Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is increasingly common, yet continues to be widely misunderstood.
PTSD is typically associated with veterans but it also impacts people from all walks of life for various reasons. It may stem from a traumatic event, childhood abuse or neglect, sexual assault or physical abuse.
To demonstrate how prevalent PTSD is, here's some startling statistics:
As many as 8% of Americans suffer from PTSD (approximately 24.4 million people)
Approximately 11% of veterans returning from Afghanistan have PTSD
17% of Iraq war veterans have PTSD
70% of Americans experience at least one traumatic event in their life
While there are several prescription medications on the market prescribed to treat PTSD, they often come with a long list of potential side effects. Opiates have increasingly been prescribed over the last few decades. Opiates, as you know from the current crisis surrounding these drugs, have the potential to be extremely dangerous. Hence the draw to CBD –it continues to be a potentially effective treatment providing promising results and virtually no side effects. The positive outcomes of CBD for PTSD have been backed by studies demonstrating it's effectiveness.
CBD for PTSD works in a very different manner than THC - good news for those who suffer from THC-induced paranoia or anxiety or don't have legal access to THC. Studies suggest that PTSD sufferers express lower levels of anandamide, a naturally occurring endocannabinoid molecule known to promote feelings of joy and happiness. When Anandamide is released it promotes serotonin activity and decreases stress and depression. It has been suggested that CBD works as an “anandamide replacement” decreasing stress levels and promoting a state of homeostasis, which occurs when endocannabinoid levels are balanced.
An endocannabinoid deficiency is likely linked to an increased susceptibility to disorders such as chronic anxiety, impaired fear distinction, and other issues associated with PTSD. Phytocannabinoids (plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD) can supplement the endocannabinoid system manipulating CB1 and CB2 receptors to promote normal function.
Keep in mind these are not assumptions or guesses – this data is the result of several important scientific publications which all point to very promising treatment possibilities. In a 2014 study for the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 80 patients were given marijuana for their PTSD resulting in a 75% reduction in symptoms. Frontiers in Pharmacology published a recent study demonstrating that CBD had “bidirectional effects” on PTSD. It showed promise for treating Contextual Fear Memory Extinction and specific phobias. A 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics stated “CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety orders.”
In addition to the potential decrease in symptoms related to PTSD, CBD has been shown to have numerous positive effects on overall health. CBD may make you feel more ‘normal’ and since it's non-intoxicating there is no concern over a negative impact to performing daily activities. On the contrary CBD may improve performance because it has been shown to increase energy levels and improve your overall mood.
While CBD may not be for everyone, it has certainly proved its worth to be considered a potential treatment for PTSD.