Marijuana is approved to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in many states in America. PTSD is the number one reason for people to get a license for medical marijuana. Conventional medicine does not allow people struggling with PTSD to process their trauma, while marijuana does. Naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help regulate and control the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain.

For those that suffer from serious nightmares, especially those associated with PTSD, Marijuana can be very helpful. Nightmares and other dreams occur during the stages of REM sleep. By interrupting REM sleep, many of those dreams may not occur.

Cannabis patients show a significant decrease in the number of nightmares in patients with PTSD.

As a result of taking medical marijuana, participants report a decrease in re-living the trauma, less avoidance of situations that reminded them of the trauma, and a decline in hyper-arousal. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the plant’s principal psychoactive ingredient, and cannabidiol, or CBD, which is non-intoxicating bind to specific receptors on brain cells that help regulate mood, sleep patterns and pain perception. Scientists also believe they interact with receptors in the brain’s emotional centers—the amygdala and hippocampus—to reduce anxiety.  THC research involving PTSD and Anxiety have shown some promise.

Marijuana may relieve some anxiety by targeting and boosting the signal of serotonin receptors in the brain cells. Serotonin, helps regulate mood and is linked with the feel-good feeling of well-being.  CBD, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, also increases gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces the calming effect one feels when amplified.

A key hallmark of PTSD is insomnia, usually blamed on nightmares and flashbacks. Cannabis can help to initiate sleep and stay asleep.