Cannabis for Sexual Assault PTSD Patients
Veterans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from cannabis as treatment for PTSD. Even women, as well as men, who suffer from sexual assault can. These are the victims that form a major subset of PTSD patients, and they often go unnoticed.
Reports reveal that almost 1/3 of sexual assault survivors experience PTSD at some point in their life. Many live with the debilitating effects of PTSD as a result of being sexually assaulted; the figures show that 1 in every 6 women, and 1 in every 33 men go through sexual assault. In Canada, 39% of women experience at least one form of sexual assault.
PTSD as a result of sexual assault can leave victims with consequences that last their entire lives, affecting both their mind and body if they are left untreated. Drugs that are usually prescribed for PTSD patients are made of poisons and toxins that cause unwanted side effects; sometimes even numbing out the individual and their loved ones can no longer recognize them. Valiums, Zoloft, Prozac, Clonidine, Paxil, and other anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs have both short-term and long-term side effects that are enough to make any victim think twice before taking it. Aside from extreme changes in personality, these drugs can also cause tremors, increased risk of cancer, and even organ failure. Many sexual assault PTSD patients are prescribed more than one of these drugs, which makes for a toxic disaster waiting to happen.
PTSD is a form of anxiety disorder among people who suffer from a traumatic experience. In sexual assault, this can be in the form of rape, violence, harassment, and abuse both by strangers as well as loved ones. Among these, rape is the most common cause of PTSD in women, with 94% of female survivors suffering from PTSD symptoms just two weeks after the incident. It’s not uncommon for husbands to be the primary culprit for causing sexual assault PTSD on their wives. Common symptoms among patients include nightmares, flashbacks, feeling high-strung, constantly worried and anxious, angry, and insomnia.
The symptoms of PTSD can last a long time. Victims end up developing trust issues, and thus the condition will have an impact on future relationships, including the romantic kind. Victims also tend to suffer from communication problems and have difficulties with intimacy. Even normal sexual activity can lead to flashbacks, years after the assault has occurred.
There’s hope for sexual assault PTSD patients. Cannabis can help relieve the symptoms of PTSD.
How Can Cannabis Help
Victims of sexual assault show that they have a dysregulation in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. This axis is a critical part of the endocrine system, also responsible for releasing stress hormones, especially cortisol. The HPA axis releases cortisol once it’s stimulated by the Corticotopin Releasing Hormone (CRH). Studies show that when victims of trauma have increased levels of CRH, as well as cortisol.
When the body produces too much cortisol over long periods of time as a result of PTSD, this can have severe impacts on all systems within the body. PTSD patients are constantly in “flight or fight” mode, and this can affect their ability to lead normal lives since it impacts them emotionally, mentally, and even socially. Cortisol depletion caused by PTSD can also have negative effects, including infertility in women, immune deficiencies, and hormonal imbalance.
A 2002 study conducted by researchers at the John Hopkins University revealed that consuming high doses of cannabis results in an increase of cortisol, although regular and moderate use has been effective in adjusting CRH release, thereby stabilizing cortisol levels.
Other ways cannabis can help:
- Cannabis reduces severity of triggers that cause victims to relive the memory of sexual assault. Studies show that inhaling cannabis vapors before exposure to the stimulus can help desensitize the victim.
- Cannabis treats PTSD-related insomnia. Patients of PTSD commonly suffer from trouble sleeping, but consuming cannabis before bed can help induce sleep and improve sleep quality.
The sad truth is that even in the military, sexual assault of both men and women is common. Some soldiers come home with a trauma of war, while others come home with the trauma of sexual assault, or even worse: Both.
Share this with someone you know who can benefit from using cannabis to treat sexual assault PTSD.
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Published at Sat, 29 Jul 2017 05:00:00 +0000