Monday, November 28, 2016

How the Medical Cannabis Program Helps my PTSD.

How the Medical Cannabis Program Helps my PTSD.
Photo Credit: JointBlog

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.
Photo Credit: New Mexico Department of Health website

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (being 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 to purchase from a store like that.

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“As more states legalize adult use or "recreational" cannabis, state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs have come under attack. In an attempt to sell legalization to anti-cannabis voters, legalization advocates have emphasized the financial rewards over harm reduction or freedom. Good old-fashioned American capitalism driving legalization should come as no surprise in today's world, although the arguments for freedom and liberty should be more powerful drivers for American voters on both sides of the aisle.

And, does there even need to be a distinction between medical and recreational? It seems drawing lines in the sand may cause more harm than good. In the case of American states in the era of legalization, it is no longer the user's right to determine the utility of their use, but the government's. If the government thinks you are just wanting to have a good time they can excise 20 percent or more in tax. This incentivizes states to classify more people’s use as recreational rather than medical.

Most states with medical cannabis have a list of conditions for which recommendations are approved. These usually include the most serious and common fatal and chronic illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS, autoimmune disorders and epilepsy. When it comes to mental disorders, diseases so obscure they don't fit on the list or the right to use cannabis in place of "as needed" drugs like aspirin, state governments have determined that this use is recreational, not medical.” - Angela Bacca

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 has been providing Medical Cannabis to patients in the state since 1978, it’s time for New Mexico to return as the leader and pioneer in the sciences of medical cannabis.

“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

By Jason Barker (Medical Cannabis Patient & Organizer -LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico)

*Today, more than 31,000 New Mexicans are registered in the Medical Cannabis Program. In the United States, as of a March 2016 study on, there were over 1,246,170 million legal medical cannabis patients. That’s an average of 8.6 patients per 1,000 state residents in each state; Arizona 13.1 per 1000, California 19.4 per 1000, Colorado 19.8 per 1000, New Mexico 12.5 per 1000*, Oregon 19.2 per 1000, Nevada 5.0 per 1000 and Washington 19.2 per 1000 state residents. (*June 2016 NM DoH MCP Report)
LECUA_thc_cbd.pngAny resident seeking assistance in qualifying for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis program can find that thru the LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico. The LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico, as a grassroots organization, is the leader in New Mexico amongst medical cannabis patient groups. Providing the latest scientific and medical based research for medical cannabis for the: patients, prospective patients, community education & information, physicians / medical professionals, local & state organizations. Duke City Fitness & Wellness is set up as a FREE educational medical cannabis resource website.