CBD for PTSD: How It Works

Many brands tout CBD as a panacea as the substance’s popularity rises. Is CBD a cure-for-all? Certainly, not, but research shows oral and topical CBD can help reduce PTSD symptoms.

PTSD amongst Americans

Although many think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is unique to veterans, that’s unfortunately not the case. Although our soldiers will develop PTSD at a higher rate than civilians, PTSD is something that can happen to anyone in response to a traumatic event.

Currently, PTSD affects about 3.5% of Americans, significantly affecting their lives with various debilitating symptoms. Psychotherapy and medications can reduce these symptoms, but the latter can drive unwanted side effects. As a result, natural ingredients like CBD are now a point of interest in the medical and research community and raise questions, including whether they can help relieve PTSD symptoms.

CBD and PTSD: What We Know

Even though millions of Americans have already tried CBD in some form, and many of them use it daily, there’s still a lot we don’t know about CBD, including how it works or helps with different conditions, for example, PTSD. Still, several studies have investigated the effects of CBD in managing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and here are the key findings:

  • In a 2019 study, taking CBD orally alongside routine psychiatric care showed decreased PTSD symptoms in adults with PTSD. CBD also subsided symptoms in patients with frequent nightmares. Still, the study concludes an additional clinical investigation, including double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, is needed to prove CBD is beneficial for PTSD.
  • The systematic review, published in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis, suggests cannabinoids like CBD might work as a treatment for PTSD, especially for subsiding nightmares and helping with better sleep. Still, more research is required to understand the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids in routine clinical practice.
  • Preclinical studies in rodents indicate CBD’s possible potential in aversive memory extinction and preventing the recalling of these memories. By altering critical aspects of aversive memories through supplementing the ECS system, CBD could help promote improvements in the symptoms of PTSD. Despite these findings, more studies are needed to determine the neurobiological mechanisms involved in CBD responses and how they affect PTSD symptoms.
    Due to increased interest in CBD’s possible benefits for treating PTSD symptoms, more and more researchers are investigating the link between CBD and PTSD.

The ongoing clinical trial, which began in 2020, and is estimated to end in 2024, will unravel the clinical efficacy of CBD in treating PTSD. It uses a double-blind placebo methodology. During the research, 150 participants with PTSD will receive one of three treatments – CBD oil broad-spectrum, CBD isolate, or placebo oil. CBD oils and placebo oil will have identical colors and mint flavor. Authors of the study predict more significant improvements in patients receiving CBD isolate or CBD Broad Spectrum than placebo-treated patients.

Why CBD?

CBD is on the radar of many researchers and the shopping list of many Americans for some good reasons:

  • CBD is non-psychoactive
  • It’s a natural ingredient
  • CBD isn’t addictive
  • CBD is federally legal in the U.S.
  • CBD doesn’t produce unwanted side effects and consequences

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant. It took the stage of the wellness industry once the 2018 Farm bill made CBD with a limited THC amount (0.3%) federally legal in the U.S. Since then, CBD has appeared in all forms and types of stores. Unlike its cousin cannabinoid — THC, which is to blame for marijuana’s psychoactive properties, CBD is non-intoxicating. Even if you take CBD in high doses, it won’t produce the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Thus, millions of Americans searching for natural, safe ingredients have made CBD part of their routine. However, as a caution, in larger doses, CBD can cause drowsiness.

Another reason why so many people decide to fuel their wellness with CBD without worrying about unwanted consequences is that CBD is not addictive. As a result, you won’t get hooked on CBD supplements or experience withdrawal symptoms even if you abruptly stop taking CBD. According to the Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review by the World Health Organization, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.

Most importantly, unlike marijuana or even prescription medications for PTSD, CBD doesn’t produce unwanted side effects, whether psychoactive or common minor side effects of drugs.

How Does CBD Work?

Regardless of their past experience, position, or social standing, all humans have a newly discovered endocannabinoid system (ECS) in common. As scientists revealed, it plays a crucial role in many bodily functions like memory, stress, and homeostasis. The complex system operates on cannabinoids produced within the body – endocannabinoids that act as neurotransmitters and activate ECS receptors when something in the body goes out of balance. Understanding how CBD affects the system needs more research, but current evidence suggests it might help promote ECS’s healthy functioning by indirectly affecting its receptors.

In Conclusion

Although there’s a long road to where CBD will replace the traditional treatment of PTSD, and at the moment, it’s hard to predict whether it’s possible to happen, CBD might hold a promise in relieving PTSD symptoms. CBD supplements are available in various forms, and the best way to see how the famous cannabis-derived ingredient affects your body is to try it. However, beware of low-grade products on the market – shop from reputable CBD brands that offer third-party lab test results for their products and transparency at every stage of producing their CBD.

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