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Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
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.
A quick look at the 6 best CBD products for PTSD:
- Best for sleep: CBDistillery 30mg Broad Spectrum CBD Sleep Gummies + Melatonin
- Best for pain relief: Sagely Calm & Centered Body Cream
- Best muscle soak: Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts
- Best full spectrum tincture: Liftmode Calm CBD Oil
- Best melatonin-free: Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
- Best hemp flower CBD: Cornbread Whole Flower USDA Organic CBD Oil
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.
A person new to CBD products may find it helpful to become familiar with some common CBD terms. The below table introduces some of these terms and explains what they mean.
|CBD||A compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the high sensation individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.|
|THC||A compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation from cannabis use.|
|Full-spectrum||A full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.|
|Broad-spectrum||Broad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.|
|CBD isolate||This is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.|
|Cannabinoids||The compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are |
|Terpenes||Another compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.|
|Certificate of analysis (COA)||Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products will have a scannable smartphone code that directs people to the COA online.|
Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.
A 2019 literature review on medical cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, and PTSD found that CBD may be help ease symptoms. However, it concludes that scientists still need to carry out more research into its therapeutic uses, effectiveness, and safety.
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
Multiple studies, using different forms of CBD, investigate whether CBD is an effective treatment for PTSD. Some of the studies use topical CBD, such as oils, and other studies use edible CBD, such as gummies. Some studies looking at the different forms of CBD found the following information:
- CBD capsules: A
2019 studyfound that people with PTSD who took CBD capsules alongside traditional counseling saw a reduction in their symptoms.
- CBD oil: A
2016 studyfound that CBD oil applied to the skin effectively treated anxiety and sleeping problems in a child with PTSD.
- CBD with THC: A
2018 literaturereview suggests that a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD may help treat PTSD symptoms.
However, THC does have more severe side effects than CBD. According to a 2016 article in the
Individuals with a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia should discuss using CBD products with a doctor, particularly if they also contain THC.
Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:
- Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high-quality clearly labeled ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
- Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage.
- Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage.
- Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
- Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.
Several CBD products may help treat PTSD. Below we look at some of the most popular.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tested these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for sleep: CBDistillery 30 mg Broad Spectrum CBD Sleep Gummies + Melatonin
|Dosage||30 milligrams (mg) CBD and 2 mg melatonin|
|Pros||third-party tested, certified by U.S. Hemp Authority, reviews state they have a good flavor|
|Cons||some people might prefer a higher dosage of melatonin|
CBDistillery Nighttime Gummies have a mixed berry flavor and contain 30 mg of broad spectrum CBD and 2 mg of melatonin, which the company claims will promote restful and natural sleep.
The company sources its CBD from Hemp Authority-certified, non-GMO, organic hemp in the United States.
The company recommends taking one gummy before sleeping, as it claims this product may best suit those who experience difficulty falling and staying alseep.
Best for pain relief: Sagely Calm & Centered Body Cream
|Quantity||4 fluid ounces (fl oz)|
|Dosage||250 mg (around 1–2 mg per pump)|
|Pro||CBD made from organic hemp, reviewers appreciate the scent and lotion quality|
|Con||precise dosage unclear as depends on amount of product a person uses|
Formulated by scientists and holistic naturopaths, Sagely Calm & Centered Body Cream is a lightweight cream a person can use as a calming, centering, daily moisturizer.
It is made from organic U.S.-grown hemp and soothing essential oils from lavender, bergamot, and chamomile.
It is vegan and does not contain sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, or dyes. Argan seed helps moisturize and soothe the skin.
The bottle contains 250 mg of broad spectrum CBD. Sagely recommends that users start with one pump, which contains around 1-2 mg of CBD, per application. The manufacturer states that its products are THC-free.
Sagely recommends applying the cream liberally after a shower or bath and massaging it into the skin for 30–60 seconds. This cream is suitable for use every day or as needed.
Best muscle soak: Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts
|Quantity||9 ounces (oz), two soaks per bag|
|Dosage||100 mg per bag|
|Pro||CBD obtained through CO2 extraction process, may best suit people experiencing physical and emotional|
|Con||somewhat more expensive than other CBD products|
Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts contain natural, dead sea and Epsom salts, minerals, organic botanical infusions, and cannabinoids. As well as CBD, the bath salts include lavender, lemon, arnica, and clary sage to promote full-body relaxation, and reduce inflammation. Each packet of bath salts contains 100 mg of full spectrum CBD,
Vertly recommends using one whole bag for a deep soak, or half a bag for a milder soak. People should mix the salts into the water and make sure they dissolve and soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes. The product has a lavender as clary sage scent.
Best full spectrum tincture: Liftmode Calm CBD Oil (for Sleep) with Terpenes & Melatonin
|Quantity||30 milliliters (ml)|
|Dosage||40 mg per 0.5 ml serving|
|Pro||reviewers found it effective at promoting sound sleep, uses healthy oil as a carrier|
|Con||some users report problems with website, checking out, and occasional delivery problems|
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.
