PTSD: Is CBD the solution?

6 Minute Read

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has garnered increasing attention due to its impact on mental health and overall well-being. So, Is CBD the Solution?

The quest for effective therapies knows no bounds. Traditional treatments often have limitations and side effects, leading many individuals to explore alternative therapies. One such alternative that has gained traction is CBD. Step into a realm where science meets nature. Let's see the intricacies of this enigmatic compound, exploring its mechanisms, its promise, and the considerations that come with it. Let's start a quest to understand if CBD holds the key to unlocking relief for those battling the aftermath of trauma.

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for  post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition that develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as violence, abuse, accident, war, or natural disaster. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, avoidance, negative thoughts, and emotional numbness, which can interfere with their daily functioning and quality of life. PTSD can affect anyone at any age, but factors such as family history, previous trauma, or substance abuse may increase the risk of developing it. PTSD can be treated with medication and psychotherapy, but some people may need long-term support and care.

Understanding PTSD Symptoms

Experiencing a traumatic event can profoundly impact mental and emotional well-being. In the aftermath of such circumstances, it's crucial to recognize the signs of PTSD, as understanding its symptoms is the first step toward effective intervention and healing.

Re-experiencing Symptoms

  • Flashbacks: Vivid and distressing memories of the traumatic event that feel as if they are happening again.
  • Nightmares: Recurrent, frightening dreams related to the traumatic experience.
  • Intrusive Thoughts: Unwanted and distressing thoughts or images related to the trauma.

Avoidance Symptoms

  • Avoidance of Triggers:Avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the traumatic event.
  • Emotional Numbing: Feeling emotionally detached, losing interest in activities, or feeling disconnected from others.
  • Memory Impairment: Difficulty recalling details of the traumatic event.

Arousal Symptoms

  • Hyperarousal: Feeling constantly on edge, easily startled, or experiencing heightened anxiety.
  • Irritability: Easily becoming agitated or angered.
  • Trouble Concentrating: Difficulty focusing or concentrating on tasks.

Mood and Cognitive Symptoms

  • Negative Thoughts: Persistent negative beliefs about oneself, others, or the world.
  • Guilt and Shame: Blaming oneself for the traumatic event or feeling ashamed.
  • Negative Emotions: Overwhelming feelings of fear, anger, sadness, or guilt.

Conventional Treatments for PTSD

Traditional treatments for PTSD have long been the cornerstone to navigating the challenges of post-traumatic stress. The major conventional treatments used to focus on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviours, and Anti-Depressant Medication has been widely recognized as an effective treatment for PTSD.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) :CBT is a widely-used therapeutic approach that helps individuals manage and cope with PTSD symptoms by reshaping negative thought patterns and behaviours. CBT is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that has been widely adopted for helping individuals effectively manage and cope with symptoms of PTSD by reshaping negative thought patterns and behaviours.

Anti-Depressant Medications: Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD. However, they can have side effects and may not work for everyone.

PTSD

These were traditional approaches to address PTSD. Today, innovative methods like CBD are gaining traction, offering effective therapeutic alternatives for managing post-traumatic stress.

CBD Therapy for Trauma

CBD is one of the active compounds from the cannabis plant. It may help reduce and manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a chronic psychiatric condition that may develop after experiencing a traumatic event. 

There is growing evidence that CBD may help people with PTSD by modulating the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in emotional memory processing and stress response. 

Some potential benefits of CBD for PTSD are:

  • CBD may facilitate the extinction of aversive memories and block their reconsolidation, which are key processes for the treatment of PTSD. This means that CBD may help people to  reduce the fear and distress  associated with their traumatic memories and prevent them from returning.
  • CBD may have anxiolytic and fear-reducing effects, which may help people  cope with anxiety and panic attacks common in PTSD. CBD may also improve sleep quality and reduce nightmares, often disruptive for people with PTSD.
  • CBD may have antidepressant and mood-stabilizing effects, which may help people to  overcome depression and negative emotions that are often associated with PTSD. CBD may also enhance self-compassion and resilience, which are essential factors for recovery.

CBD mechanism of action

The understand mechanism of action of CBD on PTSD, there is possible explanation based on the current research byBitencourt and Takahashi. CBD acts on the -

The ECS system, or the endocannabinoid system, which is a network of endogenous cannabinoids (eCBs), cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and enzymes that regulate various physiological processes, such as mood, memory, appetite, pain, and inflammation. The ECS system can modulate the activity of other neurotransmitter systems, such as serotonin and glutamate, implicated in PTSD.

The corticoraphe circuit is a neural pathway that connects the cortex (the outer layer of the brain) with the raphe nuclei (a group of nuclei in the brainstem). The raphe nuclei are the main source of serotonin in the brain. The corticoraphe circuit plays an important role in regulating mood, emotion, cognition, stress response, and fear extinction.

How CBD helps PTSD

CBD may help with PTSD by interacting with both the ECS system and the corticoraphe circuit in different ways. Some possible effects of CBD are:

  • CBD may facilitate the extinction of aversive memories and block their reconsolidation, which are key processes for the treatment of PTSD. This means that CBD may help people to reduce the fear and distress associated with their traumatic memories and prevent them from returning. CBD may enhance the eCB signaling during these processes, which may help to weaken or erase the fear memory traces in the brain.
  • CBD may have anxiolytic and fear-reducing effects, which may help people cope with anxiety and panic attacks common in PTSD. CBD may also improve sleep quality and reduce nightmares, often disruptive for people with PTSD. CBD may activate CB1 and 5-HT1A receptors in the brain regions that regulate anxiety and fear, such as the hippocampus and the amygdala. CBD may also inhibit serotonin reuptake by blocking the serotonin transporter (SERT), which can increase the availability of serotonin in the synaptic cleft.
  • CBD may have antidepressant and mood-stabilizing effects, which may help people to overcome depression and negative emotions that are often associated with PTSD. CBD may also enhance self-compassion and resilience, which are important factors for recovery. CBD may increase the levels of anandamide, an eCB with antidepressant-like properties. CBD may also modulate the activity of glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that mediates learning and memory.

These are some of the possible effects of CBD on PTSD that have been suggested by preclinical and human studies. However, more research is needed to confirm these hypotheses and to elucidate the optimal dose, form, and duration of CBD treatment for PTSD.

How to Integrate CBD Oil for PTSD?

Integrating CBD oil to alleviate PTSD offers various approaches tailored to individual preferences. Options include utilizing  Cannabliss oil or seeking guidance from a healthcare expert for personalized dosage and suitable products. Consider your needs and goals when choosing the method that best complements your journey toward managing PTSD symptoms effectively.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, exploring CBD as a potential solution for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) opens the door to alternative therapies beyond conventional treatments. As our understanding of mental health evolves, individuals seek safer, more personalized options. CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system and its potential to influence emotional memory processing offer promise in mitigating the debilitating effects of PTSD.

While research indicates its benefits, further studies are being established on its efficacy, dosing, and long-term effects. As we delve deeper into this realm, CBD's role in managing PTSD could offer a glimmer of hope for those seeking relief from the burdens of traumatic experiences. When considering CBD, collaboration with healthcare professionals remains paramount to making informed decisions.



Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6066583/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667242121000324

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