Can CBD Help Those With PTSD?

While PTSD is a well-known psychological issue, for many, it is assumed to be something that only affects soldiers or sailors who have survived extreme situations in warfare. The truth, however, is that PTSD actually occurs in as much as 10% of people at some point in their lives and for a wide variety of reasons. Roughly 3.5% of U.S. adults deal with PTSD in a given year.

With millions struggling to live with this traumatic disease, a great deal of effort and money has been put into finding alternative treatments that don’t require powerful medications like Zoloft or Prozac. One such alternative treatment that scientists have begun to look into has been CBD. 

Generally speaking, Cannabidiol (CBD) has been slow to gain acceptance in the mainstream medical communities, but that hasn’t stopped experts from studying the compound and how it may be able to treat a wide array of physical and mental issues. This research has begun to pay off, with CBD now being offered as an option for helping to treat chronic pain issues, anxiety, sleep issues, and more. Some of the more recent science to come out regarding CBD has dealt directly with PTSD, and there have been a series of promising results. 

This article will take a closer look at PTSD and what various scientific studies have found regarding CBD and its possible role in alleviating this serious condition.

In this article, we will cover:

  • What is PTSD?
    • The History of PTSD
    • Symptoms and Diagnosis
    • How is PTSD Usually Treated?
  • Can CBD be Used to Treat PTSD?
  • CBD Products You Can Order Today
  • Want to Learn More About CBD?

What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic stress disorder, more commonly known simply as PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that occurs most common amongst those who have been the victim of, or directly experienced, a traumatic event such as a physical or sexual assault, terrorist attack, serious accident, or some other form of disaster. 

People who are suffering from PTSD will often have intense or troubling feelings and thoughts related to the event that triggered the disorder, often long after the event has ended. These worrisome issues can come in the form of nightmares, flashbacks or can express itself in intense bouts of sadness or anger. People with PTSD will often avoid large public situations or areas associated with the trauma and will often feel detached or estranged from broader society. 

While PTSD diagnosis typically requires experiencing a traumatic event, it is not rare for second-hand exposure to trigger symptoms. Examples of this are often found amongst police who are forced to handle and deal with the details of repeated child abuse or murder cases.

The History of PTSD

Humans have dealt with traumatic experiences going back to our earliest origins, and it is assumed that attacks by animals or warfare thousands of years ago likely produced the same psychological effects we observe today. A Roman legion veteran named Cestius Macedonicus was described as having flashbacks of battles, night terrors, and as having turned to excessive drinking -common symptoms of modern PTSD victims. When you look for it, you can see examples of PTSD symptoms throughout ancient and medieval texts.

Examples of posttraumatic stress disorder can be found in a 14th-century text written by a French knight named Geoffrey de Charny. De Charny warned young knights that they may have difficulty sleeping due to being “beset by great terrors” even when safe from any outward danger and having to fight feelings that “even nature was going against them.” PTSD is also seen in some of the most famous stories and histories. According to the National Center for PTSD, Shakespeare’s Henry IV would meet the diagnostic criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and even the famous Achilles from Homer’s Iliad may have been showing symptoms.

In the modern era, PTSD has gone by multiple names. The most prevalent examples of this occurred during World War I, where thousands of soldiers returning from the front were said to have “soldier’s heart” or “shell shock.”

It was not until 1980, following the Vietnam war, that the American Psychiatric Association added PTSD to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). Since that time, the disorder has become a well-known, if not often understood, phenomenon. It was with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that PTSD reentered the American minds and became a topic that was once again the subject of much research and discussion.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD are broken down into a number of categories. Most people will experience some of the issues following a traumatic event, but those with PTSD will have these symptoms for over a month, and will suffer distress and issues functioning in daily life due to them. Most will show symptoms within three months following the event, but it is possible for symptoms to develop much later. 

Symptoms of PTSD will often occur in tandem with other conditions such as substance use, depression, and memory problems.

The first of these is intrusion symptoms which are described by the DSM as “Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s).” These can occur in the form of strong memories, dreams, flashbacks, or distress at exposure to experiences similar to the traumatic events. 

The second category of symptoms for PTSD is those of avoidance. Avoidance refers to those with PTSD feeling the need for “avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event.” This is often simply the attempt to avoid people or places that remind one of past traumatic events, and they may also avoid talking about such events.

The third category is “negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event.” This can be expressed as ongoing negative thoughts that distort one’s thoughts or feelings about themselves and others. These negative feelings can be related to a false sense of self-blame, guilt, or shame. There is also a possibility of experiencing a lack of enjoyment in activities that were enjoyed in the past or the inability to experience positive emotions.

