The Impact Marijuana Has Had On A C-PTSD Patient
Patient Story- Jason Barker, PTSD and Medical Marijuana – Growing up in Ohio, I experienced a series of very traumatic events as a child which have impacted me throughout my life. And again, as a young adult living in South Carolina, working as a EMT and doing beach patrol. I realize now that I attempted to handle my PTSD symptoms in many ways, some healthy and some unhealthy, but still suffered through many bad decisions, lost jobs, more bad experiences, and failed relationships because of my C-PTSD symptoms.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape. PTSD although similar to, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), differs slightly from the more commonly understood & diagnosed condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in causes and symptoms.
C-PTSD results more from chronic repetitive stress from which there is little chance of escape. PTSD can result from single events, or short term exposure to extreme stress or trauma.
Therefore a soldier returning from intense battle may be likely to show PTSD symptoms, but a kidnapped prisoner of war who was held for several years or a soldier returning home after multiple deployments can show the additional symptoms of C-PTSD. Similarly, a child who witnesses a friend’s death in an accident may exhibit some symptoms of PTSD but a child who grows up in an abusive home will exhibit the additional C-PTSD characteristics. These are also frequently seen in First Responders (Police, Firefighters, EMT’s & Search/Recovery Teams) due to long term exposure to crisis conditions.
Currently there are no specialized, effective medications available for PTSD patients but with new discoveries in our body’s therapeutic hotspot, the endocannabinoid system, research is beginning to pave new avenues of understanding and treating PTSD.
After years and years of doctors putting me on the next latest and greatest pill from big pharma, 13 different ones in all over the years, I had just about given up all hope in finding ways to control my C-PTSD symptoms. The most commonly prescribed medications for PTSD & C-PTSD are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. These include drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. Antidepressants…these medications say they may help symptoms of depression and anxiety. And that they may also help improve sleep problems and concentration. Then for good measure the doctor would toss in a Benzodiazepine or two, such as Ativan, Valium, or Xanax.
All the pills did that doctors prescribed to me just add unwanted side effects and increased the occurrence of my symptoms or leave me in a drug induced state with no energy or mental drive for basic daily tasks in life. Constantly dealing with symptoms that prevent one from having any kind of life; difficulty falling or staying asleep due to nightmare of past trauma, self-harm thoughts, irritability or outbursts of anger, hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”), feeling jumpy and easily startled, loss of interest in activities you once loved and life in general, feeling detached from others and emotionally numb, a sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span) and avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma(s) experienced.
And now, for me being in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program for two years, and being able to treat my C-PTSD with medical cannabis- the results have been like night and day…and to finally have access to a natural and safe medicine. As it is for many like me know with their own health, my condition will always be with me and no doctor can change that. Now with medical cannabis, I have a reliable and trustworthy medicine that can relieve multiple symptoms at once and make some almost disappear completely, it does so quickly with several dosing method options, and still leaves me able to function and continue with my day – best of all it all from one source of medicine.
Prior to getting my medical cannabis card, I had been using cannabis to treat my C-PTSD and other health conditions (Poland’s Syndrome & Asperger’s Syndrome), before the program my choice was to purchase from the illegal black market getting ‘street’ grade cannabis. Going to my doctor and getting into the medical cannabis program, I noticed a vast difference in the quality & effectiveness of the medical cannabis in the program , and with safety when getting and having the medical cannabis compared to having to buy it illegally on the street or having to go to another state with a recreational marijuana program and then travel back.
Needless to say, I am not a ” slacker” or “stoner.” I have never been in trouble with the law. I have never used any illegal drugs, except cannabis as it has been a exit drug off of harmful pharmaceuticals. I am becoming healthier and happier because my C-PTSD symptoms are becoming under control. I can concentrate and focus better and deal with difficult situations without experiencing all my C-PTSD symptoms. I am able to use my medicine with the only side effects being, that it also helps my Asperger’s Syndrome and my Poland’s Syndrome. I can say from my experience and back what the science also says- being in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program helps me in a life saving manner in treating my C-PTSD.
New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978. Lynn Pierson, a 26 year old cancer patient, brought the value of medical cannabis to the New Mexico legislature. After public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis. The current program was established in 2007 as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.
“Cannabis is the single most versatile herbal remedy, and the most useful plant on Earth. No other single plant contains as wide range of medically active herbal constituents.” ~ Dr. Ethan Russo
New Mexico medical cannabis patient and activist • Grass roots organizer with LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico CERTIFICATIONS • Exercise Specialist Certificate for Personal Training / Life Coaching / Sport Nutrition