PTSD: How can CBD help?

For anyone interested in the benefits of CBD for PTSD, this guide will give you fact-based answers to your questions.

How can CBD help you?

The medical studies selected for this guide are published by highly reputable organizations.  Collectively, they show CBD has a consistent and positive impact on individuals with PTSD.

In this guide you will:

  • learn the exact benefits of CBD for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • understand how CBD goes to the causes of PTSD
  • discover the CBD dosages tested
  • possible adverse effects of CBD

All the answers to your CBD questions are here so let’s get started.

If you don’t find an answer in this guide to a question you have, leave us a comment below and we’ll search the published studies to see if an answer exists and get back to you.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is short for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD definition: a psychiatric disorder resulting from experiencing or witnessing shocking or horrifying events.

If you have PTSD you may feel isolated or detached from connections with other people.

The DSM-5 (a psychiatric manual) characterizes PTSD is a trauma and stress-related disorder.

The DSM-5 says serious symptoms must persist for over 1 month to be considered PTSD. (1)

While the definition of PTSD has varied slightly over time, the following 4 criteria are associated with PTSD diagnosis. (2)

 

 

The latest DSM-5 criteria added to the diagnosis of PTSD include:

  • distorted self-blame
  • dissociative symptoms
  • feelings of detachment. (3)

 

PTSD Causes

Examples of traumatic events that cause PTSD sometimes vary by gender. (4)

 

Causes In Men

Events more likely to cause PTSD in men are:

  • witnessing another person being killed or severely injured
  • being in a life-threatening accident
  • being threatened with a weapon

Causes In Women

Events more likely to cause PTSD in women:

  • experiencing a natural disaster
  • witnessing another person being badly injured or killed
  • being in a life-threatening accident

 

 

PTSD Prevalence

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a common condition in the U.S.

Whether you’re struggling with PTSD or someone in your family is, you are not alone.

According to a 2013 study, 8.3% of Americans experience PTSD symptoms during their lifetime. (5)

 

 

PTSD can be debilitating but that’s not the whole story.

By seeking effective treatment, you have the opportunity to take control of your PTSD symptoms.

 

How Does CBD Effect PTSD?

This guide to CBD for PTSD will show you new results from recent scientific studies.

CBD is a promising treatment for PTSD.

It’s effects benefit both PTSD symptoms and underlying causes.

CBD effects the core memories of the traumatic events that result in PTSD.

That’s exciting news!

Let’s discover how CBD may help you or a loved one with PTSD.

 

PTSD Symptoms

PTSD symptoms may include:

  • severe anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • hyperarousal
  • brain fog
  • anger
  • flashbacks

 

Check out this video for more on PTSD symptoms.

 

 

Conventional PTSD Treatments

While pharmaceutical treatments for PTSD do exist, they have varying degrees of success and may have adverse effects.

Side effects of pharmaceutical treatments can sometimes be overwhelming.

There are effective psychotherapy treatment (talk therapy) options for PTSD with proven results. (6)

 

 

 

CBD Is A Promising PTSD Treatment

Medical researchers are investigating cannabidiol (CBD) as a promising new treatment for PTSD.

 

 

Studies have shown that CBD may help with anxiety and sleep in individuals who have experienced sexual trauma. (7)

Another study showed CBD’s potential for treating fear memories that are the cause of PTSD. (8)

If you struggle with PTSD, some CBD cannabis strains may help your symptoms.

In the next section, I’ll show you new CBD research that may be a game-changer for treating the causes of PTSD, n0t just the symptoms. (9)

 

Interested in CBD benefits for different types of anxiety disorders? Check out this guide to CBD for anxiety.

cannabidiol guide to anxiety benefits based on latest medical studies recent to 2020

 

CBD Legal Status

The 2018 Farm Bill made cannabis with virtually no THC legal to grow and possess federally.

That type of cannabis is referred to as “hemp.”

Marijuana is another type of cannabis.

Marijuana is bred to have high levels of THC and is currently illegal federally.

THC is the cannabinoid compound that causes a euphoric or “high” feeling.

CBD and most other cannabinoids do not cause a euphoric or high feeling.

CBD is legal federally if it is derived from hemp.

In practice, CBD is legal and widely available in the U.S.

Today, many cannabis strains are bred to have virtually no THC and high levels of CBD.


Hemp is legally defined as any cannabis plant with  “virtually no” THC content.

Legally, a cannabis plant is considered hemp if it has below 0.3% THC content. 

THC is the main intoxicating compound in cannabis.  

CBD is not intoxicating. (10)

But, does CBD really work?

A new 2019 study has some interesting findings…

Let’s take a look.

