Research Study Unveils Potential Benefits of CBD for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can interfere with a person’s ability to relax. Furthermore, this trauma-related disorder is difficult to treat with medications¹. CBD is a cannabinoid that many people find to be uniquely calming and soothing. As a result, it is natural to consider using CBD for PTSD, but is this approach to treating post-traumatic stress disorder backed by science?

In this guide, learn why CBD is theorized to be useful for PTSD, and discover recent scientific research that might back this position. CBD should certainly be researched further for its potential to help with PTSD — as you will see as we continue.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa². While similar compounds like cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) have also come to light recently, CBD is considerably popular over any cannabinoid aside from THC. It is the undisputed cornerstone of the online hemp market. In terms of effects, CBD will not cause any sort of euphoric, pleasureful high. It does, however, generally help you relax and research suggests that the use of CBD might be helpful to reduce symptoms of anxiety³. Since anxiety remains such a major target of CBD research, it was only a matter of time until this profoundly beneficial cannabinoid would be researched for PTSD as well.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Despite its notable lack of intoxicating effects, CBD nonetheless appears to exert a wide range of benefits in the human body. People who use CBD commonly report that it reduces their pain, helps them get to sleep at night, and alleviates their overall anxiety levels⁴. International researchers are hard at work exploring these claims, seeking to either discount or substantiate CBD’s apparent benefits in the furtherance of the science of natural health.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a persistent set of negative emotions and behaviors centered around a past traumatic event or series of events. Often founded upon feelings of guilt or continued fear of danger, PTSD represents both a cognitive and neurochemical puzzle to clinicians, many of whom have been forced to classify cases of PTSD as “treatment-resistant.”¹

Along with depression and other mental conditions that appear to be treatment-resistant, PTSD has been extremely challenging for the medical community. With some people reporting improved symptoms after using CBD for PTSD, more attention is being paid to this simple, non-intoxicating cannabinoid and its incredible healing power⁵.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

If you are managing symptoms of PTSD, it is common to no longer feel in control of your own mind and behaviors. Some patients experience vivid flashbacks in which it is like they are reliving the trauma once more.

For almost all PTSD patients, intrusive thoughts are common. Defined as uncontrolled and often damaging ideas and self-perceptions, intrusive thoughts continually plague PTSD patients throughout all hours of the day and night.

These thoughts and other symptoms make sleep or even just basic relaxation difficult for PTSD patients. It is understandable why scientists are so interested in the potential usefulness of CBD’s benefit palette against the unnecessary torment that accompanies  PTSD.

Research into CBD for PTSD

In the April 2019 edition of the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, the results of a study conducted by Elms et. al. were published that revealed CBD as a substance that could potentially deliver relief from the symptoms of PTSD.6 The study included 11 subjects, but even this small set of data is enough to draw some initial conclusions about the actual usefulness of administering CBD for PTSD in a clinical setting.

The subjects were all patients at a psychiatry clinic that also received routine psychiatric care during the course of the study. At the end of the eight-week study, 91% (or 10) of the 11 patients reported improvements in their PTSD symptoms after using CBD. Using the PTSD Checklist provided with the DSM-5, the facilitators of the study calculated an overall 28% decrease in PTSD symptom severity among the patients.

The authors of the study concluded that orally administering CBD over the eight-week window “was associated with PTSD symptom reduction in adults with PTSD”. Perhaps most interestingly, the authors go on to note that “CBD also appeared to offer relief in a subset of patients who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD”. These findings line up with academic and anecdotal evidence regarding the sleep-impacting effects of CBD.

Is CBD useful for PTSD?

The study we examined above is hardly the only piece of published research pertaining to CBD and PTSD. A handful of clinical trials into using CBD for PTSD have been initiated in the United States, for instance, and all signs point to this research accelerating in recent years.

Across the medical research discipline, an evolving sense of importance is being placed on conditions like PTSD for which we currently have no truly effective treatments. Whether it is psychedelics or cannabinoids, scientists and medical institutions are eager to find treatments for affective and stressor-based disorders that actually work without causing considerable side effects. We will know more about CBD’s usefulness for PTSD as this research continues.

The bottom line: Should CBD be used for PTSD?

