What Is CBD Oil For PTSD & How Does It Work?

It has been quite a while since CBD began the transformation from an “alternative medicine” into the mainstream treatment option for various conditions including but not limited to depression, anxiety, sleeping disorder, psychosis, and even physical pain. A lot of these medical conditions apparently are similar to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leading to a convincing probability that patients can be treated with the proper dosage of CBD as well.


PTSD is a psychiatric condition characterized by poor abilities to adapt to traumatic events or experiences. According to Frontiers in Neuroscience, about 10% of people had PTSD at some point in life. The traumatic experiences may vary from person to person, but they most likely involve the occurrence of death, serious injuries, war, calamitous accidents, natural disasters, rape, and violence.


The same condition has been called by several different names in the past for example “combat fatigue” and “shell shock.” It is now known simply as PTSD because it can happen not only to soldiers or combat veterans but to anyone who has witnessed or experienced traumatic events in the past. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) suggests that there are three different types of PTSD symptoms as follows:


a) Emotional numbness or avoidance of activities, places, and even people that potentially acts as reminders of traumatic events

b) Sleeping disorder, mood swing, difficulty concentrating

c) An intrusive recollection of troubling events and nightmares


It is worth mentioning that people may suffer from PTSD even if the traumatic events did not actually happen to them; PTSD is known to affect those who witnessed the events taking place in person. Witnesses are more susceptible if the directly-involved parties are close friends or family members.


CBD Oil for PTSD


Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to simply as CBD, is derived from Cannabis sativa, the same plant that produces Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although both come from the exact same natural ingredient, they give different effects when consumed. The biggest difference between THC and CBD is that the former is psychoactive, while the latter is not.


In simpler words, THC delivers the psychological effect known as “high” when a person consumes it with food or inhale it in cigarette form. It alters the consumer’s state of mind and is highly addictive. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, THC even produces various negative effects such as impaired memory, delusion, breathing problems, hallucinations, and altered senses.


Unlike THC, however, CBD is not known to cause psychoactive effects. In research funded by NIDA, the drug will no longer be detectable from body or brain in five months following the last consumption. The good thing is that CBD still gives relaxing effects without addiction and severe mind-altering consequences. As a matter of fact, NIDA also has a long list of potential therapeutic benefits of CBD which includes anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, neuroprotective, analgesic, and more. While the list does not explicitly mention CBD oil for PTSD, many of the beneficial effects can directly address related symptoms such as insomnia and severe anxiety.


A report published by the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence also specifically mentions that sleeping improvement appears to be the biggest driving force behind the consumption of CBD among people with PTSD. As it turns out, CBD is used as a drug to help patients cope with their conditions. With more studies confirming its efficacy to treat anxiety, sleeping disorders, and pain relievers, CBD has now become a promising option for those seeking a natural alternative to deal with PTSD symptoms.


How CBD Works


When people mention CBD, they refer to synthetic cannabinoids derived from cannabis. What you probably don’t realize is that the human body actually produces the same chemicals; although the synthetic and endogenous forms come from different sources, they work to affect the same receptors in the brain, called CB1 and CB2. Those two receptors are located throughout the human body, and many are in the brain with the greatest concentrations in:


1) Cerebellum, regulating motor coordination

2) Hippocampus, responsible for memory

3) Basal ganglia, coordinating movement

4) Cerebral cortex, making sure of cognitive functions

5) Hypothalamus, affecting appetite

6) Amygdala, handling emotions


In every tissue, the cannabinoids perform a range of different tasks, but with the same goal of maintaining stable internal condition regardless of external factors. Some receptors also affect pain and inflammation. Synthetic cannabinoids, especially CBD, do not actually attach to those receptors. Instead, they work by influencing the body to produce and use more of the endogenous cannabinoids.


Since it does not directly interact with the receptors, CBD has a minimum (if any) mind-altering effects. This particular synthetic form of cannabinoids merely functions as a catalyst that triggers natural chemical reactions in the body and brain. The same cannot be said to other synthetic cannabinoids. This can be the reason that no more CBD is detectable after about five months of the last usage, as mentioned above.


A publication in Frontiers in Neuroscience also points out that CBD has the potentials treat to inappropriate responses or poor adaptation to traumatic events and memories. Its effects on memory processing appear to make a strong case for it to be considered an effective pharmacological alternative or therapy for PTSD. Even better, CBD also has much less worrying about potential side effects compared to other types of drugs currently available for the condition. Even when consumed or administered at high doses, the chemical does not induce anxiety commonly found in compounds that affect cannabinoids receptors.


World Health Organization, in its CBD Pre-Review Report published in November 2017, listed some excellent therapeutic properties of CBD for various conditions including:



Reduction in stress and anxiety.
Anti-psychoti and anxiety.
 Anti-depressant properties
Analgesic effect, particularly for patients resistant to other form.



The same report also highlights the absence of abuse and dependence potential of CBD in a well-controlled human experimental research. There is no denying that the number of conclusive research about CBD oil for PTSD treatments is still limited. More controlled studies are needed to confirm the benefits and efficacy of the compound as well as its long term effects on the human body. That being said, current data suggest that CBD is one of the best options available.



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