Can CBD Help With PTSD?

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition that develops in individuals who have witnessed a disturbing event, affects 3.5% of adults in the United States(1).
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) may be considered a potential treatment for PTSD due to its anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties(2).
  • A review in Medicina found that cannabidiol displayed promising signs as an enhancer of fear extinction and consolidator of emotional memories(3)
  • Animal studies revealed that cannabidiol made it easier for the subjects to forget aversive memories and block their reconsolidation(4).
  • However, no human clinical trial on CBD‘s effectiveness for treating PTSD specifically has been completed. People interested in using cannabidiol are advised to consult a doctor before using CBD products.

Best CBD Oils for PTSD

Editor's Pick

Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil

Specifically formulated to be more palatable to CBD users
Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil Bottle
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
    Editor's Pick
  • Score breakdown
    Value
    Quality
    Strength
    Customer Service
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Effectiveness
  • Summary

    Each bottle of the 750mg CBD oil tincture contains 25mg of CBD per dropper full. The oil is peppermint flavor to mask any unpleasant tastes related to CBD.

    Pro's
    Cons's
    •  Mid-strength
    •  Natural peppermint flavor
    •  Made from 100% organic and natural ingredients
    •  No other flavors
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 20% Off Coupon Code: CBDCLINICALS
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Kentucky, USA & North Carolina, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Full Spectrum CBD Oil
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Full Spectrum
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    Moonshine extraction method
    How to take it Under tongue
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    750 mg per bottle
    Carrier Oil Organic Hemp Seed Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    25mg of CBD per dropper full (1ml)
    Drug Test Contains 0.3% THC but there is a chance you may test positive for marijuana
    Flavours Peppermint
    Price Range $89 ($75.65 for subscriptions, 15% discount from regular price)
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.12/mg ($0.10/mg with subscription)
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    2-4 business days (first class USPS)
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants Organic, Non-GMO, no pesticides, no herbicides, no solvents or chemical fertilizers, No preservatives or sweeteners
    Allergens Vegan, Gluten free
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for New CBD users
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
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Best Organic

NuLeaf Naturals 900mg Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil

Perfect for anyone who are looking for CBD products that promote a healthy body and mind.
NuLeaf Naturals 900mg Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
    Best Organic
  • Score breakdown
    Value
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    Lab Testing Transparency
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  • Summary

    Natural remedy for various illnesses. NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oil is a whole-plant extract containing a full spectrum of naturally occurring synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes.

    Pro's
    Cons's
    •  Pure CBD hemp
    •  All natural
    •  Approximately 300 drops total
    •  No other flavors
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 20% Off Coupon Code: CBDCLINICALS20
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Colorado, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, Organic Virgin Hemp Seed Oil
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Full Spectrum CBD
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2 Method
    How to take it Under the tongue for approximately 30 seconds before swallowing
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    900mg per bottle
    Carrier Oil Organic Hemp Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    60mg per dropper full (1ml)
    Drug Test Contains 0.3% THC but there is a chance you may test positive for marijuana
    Flavours Natural
    Price Range $99 - $434
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.08 - $0.13
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    2-3 Days via USPS
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants No additives or preservatives, Non-GMO, NO herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers
    Allergens Not specified
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for Health-conscious persons
    Countries served USA (all 50 states) and over 40 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Beliza, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and many more.
Check Latest Prices

Best Value

Sabaidee Super Good Vibes CBD Oil

4x the strength of a regular cbd oil
Sabaidee Super Good Vibes CBD Oil
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
    Best Value
  • Score breakdown
    Value
    Quality
    Strength
    Customer Service
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Effectiveness
  • Summary

    Super Good Vibes CBD Oil provides the purest and highest quality Cannabidiol (CBD) on the market as well as other high quality phytocannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, omega fatty acids, trace minerals, and other beneficial for your health elements, which all work together to provide benefits.

