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PTSD is a condition that can make it feel impossible to relax, and CBD is a cannabinoid that many people find to be uniquely calming and soothing. As a result, it’s 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’ll see as we continue.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa. While similar compounds like cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) have also come to light recently, CBD still enjoys a considerable lead in popularity 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 many users swear by CBD for chronic pain. 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 levels. 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.”
Along with depression and other mental conditions with treatment-resistant forms, PTSD has been a thorn in the side of the medical community for decades. With some people reporting incredible results after using CBD for PTSD, more attention is being paid to this simple, non-intoxicating cannabinoid and its incredible healing power.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
If you suffer from PTSD, it’s common to no longer feel in control of your own mind. Some patients experience vivid flashbacks in which it is like they are in the time and space of their 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.
It’s these thoughts that make sleep or even just basic relaxation often so difficult to find for PTSD patients. If you’re paying close attention, you can see why scientists are so interested in the potential usefulness of CBD’s benefit palette against the inhumane torment that is PTSD.
Is CBD used for PTSD?
Thousands (if not millions) of people worldwide have now used CBD for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other affective or stressor-related psychiatric disorders. Those with PTSD commonly report that CBD has helped them get to sleep at night dependably for the first time in years.
Others say that this cannabinoid dampens their intrusive thoughts, making it easier to get through the day productively and with a bright attitude. For countless suffering people living with PTSD, CBD has been absolutely life-changing.
Research into CBD for PTSD
In the April 2019 edition of the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, the results of a study¹ conducted by Elms et. al. were published that very favorably painted CBD as a substance that could potentially deliver relief from the symptoms of PTSD. The study only 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 and 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.
In the end, 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’s psychedelics or cannabinoids, scientists and medical institutions are desperate to find treatments for affective and stressor-based disorders that actually work without causing considerable side effects. We’ll 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. 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. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2018.0437