It certainly appears that CBD should continue being seriously examined as a potential treatment for PTSD. While initial research directly into the usefulness of CBD for PTSD is certainly intriguing, what’s even more promising is the overall impressiveness of CBD’s apparent usefulness for mental health. From anxiety to depression to PTSD, people swear by CBD, and it’s about time we discovered exactly why.


1. How do you calm down when you have PTSD?

Some of the most basic ways that people calm down when they are feeling the symptoms of PTSD include deep breathing and visualizing calm or soothing environments or images. Therapists may ask people with PTSD to try additional techniques when symptoms occur, but ultimately, the most valid approach is gently soothing the underlying emotions that support PTSD. This is a complex process that no single substance can facilitate on its own.

2. What strain of CBD is best for pain?

No one is quite sure if there is a particular strain of CBD-rich hemp flower that is better for pain than others. If CBD is good for pain overall, though, the strain with the highest concentration of CBD would most likely be the most effective in that regard. At the same time, cannabis is a massively complex plant that we are only beginning to understand — perhaps some combination of cannabinoids and terpenes might be more effective than any one cannabinoid alone.

3. Does CBD help with feeling overwhelmed?

Some people feel that taking CBD can help them relax when they are overwhelmed. Most CBD products take a while to kick in, however, so expecting immediate relief from feelings of overwhelm might be a bit unreasonable.

4. What kind of CBD is best for severe anxiety?

If you suffer from severe or acute onset of anxiety, you’ll want to use a form of CBD that kicks in quickly. CBD tinctures, for instance, absorb in your mouth before swallowing, potentially allowing faster activation times. Ask your doctor if you have any further questions about treating severe anxiety.


  1. 1. Fonzo, G. A., Federchenco, V., & Lara, A. (2020). Predicting and managing treatment non-response in posttraumatic stress disorder. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry7(2), 70-87, Retrieved from
  2. 2. Protti, M., Brighenti, V., Battaglia, M. R., Anceschi, L., Pellati, F., & Mercolini, L. (2019). Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L.: a new tool based on HPLC–DAD–MS/MS for a rational use in medicinal chemistry. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters10(4), 539-544.Retrieved from
  3. 3. Skelley, J. W., Deas, C. M., Curren, Z., & Ennis, J. (2020). Use of cannabidiol in anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 60(1), 253-261. Retrieved from
  4. 4. Haack, M., Simpson, N., Sethna, N., Kaur, S., & Mullington, J. (2020). Sleep deficiency and chronic pain: potential underlying mechanisms and clinical implications. Neuropsychopharmacology, 45(1), 205-216. Retrieved from
  5. 5. Bitencourt, R. M., & Takahashi, R. N. (2018). Cannabidiol as a therapeutic alternative for post-traumatic stress disorder: From bench research to confirmation in human trials. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 502. Retrieved from
  6. 6. Elms, L., Shannon, S., Hughes, S., & Lewis, N. (2019, April). Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 25(4), 392–397. Retrieved from

New Brightfield Report: International CBD Markets Will Double By 2024

As the American hemp market matures and stabilizes, all eyes are on emerging markets throughout the world that are finally starting to allow their populations access to CBD. In August of 2022, the esteemed hemp market research firm Brightfield Group released a new report¹ assessing the current status of the international CBD industry and its expected trajectory between now and 2024. Learn the most important details contained in the Brightfield report to better assess investment and entrepreneurship opportunities within the international hemp sector.

International CBD is on the rise

It’s well known in CBD right now that the biggest movement happening is in international markets. The Asia Pacific region, long resistant to the very mention of CBD or hemp, is gradually loosening up, and both Latin America and Europe are showing an increase in domestic use to offset their considerable hemp export potential.

In its report, Brightfield spends considerable time examining the miniature international CBD market that has just erupted in Israel. As of March 2022, CBD is now legal in Israel² for the first time, releasing massive pent-up demand for the cannabinoid.

The recent news out of Israel is just one facet of an emerging kaleidoscope of global cannabis reform. Those looking for the next great pivot point in the ever-evolving saga of industrial hemp would do best to address their attention overseas.

How fast is the international CBD industry growing?

Taken all together, the recent Brightfield report indicates that the total value of the international CBD market is set to double over the next two years. While this might be difficult to believe at face value, keep in mind that the industrial hemp cultivation boom in the United States took far less time to reach its peak.

