Imagine being on a battlefield for years (or months) ONLY to return home to civilian life? Then again, imagine going through any type of traumatic situation and trying to pull yourself from feelings of sadness or depression. That’s the life of someone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
People with PTSD are growing in numbers every single day. According to statistics, an estimated 8% of Americans (around 24.4 million people) suffer from PTSD. That is equivalent to the total population of Texas! Approximately 1 out of every 9 women develops PTSD, making them about twice as likely as men. Treatment for PTSD has ranged from therapy to alternative drugs. One of those alternative drugs is CBD.
CBD is a type of medical marijuana that some PTSD sufferers are starting to use as treatment. In this article, we will discuss CBD and its role in alleviating PTSD symptoms.
What is PTSD?
PTSD (in which stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after a deeply threatening or scary event. It is essentially characterized by reliving trauma and the associated emotions and feelings—years or even decades after the traumatizing event.
Many soldiers returning from war suffer from PTSD. However, it is a common misconception that only soldiers suffer from this mental health issue. Millions of regular, everyday people globally suffer from PTSD.
People suffering from it usually go through:
- Flashbacks or nightmares
- Low self-esteem
- A lot of painful or unpleasant emotions
- Emotionally numb
- Exaggerated startle
- Inability to control emotions, including sadness or anger
- Substance abuse
U.S. statistics suggest that PTSD about 24.4 million are suffering from PTSD. But that number may be bigger than that.
Around 70% of Americans experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. In addition to war veterans who had to endure the battlefield, the following events have been known to cause PTSD:
- Violent crime
- Bad accident
- Severe weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes
- Death of someone close
That’s about over 171 million people that could potentially (or already) have PTSD! And this is just in the United States. Event those who wasn’t directly involved in the traumatic event can potentially develop PTSD.
Research on CBD and PTSD
People with PTSD typically use psychotherapy or medications as a treatment option. However, one type of PTSD treatment that’s starting to get recognition is CBD.
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. It has been used an all-natural way to relieve anxiety and stress for a number of mental issues. Now, PTSD is being added to the list.
Several studies suggest that CBD can be used as a therapeutic remedy to mental disorders such as PTSD. As more research gets conducted, the CBD and PTSD connection should continue to get stronger.
CBD or THC for PTSD?
THC, the compound in marijuana, has long been championed as a PTSD treatment. While this is a positive occurrence, residents of 21 U.S. states can’t use marijuana due to federal and state laws.
In contrast, CBD is legal to use in most states and is easy to purchase online. Also, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you feel “stoned” or high. That may not be a good thing for someone who may already be emotionally numb due to PTSD.
Also, feeling “high” could negatively affect your ability to perform day-to-day activities. So most PTSD sufferers would be better suited to use CBD instead of THC.
How CBD Helps With PTSD
Research has shown that CBD may be a formidable treatment option for PTSD. Here are 3 benefits that they have uncovered.
Research has touted the benefits of using CBD to alleviate anxiety. Although the positive results have been predominately been with animal studies, it appears humans also receive these benefits too.
In one study, researchers compared anxiety levels in people after they took CBD, compared to those who got the placebo or nothing at all.
(Note: These people suffered from a social anxiety disorder)
These people were asked to speak in front of a big crowd. The ones who took the CBD felt less anxiety while speaking compared to the other people who took the placebo. As we speak, there is a clinical trial being conducted on PTSD sufferers who use alcohol as a way to cope with their mental disorder.
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. The goal is to see if the CBD causes the participants to lower their anxiety levels (or improve overall PTSD symptoms) and/or drink less alcohol.
Millions of people suffer from insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. This problem occurs in children too. A 2016 case study examined a 10-year old girl who was suffering from insomnia as well as dealing with anxiety and emotional outbursts at school. (All symptoms of PTSD)
As a treatment method, they use CBD oil. She used the CBD oil for 5 months prior to her bedtime. At the conclusion of the case study, she was sleeping better as well as improved her anxiety and no longer having emotional outbursts at school.
This study illustrates the point that CBD may be used as a sleep aid minus any sedative side effects. (Assuming doses are kept low)
Regulates Fear Memory
PTSD sufferers are known to deal with an issue called fear memory, or fear conditioning. People experience fear memory when exposed to stimuli that mimic their traumatic event.
An example of fear memory is soldiers who have an overwhelming fear of loud noises. This condition came about after they have repeatedly being exposed to loud explosions and chaos while serving in the battlefield. CBD may be able to regulate fear memory. A 2016 study conducted on mice showed less fear memory after being treated with CBD.
How To Use CBD For PTSD
There are a variety of CBD treatment methods that a PTSD patient could take.
Cannabis oil is one of the most popular CBD treatment options. Some PTSD patients feel as though it helped significantly in reducing the agonizing symptoms. Due to legislation, the number of studies conducted on cannabis oil is limited.
However, many PTSD sufferers (including military personnel) have touted it as a source of relief. Other medical issues that cannabis oil treats include the following:
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s Disease
If you don’t like the taste of cannabis oil, you can also take CBD in gel capsule form.
Another way to get CBD is through edible products. (e.g., gummies) The only thing is it is difficult to judge the potency and effectiveness of CBD edibles. One doctor who has conducted studies on PTSD stated that many edible products inaccurately reflect their actual content and difficulties in testing edible cannabis products further complicates these issues.
The CBD treatment method that most people are familiar with is vaping. CBD vaping is an excellent method if you prefer to smoke cannabis without feeling high.
The Recommended CBD Dosage For PTSD
It is advised that PTSD sufferers start with taking 25mg of CBD per day. If you don’t feel much relief from this dosage amount, feel free to increase by 5-10mg increments until the desired effect is achieved.
Side Effects Of Taking CBD For PTSD
Assuming you don’t take a huge dose amount to start (e.g., 100mg+), you should experience no serious side effects. In fact, there have been no reports of anybody overdosing on any CBD products.
PTSD is a serious health issue that millions of people go through every day, not just military personnel. While therapy is a feasible treatment, a lot of PTSD patients are tired of taking side-effect inducing medication. Thus, CBD looks like the safe effective treatment option that PTSD sufferers have been yearning for.