The company recommends people take this product to reduce stress and promote a calm mind following a difficult day. For best results, it advises that people should take one serving 1 hour before going to sleep.
This oil may best suit those who would benefit from mind calming and stress reduction. The company recommends a person take half a dropper, or 0.5 ml, once or twice per day.
Liftmode products are third-party tested and it’s website shows the COA’s for each product.
Best melatonin-free: Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
|Dosage||34 mg per 1 ml serving|
|Pro||made in the U.S. from organically-grown hemp, CO2 extraction process|
|Con||third-party testing not up to date, reviewers report not feeling effects for some time|
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 recommends taking 1 full dropper an hour before bed.
The company’s website displays the COS for this product, however, it has not updated since April 2021.
Use code MNT20 for 20% off.
Best hemp flower CBD: Whole Flower USDA Organic CBD Oil
|Dosage||25 mg per serving|
|Pro||product comes in medium and high strengths, it uses only whole flowers from organic hemp|
|Con||the dropper can be difficult to use|
Cornbread Whole Flower USDA Organic CBD Oil is made from “flower only” Kentucky hemp grown by USDA-certified organic farmers. The manufacturer claims that using CBD obtained solely from hemp flowers results in better quality products.
The company uses organic sugarcane ethanol to extract CBD oil, which it claims keeps its product free from a harsh, bitter aftertaste.
As a full spectrum CBD product, this CBD oil contains up to 0.3% THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. It does not contain preservatives or flavoring.
The COA is available to view on the company website. However, it expired in May 2021 and a newer version is not currently available.
|CBDistillery 30 mg Broad Spectrum CBD Sleep Gummies + Melatonin||Sagely Calm & Centered Body Cream||Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts||Liftmode Calm CBD Oil (for Sleep) with Terpenes & Melatonin||Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture||Cornbread Whole Flower USDA Organic CBD Oil|
|Type||broad spectrum||broad spectrum||full spectrum||full spectrum||broad spectrum||full spectrum|
|Dosage||30 mg per gummy||1–2 mg per pump||100 ml per bag||40 mg per 0.5 ml serving||34 mg per 1 ml serving||25 mg per 1 dropper|
|Other key ingredients||2 mg melatonin||lavender, chamomile, bergamot||arnica, Epsom salts, Dead Sea salts, magnesium, sulfur, lavender, clary sage||1 mg melatonin, chamomile, frankincense, and lavender||lavender, chamomile, hops, lemon grass, ho wood, jasmine||cannabinoids, and terpenes|
|COA?||yes, dated 2020||yes, date available by entering product batch number||yes, dated 2021||yes, dated 2019||yes, dated 2021||yes, dated 2021|
|Flavor||berry-flavored||scented with lavender, chamomile, and bergamot||lavender and clary sage-scented||minty, flower, with traces of lavender, chamomile, and cardamom||flowery, sweet flavor with undertones of hemp||floral, earthy|
|Best for||sleep||pain relief||muscle soak||full spectrum tincture||melatonin-free||hemp flower CBD|
|Quantity||30 gummies||4 fl.oz||9 oz||30 ml||30 ml||15 ml|
|Cost||$65||$29.99||$24||$36.68||$99.99||starting from $34.99|
The following considerations can help a person find the best CBD for PTSD symptoms:
- specific issues: PTSD symptoms can include difficulty sleeping, chronic pain, and anxiety. Different products may help with different symptoms so a person may choose the most appropriate.
- delivery method: Individuals may consider whether they would prefer a cream, tincture, or edible option for their CBD. All forms have different absorption rates.
- THC content: Some people may prefer products that do not contain THC. The legal limit is
0.3% dry weightTHC, so products should never exceed this amount.
- COA: Companies should demonstrate transparency and display their COAs online. Individuals should look for COAs when purchasing their products.
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
- drowsiness and sleepiness
- suicidal thoughts and behavior
- people with a history of alcohol or drug use disorder may find THC addictive
- allergic reactions
- to avoid liver damage, people should proceed with caution when using CBD alongside certain medications, 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
Other therapies include psychotherapy, or talking treatment, which usually lasts
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.
If a person has PTSD symptoms that last for
- difficulty sleeping
- being on edge
- bad dreams
- frightening thoughts
- trying to avoid places, objects, and other reminders of the traumatic experience
- distorted feelings
Below are some common questions about CBD for PTSD.
When is the best time to take CBD to help with PTSD?
When a person should take CBD will depend on the reason they are taking it. According to manufacturers, someone who is taking CBD to alleviate difficulties sleeping should take CBD around an hour before going to sleep. Individuals may apply other products, such as body creams, after bathing.
What dosage of CBD is best for helping with PTSD?
Research on the
Is it safe to use CBD daily?
Early studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that
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 could also help symptom management, such as reducing fatigue and stress and promoting relaxing sleep