How to use CBD for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
One of the most widespread applications of CBD is in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a very common disorder with more than 3 million US cases per year. The symptoms of PTSD are often uncomfortable, including nightmares, avoidance of certain activities, heightened reactions, depression and anxiety. The most common treatment for PTSD in the United States is pharmaceutical medication that often carries with it a long list of serious side effects. Those suffering from PTSD often feel relegated to a life of pharmaceutical drugs – that is, until they stumble upon the wonderful healing effects of CBD. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an all-natural, plant-based PTSD treatment option derived from hemp. Although PTSD itself is not curable – because the event can’t be un-lived – it’s symptoms no longer have to run your life. Interestingly enough, PTSD is one of the approved conditions for medical marijuana in many states.
Regardless of the symptoms associated with your PTSD, which can be very widespread, CBD can help! In order to understand how CBD helps provide relief from PTSD symptoms, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of PTSD. We will address the results below.
A 2012 study investigated the anti-anxiety actions of CBD administration in a model of PTSD that was simulated by being exposed to a predator. The study found that “Repeated CBD administration prevents the long-lasting anxiogenic effects observed after predator exposure probably by facilitating 5HT1A receptors neurotransmission. Our results suggest that CBD has beneficial potential for PTSD treatment and that 5HT1A receptors could be a therapeutic target in this disorder.”
Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22979992
A 2012 medical review presents a “case report of a 19-year-old male patient with a spectrum of severe PTSD symptoms, such as intense flashbacks, panic attacks, and self-mutilation, who discovered that some of his major symptoms were dramatically reduced by smoking cannabis resin…This review shows that recent studies provided supporting evidence that PTSD patients may be able to cope with their symptoms by using cannabis products. Cannabis may dampen the strength or emotional impact of traumatic memories through synergistic mechanisms that might make it easier for people with PTSD to rest or sleep and to feel less anxious and less involved with flashback memories. The presence of endocannabinoid signalling systems within stress-sensitive nuclei of the hypothalamus, as well as upstream limbic structures (amygdala), point to the significance of this system for the regulation of neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to stress. Evidence is increasingly accumulating that cannabinoids might play a role in fear extinction and antidepressive effects.”
Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22736575
A 2016 study evaluated the effects of CBD on contextual fear memory extinction. The study concluded that, “CBD both acutely inhibited fear expression and enhanced extinction to produce longer lasting reductions in fear. These observations provide further support for the potential translational use of CBD in conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder and specific phobias.”
A 2016 study looked at the effectiveness of Cannabidiol oil in the treatment of pediatric anxiety and insomnia as a result of PTSD. “The main finding from this case study is that CBD oil can be an effective compound to reduce anxiety and insomnia secondary to PTSD. This case study provides clinical data that support the use of cannabidiol oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with posttraumatic stress disorder.”
Recommended CBD Regimen for PTSD
When formulating a CBD regimen for a specific disease or illness like PTSD, it’s important to understand that CBD should be used regularly for maximum relief. Meaning it should be used as a preventative first – it can also be used to manage acute symptom flare ups, but the preventative maintenance is most important! Think about it like any other dietary supplement or medication, you want to establish a baseline concentration in your system.
In order to manage the symptoms associated with PTSD, we recommend ingesting full spectrum CBD oil daily in the form of Tinctures or Gel Capsules. The ingredients in the two products are the same; the only difference between the two is the form factor and dosage – pills vs. sublingual tinctures. We suggest those suffering from PTSD start with 25mg per day of CBD. If relief is not felt at this dosage, we suggest increasing by 5-10mg until the desired effects are achieved. You’ll notice that the Gel Capsules are pre-filled and contain 25mg of CBD per pill. There is no harm in starting above the 25mg CBD threshold as you cannot overdose on CBD nor are there any serious side effects. These ingestible products provide sustained symptom relief for several hours – many people find they provide relief for the whole day! The one thing to keep in mind with ingestible CBD products is the delayed onset time – it can take up to 90 minutes for the full effects of the tinctures or capsules to be felt.
Managing Acute Symptom Flare Ups
In addition to the daily PTSD management program outlined above, many people find they still need a safe way to manage acute flare ups. Whether it’s triggered by a recent event or a specific smell – we recommend vaporizing CBD isolate to combat these acute PTSD flare ups. The benefit of vaporizing or dabbing CBD isolate is that the relief can be felt almost instantaneously. CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD and provides a wave of relief that can be felt throughout the whole body.
You can also ingest more CBD in the form of tinctures or pills to combat these episodes; just keep in mind that the onset time will be significantly longer than vaporizing.
A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing
If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn't an unfounded concern -- however, there isn't exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.
Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception. There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, and the ones available paint a rather murky picture: avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely. The risk appears to be small for most of us, but some factors can raise your risk of a false positive.
If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you’ll need to consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.