 

 

 

CBD Oil For PTSD

High CBD cannabis strains are grown for their health benefits and relaxing effects.

CBD oil made from these strains is online and in local CBD shops.

CBD oil is extracted from the flower and body of hemp plants.

  • it’s not intoxicating
  • it doesn’t cause a euphoric “high” feeling
  • it is not habit-forming

.

 

CBD Oil Health Benefits

CBD oil and CBD isolate have relaxing effects and significant health benefits. (11)

CBD health benefits include benefits for:

  • sleep
  • anxiety
  • blood pressure
  • inflammation
  • pain
  • depression
  • and more

 

 

 

CBD Tincture

Another type of CBD good for PTSD is CBD tincture.

When looking for a CBD tincture, try finding a full-spectrum CBD tincture.

Full Spectrum CBD tinctures will get you the complete profile of cannabinoids found in a cannabis strain.

There are at least 113 cannabinoids in high CBD hemp strains. (12)

Many lesser-known cannabinoids have benefits that surpass CBD alone.

Unfortunately, the benefits of most cannabinoids are still poorly understood.

To get the most from CBD, a full-spectrum product is usually the most effective.

 

 

CBD For PTSD: Research

CBD research started with animal trials and has progressed to confirmation in human studies. (13)

cannabidiol ptsd benefits

Studies into CBD treatments for PTSD have accelerated since hemp legalization in 2018.

 

New clinical research is being published frequently by respected sources and scientific journals.

 

 

CBD appears to benefit both PTSD as well as its symptoms such as depression and anxiety. (14)

 

 

 

In the next section, I’ll share with you a particularly promising new CBD study for PTSD.

In the study published in April of 2019, 91% of participants experienced significant benefits by adding CBD to their PTSD treatment.

Let’s take a look at the results.

CBD for PTSD: Clinical Results

In April of 2019, a small but important study showed CBD had significant benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  (15)

 

Study Conclusions

  • 91% experienced a decrease in PTSD symptoms
  • of that population, there was a 28% decrease in the severity of PTSD symptoms
  • some participants reported fewer nightmares
  • cannabidiol (CBD) was tolerated well by participants
  • no participants stopped taking CBD because of side effects (16)

 

 

CBD Dosage For PTSD

Participants in the study were given varying doses of oral CBD.

 

Participants in the study also received routine psychiatric care.

Psychiatric care was provided by medical doctors which included psychiatric medication and psychotherapy.

 

 

Study Limitations

The study is clear that it likely wasn’t CBD alone that helped these patients.

 

Rather, it appears CBD as part of a full psychotherapy program for PTSD is what led to these impressive results.

CBD is not a stand-alone cure for PTSD.

That said, the addition of CBD to these patients’ PTSD treatment did result in a 28% decrease in symptom severity.  The benefits were experienced across the vast majority of the patients (91%).

 

Why Choose CBD For PTSD?

Unlike psychiatric drugs for treating PTSD, CBD has very few side effects in short-term use.

 

 

The 2019  study above says pharmaceutical drugs have questionable efficacy and often carry significant undesirable side-effect profiles.” (17)

Unlike many psychiatric drugs, CBD is:

  • not habit-forming
  • non-intoxicating

Minimal side effects are just one reason CBD is so promising.

CBD has additional benefits for:

  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • aggression. 

These are frequent symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Finding it impossible to get the sleep you need? Check out this guide to CBD for insomnia.

 

 

CBD Entourage Effect

The entourage effect occurs when multiple cannabinoids and terpenes are taken together.

Cannabinoids and terpenes have a synergistic effect complement the effects of each.

The entourage effect maximizes, extends the duration of benefits, and targets the effects of cannabinoids and terpenes.

In total, there are more than 113 cannabinoids in high CBD cannabis strains.

Cannabidiol is the best known but many of the lesser cannabinoids have health benefits, too.

Unfortunately, most cannabinoids have yet to be fully researched.

Until 2018, cannabis prohibition caused many barriers to scientific funding and access for researchers to medicinal materials. (18)

 

Terpenes

Another group of beneficial and tasty compounds called terpenes is found in hemp.

Terpenes are found in cannabis as well as fruits and vegetables.

Terpenes are the compounds that give each cannabis strain its unique smell, flavor, and effects.

When you consume CBD with terpenes, the effects of both beneficial compounds are strengthened. (19)

This is referred to as the “entourage effect.”

If you want to boost the benefits of CBD, it’s suggested that you take full-spectrum CBD products to make full use of the entourage effect that comes with taking a broad array of cannabinoids and terpenes.

 

 

Full-spectrum CBD products contain the full cannabinoid profile of a particular cannabis strain.

