Are you or a person you know searching for a possible way to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms? CBD Clinicals has compiled a list of cannabidiol (CBD) oil products that may suit your particular needs.  

How CBD Helps With PTSD 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound contained in hemp and marijuana plants. It has low quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana(1)

CBD is one option that may help manage or relieve several medical conditions, including PTSD symptoms.

PTSD is a particular mental health condition caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event(2)

Its symptoms include(3)

  • Flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks 
  • Uncontrollable thoughts
  • Nightmares 

The majority of people who experience PTSD may find it difficult to adjust and cope with the situation. If the symptoms last long-term for months or years or worsen, then you may have PTSD.  

A 2018 study evaluated the potential of CBD to reduce the retention of negative PTSD memories(4). The researchers assessed the results from past preclinical and experimental studies involving humans. 

The study revealed that CBD may be a possible effective treatment in reducing people’s inappropriate responses to PTSD-induced memories.

This result was due to CBD’s effects on the various stages of negative memory processing(5).  

CBD and THC may activate endocannabinoid system (ECS) transmission through cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS).

However, one possible advantage of using CBD to help with conditions like PTSD is that it does not contain high levels of psychoactive chemical compounds like those found in THC. Thus, CBD does not get users high(6).

The ECS plays a critical role in human survival by maintaining balance within the human body through networks such as the immune system and endocrine system(7).

A 2014 animal study published in CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets showed that CBD’s effects on chemical receptors in the brain may include anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects(8).

More studies, including human trials, are necessary to investigate whether CBD may produce the same effects in humans.  

CBD may also function as a method to reduce anxiousness produced from disorders such as PTSD. 

A 2018 study published in Pain studied how CBD modulates the transmission of the hormone serotonin and reverses anxiety-like behavior(9). CBD’s effects on neuroreceptors may have applications for reducing anxiety in people with PTSD. 

Benefits of Using CBD for PTSD 

The benefits of CBD oil may include ones that relieve or reduce PTSD symptoms, including nightmares, stress and anxiety, and sleeplessness. 

Research indicated that CBD may help reduce nightmares, which is one of the common symptoms of PTSD(10)

The researchers reported that the reduction in “repeated, disturbing dreams” was an unexpected finding in their research(11). It was listed in the study’s symptom evaluation. 

People with PTSD sometimes produce outbursts due to emotions such as anxiety and anger. A study published in 2021 evaluated various effects of CBD, including mood responses(12)

The effects of CBD on adults may include factors like stress and anxiety, according to the study published in Psychopharmacology(13).

The results suggested that CBD oil for anxiety may produce increased sedation. However, more research is needed, as the participants did not experience a decrease in subjective stress and anxiety(14).

Individuals with PTSD may benefit from improved mood response.

A study led by Scott Shannon, MD, studied the effects of CBD on people with problems related to anxiety or poor sleep(15).

Sleep quality improved among 48 participants during the first month(16). However, additional research is warranted as sleep scores fluctuated as time passed. 

PTSD patients may experience sleep disorders, so CBD may provide an option to improve sleep quality.

How Long Does CBD Take to Help PTSD? 

The speed by which the body absorbs CBD is greatly affected by the format in which it was taken

For example, the sublingual method involves holding a liquid under the tongue for 60 to 120 seconds. A person may start feeling the effects within 15 to 45 minutes(17)

Topical CBD products like balms and lotions can be placed directly on the skin. Researchers are still investigating whether such products deliver CBD under the skin.

How Long Will CBD Help With PTSD? 

A 2018 review determined that the half-life of CBD was two to five days after individuals took a daily oral dose(18). Half-life refers to how much time is required for a substance’s amount to reduce to half of its original value(19)

When those with PTSD use CBD products, other factors that may affect CBD’s half-life include:

  • Bodyweight
  • Metabolism
  • CBD dosage
  • Frequently of use

It is critical to consult a doctor before starting CBD products. Your physician can provide guidelines about your CBD usage. 