The last category listed is described as “marked alterations in arousal and reactivity.” This covers irritable behavior and angry outbursts that are common in those with PTSD and hypervigilance, reckless or self-destructive behavior. Having issues concentrating or sleeping is also listed within the fourth category.

How is PTSD Usually Treated?

PTSD is treated in a number of ways, though most will either fall under the category of medications or psychotherapy. Talk treatments can involve one-on-one counseling, group meetings, or cognitive-behavioral therapy such as exposure therapy.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), medications include antidepressants used to help control feelings of depression and anxiety or help those with PTSD sleep and avoid nightmares. In this area, many feel CBD may be used as an alternative or supplement to medications that can often carry with them harmful side effects of their own.

Can CBD be Used to Treat PTSD?

There has already been well-documented evidence that CBD can help treat depression, assist with getting better sleep, alleviate anxiety, reduce substance abuse, and provide a host of other wellness benefits, all of which are the stated goals of the antidepressants given to those with PTSD. However, we also have science that has looked directly at Cannabidiol and PTSD, and those are what we are going to focus on here.

  • The first study we will look at comes from A 2016 study that found CBD Oil applied topically helped children with PTSD reduce feelings of anxiety and achieve better sleep. The medication that a ten-year-old girl had been taking only provided “partial relief, but results were not long-lasting, and there were major side effects.” The usage of CBD offered steady and side-effect free improvement in the girls anxiety levels and ability to sleep.
  • Another 2016 study found evidence pointing to cannabinoids being able to reduce PTSD symptoms related to the memory extinction procedure. These findings indicate that CBD could be used in tandem with innovative therapeutic approaches, such as aversive memory extinction therapy processes. 
  • A review done in 2018 found that “CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for disorders related to inappropriate responses to traumatic memories.” It also suggested that the combination of THC and CBD could help treat and alleviate various PTSD symptoms. The researchers also noted that cannabinoid use had fewer adverse side effects when compared to the current pharmacological therapy now being used.
  • A 2019 study found that “Administration of oral CBD in addition to routine psychiatric care was associated with PTSD symptom reduction.” They also found that CBD seemed to offer further relief for those who had reported frequent nightmares. This study was done by giving 11 patients with PTSD oral CBD as well as psychiatric care for eight weeks. Of the 11 patients, 10 experienced a decrease in PTSD severity, and no patients had to discontinue due to side effects, something often found in other treatments.

Effective CBD Products You Can Order Today

Now that we have gone into how CBD may be effective in helping to treat the symptoms of PTSD, we should also briefly touch on the kind of products we are referring to. This is a list of the basic CBD products on the market today, as well as links to where you can buy some for yourself.

 CBD Flower

CBD flower is the basic, natural version of CBD that is typically smoked, though it is possible to process it further for edibles or to create a tincture with it. A CBD flower is simply the cured flower bud from the hemp plant that has been carefully grown to produce a potent amount of CBD. Many people find that CBD flowers offer some of the most powerful effects since you are activating the total value of the entourage effect. 

CBD Edibles

Just as it sounds, these are CBD products that can be eaten (or drank in some cases). CBD edibles will take longer to act in the body but can often last longer, and many people prefer the process of chewing a few gummies more than they like smoking a joint or inhaling vapor. There is a massive variety in the variation found amongst edibles, ranging from sour gummies, to honey sticks, to isolate powder that allows you to create an edible of your own. 

Sublingual CBD

Sublingual refers to the process of holding a liquid under your tongue to allow it to enter the bloodstream. Taking CBD sublingually means that it will be fast-acting, and you are not required to smoke or eat anything. To take CBD in this way, you will need either CBD Oil or a CBD tincture

CBD Syrup

CBD syrup is a unique creation that is a combination of sweet-flavored syrup and potent CBD oils. These products allow you to sweeten or flavor a drink or soda, as well as turning it into a custom CBD edible. These syrups are perfect for those who want to drink their favorite sodas or soft drinks rather than some of the CBD drink concoctions out there.

Topical CBD

Topical CBD refers to products that you apply to your skin. CBD applied this way will be absorbed through the skin and can go to work helping to relieve muscles, tension, and ease stress. Common topical products include creams, though more unique items, like bath bombs also exist.

Want to Learn More About CBD?

If you are in the market for the best CBD products or simply wish to learn more about Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids, has been built specifically to handle your needs. We carry a wide variety of well-respected and trusted CBD brands as well as alternative Cannabis products like Delta-8. This includes edibles, oils, tinctures, and much more! These products are great for long-time users and those looking to try CBD for the very first time. We also run an active blog that is updated on a near-daily basis. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

If you want to buy CBD or simply learn more about the wider industry and what these products can do for you, is here for you. 


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