    Pro's
    Cons's
    •  Extra strong
    •  Significant benefits with just a few drops
    •  100% Natural ingredients
    •  No other flavors
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 15% Off Coupon Code: CBDCLINICALS15
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Colorado, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Cannabidiol (CBD), Coconut Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) Oil, Peppermint oil
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Broad Spectrum
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2-extraction
    How to take it Using 1-3 servings per day as needed is a good start to determine how much you need
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    1000 mg per bottle
    Carrier Oil Coconut MCT Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    33.5 mg per dropper (1ml)
    Drug Test Contains 0.3% THC but there is a chance you may test positive for marijuana
    Flavours Peppermint
    Price Range Single Bottle - $119.95, 2-Pack - $109.97 each, 3-Pack - $98.31 each, 6-Pack - $79.99 each
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    Single bottle - $0.010, 2-Pack - $0.011, 3-Pack - $0.009, 6-Pack - $0.007
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    3-5 Business days
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants Contaminant-free
    Allergens Vegan and Gluten-free
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for Patients who are looking for serious CBD oil support
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
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Best Natural Alternative

cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture Natural 1500mg

Uses USA hemp that is grown on non-GMO farms, and is both vegan and gluten-free
cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture Natural 1500mg
  • Overall Clinical Score
    99%
    Best Natural Alternative
  • Score breakdown
    Value
    Quality
    Strength
    Customer Service
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Effectiveness
  • Summary

    cbdMD’s CBD oil tinctures are made using only CBD sourced from medical hemp and MCT oil as a carrier oil. Tinctures are offered in orange, mint, natural, and berry flavors. Safe for daily use, the oil tinctures are packaged with a built-in rubber dropper to adjust CBD dosage easily. The packaging is made to be easy to transport and discreet to use.

    Pro's
    Cons's
    •  Various delicious flavors to choose from
    •  Has vegan, organic, and gluten-free ingredients
    •  Free shipping for this particular product within USA
    •  World-class customer service team
    •  cbdMD uses MCT as its carrier oil so individuals who are allergic with coconuts should consider other brand options
  • Features
    Discount pricing available? 15% Off Coupon Code: cbdMD15
    Source
    Source of Hemp
    Kentucky, USA
    Form Oil Tincture
    Ingredients Cannabidiol (CBD), MCT Oil, and Flavoring
    Type
    Type of CBD
    Broad Spectrum
    Extraction
    Extraction Method
    CO2 extraction method
    How to take it Under tongue
    Potency
    Potency - CBD Per Bottle
    1500mg per bottle
    Carrier Oil Organic Coconut MCT Oil
    Concentration
    CBD Concentration Per Serving
    50mg per dropper full (1ml)
    Drug Test Containing less than 0.3% THC, there are still trace amounts
    Flavours Natural, Berry, Orange and Mint
    Price Range $99.99
    $/mg CBD
    Price ($/mg)
    $0.07
    Shipping
    Shipping/Time to delivery
    2-5 Business days (via Fedex)
    Lab Tests
    Lab Testing Transparency
    Third Party Lab Tested post formulation for safety and potency, available on website
    Contaminants 100% organic, non-GMO, and vegan-certified
    Allergens Vegan, Gluten free
    Refund policy Within 30 days
    Recommended for Daily CBD oil users
    Countries served USA only (all 50 states)
Check Latest Prices

Why People Are Turning to CBD for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a psychiatric condition that occurs in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. It affects an estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States, with women twice more likely to develop PTSD than men(5).

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the five major types of anxiety disorders(6).

People with PTSD have sensations of intense, disturbing feelings and thoughts associated with their experience. These symptoms can last long, even after the encounter has ended. 

Reliving the event may result in nightmares, severe anxiety, fear, anger, and emotional detachment in PTSD patients.

The psychological trauma could also lead to long-term detrimental effects on cognitive functioning(7).

PTSD is diagnosed once a person experiences symptoms for at least a month after a disturbing event. However, its signs may not show up for months or several years(8).

Individuals who have post-traumatic stress disorder are conventionally treated using medications, psychotherapy, or both. Patients are prescribed antidepressants, while psychotherapy involves talking with a mental health expert to treat the condition(9).

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), sertraline, and paroxetine are the only drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD treatment(10)

This limitation in pharmacological medications has necessitated the testing of other medicines that can provide the same therapeutic effects as these drugs.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a constituent from Cannabis sativa plants, could be a potential treatment for PTSD.

Preclinical studies in various rodent models have revealed that cannabidiol made it easier for the subjects to forget aversive memories and block their reconsolidation(11)

Researchers also learned that CBD might facilitate the decrease of the salience of ordinarily significant stimuli, which are processes relevant to the psychopathology of PTSD(12).

Researchers assumed that CBD‘s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is what allows it to express its psychiatric effects(13).

The ECS, which is present in all mammals, is responsible for maintaining homeostasis or balance. 

