In this personal essay, Danielle Corcione provides insight on C-PTSD and how cannabis can help. Treating Complex PTSD with Medical Cannabis

“I’ve got to treat my body if I’m ever going to recover from this illness,” Kimberly Callis, an independent researcher with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, tells High Times. “Cannabis [is] a systemic medicine; complex PTSD is a systemic condition. The two really go hand-in-hand, especially with a target on the endocannabinoid system.”

Since there is a minimal body of work around C-PTSD, most of what we know about medical marijuana and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder comes from studies oriented around former combat soldiers. Recent research shows cannabis can have a positive effect on those with PTSD. Earlier this year, researchers finally concluded a decade-long FDA-approved study on the effects of THC and CBD in veterans with PTSD. 

However, trauma has many more faces than this—particularly complex trauma, or C-PTSD. Plus, more and more are seeking medical marijuana as a treatment for mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. So what happens when we begin to look at trauma that isn’t rooted in serving in the military and overall law enforcement?

The National Institute on Mental Health categories PTSD as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” Anyone can develop this condition, especially those who have survived “physical or sexual assault, abuse, [an] accident, [a] disaster, or many other serious events.” Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, flashbacks, sleep problems, nightmares, avoidance of certain places related to an event, physical tension, feelings of shame and guilt, and irritability. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 7.7 million adults in the United States experience PTSD.

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