Brightfield backs up this assessment with hard data. Latin America and Asia Pacific are set to grow at breakneck paces, but they won’t contribute much to the overall value of the international CBD industry. The biggest mover is set to be Europe, where CBD is expected to finally become nearly as plentiful and accessible as it is in the US over the next couple of years.

The new Brightfield international CBD report: Key highlights

What, exactly, does the new Brightfield report have to say about the international CBD industry? Let’s break it down by region — just as Brightfield did.

European CBD sales 2020-2024:

 – 2020 total value: $800m

 – 2022 total value: $1.5b

 – 2024 projected value: $2.75b

 – Largest contributors: UK, Germany, Austria, France, Spain

The UK has long been a major exporter of cannabis, and its domestic CBD market is finally picking up to match. With Germany and other European nations each contributing smaller portions of the overall CBD market pie, the UK leads an EU CBD market rife with conflicting regulations separated by borders average people cross every day for work and shopping.

With medical cannabis regulations lagging behind North America, the primary driver of CBD sales in Europe will continue to be sales of ingestible products like tinctures and capsules. An increasing number of European nations are adopting pro-CBD regulations, and the European Commission itself is moving forward with various “novel food” approvals³ for ingestible CBD products.

Asia Pacific & Middle East CBD sales 2020-2024:

 – 2020 total value: $230m

 – 2022 total value: $294m

 – 2024 projected value: $670m

 – Largest contributors: Japan, Australia, China, Thailand

The Asia Pacific region is led by Japan, which continues to adopt an increasingly pro-CBD stance. China, on the other hand, has recently cracked down on CBD use. Even though Chinese officials recognize CBD itself has no intoxicating properties, they fear use of the cannabinoid could lead to “lax drug attitudes among young Chinese consumers⁴.”

Recent moves in Thailand indicate that this market of nearly 70 million may soon open to CBD sales, and CBD markets in Australia and New Zealand continue to grow at a snail’s pace. Look to Japan, Australia, and — increasingly — Thailand as the biggest APAC movers in CBD over the next few years. Middle East markets show some signs of accepting CBD in the near future, but they won’t contribute much to the overall economic bloc’s CBD industry by 2024.

Israeli CBD sales 2020-2024:

 – 2020 total value: $3m

 – 2022 total value: $5m

 – 2024 projected value: $28m

 – Largest contributors: Flower, Tinctures, Topicals

It’s Brightfield’s current spotlight within the Middle East market, and the market researcher’s focus on Israel is shared by many international cannabis industry stakeholders. There’s a general belief that Israel is paving the way toward gradual acceptance of CBD in the region. In the end, Israel may even serve as a stepping-stone to the as-yet-unexplored North African CBD market.

For the moment, only CBD-rich flower and tinctures will be available in Israel with flower offered solely through the nation’s medical cannabis system. By 2024, however, the Israeli Ministry of Health expects to have properly regulated CBD in cosmetics and food products as well.

Latin American CBD sales 2020-2024:

 – 2020 total value: $110m

 – 2022 total value: $357m

 – 2024 projected value: $620m

 – Largest contributors: Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Chile

CBD has been legal in Mexico since 2017⁵, and the Latin American nation is famous for its relatively lax CBD regulations. Mexican CBD products can contain up to 1% THC, and Mexico isn’t the only country in the region that has recently opened its doors to CBD.

Colombia, long an epicenter of the illicit drug trade, has now turned over a new leaf by focusing on producing legal cannabis and hemp for both export and domestic use. Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Uruguay are all also expected to contribute an increasing amount to the overall Latin American CBD economy over the next two years.

International CBD growth expectations 2020-2024: 

 – 2020 total value: $1.2b

 – 2022 total value: $2.2b

 – 2024 projected value: $4.1b

 – Largest contributors: Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific

Overall, Brightfield predicts that the international CBD industry (comprising everywhere except North America) will surpass $4 billion by 2024. Europe will comprise the largest segment of this international market at nearly $3 billion all by itself, and other regions will catch up more slowly.

The fact that areas outside the United States and Canada are accepting CBD at all, however, is major news. For years now, isolated pockets like Australia and the UK have led their regions toward CBD acceptance, and these efforts appear to have paid off.