CBD‘s association with the ECS has led experts to believe that the compound may perhaps be used to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.

One study in 2013 provided the first evidence suggesting that CBD enhances the consolidation of extinction learning in humans(14)

Extinction learning is the gradual decrease in response to a conditioned stimulus, which is frequently linked to post-traumatic stress disorder therapy.

The trial participants received 32 mg of CBD, after which successful conditioning, extinction, and recall were observed in the subjects. 

Consistent with the results from animal studies, the findings showed that CBD could be used to complement exposure therapy(15). Exposure therapy is a psychological approach developed to help individuals face their fears.

Meanwhile, CBD has shown to be a promising compound due to its possible effects as an anxiolytic and antidepressant(16).

A review published by the journal Medicina found that cannabidiol displayed promising signs as an enhancer of fear extinction and consolidator of emotional memories(17)

The authors reviewed several studies in which CBD was shown to positively affect PTSD patients, mainly because of its anxiolytic effects.

The review also analyzed a report wherein a ten-year-old sexually abused patient experienced reduced anxiety and sleep symptoms related to PTSD after taking 12 to 37 mg of CBD daily(18).

In 2019, researchers learned that post-traumatic stress disorder patients who were given CBD along with psychiatric care showed a pattern of decreased PTSD-related symptoms(19). They also hypothesized that CBD might have anti-anxiety and extinction learning properties that could benefit people with PTSD.

Despite these positive findings, no clinical trial that evaluated the effectiveness of CBD in reducing human PTSD symptoms has been completed.

How CBD Oil Works to Help with PTSD

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder involve changes in memory processes, mood, and anxiety. Its symptomatology has led researchers to study a new class of substances called cognitive enhancers(20).

Experts believe that these chemicals could modulate PTSD processes and improve the outcome of patient psychotherapies. It is in this perspective why drugs that act on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are receiving much attention in pharmacological research.

The ECS, a system found in mammals, is said to regulate memory processes, anxiety, and depression.

A study published by Frontiers in Neuroscience declared that the ECS provides more efficient and effective alternatives to the conventional treatments for PTSD(21)

The authors consider this system to be essential in regulating emotional behavior, especially one that involves traumatic experiences.

Psychiatric agents that influence the endocannabinoid system may potentially be used to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The main non-psychoactive compound from cannabis, CBD, could be one of them.

Authors of a 2020 study believe that one way CBD expresses its anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects is through its interaction with 5-HT1A receptors(22). The 5-HT1A serotonin receptors have been closely linked to anxiety and depression(23).

A review of studies involving animal models showed that CBD possesses anxiolytic-like effects and interacts with 5-HT1A receptors(24). The authors also noted that CBD engages with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS.

Cannabidiol binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors. This interaction triggers CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety(25).  

Researchers believe that the activation of circuitries involving these cannabinoid receptors may affect the neurobiological pathways and symptoms of PTSD

For instance, the CB1 receptors, which are found in high levels throughout the brain, have shown modulating effects on mood, stress, learning, and memory(26).

The researchers theorized that the stimulation of CB1 receptors could decrease hypervigilance and intrusive memories, both of which are common in post-traumatic stress disorder(27).

Furthermore, a study in 2013 found that patients with PTSD have much lower levels of a neurotransmitter known as anandamide(28)

This fatty acid has been implicated in both animal models of stress and neuropsychiatric disorders (29).

Researchers hypothesized that, based on scientific evidence, CBD could be used to elevate levels of anandamide and potentially treat anxiety-related disorders(30).

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for PTSD

The Pros

  • CBD could be used to treat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Several studies have shown that CBD has several neuropsychiatric effects, such as its anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, that may benefit patients with PTSD.
  • The compound has been found to work with various receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This system is believed to contribute to maintaining biological balance in the body.
  • Compared to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-euphoric and does not cause psychoactive effects upon intake.
  • Many states in America (like Colorado) allow the purchase and consumption of cannabidiol. In places where it is legally sold, users can get CBD products even without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Government branches, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), acknowledge CBD‘s potential as a therapeutic agent. The FDA is highly interested in CBD because of its supposed health benefits(31).
  • In 2018, the World Health Organization published a report stating that they have found cannabidiol to be well-tolerated in clinical trials. The WHO also learned that the compound is non-addictive, as the use of CBD did not exhibit effects indicative of substance dependence in human subjects(32).

