gentle tingling sensation.”
Herb.co has an excellent guide to CBD and some of the highest CBD strains there are. And if you want more variety, you can always come by and consult with our knowledgeable budtenders!