If you feel like you aren’t receiving the benefits you want from refined extract-based products like CBD oil or CBD isolate, consider adding terpenes as another way to enhance your CBD effects.

How does CBD work?

CBD works by effecting your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Your ECS is a vital regulatory systems that keeps you body is good mental and physical health.

The endocannabinoid system is part of your central nervous system.

It is found in the brain, spine, and throughout your body.

Your ECS helps regulate:

  • mood
  • appetite
  • pain
  • inflammation
  • memory
  • fear learning
  • PTSD related functions (20)

 

 

Your endocannabinoid system uses cannabinoids similar to CBD to send regulatory signals.

It’s truly amazing how many critical functions of the body this system keeps in good order.

Interested in the far-reaching and surprising effects of the endocannabinoid system? Check out this guide.  New evidence shows CBD reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics when quitting.

 

 

 

CBD Signaling

CBD works by mimicking the natural signaling compounds your body uses as part of your ECS.  (21)

 

 

By consuming cannabinoids, you have the ability to affect the signaling system that maintains chemical balance in your body.

That’s why CBD works.

It is practically indistinguishable from the natural compounds (endogenous cannabinoids) your body already uses to maintain homeostasis (chemical balance).

So, CBD helps PTSD symptoms by boosting your natural regulatory system that modulates fear response and fear memory extinction.

 

CBD boosts the system that balances your mood, memory, and some emotional stability.

For an in-depth understanding of the relationship between this amazing system and CBD, check out this guide to CBD and the endocannabinoid system.

References

 

  1. Miao XR, Chen QB, Wei K, Tao KM, Lu ZJ. Posttraumatic stress disorder: from diagnosis to prevention. Mil Med Res. 2018;5(1):32. Published 2018 Sep 28. doi:10.1186/s40779-018-0179-0
  2. Sareen J. Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults: impact, comorbidity, risk factors, and treatment. Can J Psychiatry. 2014;59(9):460–467. doi:10.1177/070674371405900902
  3. Sareen J. Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults: impact, comorbidity, risk factors, and treatment. Can J Psychiatry. 2014;59(9):460–467. doi:10.1177/070674371405900902
  4. Perrin M, Vandeleur CL, Castelao E, et al. Determinants of the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, in the general population. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr  Epidemiol. 2014;49(3):447–157. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  5. Kilpatrick DG, Resnick HS, Milanak ME, Miller MW, Keyes KM, Friedman MJ. National estimates of exposure to traumatic events and PTSD prevalence using DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria. J Trauma Stress. 2013;26(5):537–547. doi:10.1002/jts.21848
  6. Watkins LE, Sprang KR, Rothbaum BO. Treating PTSD: A Review of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Interventions. Front Behav Neurosci. 2018;12:258. Published 2018 Nov 2. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00258
  7. Shannon S, Oplia-Lehman J. Effectiveness of cannabidiol oil for pediatric anxiety and insomnia as part of posttraumatic stress disorder: A case report. Perm J2016;20:108–111 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  8. Das RK, Kamboj SK, Ramadas M, et al. . Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2013;226:781–792  [Google Scholar]
  9. Marsicano G, Wojtak CT, Azad SC, et al. . The endogenous cannabinoid system controls extinction of aversive memories. Nature 2002;418:530–534 [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  10. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18–041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  11. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18–041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  12. zpurua-Olaizola O, Soydaner U, Öztürk E, Schibano D, Simsir Y, Navarro P, Etxebarria N, Usobiaga A (February 2016). “Evolution of the Cannabinoid and Terpene Content during the Growth of Cannabis sativa Plants from Different Chemotypes”. Journal of Natural Products79 (2): 324–31. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00949PMID 26836472.
  13. Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:502. Published 2018 Jul 24. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00502
  14. Sales AJ, Fogaça MV, Sartim AG, et al. Cannabidiol Induces Rapid and Sustained Antidepressant-Like Effects Through Increased BDNF Signaling and Synaptogenesis in the Prefrontal Cortex. Mol Neurobiol. 2019;56(2):1070–1081. doi:10.1007/s12035-018-1143-4
  15. Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392–397. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0437
  16. Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392–397. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0437
  17. Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392–397. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0437
  18. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2017.
  19. Russo EB. The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Front Plant Sci. 2019;9:1969. Published 2019 Jan 9. doi:10.3389/fpls.2018.01969
  20. Chye Y, Christensen E, Solowij N, Yücel M. The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol’s Promise for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder. Front Psychiatry. 2019;10:63. Published 2019 Feb 19. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00063
  21. Papagianni EP, Stevenson CW. Cannabinoid Regulation of Fear and Anxiety: an Update. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019;21(6):38. Published 2019 Apr 27. doi:10.1007/s11920-019-1026-z

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This