Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a long-term mental and behavioral disorder, usually triggered by one or more traumatic experiences. Although it is frequently mentioned when referring to combat veterans, up to 10% of all people in the United States will experience it in their lives. 

As our acceptance and understanding of PTSD has grown since its acceptance into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III) in 1980, we now recognize that a multifaceted approach is needed to manage and treat symptoms of PTSD. In the near future, CBD may complement current therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with its mild mood boosting and anxiety relief.

What Can CBD Do to Help With Symptoms of PTSD?

You can read our overview of CBD and anxiety on our blog, but to summarize, CBD can have a positive impact on general or social anxiety. We don’t currently know exactly how these benefits happen, but the current research indicates a positive impact through the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) resulting in a boost to helpful chemical production, such as anandamide and serotonin, and a boost to moods, possibly through anti-inflammatory properties. Now, while anxiety disorders are not directly analogous to PTSD, there is a lot of overlap, which indicates the potential for a helpful role in treatment. 

One small trial out of the University of Colorado found a correlation between CBD oils use and reduced night terrors. This is a single study, but the implications for treating PTSD symptoms like insomnia and nightmares is promising. 

There is also some exciting research coming from University College London that posits a neuroprotective property from CBD use. These researchers found that CBD increased blood flow to the hippocampus. PTSD increases a patient’s risk for dementia, and increased hippocampal blood flow could be protective against it. A stronger hippocampus could also, possibly, reduce the severity of the amygdala’s influence on PTSD patients’ brains. The amygdala is associated with the fight-or-flight response and is frequently overactive in patients with anxiety disorders and PTSD.

Which type of CBD is Good for PTSD?

While CBD has many benefits and will be better understood as the body of research grows, right now there is no cut and dry delineation as to which strains or products work best for specific diseases and disorders. Most doctors currently recommend using CBD isolates or  broad-spectrum CBD oils to get the maximum benefits from CBD while avoiding any cannabinoids that contain psychoactive THC that can show up in full-spectrum CBD oils, such as delta-9 THC. 

While much of it is anecdotal, there is still a large body of conflicting data on THC and its impact on PTSD. THC is well known for the latent potential to trigger paranoia and panic attacks, while other data supports small doses for reduced anxiety. However, since the symptoms of PTSD that many patients want to manage include anxiety and panic attacks, it’s a lower-risk proposition to stick to broad-spectrum CBD products, thereby eliminating the risk of THC exposure. 

As always, remember that CBD can interact with other medications, so if prescription medications are already being used to manage symptoms, check with a physician before adding CBD oil to the treatment.

Find Verified Clean “CBD Near Me” on Real Tested CBD

All these potential benefits won’t matter if customers choose a bad product. Many CBD oils and products out there contain everything from pesticides and solvents to heavy metals and unlisted THC. Avoid bad or misleading products by choosing only products that have been verified by third-party lab testing. 
Real Tested CBD published hundreds of scientifically verified, bias-free reviews of the leading North American CBD brands. You can view the latest CBD oils we’ve tested on our website.

Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A
Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A is a clinician-scientist and ophthalmic surgeon. Before attending Chicago Medical School, he worked as a Research Scientist in a Healthspan Pharmacology Laboratory at University of California, Irvine focused on investigating the impact of botanical extracts and dietary supplements that can slow the aging process and add healthy years to human life.

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