Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. The term “anxiety disorder” refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time as depression. PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
CBD, Anxiety, and PTSD
What is Anxiety?
According to Medical News Today, “Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave and can cause physical symptoms.”
While that definition can seem broad, we can start to associate specific psychiatric disorders under the term “anxiety disorder.”
The term “anxiety disorder” refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry, and includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time as depression.
Historically, we have had two methods for treating anxiety and “anxiety disorder”.
Treatment decisions are based on how significantly generalized anxiety disorder is affecting your ability to function in your daily life. The two main treatments for generalized anxiety disorder are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.
“I think there’s good evidence to suggest that CBD could be an effective treatment of anxiety and addiction” and other disorders, says Dr. Esther Blessing, a psychiatrist and researcher at New York University. “But we need clinical trials to find out.”
So far, evidence of the substance’s anti-anxiety effect comes from animal research and from very small, short-term human studies that suggest CBD exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.
If CBD can be used to treat anxiety, could it be used to treat other closely related disorders such as PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder)?
What is PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder)?
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.
If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.
Similarly, PTSD is treated with therapy, drugs, or some combination of both.
Psychotherapy for PTSD
Most people who experience PTSD undergo some type of psychotherapy (most commonly either individual therapy or group psychotherapy, or a combination of the two). The most common and effective types of psychotherapy used to treat PTSD include exposure therapies (such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or cognitive processing therapy) and reprocessing therapy (known as EMDR for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). These are all evidence-based treatments that are supported by a multitude of research studies demonstrating their effectiveness in the treatment of PTSD.
Treating PTSD with Drugs
The brains of people with PTSD process “threats” differently, in part because the balance of chemicals called neurotransmitters is out of whack. They have an easily triggered “fight or flight” response, which is what makes you jumpy and on-edge. Constantly trying to shut that down could lead to feeling emotionally cold and removed.
Medications help you stop thinking about and reacting to what happened, including having nightmares and flashbacks. They can also help you have a more positive outlook on life and feel more “normal” again.
Several types of drugs affect the chemistry in your brain related to fear and anxiety. Doctors will usually start with medications that affect the neurotransmitters serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs)
Treating PTSD with CBD
Now, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, Blessing and group of collaborators are about to begin a clinical trial to test whether CBD can help people with post-traumatic stress disorder who also have moderate or severe alcohol use disorder.
During the study, 50 participants with PTSD coexisting with alcohol use disorder will be given either 400 milligrams of CBD daily, or a placebo. The goal is to see if the participants who take CBD end up drinking less and whether this leads to an improvement in PTSD symptoms. The participants will be given a pharmaceutical-grade CBD, which is more reliable in strength and purity than the supplements that are currently available for sale to the public.
As I mentioned before, CBD research is still limited and this can create some valid concerns.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering with anxiety or PTSD, then I highly encourage you to research CBD further. The compound shows great promised and I’m confident that it’s use as an all-natural anxiety treatment will only grow.
At TheraJoy, we always use pure organic coconut oil in TheraJoy Organic CBD Salve. We offer purity you can trust, guaranteed, and we are always made with 99% pure CBD derived from medical grade, non-GMO hemp, sourced directly from Switzerland. If you use CBD and want an organic, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher product, then you need TheraJoy. Make it part of your daily regime to maximize the benefits.
Remember, always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This blog post is not intended to be medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your doctor at your next appointment.