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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that starts after a person experiences a traumatic event. The event may involve a real or perceived threat of injury or death.
Traumatic events can include natural disasters, military combat, physical or sexual abuse, or an accident.
What are the signs of PTSD/Trauma?
The most common signs of PTSD include:
- Reliving the event: the person has nightmares and/or vivid flashbacks of the traumatic event, which makes them relive the trauma. This can cause intense physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, and panic attacks.
- Avoidance: the person tends to avoid people, places, conversations, or situations that are connected to the traumatic event.
- Being on the edge: the person is constantly alert and always on the lookout for danger, even in safe surroundings.
- Becoming emotionally detached: the person grows distant from friends and family and loses interest in the activities they once enjoyed doing.
How does Cannabis medicine help with PTSD/Trauma?
CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical compound naturally present in the cannabis plant. Research suggests that CBD has anxiolytic properties that provide symptomatic relief from various anxiety disorders.
Research tells us that CBD interacts with the CB1, serotonin, and other receptors in the brain that regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviours. Preclinical and clinical pieces of evidence of these studies establish CBD as an effective treatment for different types of anxiety disorders such as GAD, PTSD, OCD, SAD, etc.
So far, the majority of evidence linked to the effects of CBD on anxiety comes from animal studies and laboratory experiments. But these do show some promise.
For instance, a small study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal in 2011 revealed that CBD can help reduce social anxiety. In the study, 24 people with SAD were given either 600mg of CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before a public speaking test.
12 other people with SAD performed the same test with no CBD treatment. The results showed that pre-treatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in participants as they gave their speeches.
Some research also shows that CBD may help ease anxiety by affecting the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that plays a vital role in our mood, sleep, digestion, and behaviour.
Scientific studies suggest that increasing serotonin levels can help treat anxiety. This is how anti-depressants work. Further studies tell us that CBD may work similarly to antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Potential Benefits of Cannabis Medicine for PTSD/Trauma
An increasing number of studies have examined the potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety.
- A 2011 study revealed that CBD was able to reduce anxiety and discomfort during a public speaking event in people with social anxiety disorders. Another study found that cannabidiol can reduce anxiety symptoms in people with SAD.
- A 2015 review of 49 studies found evidence suggesting that CBD could helps with generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorders, PTSD, and OCD.
- A study done in 2019 found that out of a total of 11 patients, 91% experienced a relief in anxiety symptoms after taking CBD.
- Another 2019 study used CBD as a treatment for people struggling with anxiety and sleep. Almost 80% of people saw an improvement in anxiety and 70% reported better sleep in the first month.