Risks and Side Effects of Utilizing CBD for PTSD 

CBD products may offer various potential therapeutic benefits. They may, however, also produce side effects in some people, including(20)

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight changes
  • Dry mouth
  • Lower appetite
  • Diarrhea

Specific drug interactions are also possible. Thus, you should share all dietary prescription drugs you are taking with your doctor. They can then determine whether possible drug interactions may occur from the use of CBD products. 

CBD Dosage for PTSD

Research shows that the maximum amount of CBD that humans can tolerate is 1,500 mg per day(21)

However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD as a PTSD treatment yet. A good approach is to start at a low daily dosage, such as 20mg, then increase your dosage by 5mg per week if it remains well-tolerated.

How to Take CBD Oil for PTSD

Some CBD companies offer features such as:

  • Locally grown hemp
  • No genetically modified organisms (non-GMO)
  • Organic hemp with no synthetic additives or pesticides
  • CO2 extraction 
  • Third-party lab testing  

Some companies also provide quality products and CBD oil help through online resources.

When searching for the best CBD oil, some options for high-quality CBD oil include:

CBD Isolates: These products contain pure CBD. Unlike many CBD products on the market, isolates do not contain the psychoactive chemical compound THC. Other types of CBD products include a low level of THC.

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil: These products purportedly retain valuable components of the hemp plant, which are theoretically synergized in the “entourage effect”(22).

Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil: These products contain several chemical compounds from the cannabis plant. However, they have no THC.  

CBD brands offer CBD oil, CBD tinctures, CBD capsules, CBD topicals, CBD edibles, and CBD vapes or vaporized liquids. 

CBD Tinctures

These products are bundled with a dropper to provide accurate dosing. One application option is directly under the tongue (sublingually), so the bloodstream directly absorbs the oil. 

The process involves allowing the CBD drops to remain under the tongue for 60 to 120 seconds(23). You may feel the CBD’s effects within 15 to 45 minutes. 

Sometimes, a CBD company like CBDistillery and NuLeaf Naturals offers CBD tinctures in various flavors to mask the “earthy” taste of CBD tinctures. 

You can also add CBD tinctures to drinks such as smoothies or food such as soups. 

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules provide a convenient way to consume CBD. However, one factor to consider is that the products may work slower. That is because they must travel through the person’s digestive system. 

As a result, other options like CBD oil tinctures may be a better option than CBD capsules. That is particularly true for those who seek fast relief from PTSD symptoms. 

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals for PTSD include plant-based essential oils and are available in various forms, including:

  • CBD lotions
  • CBD creams
  • CBD balms
  • CBD salves

Some CBD topicals combine CBD oil and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil that are partially human-made fats. 

The skin’s surface absorbs CBD topicals. It is thus possible to apply a greater amount of CBD afterward. 

You should add a small amount of CBD to your skin to determine if it causes an allergic reaction, for example. Some people are allergic to the cannabis plant(24). However, little research has been conducted on this matter. 

If you observe positive results from CBD topicals, then you can slightly increase the dosage. You may observe the effects of topical CBD products within 15 to 30 minutes(25)

Several factors, however, affect the efficacy of CBD topicals, including the CBD potency and your body weight or metabolism. 

CBD Edibles

Some options include CBD chocolate bars and CBD gummies. They offer alternatives to those who want to avoid the bitter flavor of options like full-spectrum hemp extract.

You may feel the effects of CBD edibles within 30 to 60 minutes(26).

CBD Vapes

CBD vape pens are also available on the market. The vapors go through the lungs to enter the bloodstream. A person may immediately feel the effects of CBD vapes.  

The effects may last for up to two hours. However, it can be challenging to calculate the exact amount of CBD contained in each draw. 

Manufacturers of CBD oil vape products may indicate the amount of CBD per inhale, although the amount may differ per person. 

Another critical factor to consider is the possibility of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI), which the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised(27). 

Legality of CBD 

In 2014, Colorado became the first U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana through dispensaries(28). In 2000, the state previously legalized medical marijuana. 

The United States Congress signed the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018. This new law altered particular federal regulations related to hemp’s production and marketing(29)

The law referred to the various parts of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, including the seeds(30).

However, the 2018 Farm Bill preserved cannabis and cannabis-based chemical compounds as subjected to regulation like other FDA-regulated products. 

