CBD's, PTSD & The Warrior Gene, “Peace at last.”
PTSD has become the mantra of many, a reaction to the times we live, changing us forever. Our safety and consciousness were awakened by planes striking the Twin Towers in NY, the Pentagon in DC, and the words “lets Roll” became a rallying cry to many.
With one speech our children and grandchildren living their lives in naive bliss were taken from their jobs as bankers, pharmacists, and computer techs, and trained to be warfighters. Men and women alike were taught how to kill their fellow man to protect and save our humanity. Our best and brightest have been called to fight a holy war in lands that know no end to violence or conflict. Those memories are embedded in the consciousness of all who were touched by the hideous face of war. Regardless of the technology used in war throughout the ages, one thing has stayed constant, the horror of war and the result, (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is a disorder, a brain injury, which develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally, filing those memories away in the memory centers of the brain to be accessed later to save the human host. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.
PTSD is becoming so prevalent in our society that it's been divided into Combat and Non-Combat related PTSD, trauma being the unifying factor. PTSD can be triggered in two ways. The first is a single traumatic event, such as a soldier, a first responder on 9/11, or part of an officer-involved shooting. The second way PTSD develops is through ongoing stress and bearing witness to difficult situations that one is powerless to change, such as childhood physical and emotional abuse or domestic violence.
Often, individuals with PTSD show similar symptoms noted in the last article “PTSD, A Physical Injury in the Brain that treated with Cannabinoids (CBD) regenerates neural communication in the Brain.” No one knows why two people who experience the same event can have a different reaction. One person may develop posttraumatic stress while the other person bounces back to a normal level of functioning.
Susceptibility to post-traumatic stress may depend on many factors including genetics, child abuse, the severity of the trauma, the duration of the trauma or a person’s brain structure and functioning.
A current goal is to understand the gene pathways that are associated with PTSD, and how those genes act on the fear/stress circuitry to mediate risk vs. resilience for PTSD.
One fact is clear, trauma; long-term stress and PTSD are correlated and connected with irregular MAOA levels. Monoamine oxidase an (MAO-A) is an enzyme in the brain that breaks down neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.
If we have low levels of this enzyme, we’ll have more neurotransmitters.
Higher neurotransmitters result in more circulating adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. MAOA is known as the “Warrior Gene” because it’s associated with increased violence and aggressiveness.
If we have high levels of this enzyme, it means we’ll have fewer neurotransmitters. Fewer neurotransmitters result in more circulating adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. These people are likely to have major depression, suicide and sleep disturbances.
MAO-A is not something we want to be too high or too low because in both situations it will cause different negative effects. In our evolutionary history, high or low levels could have been advantageous in different environments.
Several studies have found a correlation between the low-activity form of MAOA and aggression in observational and survey-based studies. Only about a third of people in Western populations have the low-activity form of MAOA. By comparison, low-activity MAOA has been reported to be much more frequent (approaching two-thirds of people) in some populations that had a history of warfare. This led to a controversy over MAOA being dubbed the “warrior gene.”
It is known that violent adults often have a history of childhood trauma, but a direct link between early trauma and neurologic changes has not been demonstrated before now. Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotypic variation has been associated with variation in aggression, especially in interaction with childhood trauma or other early adverse events.
Children who experience familial adversity such as physical abuse and inter-parental violence show wide variability in their mental health outcomes. Many of these children develop behavioral and emotional difficulties, but many others are resilient and exhibit better functioning than predicted, given their exposure to adversity.
Specifically, maltreated children with the MAOA genotype conferring low levels of the MAOA enzyme more often developed conduct disorders, antisocial personalities, and violent criminality in adulthood than maltreated children with a high MAOA.
In 2002, Caspi conducted a research study which led to the linking of the MAOA- L gene and maltreatment during childhood. The combination of the gene variant, MAOA-L, with early maltreatment was associated with an increased risk of displaying aggressive behavior. The study began to explain why not all victims of maltreatment in their childhood grew up to victimize others. The study began to pinpoint how a child's genetic predisposition could leave him or her more sensitive to environmental insults, perhaps leading to aggressive outbursts.
The study points out that if children were exposed to maltreatment the MAOA-L variant may have developed to serve as protection, that it may protect the gene carrier as a way of protection against environmental insult.
When discussing the interaction between the warrior gene and the criminal justice system it is important to note two distinct areas:
1) Understanding criminal behavior and
2) Mitigation of criminal sentences.
The contention between free will and determinism can be seen in both of these areas. When trying to understand criminal behavior genetic information can enlighten individuals to why they may act a certain way or are more susceptible; however, this does not absolve them of their behavior, individuals have free will. However, depending on an individual’s genetic makeup, it can limit an individual’s ability to utilize their free will, therefore, mitigating their self-control. In regards to criminal behavior understanding why criminals act violently can involve two ideas, they are genetically predisposed to it, or they wish to act that way out of free will.
