• Abby Stoddard, PharmD,MBA

Cannabis As Part Of PTSD Treatment

Updated: May 20, 2020

Cannabis has much to offer as a part of the trauma treatment journey - we hope all survivors meet a trusted budtender and dispensary along the way.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a qualifying condition under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program since 2014, and it affects more people than you think. Historically, PTSD has been most commonly associated with people in the military, but we should dispel the myth that PTSD is only affecting young, male, military veterans. There are so many causes of PTSD that impact people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and backgrounds.

So what does this mean for budtenders serving clientele with PTSD? People with PTSD may not come right out with 'I am using cannabis for PTSD'; rather they might just say they are looking for cannabis to treat sleep issues or anxiety. Budtenders should be sensitive to the fact that even if their client asks for cannabis for something 'simple' like sleep, it might be associated with a bigger picture. If someone does share that they are using cannabis as part of PTSD treatment, budtenders should understand that person may have had a long, exhausting journey through the healthcare system in search of treatment prior to walking through their door.

While the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has accepted the use of cannabis for PTSD, there are still a lot of unknowns of how to use cannabis effectively for the disorder. Cannabis doesn't 'cure' PTSD, rather, it’s something that is used to alleviate the major symptoms while someone undergoes other treatments for their trauma. It is essential that budtenders slow down and work with these clients because the wrong product or too high of a dose could make symptoms worse.

Budtenders can also recommend journaling tools to keep all of the providers in the loop with cannabis treatment. As always, start low, go slow - the right product, right dose, and right time make the difference.

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