When one thinks about the psychological landscape of contemporary America, stories of PTSD and disturbing behavior abound. Furthermore, through the mass media, the people of the United States are continuously inundated images of violence, sickness, and despair. Looking at these notions with a critical eye, there is an underlying string of connectivity between mental illness and its subsequent manifestations in violent acts.
The catchphrase “mental illness” is an umbrella term that denotes an array of psychological afflictions including: anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and ADD. Moreover, studies show that “over 43 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, amounting to over 18% of US adults.”. While the United States stands out, on a global scale, as a society saturated with psychological disorders, studies show mental illness as the “third leading cause of illness” on a global scale.
The current state-of-affairs concerning mental illness and its treatments is wound up in a precarious situation concerning pharmaceutical drugs like Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax, and Klonopin — the drugs are often addictive and have dangerous side effects. To add insult to injury, when mentally ill people stop taking these prescribed medications they are often times more mentally unstable than before usage. Unfortunately, withdrawals from pharmaceutical anti-depressants and anti-psychotics sometimes lead to violent acts and suicide.
As the use of medical marijuana is becoming gradually accepted by mainstream America, medical researchers are exploring the uses of the herb’s various chemical compounds in more detail. To illustrate, THC is the primary psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant; THC has a wide variety of medical applications but generally does not alleviate mental illnesses as it causes anxiety and panic in many users. However, cannabis’s non-psychoactive compound CBD is gaining more traction as a viable, non-psychoactive, non-addictive treatment for a variety of mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that CBD is beneficial for sufferers of mental illness because it makes endogenous (created in the human body) compounds of the endocannabinoid system (a vast nervous system in the human body) more readily available. Point being, researchers believe CBD provides a chemical pathway in the human body that leads to healthier “bodily systems”—manifesting psychologically due to psychosomatic relations of the human mind and body.
Case Studies: PTSD
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a psychological ailment that is beginning to gain the attention of CBD researchers. PTSD exhibits in individuals who have experienced trauma and abuse in their lifetimes—the disorder is most noteworthy in military veterans and accident survivors. CBD has proven beneficial relating to PTSD as it reportedly helps curb manifestations of both depression and anxiety relating to the disorder without the debilitating side effects of pharmaceutical medications. CBD’s effectiveness concerning PTSD is evident in the facts that States like Arizona are now recognizing PTSD as an ailment that warrants legal access to medical marijuana.
Kent Gruetzmacher M.F.A. is a Colorado based freelance writer and the Director of Business Development at Mac & Fulton Talent Partners (www.mandfconsultants.com), a recruiting firm dedicated to the indoor gardening and cannabis space. He is interested in utilizing his M.A. in the Humanities to critically explore the many cultural and business facets of this youthful, emergent industry by way of his entrepreneurial projects.