Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is something most people have heard of at least once. However, this does not mean that this is a well understood medical situation. But on the contrary, this is quite a badly misunderstood disorder. The majority of people connect the PTSD to war veterans or first aiders. In reality, however, so many more people around the world are affected.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very common illness. Around 1.45 billion people are affected worldwide. Diagnosis has become a hot topic, especially because of its well-known and increasingly controversial treatment with opioids. The problem, however, is that many of these medicines have a long list of side effects.
Fortunately, the cannabinoid CBD is establishing itself as a promising alternative for medical professionals around the world. Research done so far shows that CBD can reduce anxiety, prevent the buildup of fear memories, and improve sleep. Let’s take a closer look at how CBD can help with PTSD, what PTSD is and what medical research says.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have witnessed or suffered traumatic events such as natural disasters, acts of terrorism, war, rape, or other acts of violence. In short, it is a mental state that patients experience after a disturbing and terrible event. This can be either through experiencing it yourself or witnessing an event. Symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and disturbing thoughts related to an event.
The majority of people who go through traumatic events can experience temporary difficulties in handling and adapting them. With a little time and self-care, they are usually better off. If symptoms worsen and persist for months or even years and interfere with everyday functioning, there is a risk of PTSD.
The history of PTSD
In the past, PTSD was known by many names. During the First World War this state was called “shock”, or after the Second World War, the “fighting fatigue”. But not only veterans get PTSD. It can occur in all individuals; it can affect people of any ethnicity, culture or nationality and of any age. PTSD affects an estimated 3.5% of American adults and is thought to be diagnosed with PTSD once in a lifetime in every eleventh person. Women have PTSD twice as often as men.
The PTSD symptoms can appear within a month of a traumatic event. In other cases, however, they may not appear until years after the actual event. These symptoms can cause significant problems in the workplace or in relationships and social situations. They can affect your normal daily tasks and have a drastic impact on the quality of life.
How CBD helps you through PTSD?
Opioids have been conventionally used for treating PTSD. However, anyone who routinely take these drugs know, opioids can not only be ineffective but quite dangerous as well.
That is why PTSD patients in the United States have a growing interest in CBD. It has been a proven and potentially effective alternative that has been offering promising and exceptional results decades after decades. The best part is that unlike opioids, CBD has no side effects at all.
You can use CBD for PTSD as it helps reduce anxiety memory, modulate levels of neurotransmitters in your body, and improve your life with better sleep and overall health.
The effect of CBD on PTSD
A traumatic event can cause fear memories. These lead to fear reactions such as anxiety. Therefore, disorder of fear memory formation is key to PTSD patients. Studies have shown that CBD encourages reduction in anxiety expression. Because of the ability of the cannabinoid CBD to interfere with anxiety memory reconsolidation and promote anxiety memory extinction, CBD is a promising option. These fear memory effects are caused by CBD via CB1 receptors and 5-HT1A receptors. Both are known to have an impact on memory.
The Endocannabinoid System and PTSD
CBD is useful for treating PTSD by indirectly activating the endocannabinoid receptors and activating the serotonergic receptor, also known as 5-HT1A. Typically, our own natural neurotransmitters activate these receptors: serotonin for 5-HT1A receptors and anandamide for endocannabinoid receptors.
In the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the low anandamide level has been attributed to the development of PTSD. This is because anandamide has some mood-enhancing properties. CBD has also been found to improve anandamide levels by hindering its breakdown. This allows anandamide to activate the CB1 receptors for a longer time and generally improve mood.
When it comes to the serotonergic system, serotonin is responsible for regulating sleep, mood, memory and social behavior. Low serotonin levels can also contribute to PTSD. Essentially, CBD works like serotonin and activates the 5-HT1A receptor, which can help impair anxiety memory, improve mood, and help sleep. Therefore, these substances in CBD can help with PTSD.
Medical Evidence: Effects of Cannabinoids on PTSD
Brazilian researchers carried out a study in 2018 to investigate the effects of CBD in ECS in rats on anxiety memory. The study found that when rats were treated with CBD, the consolidation process was interrupted immediately after an anxiety memory was recognized, and the level of anxiety and resistance to fear extinction decreased.
Another study examined the effects of CBD on rats who were afraid. The fear trigger was the presence of cats. This led to PTSD-like effects. After exposure to this stress, some rats received CBD or placebo repeatedly or only once. After a week, the results showed that repeated administration of CBD actually prevented further anxious behavior. The study found that CBD causes this effect via the 5-HT1A receptor. It is a receptor that plays an important role in PTSD development. Accordingly, they concluded that CBD has the potential to help PTSD and that 5-HT1A receptors are the potential target.
In 2015, researchers from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Drake University reviewed the scientific literature on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of military veterans with PTSD. The review found that military veterans had a positive correlation between the desire to use cannabis and severe PTSD symptoms. Research has also shown that cannabis generally relieves PTSD or symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
This review found that more research is needed on cannabinoids and PTSD. This is particularly the case because a significant number of military veterans use the substance to treat PTSD and the majority of them report benefits.
Medical benefits of CBD in PTSD
We have already explained in detail how and why CBD is a promising option for PTSD. Another important aspect is that CBD can help improve the quality of life for people suffering from PTSD since anxiety is a common symptom of this disorder. In this case, endocannabinoid deficiency and serotonin are seen as the main causes of anxiety disorders.
As the studies above have shown, CBD interacts with both the endocannabinoid system and the serotonergic system. So, you can improve the balance and the anxiolytic benefits such as the prevention of anxious behavior and the fear of memory disorders.
How to take CBD for PTSD?
The available scientific research results do not provide a satisfactory basis for a specific dosage of CBD. Studies on epilepsy and Dravet syndrome indicate the use of exceptionally high doses; about 600 mg a day.
An interesting finding, however, was that high doses of CBD are not always the most effective in treating anxiety. Most studies have shown that moderate doses greater than 6 mg per pound – but less than 60 mg per pound – are considered the most effective.
There is no recommended daily dose for CBD administration. Doctors can recommend a dose but cannot prescribe it. However, most experts advise taking around 25 mg of CBD once or twice a day. Monitor the effects for a week and then increase or decrease them as necessary.
Remember that everyone is different. What works for one person may not be right for another. There are several ways to take CBD – in the end it all depends on personal preference.
The CBD vape gives the fastest results, so this method may be perfect if you have a panic attack. If you always have a CBD vape pen with you, you have the ability to quickly respond to triggering reminders when they occur.
If you use CBD in the form of CBD capsules, CBD oils or CBD foods, it some time for the effects to show. However, it is good to know that oral CBD has a longer lasting effect than inhalation. If it is used sublingually (drop by drop), it can also be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. You may want to try a few different methods to find which one works best for you.
CBD has great potential for PTSD
PTSD is a serious condition that affects many people around the world. It affects the quality of life and makes it difficult to do normal daily tasks. The good news is that cannabinoids like CBD have shown great potential in the treatment of PTSD. CBD can help ensure restful sleep, promote physical and emotional wellbeing, and prevent traumatic memories from arising. All in all, it is a promising treatment that could help patients get their lives back on track.