Plant Therapy: The Future is Looking Green for Treating PTSD - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Plant Therapy: The Future is Looking Green for Treating PTSD

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Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD for short, can be a severe and debilitating condition. Symptoms can vary widely depending on the individual, which means the success of treatment can be unpredictable. However, as our understanding of the condition develops, there’s are more option to consider for the relief of symptoms – such as plant-based therapy.

New research has emerged from around the world using plant therapies to treat PTSD—and it’s offering hope. PTSD affects more than one million Australians at any one time. It is a mental condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It’s natural for us to have a psychological reaction to a horrific event, yet this usually lessens over time. However, for some people, this can be debilitating. 

Every person is unique, so PTSD symptoms can also vary. Yet according to WebMD some common symptoms can be: trouble sleeping, intrusive flashbacks/nightmares of the event, feelings of hopelessness and detachment and aggressive outbursts. 

Plant medicine is now being considered as a possible treatment option. It starts with understanding our endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s a biological system that’s made up of receptors, enzymes and cannabinoids that are found in many of the organs and tissues in our body. The ECS plays a vital role in maintaining our body’s healthy day-to-day functioning and is not unique just to us. Mammals also have one.

Studies on animals have revealed a special relationship between the ECS and plants. When plant compounds interact with the system, they stimulate its receptors and help to trigger a process called extinction learning. In simple terms, extinction learning is the belief that old memories of a specific scenario can be overridden with new memories through repeated exposure. There’s the possibility that through plant therapies, this process may be activated within PTSD patients like it was in the animal studies.

There is some evidence that these theories could lead to tangible results. A recent 2021 study from the National Library of Medicine suggests the possible efficacy of plant therapies for PTSD.

However, research into the efficacy and effects of medicinal cannabis for certain treatments is still evolving, and in its early days. Patients should always talk to a health professional for advice on their unique requirements before making any decisions about their treatment options. To learn more about the positive possibilities of plant medicine, visit Cannatrek.

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