Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active compounds from the cannabis plant. It may help reduce and manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in both topical and edible forms.
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According to Frontiers in Neuroscience, PTSD is a long-lasting mental health condition that people may develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Around 10% of people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
Some people may have trouble sleeping, relive the event repeatedly, and experience depression and anxiety.
Although there are several treatments for PTSD, there is increasing evidence that CBD may help people manage symptoms.
This article will discuss the research on CBD and PTSD, the best forms and strains of CBD, risks and side effects, and other alternative treatments.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.
A 2019 literature review on medical cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, and PTSD found that CBD may be helpful. However, it concludes that scientists still need to carry out more research into its therapeutic uses, effectiveness, and safety.
Some research suggests that taking CBD immediately after a traumatic event might make it more difficult for the brain to form the memories that may later develop and cause PTSD symptoms.
A 2016 study found evidence that drugs acting on the endocannabinoid system may reduce the symptoms that a person with PTSD experiences after a memory extinction procedure. This is because the endocannabinoid system, which includes CBD receptors, can affect anxiety and memory, two factors that play a significant role in PTSD.
Aversive memory extinction is a therapy process in which a person, under the guidance of a therapist, experiences similar situations to those that led to their PTSD symptoms, without any of the traumatic stimuli.
Researchers are still unclear why CBD works as a treatment for PTSD. However, according to Frontiers in Neuroscience, it is possible that CBD may affect the amygdala and the hippocampus in the brain.
The article notes that people with PTSD have a hyperactive amygdala, which may make symptoms worse. CBD may cause the hippocampus to grow and may reduce hyperactivity of the amygdala.
Multiple studies have used different forms of CBD when investigating whether CBD is an effective treatment for PTSD. Some studies have used topical CBD, such as oils, and other studies have used edible CBD.
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.
THC is the compound from the cannabis plant that causes the high,
However, THC does have more severe side effects than CBD. According to a 2016 article in the European Journal of Pain, it can lead to an increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia. Researchers need to carry out more studies to determine whether THC is a safe treatment option for PTSD.
Several CBD products may help treat PTSD.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tested these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Sunday Scaries CBD Gummies with Vitamins D3 and B12
Sunday Scaries CBD gummies contain CBD derived from Colorado hemp, processed in Denver, and manufactured in San Diego. They contain added B12 and D3 vitamins, and the company highlight their use in eliminating stress and worry.
The gummies are GMP- and Kosher-certified, audited, and licensed. The company test all raw ingredients to make sure each product is safe for consumption. These gummies are gluten- and GMO-free. However, they do contain tree nuts, so are not suitable for those who have tree nut allergies.
Each gummy contains 10mg of broad-spectrum CBD. They are available in orange, cherry, pineapple, lemon, and apple flavors.
CBDistillery Nighttime Gummies 30mg
CBDistillery Nighttime Gummies contain 30 milligrams (mg) of CBD isolate and 1.5mg of melatonin, which the company claims will promote restful sleep. These gummies come in various flavors and are gluten- and allergen-free, vegan, and Kosher.
The company sources its CBD from Hemp Authority-certified non-GMO hemp in the United States.
The company recommend taking one gummy before bed.
Sagely Naturals Drift & Dream Body Oil
Sagely Naturals Drift & Dream Body Oil is a dry body oil that quickly absorbs into the skin. It contains 100 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle, with lavender, geranium, and clary sage oil, which the company claim promotes calm, mental clarity, and relaxation.
Sagely source their CBD from organic USA-grown hemp. They recommend using the oil after a shower or bath and massaging it into the skin while it is still damp. After massaging, people should let their skin dry naturally or gently pat dry with a towel.
Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts
Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts contain natural healing salts, minerals, botanical infusions, and cannabinoids. As well as CBD, the bath salts include lavender, lemon, and clary sage to promote full-body relaxation. Each packet of bath salts contains 100 mg of full-spectrum CBD.
Vertly recommend using one whole packet for a deep soak, or half a packet for a milder soak. People should mix the salts into the water to make sure they dissolve and soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes. If people use the salts before bed, it promotes relaxing sleep.
Liftmode Calm CBD Oil (for Sleep) with Terpenes & Melatonin
This product contains full-spectrum hemp extract oil, coconut-derived MCT oil, and 1 mg of melatonin per serving. Chamomile, lavender, and frankincense essential oils also promote relaxation and restfulness.
The company recommend people take this product to reduce stress and promote a calm mind after a difficult day.
For best results, they advise that people should take a serving 1 hour before going to bed. People should take half a dropper, or 0.5 milliliters (ml) once or twice a day.
Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
Unlike some other CBD products that promote sleep, Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture does not contain any melatonin, and the company state that this will help people wake up relieved, refreshed, and ready for the day ahead.
This CBD oil contains 17 mg of CBD per serving, which is 1 dropper full. Other ingredients include lavender, hops, chamomile, and lemongrass. The company recommend taking 1 full dropper an hour before bed.
CBD has few side effects compared to other cannabinoids, such as THC. However, people may still experience some side effects and increased risks while using CBD. These include:
- drowsiness and sleepiness
- suicidal thoughts and behavior
- people with a history of alcohol or drug use disorder may find CBD addictive
- allergic reactions
- increased risk of liver damage if people use CBD alongside certain medication, such as valproate
Most reported drug interactions are through affecting drug metabolism enzymes such as cytochrome P450 (CYP450). P-450 is involved in metabolizing several exogenous cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, which is supported by clinical data on THC and CBD metabolism.
More traditional methods of treating PTSD include medication and psychotherapy.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), medications include antidepressants, which can help control symptoms of depression and anxiety. Doctors may also prescribe medication to help people sleep and reduce nightmares.
Other therapies include psychotherapy, or talking treatment, which usually lasts 6–12 weeks. People who have PTSD may benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can include memory extinction (exposure) therapy.
There is also evidence that Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is also effective in the treatment of PTSD and trauma-related disorders, by acting on the dysregulation of the learning process of aversive memories.
The NIMH also state that people can try to manage symptoms at home as well. People can join support groups, take up mild physical activity to reduce stress, and set realistic goals that they can break down into easily manageable steps.
PTSD is a long-lasting mental health condition that people may develop after experiencing a traumatic event.
While there are various traditional treatments available, such as medication and therapy, evidence suggests that CBD may also help manage symptoms.
CBD may be able to reduce fatigue and stress and promote a relaxing sleep.