The Cons

  • The positive findings on CBD as a potential treatment for traumatic stress is overshadowed by the fact that there is a distinct lack of human clinical trials on its effectiveness in treating PTSD.
  • The medication known as Epidiolex is the only CBD product that has been approved by the FDA. The agency has yet to allow a marketing application for cannabis derivatives for treating any condition or disease(33).
  • A 2017 review on the safety of CBD use mentioned that the compound could lead to adverse reactions in individuals when taken with other medications. Despite its favorable safety profile, CBD may still cause side effects, such as diarrhea, fatigue, and loss of appetite(34).
  • The growing demand for CBD has led to an increase in mislabeled products, especially those sold online and in some dispensaries(35). Purchasing CBD through these channels brings a higher risk of consuming more or less of the compound in each product.

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for PTSD

Given that PTSD is an anxiety disorder(36), experts have come up with alternative treatments that could alleviate anxiety and depression in patients.

Lavender, lemon balm, and chamomile are herbal remedies that are believed to help with anxiety-related disorders(37).

There is an extensive anecdotal history surrounding the anxiolytic benefit of using lavender essential oils. Researchers believe that its terpenoid constituents produce anti-anxiety effects by reducing serotonin receptor activity(38).

According to a review, several clinical trials support the effectiveness of lavender oil extract in treating anxiety disorders. Lavender essential oils were found to improve sleep duration and quality in patients with anxiety(39).

Preliminary research data on lemon balm revealed that the herb might be capable of reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety(40).

Early reports on chamomile studies have also shown that the plant exerts anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects upon use(41).

These findings, together with CBD‘s purported health benefits, have led brands to develop products that combine these herbal solutions.

CBD and lavender are often available as tinctures that people can apply sublingually (under the tongue). Brands are also selling CBD rubs that contain lavender, which is advertised to help soothe discomfort.

There are CBD products made with lemon balm available as teas, gummies, and ointments. CBD companies promote these combinations to promote calmness and reduce anxiety.

The infusion of cannabidiol and chamomile is often found in teas that people can enjoy for relaxation. Brands also sell a combination of the two compounds as tinctures, which are said to help with sleep disorders.

In a clinical trial, CBD was shown to enhance sleep in subjects(42), while chamomile is known for its calming effects on the nerves(43).

How to Choose the Right CBD for PTSD

To select the most appropriate CBD product for post-traumatic stress disorder, people should know the three types of cannabidiol available. 

CBD is sold in three forms, namely as isolates, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum.

Cannabidiol, in the form of isolates, is the purest form of CBD sold today. These are products that undergo a thorough extraction process that removes all the compounds of cannabis, except for CBD.

Pure CBD isolates are usually found in crystallized or powdered form and do not have a distinctive taste compared to the other types of CBD.

Broad-spectrum is the CBD variant that has all of the cannabinoids of cannabis plants. The only compound that is removed in broad-spectrum CBD is the THC content.

People who want to consume CBD and other cannabinoids (but without THC) often choose the broad-spectrum products. THC is the opposite of CBD since it is a psychoactive compound that can cause mind-altering effects in users.

The third type of CBD is known as full-spectrum, as it contains all of the phytocannabinoids present in cannabis. Besides CBD, one can expect to find terpenes, flavonoids, and THC in the full-spectrum variant.

CBD in the full-spectrum form is known for its “entourage effect.” All the cannabinoids work better together than when they are taken separately.

Whichever type of CBD one decides to get, it is vital to select only the best quality product available to leverage the benefits of CBD oil.

The following tips can help buyers choose only the safest and most reliable cannabidiol for PTSD:

  • Get the certificate of analysis (COA) or the third-party lab report of the CBD product chosen. The COA is a document that is particularly important since it indicates that the item has undergone testing and contains precisely the specifications listed on its label.
  • Read up on store and product reviews if buying CBD from an online shop. If purchasing from a physical dispensary, check if they have the proper authorization to sell cannabidiol products.
  • Choose organic cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp. This plant is the most reliable source of high-quality CBD.
  • Make sure that the legalities concerning CBD are observed in the state where the product is going to be bought and used.
  • Consulting a health care professional is important before using CBD. Talk to a doctor who is experienced in medical cannabis use.

