Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of Americans each year. Many people associate it with war and veterans, but it’s possible to develop PTSD following any severe trauma, including car accidents and natural disasters. PTSD produces a number of different symptoms, such as sleep difficulties, anger and irritation, and problems with focus and concentration.
People with PTSD sometimes struggle to find adequate treatment. Many sufferers turn to substance abuse, especially when prescribed medications are less than effective. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that are growing in popularity, including cannabidiol, or CBD.
What is CBD and How Does It Help PTSD?
CBD is a hemp-derived extract that’s known as a cannabinoid. Our bodies have an entire endocannabinoid system, full of receptors that work with cannabinoids to regulate bodily processes and neurotransmitters. Endocannabinoids have also been implicated in psychological disorders like depression and anxiety .
Studies show that CBD offers several psychological benefits, including strong anti-anxiety effects. Specifically, CBD has been found effective for anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and PTSD.
The function of cannabinoids in PTSD treatment is not yet well understood, but it appears they play a significant role. Here’s what we know so far.
CBD and Your Brain
CBD Oil and Mood Swings
Research has established that people with PTSD have more endocannabinoid receptors in the areas of the brain involved in fear and anxiety. PTSD is also linked with low levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, and CBD has been shown to increase anandamide levels.
Anandamide is one of the chemicals involved in “runner’s high” , or the sense of euphoria that many experience following a good workout. This means it affects mood – and one of the main symptoms of PTSD is negative moods and mood swings.
CBD Oil and Memory
Anandamide is also associated with memory. Some theorize that CBD helps PTSD by affecting the way the brain perceives and processes memories. People with PTSD often feel like they’re reliving their traumatic event, and their memories of the trauma remain “fresh” for years in their minds. Since some cannabinoids, like CBD, are able to impair memory, this could cause traumatic memories to fade and PTSD symptoms to lessen as a result.
CBD Oil and Flashbacks
Research also shows that CBD can alleviate the fear and anxiety that results from trauma. Specifically, it enhances something called “extinction”, which refers to the process of eliminating learned behaviors (such as a fear response). In other words, CBD can dampen the PTSD sufferer’s flashbacks and trigger responses. By reducing this anxiety, CBD may enable PTSD patients to be in a better mindset while discussing their trauma, and benefit more from therapy as a result.
CBD and Sleep and PTSD
Another way that CBD can help people with PTSD is by regulating sleep. Sleep disorders are common amongst those with PTSD, and CBD has been found to increase REM sleep and treat sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. One case study from The Permanente Journal used CBD oil to treat PTSD in a young girl and saw significant improvements in several sleep-related PTSD symptoms, including nightmares and insomnia.
PTSD and Chronic Pain
- Consumer Guide: How To Use CBD For Pain Relief
- CBD For Anxiety- What Happens When You Stop Taking CBD?
A lesser-known fact about PTSD is its link with chronic pain, and CBD has been proven effective at alleviating various types of pain. It’s anti-inflammatory, reduces muscle spasms, and treats pain associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
PTSD and CBD Oil- A Match Made In Heaven
PTSD can be challenging to treat, but research on CBD suggests it may be able to help millions of Americans recover from this condition. The absence of side effects, and lack of psychoactive effects, gives CBD a wide appeal for anyone living with trauma-related mental health problems.
If you’re interested in trying CBD, there’s many options available, from edibles to vaping oils. Every Day Optimal is a leading supplier of CBD products, including pure and authentic CBD gummies, capsules, and more. To see our full selection of products, click here.