PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating mental health condition that can be present in up to 10% of the population who have experienced some form of traumatic experience in their lives.
We’re not experts in this field so we can’t define much more about the condition itself, but what we can do is tell you there is evidence to support that cannabis microdosing can be effective for a portion of that 10% of individuals in helping with managing their anxiety and day-to-day living.
But how exactly does cannabis help with PTSD?
We have collected three interesting ideas and data points that may help to explain it.
How Much is a Cannabis Microdose
Microdosing is an umbrella term that essentially means taking a sub-perceptual dose of any compound that would potentially produce cognitive and perceptual effects.
For cannabis, a microdose can range from 2-3mg of THC or less, depending on individual sensitivity. Above that amount, most people tend to start experiencing some mild to moderate cognitive effects.
Once that happens, you are no longer microdosing cannabis.
This isn’t to say higher doses aren’t affective for other things, they can be, however for the scope of our discussion, we will make the assertion that going over 3mg is likely no longer classified as a microdose for most individuals.
Microdosing via Inhalation vs Microdosing via Ingestion
In terms of a delivery system for microdosing cannabis, the two main contenders, as they are for most typical uses of cannabis flower or extracts, are either by consuming cannabis edibles or smoking/vaping it.
There aren’t any wrong answers per se on which one is better, but you should be aware of some of the two factors to consider when selecting a method.
Where You’ll Be
Physical location is important. If you need to microdose and you’re in a no-smoking area, then an edible might be your best bet but remember it will take an hour to start to take effect.
If you’re in a place where smoking is okay, then you can microdose that way and feel the effects of less anxiety and a more relaxed mood almost immediately.
How You Plan Your Day
Anxiety is different for everyone who has PTSD. The triggers are often different as well. Knowing what is likely to cause elevated anxiety though your day could help determine your personal optimal dosing schedule and methods.
The best way to figure this out over time is to notice stress and mood shifts as they come up. That will give averages of what to expect over time, and you can learn to dose adequately by either smoking or ingesting cannabis as needed.
How THC Works on a Stressed Brain
THC, in low amounts, replaces and replenishes the brain’s own endocannabinoids, meaning that in an amount used in a microdosing practice, can help regulate neurotransmitter function.
An effect that THC in low quantities seems to have on the brain is that it changes the activity in the brain’s amygdala – the fear and response to fear center – and also boosts the activity in the area of the brain that regulates cognition – the prefrontal cortex.
What these changes mean is that in some people, fear and anxiety are lowered by low dose THC, and their critical thinking is simultaneously boosted.
Of course, these effects will vary from person to person, but some data exists to show that for many individuals, this could prove effective at managing PTSD and could boost the effects of therapy, although not enough data exists yet to support it conclusively.
PTSD is a complex condition that has yet to be fully decoded, but it seems like nature has at least a few potential tools that could help – one being medical cannabis used as a microdosing protocol.
Thanks to the calming effects that THC provides, to its ability to increase cognitive abilities in some individuals, it may one day soon be a properly studied and valid tool to help manage PTSD symptoms.
Time will tell as more research is needed to prove more of the claims, but for now, this method can be tried by anyone and is generally recognized as safe for most individuals with previous cannabis use experience.