Around half of Americans in their life would experience at least one traumatic event. Of these, a proportion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will continue to develop. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3.6% of people develop PTSD in any single year. Females are almost three times more likely to be affected than males.
PTSD is very hard for people who are affected by it. It doesn’t help so many misunderstandings about the condition remain, causing many to suffer in guilt or worry that others don’t get what they’re going through. However, as the research expands on strategies for treating PTSD, we are seeing more and more that CBD may help.
How does CBD work?
PTSD is particularly common in war veterans and perpetrators of sexual assault, but it can impact anyone with a traumatic event. Traumatic events may include rape, domestic violence, accidents, physical or sexual harassment, natural disasters, military war, natural disasters, or losing a loved one. Trauma, and often both, can be physical or psychological.
After a trauma happens, feeling disoriented or depressed or having mood swings or hallucinations is normal for the affected individual. It can grow into PTSD if these symptoms persist and escalate over months.
Who is affected by PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) impacts approximately 20 percent of soldiers who served in the Middle East. According to the VA (Veterans Association), in 2017, military suicide incidents were an average of 20 per day. Veterans who have PTSD and other mental health issues are struggling to adjust to regular life and often end up on the street, addicted to drugs, or even end up committing suicide. Studies suggest that many fatalities occur from over-prescription of heroin and other medications prescribed while injured to veterans. Many vets are struggling with chronic pain connected with war, making their lives extremely difficult.
How is CBD used to treat PTSD?
CBD and THC can help treat patients with PTSD by enhancing the control of essential functions like memory consolidation and healing by the endocannabinoid system. Through stimulating CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout this core system, cannabinoids may cause the system to produce neurotransmitters that promote joy, enjoyment, and memory enhancement.
Such cannabinoids play a critical role in improving PTSD patients by stopping the latent pain from being healed, effectively preventing traumatic memories and hallucinations, while also helping to maintain mental well-being.
A 2011 report exploring the impact of CBD Oil on PTSD Symptoms , specifically on anxiety reported that “a single dose of 600 mg (CBD) decreased anxiety.” Moreover, research showed that CBD reduces anxiety better “in participants whose tension was induced previously to CBD administration.” It suggests that CBD is suitable for those who are nervous about events, circumstances, or at random moments. Therefore, after each traumatic incident, veterans currently who have PTSD who get sporadic periods of severe distress may be treated using CBD oils.
A study conducted by experts at the NYU Langone Medical Center showed that people who have PTSD have much lower levels of an anandamide neurotransmitter than others. Anandamide is one of the main endocannabinoids in the body, which means the body produces endogenous cannabinoids. Both work similarly to THC by activating the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for core functions like attitude, joy, apprehension, and anxiety.
Anandamides act as a natural antidepressant and may also affect performance. CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the body may shut off traumatic memories for people to stop paying attention to them. Lack of endocannabinoids, such as anandamides, may also cause PTSD symptoms such as fear and anxiety.
A 2015 research study named ‘ Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders ‘ examined the potential for CBD to cope with unpredictable and dysfunctional PTSD moments. The study found that ‘ in a sub-chronic sample, CBD administered regular 1 hour after predator stress (the theoretical PTSD model) decreased long-lasting anxiogenic symptoms of persistent predator stress, partially by 5-HT1AR activation. ‘In a further test of chronic anxiety, systemic CBD ‘ prevented increased anxiety caused by chronic uncertain stress, in addition to increasing hippocampal tension.
The research study found the use of CBD Oil to help people cope with traumatic events, especially those that lead to ongoing PTSD symptoms, to be the most successful. What this suggests is that veterans, soldiers, or other people alike are likely to be able to use CBD within an hour of their exposure to significantly reduce the disorder’s adverse effects. This is important because if this is the case, CBD oil drugs can be groundbreaking in handling these problems for the military and VA. This is not a’ solution’ or a’ remedy’ because CBD will not cure the effects. Nonetheless, it will be more convenient to treat the symptoms of PTSD and post-war trauma with daily CBD use.
A review, published in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis, showed that cannabis ‘ active components, called cannabinoids, may hold value as a therapy for treating PTSD, mainly to reduce anxiety and help people sleep.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Chandni Hindocha (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit), said: “There has been a recent rise in interest in the use of cannabinoids to treat PTSD, particularly from military veterans, many of whom are either self-medicating or prescribing in some American states. THC and CBD can be useful in treating PTSD as they can alter how the brain processes experience by operating on the built-in endocannabinoid system of the brain, which also controls certain brain functions that are impaired by PTSD”.
In a study on using CBD to treat PTSD that was published by the Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre, Canadian Forces Health Services Centre, a hypothesis was conducted using a cannabinoid receptor stimulant called nabilone to test this hypothesis. It included 47 people who tended to have recurring nightmares, including taking medications and seeing a doctor regularly. Upon diagnosis, 72 percent of patients that used CBD Oil for PTSD Symptoms either stopped having hallucinations or drastically reduced their frequency.
Cannabinoids such as CBD Oil can help strengthen the endocannabinoid system of the body and encourage quality sleep, deter traumatic memories from occurring, as well as develop physical and emotional well-being to alleviate such debilitating PTSD symptoms and allow patients to recover control of their lives.