We live in an age of anxiety. Physical and emotional trauma are a part of all of our lives. The good news is that more options for dealing with our health surface every day. Here is all you need to know about whether CBD oil helps with symptoms of PTSD.
How can CBD aid mental health?
Mental disorders are among the most difficult conditions to treat. Each individual is unique and and personal experiences combined with genetic predispositions generate an infinite amount of possibilities. It can sometimes feel overwhelming to even begin considering treatment options or possible solutions.
Traditionally, psychotherapy and counseling have been the primary ways to address PTSD, with antidepressant SSRI drugs arriving to the scene in the 1980s. But more recently, CBD oil has also shown promise in helping people alleviate symptoms related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
With an improved understanding of PTSD, we are discovering quickly that there may be dozens of underlying or connected issues in regards to our mental health. CBD oil may be a way to optimize your mental health in a way that is a holistic support to help you “relax, eat, sleep, protect and forget.”
Diagnosing PTSD in the United States
PTSD was officially recognized as a legitimate mental disorder in 1980. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the psychological “manual” for all clinical professionals, PTSD diagnosis requires the following criteria:
- Stressor (Direct or Indirect): Patient exposure to death, threats, injury, violence, etc.
- Intrusion: Re-experience or recurrence of the circumstances via memories, nightmares, flashbacks, etc.
- Avoidance: Intentional avoidance of trauma-related thoughts, feelings, or external conditions.
- Negative Cognition / Mood: Exaggerated blame, isolation, negative thoughts, and difficulty recalling features of the trauma.
- Negative Arousal: Irritable, aggressive, risky, hyper-vigilant moods and behavior.
- Duration: Symptoms must last for at least one month or longer.
- Function: Symptoms cause social or work related issues.
- Exclusion: Symptoms must not be due to substance abuse, medications, or other involved illnesses.
All of these criteria combine to diagnose the condition we call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD statistics in the United States
PTSD is much more common than we expected. In fact, most people experience some sort of trauma in their life. Many times, it can follow them for their entire lives.
Let’s take a look at the statistics for PTSD prevalence in the United States. According to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Alliance:
- An estimated 5% (13 million) of Americans have PTSD at any given time.
- Approximately 1 in 13 People in the US will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
- About 70% of adults in the US have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives, and 20% of these people developing PTSD from said experiences.
- Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
CBD oil – a possible solution for PTSD?
Studies suggest that Cannabidiol (CBD) works to regulate the endocannabinoid system, helping to regulate hormones, stress, and overall stasis, or well being.
In addition, cortisol is the primary hormone our bodies use to respond to stress and maintain control in coping with difficult environments and circumstances, however, an overstimulation and overproduction of cortisol over time may lead to the development of further issues. CBD oil may be a remedy to keep hormones in check.
Let’s take a look at 3 studies that suggest CBD can help those with PTSD.
- Anxiety and Insomnia: A national institute of health 2016 study looked at the effects that CBD oil had in treating pediatric anxiety and insomnia as a result of PTSD in a young girl. The findings were supportive for the use of cannabidiol oil as a safe treatment option in reducing PTSD symptoms such as sleep and anxiety related issues.
- Fear Extinction: The University of Birmingham in the UK did a 2016 study and determined that CBD was able to inhibit rats from “fear expression,” and actually produced a longer lasting reduction in fear overall. Pretty amazing, if you consider how prevalent and consuming fear can be to a creature, rat or human.
- Predatory Exposure: Another study from the National Health Institute in 2012 found that administration of CBD during an experience that resembled patients being targeted by a predator helped to prevent long-lasting anxiety effects. Specifically, CBD was found to manipulate the 5HT1A receptor This level of detail provides a promising foundation for future PTSD research to build upon.
Should you try CBD oil for PTSD?
PTSD is a more severe condition than anxiety or depression and may require more attention and care in finding a solution. Because of this, we recommend speaking with your doctor before using any CBD oil products, especially if you are taking other medications.
If you are interested in taking CBD oil we recommend starting with a dose of 20mg to 25mg per day, and slowing increasing the dose by 5–10mg per day if effects are not met. CBD oil can cause fatigue and low blood pressure. Please be careful if you are subject to drug screening as it may result in a failed drug test because of residual traces of THC metabolites. You can read more on drug testing and CBD here.
Keep in mind, CBD oil should always be used while practicing awareness and daily check-ins with your surroundings and internal feelings, sharing these things with close people in your life, as well as professionals. Mental disease is a serious issue, and having a valuable support system of friends and family is vital.
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