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Veterans, PTSD, and Cannabidiol (CBD)

Military With Tissues, Credit: Stock Photography

Summary:

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)

Military Veteran, Credit: Stock Photography
Military Veteran

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.

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Military Silhouette, Credit: Stock Photography
Military Silhouette

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.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Cannabinoids and CBD Research Overview

Symptoms of PTSD

  • Detachment
  • Emotionally numb
  • Exaggerated startle
  • Hypervigilance
  • Inability to control emotions, including sadness or anger
  • Inability to sleep
  • Recurring nightmares
  • Substance abuse
Military Boots, Credit: Stock Photography
Military Boots

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.

What is CBD? A Cannabinoid in Hemp & Cannabis

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.

5 Best CBD Oils for PTSD

Male Doctor, Credit: Stock Photography
Male Doctor

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.

CBD For PTSD (The Uprising Cure of 2018)

Anecdotal Evidence

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.”

5 Best CBD Oils for PTSD

At TheraJoy, we have been making CBD products in the US for three years, and are proudly a market leader in CBD topicalsTheraJoy 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.

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CBD, Anxiety, and PTSD

Anxiety in a Crowd, Credit: Stock Photography

Summary:

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.

While more research is still required, early data has shown CBD offers all-natural relief from anxiety and PTSD symptoms. This is an exciting development for those suffering from anxiety and PTSD.

CBD, Anxiety, and PTSD

Squeezing A Stress Ball, Credit: Stock Photography
Squeezing A Stress Ball

Anxiety is something that everyone has experienced, at least on some level.

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.

Understand the Facts

Psychiatrist, Credit: Stock Photography
Psychiatrist

Treating Anxiety

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.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Treating Anxiety With CBD

This may be changing thanks to CBD. There is strong evidence supporting the use of CBD for the treatment of anxiety. While the research is still limited, it is promising.

“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.

Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract

If CBD can be used to treat anxiety, could it be used to treat other closely related disorders such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)?

Military Uniform, Credit: Stock Photography
Military Uniform

What is PTSD (Post-Traumatic 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.

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment

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)

What Are the Treatments for PTSD?

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.

Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract

As I mentioned before, CBD research is still limited and this can create some valid concerns.

“Our older customers are generally more cautious and skeptical,” he says. “They are worried, ‘Is this marijuana?’ No. ‘Is this legal?’ Yes. Education is a big part of our ethos.

Can CBD Replace Antidepressants?

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from 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.