Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn’t new and has been affecting our military for years. It was called “shell shock” during World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, and now it is estimated 20% of veterans, and active duty military, who have served since the Vietnam War have it. If that wasn’t enough, veterans also have a suicide rate 50% higher than the average on a national scale. CBD targets stress, anxiety, depression and many of the other mental symptoms attached with PTSD. Can CBD be used as a therapeutic treatment for PTSD?
In this article, we discuss what is PTSD, current PTSD treatments, symptoms of PTSD, recovering from PTSD, what is cannabidiol, CBD and PTSD, scientific support for CBD and PTSD, and the anecdotal support for CBD and PTSD.
Veterans, PTSD, and Cannabidiol (CBD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn’t new. It has been known by many names in the past, names like “shell shock” during World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, and it is having a very real impact on our armed services.
Veterans have a suicide rate 50% higher than the average on a national scale, and it is estimated that 20% of veterans, and active duty military, who have served since the Vietnam War have PTSD.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental condition that some people develop after a shocking, terrifying, or dangerous event. Due to the trauma, they are exposed to, our military personnel experience PTSD at a high rate.
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.
Current PTSD Treatments
While not the only treatment, PTSD is commonly treated with psychotherapy and strong medications.
Currently, PTSD is commonly treated with psychotherapy efforts that include exposure therapy, which exposes patients to trauma they experienced but in a safe way, cognitive restructuring, which helps patients make sense of the bad memories, and stress inoculation training, which teaches patients how to reduce their anxiety. Antidepressant medications are often prescribed to help curtail feelings of sadness, anger, worry and numbness. These medications can sometimes have side effects like headache, nausea, sleeplessness or drowsiness, agitation and sexual problems.
Symptoms of PTSD
- Emotionally numb
- Exaggerated startle
- Inability to control emotions, including sadness or anger
- Inability to sleep
- Recurring nightmares
- Substance abuse
Recovering From PTSD
“Recovering” means different things for different people. PTSD has a number of treatment options, and some can reduce or remove symptoms. Others patients find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Remember, your symptoms don’t have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a natural compound derived from the hemp and cannabis plant.
It is one of the major cannabinoids besides THC, CBG, CBN and CBC found in hemp and cannabis plants. In contrast to THC, CBD is a barely psychoactive cannabinoid and many medicinal properties are attributed to it. Both by researchers and users.
However, the largest proportion of CBD or cannabidiol occurs in the plants as an acid in the form of CBDa. In addition to the main cannabinoids, there are about 90 other secondary cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants. Since CBD and THC account for the largest part, these are also the cannabinoids that have been best researched so far.
CBD And PTSD
Is it possible to get over post-traumatic stress disorder? While treatments exist, some people will argue if it ever goes away completely. Can cannabidiol help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder? Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don’t have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.
The way in which CBD oil helps individuals with PTSD, is in a unique manner. The oil directly targets stress, anxiety, depression and many of the other mental symptoms attached with PTSD, and by lessening them, the physical symptoms also subside, since the two are deeply interconnected. Although triggers will still exist in everyday life, the cannabinoids found in CBD help to block the mood receptors that are triggered, promote sleep hormones, regulate stress hormones, block reconsolidation memory (flashbacks, etc.), and improve extinction learning (the reprogramming of the brain’s response in certain circumstances). All of what CBD does can be directly related to what is necessary for individuals with PTSD to experience some relief and lessening of symptoms.
The Scientific Research
How does CBD help with PTSD? While the research is still limited, multiple studies on cannabinoids and PTSD have been published.
In a 2009-2011 study by Greer, Grob, and Halberstadt, for example, 80 patients were given marijuana for their PTSD, and the results indicated a 75% reduction in symptoms as per the Clinical Administered Post-traumatic Scale.
Another recent study, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, showed that CBD was an effective treatment for specific phobias and PTSD. The research team gave 10mg injections of CBD to rats that had been exposed to strong fear conditioning. Rats are prey animals that often exhibit a ‘freeze response’ when under attack, but when exposed to a traumatic condition some time after consuming the CBD, they exhibited a lower level of fear.
Preclinical evidence from a study by Blessing et al. in 2015 also stated that “CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety orders,” including PTSD which is recognized by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The study also determined that CBD is more effective when it is given acutely (as symptoms arise), instead of chronically.
The anecdotal evidence for CBD supports the latest science; consider the case of Roger Davidson:
“I served in the military for 2 years, and came back home from my deployment with a serious case of diagnosed PTSD. Although I speak with a therapist regularly, I also manage my PTSD by taking 30 mg daily doses of pure CBD oil. This incredible element helps me sleep better, in addition to decreasing my day to day sensitivities to outside triggers. CBD oil has made a profound difference in not only my life, but also the lives of my family surrounding me and my friends.”
At TheraJoy, we have been making CBD products in the US for three years, and are proudly a market leader in CBD topicals. TheraJoy is always made with 99% pure CBD derived from medical grade, non-GMO hemp, sourced directly from Switzerland. We offer purity you can trust, guaranteed. Our products are always all-natural, organic, vegan, gluten-free and kosher.
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.