The sale of CBD products may be legal based on how the seller labels and markets the products(31). CBD products must still comply with all applicable laws. 

More Information About CBD  

  • Studies in recent years showed that the health benefits of CBD may include reducing health conditions’ symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and depression(32)
  • In recent years, CBD oil has become more popular in the healthcare and wellness industries. 
  • Cannabis plants contain several chemicals, including aromatic compounds known as terpenes. 
  • CBD and THC are classified as primary phytocannabinoids. These chemical compounds are plant-based cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.     

Product Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How can CBD help with PTSD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) may help reduce symptoms of PTSD through its possible antidepressant and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) features(33)

The chemical compound interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps balance various bodily functions such as mood, anxiety, and sleep. 

This system also helps explain how CBD may benefit people with PTSD as they are common PTSD symptoms.  

What evidence or research exists to say that CBD helps with PTSD?

Some studies indicate that CBD may help relieve PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, negative memories, and nightmares(34). Additional research is needed on the efficacy of CBD for treating anxiety disorders such as PTSD. 

Is there any clear evidence that CBD can make PTSD worse? 

No studies have indicated that the chemical compound cannabidiol may worsen PTSD symptoms. Studies show the chemical compound may have anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties(35)

More research is needed on how effective CBD may be for relieving PTSD symptoms.

Will CBD interact with any current medication I may be taking for PTSD? 

CBD may interact with certain medications and change how the body breaks them down. Before you start taking CBD products for PTSD symptoms, it is highly advisable to consult a doctor first. 

Are there other treatments I should consider alongside CBD to help with PTSD? 

Various treatments for PTSD include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and psychotherapy. However, SSRIs may cause side effects such as anxiety, nausea, and insomnia(36)

CBD may produce minimal side effects, such as dry mouth and drowsiness.  

Can I fail a drug test if I use CBD for PTSD?  

CBD itself is not a psychoactive chemical compound, so it does not cause you to feel “high.” Meanwhile, some CBD products contain the chemical compound THC.  

This factor can produce a false-positive result when you take a drug test after using CBD oil. This result may incorrectly indicate that a certain condition or attribute is present. 

What is the CBD dosage for PTSD?  

The FDA has not produced official guidelines for using CBD to treat PTSD. However, you may start with a low dosage, such as 20mg, then increase your dosage by 5mg of CBD oil weekly if you experience no adverse side effects.  

Is CBD oil addictive?

CBD has a positive safety profile(37). Scientists have not discovered any evidence of physical dependence or withdrawal associated with CBD. Due to the extremely low THC levels in CBD, it is doubtful CBD products can cause dependence(38)

It is still utterly essential to consult your doctor before using CBD. This step can help determine if you may experience a drug interaction when combining CBD with certain pharmaceutical products.

What’s the difference between hemp oil, hempseed oil, and CBD? 

Hemp oil is made by extracting oil from hemp plants. Meanwhile, hempseed oil is extracted from hemp seeds and is high in omega3 and omega6 fatty acids. 

“Hemp oil” should be distinguished from “hempseed oil.” Some people confusingly refer to “hemp extract” as hemp oil. 

It is important to review the FDA’s 2018 Farm Bill and applicable state laws regarding the buying and selling of hemp and CBD products.

  1. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know
  2. Post traumatic stress disorder
  3. ibid.
  4. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials
  5. ibid.
  6. What are the benefits of CBD–and is it safe?
  7. The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator
  8. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa
  9. Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain
  10. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series
  11. ibid.
  12. Evaluating cannabidiol (CBD) expectancy effects on acute stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized crossover study
  13. ibid
  14. ibid
  15. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
  16. ibid.
  17. CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know
  18. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans
  19. What is meant by half-life?
  20. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
  21. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent
  22. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils
  23. CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know
  24. Marijuana cannabis allergy
  25. Which CBD cream works best?
  26. Smoking, Vaping, Eating: Is Legalization Impacting the Way People Use Cannabis?
  27. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products
  28. The Illegalization of Marijuana: A Brief History
  29. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)
  30. ibid.
  31. A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users
  32. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
  33. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa
  34. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series
  35. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa
  36. Medication for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  37. CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Critical Review Report
  38. Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t
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