In the case of warriors, training, community, and brotherhood instill a sense of purpose and set of rules, a code that supports or almost enhances the benefits of the warrior gene. These warriors that find their way into the armed forces take leadership roles, sometimes enter elite sections of the military, Seals, Special Forces, and Delta Forces to name a few, and are today’s Spartans. Boone Cutler, US Army Paratrooper, Iraq War Veteran, radio show host and Cannabis Activist is quoted as saying, “When a human being that is raised in a civil society is trained to conduct true combat and then does it; they become what they were trained to do. We become warriors. It’s not metaphorical; it’s literal all the way down to our DNA.”
This is not isolated to the United States, it something found in every modern day army today. Boone Cutler is also quoted as saying, “As an international community of Warfighters, we must come to terms with all that is happening and it’s more than a ‘thing’ we did. It’s who we’ve become.”
We also see this gene expression in first responders and societies’ top-tear protection services. They, when called, go without hesitation, and if needed give their lives for an ideal, a purpose above themselves.
Civilians with the same gene will rise above adversity to achieve, and we see these personalities in successful areas of business. They’re CEO’s, entrepreneurs, Captains of industry and other successful areas of society.
Conversely, persons with the same warrior gene with a villainess code of ethics or structure will grow to be societies aggressive predators, seen in street gangs, crime organizations, politicians, or top tier criminals per se.
The warrior gene combined with superior training, placed in a set of morals makes an unstoppable protective force. However, the warrior gene and PTSD are two different forces. As PTSD is NOT an emotional injury, it is a brain injury, a communication problem within the centers of the brain that allow the filing of the stressful, traumatic memories, stopping the ability to resolve the trauma and move forward using the information to adapt for future safety. The warrior gene is like a tank, able to run over anything, absorb damage and keep fighting. PTSD is as if we took the tracks of the tank, it just sits, still running at top speed unable to move forward reaching its destination. PTSD is a flaw, a disrupted circuit in the brains wiring. CBD’s have been proven to, through neurogenesis; “heal” the communication process of the brain and allowing the brain to resolve the trauma; file the memories in the proper centers of the brain.
These memories act to assist the warrior or the first responder to better react to new traumatic events. Once this communication is restored, and the brain functions are restored, the warrior takes his place back in society, ready to be called once again to save us from humanity. “From the beginning of time, when people returned from war, everyone says how they came home a different person, and they were right. They became a different person in the truest sense of the term.” Boone Cutler.
We are losing the best of our civilization; too many of our warriors are committing suicide at alarming rates. This driven warrior class is castrated by injuries received by past trauma, lost in the loop of memories, resulting in a lack of sleep, causing the body to cry out for help in the voice of chronic pain, leaving them unable to pursue their genetic destiny. The Endocannabinoid system’s main role in the brain is to regulate neurotransmitter function and again, if there’s too much of one kind of neurotransmitter, it will bring it down, if there’s too little, it will bring it up.
All available data suggests CBD’s reconnect the interrupted neural circuitry of the brain. This repaired conductivity enables the brain to file away the trauma in the appropriate memory centers of the brain. These filed away memories will be felt as warnings such as “gut instinct,” or “intuition,” warning us, protecting us from life’s situations. The brain returns to normal function and with it the aggravating factor, the trauma, reducing inflammation, pain, sleepless and anxiety et all which is PTSD.
Consistent with recent medical studies performed in Israel, Canada, and Europe, they concluded, CBD’s should take their place as a primary treatment method for PTSD and war-related trauma. The literature suggests CBD’s are both as stated an effective treatment solution but also an injury preventative, building a harder shield per se, protecting us from diseases and syndromes. Full spectrum, natural raw organic non-GMO Cannabis, and Cannabinoids should take its place as an active member of the treatment algorithm, not only PTSD but also other numerous injury related syndromes.
We are losing a workforce to external forces. These warriors paid the absolute sacrifice and we, the safe, owe payment for that sacrifice. It is our duty and our moral imperative to support and provide this proven natural product to repair those that save and protect our way of life. The current medically accepted treatment protocol is not healing or resolving the problem; it chemically incarcerates the injured person in an unending stupor, separating them from the society they once protected. This has resulted in high rates of divorce, homelessness and worse, death. As an insurance consultant for Cannabis treatment programs, there is nothing to lose. CBD’s have not been seen to interact with any prescription medications in the body. There is the minimal ability to overdose or have a negative reaction to their ingestion. We have acceptable risk implementing CBD's in the treatment algorithm, and cost-benefit analysis is in highly profitable margins.
Lastly, the body was built with the Cannabinoid receptors inherent to genetics. Biochemistry dictates if there are receptors then there must be connectors, there is. They’re natural cannabinoids and they’ve been here for 1000’s of years. We as a society broke tradition and stopped ingesting Cannabinoids as a regular part of our diet. We have, according to Taleb, become more fragile in this same time frame. CBD deficiency once corrected is one component of many components that will reduce an overburdened health system, as Cannabinoids prevent and treat diseases. CBD's will protect and heal the ones that ensure our safety and lifestyle, and CBD's will allow a larger, healthier more productive workforce to grow society. For society to evolve, we must throw out the non-productive solutions we implemented in our treatment protocols. We have reached the tipping point, the programs we devised cost more than any benefit we received. Continuing on this path will cause damage and ultimate destruction of the very people we need to survive.