When confronted with a threatening situation, how do you react? Do you notice the quick desire to hold your breath, as your mind trickles toward a state of panic? Maybe your palms grow damp with sweat, and your heartbeat becomes deafening?
As cortisol spikes in your system, fear only increases. Your brain will make every attempt at identifying the cause of this threat. For those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the threat may be nothing more concrete than a memory.
Are you living with post-traumatic stress disorder? The current CBD- and PTSD-focused research may help you find a reprieve from your symptoms.
Most often, the reactions that occur within your body when exposed to stress exist to keep you alive. For someone suffering from PTSD, those reactions don’t match the reality of the situation.
PTSD, once known as shell shock, impacts more than military members and veterans. In fact, up to 8% of the population suffers from this disorder.
If you’re one of the 8%, read below to find out how CBD may play a part in manage your symptoms.
The use of CBD with PTSD is fairly new in terms of research. However, the usage of cannabis as a medical treatment began back in the 19th century.
And now, decades later, its potential holds promise. To understand how CBD can help, it helps to have a clear picture of the plant’s makeup.
Cannabis (also known as hemp and marijuana) refers to the plant itself. Within cannabis, there are 113 types of cannabinoids, the most well-known being THC and CBD.
THC is the compound in marijuana that produces psychedelic effects. It also can help control nausea and vomiting, giving it a place in the discussion of AIDS treatment.
CBD doesn’t create any type of psychedelic effect, nor does CBN or CGB. CBD binds very weakly to certain receptors. That binding allows it to produce health benefits without creating the high that utilizing cannabis in its full form would create.
Let’s Talk Endocannabinoids Details
CBD may help PTSD by impacting the level of stress and anxiety experienced by your endocannabinoid system (ECS). If you’ve never heard of the endocannabinoid system, don’t worry. Up until thirty years ago, neither had most scientists.
Think about how it feels to step into your house after a long day. You know where everything is, you know what to expect. You’ve left the uncertainty of the world around you and are back in a predictable place.
Homeostasis is like that. Your cells, organ, and tissue all strive to exist in the status quo, and when they’re thrown off, they fight to return to neutrality.
Your endogenous cannabinoid system is part of what helps your body remain in homeostasis. This complex and still not totally understood system plays a lot of big roles. It assists with cell communication, appetite, immune response, memory, mood, and more.
Research on THC and how it impacts the body prompted the discovery of the ECS. Along with that came the knowledge that it’s comprised of three parts: Cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid molecules, and metabolic enzymes.
Your endocannabinoid system uses natural cannabinoids to maintain homeostasis. Well, CBD interacts with your ECS the same way.
Just in case you’re not sick of acronyms yet, here’s one more:
TL;DR: Your endocannabinoid system is part of your body that keeps everything running as smooth as possible. One of the components of your ECS is cannabinoids.
If your body is struggling to utilize cannabinoid receptors, your ECS can get funky. If your ECS gets funky, you’re no longer in homeostasis. And no one really wants to leave their home(ostasis) for long.
How Is PTSD Defined?
When a traumatic event occurs, the risk of PTSD is present. A medical professional diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder will look for a handful of criteria.
This is the first identification tool. In a PTSD sufferer, the trauma isn’t actually occurring again. But, a trigger or situation exists that tells you to panic. Re-experiencing symptom of the initial trauma often involves physical symptoms as well as emotional.
After experiencing the initial trauma which caused PTSD, you may make adjustments to your daily life to remove the perceived risk. For example, if you were assaulted while leaving your office, you may avoid that office.
Reactivity and Arousal
When trying to be present in your everyday life, you may feel highly alert or on edge. This often comes with jumpiness, mood swings, and insomnia.
Cognition and Mood Symptoms
If you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, cognition can be difficult to maintain. Often, PTSD symptoms will include memory lapses of either the first incident or re-experiences.
It can also be difficult to maintain a stable mood and focus, depending on the severity of symptoms. Remember, only a medical doctor with mental illness experience is qualified to give a PTSD diagnosis.
How Do PTSD and Your ECS Relate?
If you suffer from PTSD, the reality of a future encounter with a trigger is inevitable. When enduring a PTSD attack, your body isn’t experiencing one singular symptom.
Typically, a panic attack is present within a PTSD attack.
Those reactions that occur with a PTSD attack force your body out of homeostasis, which leaves your ECS desperately attempting to compensate.
CBD may act as the bridge your endogenous cannabinoid system needs to return itself to the status quo.
In fact, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study on the “effect of oral CBD administration on symptoms of PTSD in a series of 11 adult patients at an outpatient psychiatry clinic.”
That study resulted in the findings that 91% of participants “experienced a decrease in PTSD symptom severity.” Several patients also experience relief from frequent nightmares.
So how exactly is CBD creating this possible impact, and why? Frontier in Neuroscience posed the possible connection between CBD and PTSD.
Within their abstract, they discuss the concept of CBD having the ability to disassociate feelings with memories. With that disassociation of a painful or adverse memory, the fear will also diminish.
That indicates the possibility of CBD potentially being one of the ways to help PTSD symptom management.
CBD and Serotonin
CBD not only communicates with your endocannabinoid system. It can also work with your serotonin receptors. In fact, the transmission of CBD is thought to occur utilizing those receptors.
Seratonin is impacted by pain, anxiety, and other mood disorders. If you’re suffering from PTSD, there’s a strong probability your serotonin levels are also suffering.
CBD may mimic an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) by creating balanced levels.
It’s important to remember that research can be slow-moving processes. Research regarding cannabis and PTSD requires specific circumstances that are hard to create.
If you choose to utilize CBD as a management tool, it’s important to remember that research is not conclusive. This is not an FDA-approved treatment.
Dosage and Delivery
There are numerous different ways to take CBD. Your preferred delivery method could be based on personal taste or ease of use.
If you’re electing to use CBD for PTSD, explore all the options to see what feels most fitting. Some users are more comfortable with daily doses, while others will use it during a PTSD episode to try and gain control.
How and when you choose to utilize your CBD can play a factor in the most appropriate type. Explore the different delivery methods to see which is right for you.
When starting your CBD oil, start small. For example, you may begin with 2.5mg per KG (roughly 2.2 lbs) of body weight twice daily. Research the products you intend to use and reach out to the distribution for advice if you’re unsure.
The Power in CBD and PTSD Treatment
From fear to mood swings, to insomnia, PTSD comes with many challenges. Whether you’ve tried what feels like everything, or just beginning your journey, CBD for PTSD could help be the answer you need.
Be your own advocate. Research the quality of your future products, ask questions, and incorporate activities in your life that will foster relaxation, like meditation.
Research revolving around ways to treat PTSD is a moving target. Though some people may experience relief utilizing certain tools, others may not. And as with any disorder, there are varying levels of severity.
You don’t have to turn to harsh medications as an attempt at managing PTSD. Whether you’re dealing with depression, insomnia, or any other number of mood disorders, CDB could be the help you need to manage your symptoms.