CBD and post-traumatic stress disorder: what the research says

CBD and post-traumatic stress disorder: what the research says

Many people use CBD to manage their emotional well-being. Recent research suggests that CBD might be able to help with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. The symptoms of PTSD can include anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and an unstable mood.

The good news is that PTSD is treatable. Talk therapy, support groups, and self-care routines can be helpful. A doctor might also prescribe anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications to help someone manage the symptoms of PTSD.

New research suggests that relief might come from an unexpected source: CBD. However, this needs to be studied further.
The science of CBD and PTSD
Researchers have looked into whether CBD can help with various psychiatric disorders. And while some of the evidence is promising, most reviews conclude that further research is needed.

In recent years, some new studies have provided insights on whether CBD can help with PTSD. Recently, we’ve gone from lab studies to studies on rats - and now human clinical trials suggest that CBD reduces the symptoms of this disorder.

For a long time, it was thought that CBD works for PTSD by affecting the way our body uses serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone). As this 2017 study points out, CBD seems to modulate fear memory in rats, meaning it regulates the way they remember traumatic events.

A 2020 review of the available research concluded that there is promising evidence that CBD can be used to treat PTSD. However, it also noted that far more research is needed.

Since then, a few more studies have been published. A 2022 study looked at 33 participants with PTSD and monitored their mood after recalling the traumatic event. The study didn’t find a significant difference between the participants who were given CBD and those who weren’t.

As countless studies have pointed out, we’ll need rigorous human clinical trials before we conclude whether CBD can help with PTSD or not. Fortunately, clinical trials are currently underway - and hopefully, future research will provide more clarity.
Is it safe to use CBD for PTSD?
For the most part, CBD is considered safe to use. Research shows that humans can tolerate large amounts of CBD, too - larger than we’d typically use at once. Still, CBD can have side effects for some people. This can include fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in weight or appetite.

If you do decide to try CBD for PTSD, we encourage you to speak with your doctor and/or therapist before doing so. This is particularly important if you’re on any medication, as CBD can interact with certain drugs. Don’t attempt to replace any of your current medications with CBD unless your doctor is supervising you.

Remember that CBD isn’t a replacement for therapy, healthy choices, and self-care strategies. Talk therapy is known to be the most effective treatment for PTSD. You might also benefit from joining a support group, either online or in person.

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