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By JOE KLARE
The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) describes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as “an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.” These ordeals can include a wide variety of situations: the rigors of war, physical assaults, natural disasters, and horrific accidents — things that shake a person to their very core.
While many doctors remain skeptical, sufferers of PTSD note that they experience relief from their symptoms through the use of medical cannabis. The symptoms often times include frightening thoughts, emotional numbness and depression, withdrawal, tenseness, and difficulty sleeping.
It’s worth mentioning that for veterans, many of whom suffer from PTSD, there has been good news as of late. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently relaxed their rules regarding medical marijuana and veterans — veterans who are legal medical marijuana patients can now use cannabis although VA doctors still cannot prescribe the drug.
In any case, there are a wide variety of strains that might help PTSD sufferers — we’ve divided them into two groups. The first group of strains will help you relax and sleep better, the second group of strains will help relieve your anxiety but won’t put you to sleep.
Anxiety And Insomnia Relief
For the anxiety and sleeplessness associated with PTSD, a heavy Indica will work best. To start off, Grand Daddy Purple is a strain that is definitely worth a try. A very purple bud with an assortment of orange hairs, Grand Daddy Purple can hit you like an anti-anxiety brick. Couch lock (so sleepy that you feel “locked” to your couch) is common with this Indica, so make sure it’s bedtime when you use Grand Daddy Purple — or at least that it’s a time of day when you don’t have anything to do for a few hours.
Blueberry is another great nighttime strain. This Indica-dominant hybrid has a fruity aftertaste, and the buds are sticky and pack a strong punch. Afghani Kush has a hint of spiciness and a slight taste of fruit. It’s great for unwinding at night and relaxing. If prepared right, this Indica will hit you hard and will stay with you for a while. Purple Afghani is a hybrid, but still mostly Indica. It can be used during the day to reduce anxiety, but it won’t knock you out.
Bubba Kush is another couch-lock Indica that is good for nighttime relief. The buds are dense and green with a hint of purple. It will be covered in trichomes that hold the most THC. Also from the Kush family, Purple Kush has a long-lasting effect that is great for getting some rest. Glittering buds give you the full Indica effect, so be prepared to get some rest!
Red Devil is another Indica, but it lands somewhere in the middle in terms of “couch-lock.” It’s a good strain for when you don’t necessarily want to sleep but want to relax with a good movie instead. Heavy with trichomes, Red Devil is lime green in color with bright orange hairs.
A shorter-lasting effect comes from Master Kush and Hash Plant. Although both are Indica-dominant, so for those PTSD sufferers who just want to relax — but not for too long — Master Kush or Hash Plant is the way to go. Your buds should be a bright green with noticeable trichomes. All of these strains, except for Purple Afghani, should help with difficulties sleeping, which is a top complaint of those suffering from PTSD.
Couch-Lock Be Gone!
There are many people who want to reduce their anxiety but, at the same time, want to stay awake so they can perform their day-to-day duties. Let’s delve into the best anti-anxiety strains that don’t put you down for the count.
Grape Punch is one of those rare heavy Indicas that don’t put you out. With a smell and taste like grape bubblegum, Grape Punch packs a heavy punch but still allows you to enjoy your day. Also great for anxiety and social situations is the Sativa-dominant Mango Kush. Frosty with trichomes, Mango Kush smells very sweet and gives you an almost euphoric effect.
A cross between White Widow and Super Skunk, Great White Shark is another strain that can be used during the day for anxiety relief. A hybrid that is mostly Indica, Great White Shark gives a good body high and has a noticeably sweet taste and smell.
From the Sativa side comes a Colorado-born strain named Tangerine. It’s good for general anxiety and depression relief and is a good daytime strain once you get used to the heavy high it brings. Durban Poison is another anti-anxiety and antidepression Sativa that is worth a try. The dense, trichomecovered nuggets of Durban Poison leaves patients with an energetic feeling and allows sufferers of PTSD to leave their shell and participate in their daily activities.
Most Indicas, with their high THC content, will be good for sleep and dream suppression. We also can’t forget concentrates and edibles, which can be bought at most dispensaries and collectives, for those who don’t want to smoke or vaporize. Edibles also tend to have longer staying power when consumed.
If you are a sufferer of PTSD, make sure you talk to your doctor or caregiver regarding which strain might be right for you. As always, experiment and try different strains until you find something that works for you.