Despite the unpredictable Chinese economy apparently closing its doors to CBD once and for all, other areas of the world nonetheless are becoming friendly with the cannabinoid for the first time. Of particular note are nations like Thailand and Colombia, which unlike most European countries are not closely tied to the Western economic bloc within which CBD has seen the majority of its spread so far.

How to prepare for CBD’s international acceptance

There’s always a new frontier to explore, and as the second decade of the third millennium heats up, it seems that frontier is shifting to the wider world once again — at least when it comes to CBD. Now that major (and mostly unaffiliated) economies like Japan, Israel, Thailand, and Mexico have gotten on the CBD bandwagon, it’s only a matter of time until this non-intoxicating cannabinoid reaches a level of general global acceptance.

Once that time comes, those still focusing exclusively on the North American market will be left behind. Without abandoning the markets from which it emerged, the CBD economy must now prepare itself to reach a much wider audience with an equally wide set of expectations from CBD products. CBD must now become something for everybody, a feat that shouldn’t prove too difficult given the cannabinoid’s universal appeal.

Summary: Does CBD have a future internationally?

From the crystalline peaks of the Himalayas to the alpine shores of Lake Titicaca, news of CBD has spread across the entire globe, and people everywhere are clamoring to experience the benefits of this latest natural health revolution. While cultural differences and economic hurdles have prevented the spread of international CBD so far, all that is set to change.

As Europe, Latin America, and even Asia and the Middle East gradually become more accepting of hemp, CBD will reach an exponentially wider audience than it has so far helped. The United States makes up less than 5% of the world’s population⁶, after all, leaving the rest of the world to catch up to the American standard of hemp consumption, which is currently estimated to sit at $7.8 billion per year⁷.

It’s a fact that much of the rest of the world lacks access to the standard of living enjoyed by Americans, but let’s run some quick numbers anyway. If a mere 5% of the world population is currently consuming nearly $8 billion in hemp products per year, the global CBD market could be conceived to have a cap at least as high as $160 billion.

To be sure, the CBD industry has an international future ahead of it. Just how effectively CBD spreads across the globe, though, will be determined by the level of success achieved by today’s international hemp entrepreneurs.

International CBD market FAQ

1. What is the projected growth of the CBD market?

If optimistic projections from Brightfield and other market analysts are to be believed, the international CBD market is likely to double in size between 2022 and 2024. Add in the continued strong growth of the American CBD market, and the overall hemp industry appears to be in for a period of rapid acceleration. With the addition of more markets globally, CBD will take on even more respect at home, heralding the true beginning of the mainstream CBD age.

2. How big will the CBD market be in 2028?

Some might consider 2028 to be too far out for the purposes of reasonable prediction. Some analysts, however, have the global CBD market pegged at more than $50 billion by the year 2028 or more than $60 billion by 2030. The world could change in many unpredictable ways between now and then, however, making accurate prognostication exceedingly difficult.

What we can say for certain is that the global CBD market is on an upward trend. The cannabinoid is only becoming more popular around the world over time, and there’s no sign of this momentum coming to a halt.

3. Is the CBD market declining?

No, the CBD market cannot be said to be in a position of decline either domestically or abroad. Whenever any product or category performs exceedingly well, ensuing normalization can sometimes be interpreted as a slowdown.

CBD continues to grow just as it always has. The primary difference is that the breakneck pace of growth has slowed due to consolidation and the establishment of general standards.

4. Is CBD a good investment?

CBD remains as valid an investment as it was in 2010, 2015, or 2020. The industry may have matured, but every stage of evolution simply brings about new forms of opportunity. For those who read the market properly, the CBD industry is an undiminished vehicle for accumulating wealth.


  1. 1. International CBD Report 2022. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from
  2. 2. Efrati, I. (2022, March 1). Israel moves to decriminalize CBD, active cannabis ingredient, but only in two years – Israel News. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from
  3. 3. European Commission Validates Five Natural Plant CBD Novel Food Applications In Milestone For Industry. (2022, February 21). BusinessCann. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from
  4. 4. Tan, S. (2021, June 4). China’s CBD crackdown deals blow to emerging market using cannabis-derivative in cosmetics. South China Morning Post. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from
  5. 5. Burns, J. (2018, July 9). Mexico Could Make History By Treating CBD Like A Supplement, As It Should Be. Forbes. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from
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  7. 7. CBD Industry Predictions for 2022. (2022, September 26). The BigCommerce Blog. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

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