Industrial Hemp For The Prevention And Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


According to the PTSD Alliance, more than 13 million Americans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (approximately 5 percent of the population).

PTSD (also known as ‘battle fatigue’ or ‘shellshock’) is a severe anxiety disorder. One definition describes PTSD as the invasive recall of the traumatic event/s.

It is characterized by numerous symptoms :

  • Flashbacks of the experience
  • Nightmares/night terrors
  • Phobias
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anger
  • Hypervigilance
  • Easily startled
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Disconnection
  • Avoiding things that are reminders of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Guilt/shame
  • Feeling alienated
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

PTSD can be caused by many factors, such as experiencing or witnessing :

  • Combat/military warfare
  • Death
  • Threat of death
  • Car accidents
  • Sexual/physical/emotional abuse
  • Natural disasters

PTSD has to do with the way the memory stores information, especially traumatic information that is experienced, witnessed, or heard. It also had to do with the overactive adrenalin response to the situation, in turn creating a chemical imbalance in the brain. According to Japanese researcher Yutaka Matsuoka,

“Under the current view, recent memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before being consolidated into parts of the prefrontal cortex. An important distinction is that the hippocampus seems to be sensitive to fear responses while the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with executive function and higher reasoning, is not.

If stress-hyped memories in the hippocampus could be toned down before consolidation, chances of developing PTSD might also go down.”

PTSD may alter 3 areas of the brain : the hippocampus, the amygdala, and pre-frontal cortex. The amygdala are deep in the temporal lobes of the brain and are vital in processing emotions with memory. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is continuously creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), and it’s function is memory retention and processing of memories. Because the hippocampus is constantly growing new cells, it is understood that it is the ‘clearinghouse’, by replacing the old ‘memory’ cells with the new ones.

It has been shown that Omega fatty acids (specifically Omega 3) are important in brain health. This is where the hemp comes into play. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body, AND the brain. The brain has a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency in the Omega 3 fatty acids, brain-related disorders may occur. In the case of PTSD, the Omega 3 fatty acids help aid the hippocampus by increasing neurogenesis (creation of new cells). Omega 3s also help strengthen and protect the cells.

~ On a personal note : having been diagnosed as having severe PTSD in the past, I do notice that when I am eating hemp and hemp-based products I sleep better, am less anxious, and tend to startle less easily, as well as have lower incidences of migraines and flashbacks. ~

It is possible that a diet rich hemp and Omega fatty acids may decrease the incidence of PTSD, as well as help in the treatment of PTSD.

*Nutrition is only ONE aspect of treatment for PTSD and in no way is it intended to completely replace other treatments, (especially in severe cases of PTSD), including prescribed medications and counseling. While some may be hesitant to take medication, it is sometimes needed, even temporarily, to help get the the brain chemicals back in balance.

**The information in this article is from my own personal reading and research and is NOT intended to be medical advice. It is for informational purposes only. I do NOT  recommend going off prescribed medications and using hemp products to replace them. If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.

Hempseed And Bipolar Disorder


It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people suffer from bipolar disorder. Because every person is different, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to bipolar. Scientific evidence has shown that bipolar disorder accompanies chemical imbalances in the brain. Varied studies suggest that it can be caused by many factors, such as genetic abnormalities, trauma, illness, drugs, environmental factors, and poor nutrition (consuming highly processed and chemical-laden foods and poor balance of wholesome, natural foods).

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder that is characterized by elevated periods of moods and energy levels followed by depressive episodes. Generally in between these mood fluctuations there is a ‘normal’ mood period except in the cases of rapid-cycling bipolar, where the fluctuations are very frequent.

Some common symptoms of bipolar are :

MANIC STAGE

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor temper
  • Reckless behavior
  • Elevated mood
  • Rapid speech
  • Little sleep

DEPRESSIVE STAGE

  • Increased need for sleep/fatigue
  • Eating problems
  • Sadness
  • Poor self image
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Loss of pleasure in activities
  • Suicidal thoughts

There are many treatments available for bipolar, such as medications, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and proper nutrition.

Nutrition plays a very important in mental health. Studies have shown that people who suffer from bipolar disorder have low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health and are highly concentrated in the brain. When there is a deficiency of Omega 3, psychological/brain disorders may occur due to the imbalance.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are considered superfoods and are an excellent way to incorporate Omega fatty acids into the diet. Hempseeds have the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids required by the human body for optimum health. Not only are they an excellent source of Omega fatty acids, hempseeds are also packed with edestin protein (the protein most easily digestible by the human body, as it is similar to human globulin), vitamins, and minerals.

In a 12-week double-blind study, individuals with bipolar were given Omega 3 fatty acids alongside with their medication. The Omega 3 improved their depression. (Frangou, Br J Psychiatry. 188:46-50, 2006)

Another double-blind controlled study that found that 9.6 g of omega-3 fatty acids (6.2 g EPA/3.4 g DHA) helped bipolar disorder depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids enhance brain function and health, as do medication (as needed in some cases), exercise, and proper diet.

~ As someone who has suffered from bipolar disorder, I can certainly attest to the fact that for me, nutrition has been an important factor in treating my condition. I was diagnosed in 2003 and placed on Lamictal. I took the medication for 2 years to get my brain chemicals back in balance, then weaned myself off the chemical prescription drugs. (*I would NOT recommend anyone going off their medication without speaking to their care provider.)

Eating wholesome, raw foods (organic whenever possible) has greatly reduced my symptoms. Incorporating hempseed and hempseed oil (packaged hempseeds and foods enhanced with hempseeds) into my diet has given me more mental and emotional balance, better sleep in most cases, and a sense of well-being. I have noticed gradual memory improvement as well as a better ability to handle stressors. Minor manic episodes have all but disappeared. The depressive symptoms have lessened greatly and the instances are occurring further and further apart.

*Everything in this post is for information only. I am not a physician and do not intend this article to be a replacement for medication/counseling. If you are on meds to control your bipolar, please do NOT stop taking them without consulting your physician.*