A Veteran’s Day exposé: CBD for PTSD

A Veteran’s Day exposé: CBD for PTSD

PTSD is a long-lasting mental health condition that people may develop after they experience an intense, and often life-threatening traumatic event. The symptomatology encompasses alterations in mood, sleep patterns, anxiety, and arousal. Around 10% of people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, while veterans are effected dramatically higher, with a staggering 35% reported to be suffering. Those who are troubled with this disease commonly have trouble sleeping, may relive the event repeatedly, and most experience anxiety coupled with depression.

According to a recent Frontiers in Medical Science article:

“Current pharmacological therapies for PTSD have been shown to be inefficient and produce considerable side effects. Since the discovery of the involvement of the endocannabinoid (ECB) system in emotional memory processing, pharmacological manipulation of ECB signaling has become a therapeutic possibility for the treatment of PTSD.”

There is increasing evidence that CBD may help people manage symptoms. The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in the regulation of emotional behavior, it is a key factor in managing stress and cortisol levels. The ECS is also essential for synaptic processes, namely ones that determine learning and emotional responses, including those related to potentially traumatic experiences.

The endocannabinoid signaling system (ECSS) is triggered by exposure to stress and manages the effects of stress on the brain, and consequently, the physical manifestations in the body. There is a considerable amount of preclinical data that supports critical roles for the endocannabinoids and their target, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, in the adaptation of the brain to repeated stress exposure.

A 2016 study found evidence that “drugs acting on the endocannabinoid system may reduce the symptoms that a person with PTSD experiences after a memory extinction procedure. This is because the endocannabinoid system, which includes CBD receptors, can affect anxiety and memory, two factors that play a significant role in PTSD.”

In addition to this increasingly popular anecdote, the possibility of CBD affecting different processes involved in adverse memory is growing as studies are showing favorable effects of cannabidiol - namely isolated CBD, in the control of other common manifestations of PTSD symptomatology, such as sleep disorders.

Even more interesting, emerging research suggests that taking CBD immediately after a traumatic event might make it more difficult for the brain to form the memories that may later develop and cause PTSD symptoms. The causality of which can only be speculated, but it seems that the science is catching up with what we’ve known all along, our ECS is integral in maintaining homeostasis in the brain and body, and nature has a way to heal from even the most traumatic events much more effectively than pharmaceuticals ever will.

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