WINK CBD and Combatting PTSD

CBD (cannabidiol) has been making waves in the medical world in recent years with regard to its positive health benefits and quality of life improvement, but recent studies have begun looking into another advantage of this cure-all compound - assisting in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This article will discuss PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as well as what CBD is. It will also outline the discoveries being made in regard to the positive association between CBD usage and PTSD, as well as the side effects associated with its usage.

What is CBD?

CBD is an active ingredient found in cannabis and hemp. While THC is the psycho-active compound in marijuana associated with feeling "high", CBD has been reported to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as assist in pain reduction/inflammation and as a natural sleep aid.

CBD can be taken both orally in the form of a gummy, pill or oil tincture, or through topical CBD-infused creams.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a long-standing medical condition in which a person exposed to trauma faces triggers which causes them to "relive" the traumatic event, or experience extreme episodes of shock and/or fear even when they are in a perfectly safe environment. A person's quality of life is often reduced significantly as PTSD also affects a people's ability to get a good night's sleep, and also increases anxiety, irritability and depression.

Current treatments of PTSD include psychotherapy, more specifically cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure therapy. Medications such as anti-depressants, SSRI's or SNRI's are also used to treat the side effects that come with PTSD. While these treatments have been shown to help many suffering from the condition, promising evidence is backing CBD as an additional therapy to ease symptoms and improve patient's quality of life.

How does CBD help with PTSD?

In 2016, PubMed Central conducted research into CBD use in PTSD patient's and found strong evidence to support that CBD may reduce anxiety and memory of the traumatic event. While the connection is still unknown, Frontiers in Neuroscience has a promising theory.

They believe that it is possible that the endocannabinoid system, which includes CBD receptors, has a direct effect on the hippocampus and the amygdala in the brain. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning, while the amygdala is responsible for detecting potential threats as well as fear stimuli.

PTSD sufferers are shown to have a hyperactive amygdala; since CBD causes the hippocampus to grow, this results in reduced hyperactivity in the amygdala, thus reducing the feelings of fear associated with PTSD.

 What are the side effects of CBD use?

Multiple studies have concluded that the best method to consume CBD for PTSD is orally through capsules, or topically through oils or creams. While CBD is a natural compound derived from plants, it does come with its own side effects, although the reported reactions are not nearly as severe as those reported with pharmaceutical medications.

Side effects can include:

  • dry mouth
  • drowsiness and fatigue
  • low blood pressure
  • reduced appetite

It is important to discuss with a doctor before implementing CBD into your medical regime as there are not enough studies done in regards to CBD's effects with other prescription medications. Also, CBD infused with THC could have its own set of adverse effects. 

In Summary 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that affects an estimated 6-9% of North Americans. Current approved treatments to manage the symptoms of PTSD are psychotherapy and medication, although CBD is showing much promise in being a natural treatment with far less severe repercussions than pharmaceuticals.