Marijuana has recently been brought more into the limelight due to its legalization in many parts of the world. Many people choose to use marijuana for recreational purposes, while others rely on it for medical reasons. Marijuana affects different people in a variety of ways, and those effects are desired by those people who choose to partake. For veterans having a difficult time integrating back into society, marijuana can have a lot of benefits. Especially for those dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), marijuana can have a lot of positive effects.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a disorder that anyone recovering from a stressful situation or who have been exposed to a disturbing or traumatizing event can suffer from. It refers to physiological responses to a stimulus that triggers memories or associations with stressful or traumatizing events. For veterans, these events are being exposed to the cruelties of war. Whether that involves the things they have seen, or been forced to do, or seeing too much death, especially amongst friends, these events are stressful and hard to leave behind when they return home.
Many veterans describe integrating back into society and family life as the hardest part of their whole war experience. When they return, many expect that the hardest part is over, that it is a happy reunion with home, friends, and family; in reality, many veterans return not feeling like themselves and feeling isolated from those they love the most.
Veterans suffering from PTSD can struggle with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, isolation, and low feelings of self-worth. Many of these feelings come from the pressure to return to who they were and their lives before the war. Veterans who can’t fit in feel isolated by what they have seen and done and that increases the distance between themselves and their former lives. That anxiety can be highly destructive to their health, mental wellness, and their relationships.
Marijuana and PTSD
Marijuana has been used to treat a whole host of medical and psychological issues. While marijuana affects different people in different ways – some reporting increasing feelings of paranoia – most people describe the high as euphoric and mellow. For those struggling with anxiety, the relief provided from that stress, fear, and depression can be very cathartic. Veterans who are finding it hard to find their way back to their former selves often report that the relaxation that marijuana provides helps them feel more like themselves.
Marijuana, when used as a social drug, can also bring people together. For veterans who are feeling isolated and struggling to fit back into their peer group or family, partaking in marijuana can ease that tension of reintegration and help them to feel less isolated and alone. Many veterans find that using marijuana in a group of fellow veterans is a great way to vent about common issues and struggles in a relaxing and casual way.
Marijuana and Sleep
Many veterans suffering from PTSD report that sleep problems are a huge challenge. As long-term sleep deprivation presents as depression, people whose sleep problems are eased by marijuana start to feel more rested and less depressed.
Sleep is not just important for our physical wellbeing, but also our mental health. When a person is deprived of sleep for long periods of time, the mind starts to weaken. If there is an issue, such as PTSD, those issues will come to the forefront very quickly and worsen. Nightmares and flashbacks are a large part of the sleep problems associated with PTSD, and as marijuana improves the sleep habits of most who use it, those problems are lessened, and in many cases are resolved. Once a veteran’s sleep problems are improved, many of the struggles of PTSD are more easily dealt with as people are more equipped to deal with and face their mental and physical struggles.
Marijuana and Pain Relief
Many veterans choose to use marijuana for one of the aforementioned reasons, or for medicinal purposes. As many veterans return from the war with an injury or physical condition that can cause pain, the pain relief that marijuana is known for has huge benefits. In many cases, marijuana has been known to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and these benefits can affect veterans in positive ways, in addition to pain relief and pain management.
Veterans have numerous issues to deal with upon reintegration into society. While some struggle with PTSD, many also face numerous physical challenges. Marijuana has a wide range of uses for those challenges such as lessening anxiety, promoting social connection and interaction, improving sleep problems, and pain relief and pain management. Whether for physical or mental issues, veterans have been turning to marijuana for help for many years. With its recent legalization in many parts of the world, access to it has improved, making it a more desirable treatment option for a number of conditions.