Additional Tips to Get the Best CBD Oil Products

  1. Avoid buying from CBD companies that claim to sell cannabidiol derived from the seeds and stalks of hemp plants. The reason for this is simple: non-GMO industrial hemp stalks have very little CBD, while its seeds do not have cannabidiol.
  2. It is vital that interested buyers first assess the quality of CBD edibles, such as gummies, before purchasing. Be wary of brands that sell CBD snacks that contain sub-standard or artificial ingredients.
  3. Feel free to contact CBD brands for inquiries or questions regarding their products. It is best to choose another CBD company if they fail to respond promptly.

CBD Dosage for PTSD

The FDA has not approved a CBD product as a treatment for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, CBD users do not have official guidelines to know the right dosage for their condition.

Some individuals, however, believe several factors can help a person determine the right CBD dose for their needs. The amount of CBD present in a product and the body weight of the user are two of the most commonly cited factors.

People may also stand to benefit by looking at past clinical trials. These studies may provide them with hints of the right dosing range for post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety-related conditions.

A review published in 2020 revealed that 400 mg of oral CBD significantly reduced the primary symptom of patients with social anxiety(44)

The same report analyzed another trial wherein participants were given a 600 mg oral dose of CBD and found that it reduced anxiety and cognitive impairment significantly.

Meanwhile, a study noted that chronic use and high doses of CBD oil, reaching as much as 1,500 mg per day, is well-tolerated by humans(45)

Among the subjects, no psychomotor slowing, adverse mood effects, or vital sign abnormalities were reported.

These findings are likewise supported in the 2018 review published by the WHO(46).

The agency assessed a study in which healthy volunteers took 200 mg of oral CBD. The WHO noted that the dose did not cause impairments of motor or psychomotor performance in the subjects afterward.

How to Take CBD Oil for PTSD

Perhaps the most direct way to consume CBD hemp oil for post-traumatic stress disorder is to take the compound as edibles or in capsule form.

The most well-known edibles are CBD gummies. These products are great for both beginners and experienced users because they are relatively easy to apply.

CBD in the form of tinctures or drops allows people to apply CBD sublingually. This type of application is where liquid droplets of the compound are placed under the tongue.

CBD tinctures come with droppers that make it very easy to measure the correct amount of CBD needed.

Administering cannabidiol in this manner is a suitable approach for individuals who want to control their CBD dosage.

Some CBD brands sell topicals, like balms, salves, creams, and lotions, which may benefit people with PTSD. These CBD products can be used in massage therapies to help users relax and relieve the physical tension in their bodies.

Meanwhile, some individuals may want to inhale CBD by using compatible vaping products. However, this CBD delivery format is not recommended for people with lung disorders, as it may worsen their conditions(47).

It is essential to consult a physician before applying any form of CBD to avoid complications. Users are highly advised to seek help from a doctor who is experienced with cannabis use.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension and is the body’s natural response when experiencing stress. It is an essential way of helping individuals avoid potentially dangerous places or situations.

However, anxiety that does not go away and starts to affect day-to-day life could be an indication of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million adults every year in the United States alone(48).

The five major types of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder(49).  

People with anxiety disorder often exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Experiencing an increased heart rate
  • Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger
  • Hyperventilating or rapid breathing
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Having issues with concentration or thinking
  • Experiencing sleep disorders
  • Finding it hard to control worry
  • Feeling the urge to avoid situations that could trigger anxiety

Experts believe that anxiety disorders are caused by many factors, such as ongoing stress, physical health concerns, genetics, or traumatic events.

Individuals experiencing anxiety disorder symptoms should consult a doctor. A physician can diagnose anxiety disorders and help people manage their difficulties.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a psychiatric condition that can occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic scenario. 

These events can be in the form of a natural disaster, a significant accident, rape, or other violent personal assault.

People who have PTSD experience intense and disturbing thoughts associated with their experience, lasting long after the traumatic event has ended. 

They may avoid certain situations that remind them of a troubling scenario and react strongly to something most people would consider ordinary.

The following are some conditions that are related to post-traumatic stress disorder:

Acute Stress Disorder

Similar to PTSD, acute stress disorder can happen as a reaction to a disturbing event. However, its symptoms often appear a few days to about one month later.

People with acute stress disorder may persistently relive the trauma, experience nightmares or flashbacks, and may feel detached from other people. These symptoms can lead to significant distress and cause problems in their day-to-day lives.

Psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy may help control acute stress disorder, while potentially preventing it from developing into PTSD. Doctors may also prescribe antidepressants to help ease patient symptoms.

Adjustment Disorder

This type of disorder happens in response to a stressful event or series of traumatic scenarios. A person with an adjustment disorder may react more severely to a stressor than what would be reasonably expected.

The most common symptoms of the condition include hopeless, sad, or tense feelings. Individuals with the disorder may withdraw from other people and display physical manifestations, like headaches, tremors, and palpitations.

These symptoms can lead to significant problems in an important aspect of someone’s life, such as in school or at work. 

The signs of adjustment disorders often start within three months of a traumatic event and last no more than six months.

The stressor for adjustment disorder may be a single event or more than one situation with a cumulative effect. Stressors may affect one person, an entire household, or a community (such as in the case of a natural disaster).

About 5% to 20% of people in outpatient mental health treatment are diagnosed with adjustment disorder(50).

Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

Disinhibited social engagement disorder is a condition that occurs in children who have been severely neglected or deprived of social interaction before two years of age. 

This condition develops when a child lacks the fundamental emotional needs for comfort, affection, and stimulation.

Children need to have at least two of the following symptoms to be diagnosed with the disorder:

  • Intense excitement when meeting or interacting with strangers or other unfamiliar adults
  • Behaviors with strangers are overly talkative, friendly, or physical and are not culturally acceptable or age-appropriate
  • Desire or willingness to leave a safe place with a stranger
  • Lack of interest in checking in with a trusted adult before leaving a safe place

Psychotherapeutic treatment is the standard approach in treating disinhibited social engagement disorder. The plan may include expressive therapies, such as art or play therapy.

The goal of this treatment is to strengthen the bond between the child and their primary caregivers while advancing their social and emotional development.

The prevalence of disinhibited social engagement disorder is not known. Experts believe it to be quite rare, as most severely neglected children do not appear to develop disinhibited social engagement disorder.

Reactive Attachment Disorder

This type of condition is similar to disinhibited social engagement disorder as it also occurs in children who have experienced severe social deprivation during their early years. 

Children lacking the basic emotional needs for affection, comfort, and stimulation can develop reactive attachment disorder.

Subjects that have this disorder are emotionally withdrawn from their caregivers and rarely turn to them for support. 

Individuals with reactive attachment disorder show minimal positive emotions and may exhibit unexplained sadness or fear.

Although it can occur in severely neglected children, reactive attachment disorder is uncommon. Treatment mostly involves the child and their family working together to strengthen their bond.

Conclusion

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that affects an estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States. Women have a higher probability of developing post-traumatic stress disorder than men.

PTSD is one of the five major types of anxiety disorders and is characterized by intense and disturbing feelings associated with a troubling experience. 

A person with post-traumatic stress disorder reliving an event may develop severe anxiety, fear, nightmares, and emotional detachment.

Individuals with PTSD are conventionally treated with medications, psychotherapy, or both. Antidepressants are often the prescribed form of drugs, while psychotherapy involves talking to a mental health expert.

There are only a few drugs that the FDA has approved for treating PTSD. This limitation has necessitated the testing of other treatments that offer the same therapeutic effects as these medications.

CBD is considered a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder because of its anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties.

Several preclinical studies have shown that cannabidiol allowed subjects to forget aversive memories and block their reconsolidation. Researchers believe that CBD‘s interaction with the endocannabinoid system enables it to exert its psychiatric effects.

The ECS is a unique system found in mammals believed to maintain the biological balance in the body. Its association with cannabidiol has led experts to theorize that perhaps CBD may be used to help people with PTSD.

Studies discussed above have shown CBD to have a positive influence on PTSD patients by providing an anti-anxiety effect upon intake. 

In a report, CBD reduced anxiety and sleep disturbances after being taken daily. One study found that CBD decreased PTSD-related symptoms in post-traumatic stress disorder patients.

Despite these positive findings, no clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of CBD for PTSD have been accomplished.

Interested users should consult a doctor before purchasing any CBD product for their condition.

