How CBD Helps with PTSD
Veterans Day passed earlier this month, and as we honor those who served, we also look to help them heal. Gratefully, the cannabis plant has been of immense help with this, specifically the CBD (Cannabidiol) component.
CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant with high medicinal properties that have been studied to help treat anxiety, PTSD, pain, skin disorders, seizures, and more.
What is PTSD?
PTSD, short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a long-lasting mental health condition that people may develop after experiencing an intense, traumatic event, such as (but not exclusive to) serving in war. Statistics show that around 10% of people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. The symptomatology from this disorder affects memory processes, mood, anxiety, and arousal(1).
How does CBD Help with PTSD?
A 2016 study found evidence that CBD acting on the endocannabinoid system may reduce the symptoms a person with PTSD experiences. This is because the endocannabinoid system, which includes CBD receptors, can affect anxiety and memory, two factors that play a significant role in PTSD (2). The benefits of CBD for PTSD may prevent nightmares, may prevent the formation of "fear memories," alleviates symptoms of anxiety & depression, and relieves insomnia (4).
Although research is still limited, more studies and personal testimonies are coming forward, proving the benefits of this healing compound. One study involving 11 patients showed 91% experienced a decrease in PTSD symptom severity, which was evidenced by a lower PCL-5 score at eight weeks than at their initial baseline. The average total PCL-5 score decreased 28%, from a mean baseline score of 51.82 down to 37.14, after eight consecutive weeks of treatment with CBD. The CBD was generally well-tolerated, and no patients discontinued treatment due to side effects.3 This is HUGE considering most pharmaceutical drugs come with hefty side effects (3).
How Do You Use CBD?
Now that CBD use is becoming more widely accepted, there are various ways to consume it, from edibles and topicals to vapes. For those looking for longer-lasting effects, a CBD oil administered orally may work best as edibles tend to last longer. If you need immediate relief, it may be advised to vape your CBD, so you feel the effects faster.
Once you have chosen your method, it is wise to start with a small dose until you feel comfortable with how the product affects you. Although CBD does not present any psychoactive effects, it can still cause some users to feel tired or lethargic, so it is best to take your first dose somewhere you feel safe.
Always be sure to buy your CBD products from a legally licensed store or company. Unfortunately, due to CBD's widespread popularity, many black-market brands are selling counterfeit products online and in illegal storefronts. When it comes to buying any cannabis products, always make sure to verify your source.
Best Methods of Consumption for PTSD
Effects will vary from person to person, so we recommend testing different methods until you find the most successful way to consume.
Below are a few studies to share reported effects from others:
A 2019 study found that people with PTSD who took CBD capsules alongside traditional counseling saw a reduction in their symptoms.
A 2016 study found that CBD oil applied to the skin effectively treated anxiety and sleeping problems in a child with PTSD.
A 2018 literature review suggests that a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD may help treat PTSD symptoms. Try BLOOM's Citrus Tsunami 2:1 THC: CBD Live Resin if you are interested in this combination. (5)