June is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) awareness month. While anyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event can develop PTSD, most associate it with Wartime Veterans.
Furthermore, as a Veteran dealing with Military Sexual Trauma PTSD, I understand the importance of heightening awareness. It is equally important that Veterans have access to alternative, healthy coping methods. Still, the Department of Defense (DOD), Congress, and Veteran’s Affairs (VA) can’t seem to agree on or find the time to vote on them.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, an average of 15% of 90 million Veterans suffer from PTSD. Unfortunately, approximately 20% of them turn to drugs, alcohol, and other substances such as marijuana to ease the pain. The VA is forever dubious at advancing research for medical cannabis within the VA system, although research shows that using recreational and medical cannabis may be an alternative treatment for PTSD.
For example, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 passed through Congress on May 8, 2018, but it did not receive a floor vote. The VA introduced it to give them the ‘OK’ to do research.
It was reintroduced on April 19, 2021, as the Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2021 alongside the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act. This newest addition would extend medical marijuana programs to the VA that allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients managing pain, also allowing veterans to discuss medical marijuana with authorized VA physicians.
And as dubious does, it’s still sitting there waiting for the house to review and vote on. It would also allow $15 million in funds to be set aside for research, add a five-year temporary pass to allow Veterans to transport, use and possess medical marijuana, and advance VA based research into cannabis as a possible use for easing chronic pain, PTSD symptoms, and lowering opioid dependency.
What is the Best Marijuana Strain for PTSD?
Despite the lackluster debate between the Department of Justice (DOJ), DOD, VA, and Congress, Veterans are doing what they must do to ease their pain. Some are opening dispensaries to help fellow Veterans, and others are using private doctors outside the VA Health System to get access to medicinal marijuana.
Some users prefer hemp cannabis products such as CBD for its low to no THC level preference, which is the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. And if you suffer from anxiety due to your PTSD, lower THC with higher CBD may be the best route. Other types of cannabis, which we mention here, are higher in THC – also known as marijuana. However, there are copious strains to weed through – pun intended.
I prefer a nice hybrid heavy on the Sativa. Indica offers a more relaxed high and Sativa, a more energized high. It is all about preference and what makes you feel good. However, talking with a doctor familiar with cannabis is the best way to go. Following up with a specialist in a dispensary can give you a more educated guess on what strains may work best or your sensitivities and needs.
3 Best Strains for PTSD
Best Strain for PTSD and Anxiety
It is unanimous, ACDC rocks for sufferers of heightened anxiety. It has less than 1% THC and has a whopping 20% CBD. In one study published in the National Library of Medicine, 91% of patients who used CBD in the study showed decreased PTSD symptoms.
Also, high CBD strains are a champion for those with PTSD looking for only medicinal benefits. ACDC offers a relaxing feeling with nearly no head high. It is a pure 50/50 Sativa/Indica and may offer a level of balance to many symptoms while bringing a sense of peace to your daily activities. Also, it may heighten your concentration.
Best Sativa Dominant Strain for PTSD
Typically 18% THC, Blue Dream’s heavy Sativa lean may help those searching for a mix of relaxation and better socialization, which are two things PTSD can prevent. It has a nice head high without locking you into the Lazy Boy and is said to enhance creativity. The low Indica presence evens things out, giving you that warm and fuzzy body feeling.
Best Indica Dominant Strain for PTSD
This is a 70/30 Indica/Sativa ratio, and although the THC is higher than the CBD percentage, it is mild – typically between 7-14% THC and 12% CBD. Pennywise is an excellent option for PTSD insomnia suffers. It offers a relaxing effect and a clear-headed, buzzy body high. It may help suppress ruminations – reliving a memory over and over – as well, which can trigger insomnia associated with PTSD. Overall, this has an outstanding balance to it with a possible side effect of dry mouth.
PTSD is not new, but being mindful of it seems to be, which is why being aware of how it affects your life or loved ones is important. What is even more important is making sure you understand the best way to manage symptoms.
I use a combination of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), medical marijuana, and meditation to get through my day-to-day. I am also very open with my doctors about how I feel. Living with PTSD is difficult, and we need more than the month of June to spread awareness.
The US has been at war for more than 93% of its existence, and it’s mind blowing that we are just now giving attention to the fact that people are suffering. Furthermore, over 8 million people in the US alone will have PTSD in their life. Anyone who suffers should have access to what works best for them, so they don’t have to repeatedly relive the trauma that caused it.
If you know of a Veteran in crisis, please share the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255. They are there 24/7 to help anyone in need.
Author: Tamara Gabbard
Retired Army National Guard Journalist and Public Affairs Specialist with two decades of writing SEO Content. Her niches are broad, but she has a strong focus on everything healthy, holistic, and cannabis. When she isn’t writing, she’s Mommy-ing.