Seeking advice from a physician knowledgeable with cannabis and its constituents is highly recommended.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? Retrieved from: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd.
  2. de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953-960. doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838
  3. Orsolini L, Chiappini S, Volpe U, et al. Use of Medicinal Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabinoids in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Systematic Review. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(9):525. Published 2019 Aug 23. doi:10.3390/medicina55090525
  4. Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:502. Published 2018 Jul 24. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00502
  5. American Psychiatric Association. op. cit.
  6. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. What are the five major types of anxiety disorders? Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html.
  7. Hayes JP, Vanelzakker MB, Shin LM. Emotion and cognition interactions in PTSD: a review of neurocognitive and neuroimaging studies. Front Integr Neurosci. 2012;6:89. Published 2012 Oct 9. doi:10.3389/fnint.2012.00089
  8. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Symptoms of PTSD. Retrieved from: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/symptoms.
  9. National Institute of Mental Health. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.
  10. Alexander W. Pharmacotherapy for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder In Combat Veterans: Focus on Antidepressants and Atypical Antipsychotic Agents. P T. 2012;37(1):32-38.
  11. Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. op. cit.
  12. Orsolini L, Chiappini S, Volpe U, et al. op. cit.
  13. Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. op. cit.
  14. Das RK, Kamboj SK, Ramadas M, et al. Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;226(4):781-792. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2955-y
  15. Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. op. cit.
  16. de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. op. cit
  17. Orsolini L, Chiappini S, Volpe U, et al. op. cit.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392-397. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0437
  20. Berardi A, Schelling G, Campolongo P. The endocannabinoid system and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): From preclinical findings to innovative therapeutic approaches in clinical settings. Pharmacol Res. 2016;111:668-678. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2016.07.024
  21. Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. op. cit.
  22. Sarris J, Sinclair J, Karamacoska D, Davidson M, Firth J. Medicinal cannabis for psychiatric disorders: a clinically-focused systematic review. BMC Psychiatry. 2020;20(1):24. Published 2020 Jan 16. doi:10.1186/s12888-019-2409-8
  23. Garcia-Garcia AL, Newman-Tancredi A, Leonardo ED. 5-HT(1A) [corrected] receptors in mood and anxiety: recent insights into autoreceptor versus heteroreceptor function [published correction appears in Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Feb;231(4):637]. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014;231(4):623-636. doi:10.1007/s00213-013-3389-x
  24. de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. op. cit.
  25. Huang, W., Chen, W., & Zhang, X. (2016). Endocannabinoid system: Role in depression, reward and pain control (Review). Molecular Medicine Reports, 14, 2899-2903. https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2016.5585
  26. Orsolini L, Chiappini S, Volpe U, et al. op. cit.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Neumeister A, Normandin MD, Pietrzak RH, et al. Elevated brain cannabinoid CB1 receptor availability in post-traumatic stress disorder: a positron emission tomography study. Mol Psychiatry. 2013;18(9):1034-1040. doi:10.1038/mp.2013.61
  29. Pinna G. Biomarkers for PTSD at the Interface of the Endocannabinoid and Neurosteroid Axis. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:482. Published 2018 Aug 6. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00482
  30. Papagianni EP, Stevenson CW. Cannabinoid Regulation of Fear and Anxiety: an Update. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019;21(6):38. Published 2019 Apr 27. doi:10.1007/s11920-019-1026-z
  31. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2020, March 5). What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD. Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis.
  32. World Health Organization (2018 June). Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf.
  33. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2020, March 11). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd.
  34. Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034
  35. Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909
  36. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. What are the five major types of anxiety disorders? Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html.
  37. Mayo Clinic. Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective? Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/expert-answers/herbal-treatment-for-anxiety/faq-20057945.
  38. Malcolm BJ, Tallian K. Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time?. Ment Health Clin. 2018;7(4):147-155. Published 2018 Mar 26. doi:10.9740/mhc.2017.07.147
  39. Ibid.
  40. Mayo Clinic. op. cit.
  41. Mao JJ, Li QS, Soeller I, Rockwell K, Xie SX, Amsterdam JD. Long-Term Chamomile Therapy of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Study Protocol for a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo- Controlled Trial. J Clin Trials. 2014;4(5):188. doi:10.4172/2167-0870.1000188
  42. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
  43. Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010;3(6):895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377
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  45. Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. op. cit.
  46. World Health Organization. op. cit.
  47. Chand HS, Muthumalage T, Maziak W, Rahman I. Pulmonary Toxicity and the Pathophysiology of Electronic Cigarette, or Vaping Product, Use Associated Lung Injury. Front Pharmacol. 2020;10:1619. Published 2020 Jan 14. doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01619
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  50. American Psychiatric Association. op. cit.
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