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Urban PTSD in Black Communities: Using Cannabis as an Aid

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

The black community needs a minute - a break - a breather - a smoke. The year 2020 was a dumpster fire, next to a train wreck, with a side of coleslaw. America was collectively traumatized. The succession of catastrophic events affected everyone and brought many people of disparate backgrounds to an equal level. Unfortunately, it was tragedy that was the inclusive unifier. If it could have been the reverse and centered in positive events, it would have been the most beautiful moment of the 21st century, but since the year was marked by a global pandemic, deaths, unemployment, daily life morphing into something unrecognizable, and racial violence, 2020 has been the most chaotic event this generation has seen. But for the Black community, the impact was more severe, as they were disproportionately affected at higher rates in every area. This, in addition to the trauma that many experience daily, made their current PTSD especially devastating. This moment made many in the Black community realize that they do, in fact, experience PTSD and that they need relief. For that relief and healing, the Black community needs to consider turning to a familiar plant for therapy - cannabis.

Mayo Clinic Defines Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as “ A mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.” So, when reflecting on the relationship of the Black community and America and its history of slavery, Jim Crow, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, police violence, and the numerous disparities faced in every facet of daily life, you can understand that to say Black people suffer from PTSD is no hyperbole.

Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, changes in mood, depression and anxiety, detachment, memory and concentration, anger, and outbursts. This is heightened when you included symptoms from PTSD accompanied by physical trauma (war, violence, abuse) such as extreme body aches and pain, migraines, epilepsy, and permanent injuries. There is a serious lack of care and proper treatment, and then when those who suffer do receive treatment it’s normally in the form of pharmaceutical drugs that may be ineffective and cause serious side effects including dependency, which may lead to overdose. Cannabis is more than just an alternative, it’s the best option because the majority of patients on a cannabis regimen can reduce or eliminate the negative experiences related to PTSD and not only return to being fully functional but end up thriving.

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