Those who suffer from PTSD have been saying for years that cannabis has helped them with their symptoms: panic attacks, nightmares, self-destructive behavior, and hypervigilance, just to name a few. It’s surprising that it has taken this long for scientific research to actually catch up with what they’ve been saying.
Although it has taken this long, it’s important to know how cannabis can help PTSD sufferers deal with their symptoms.
The Science Behind Cannabis And PTSD
One scientific study demonstrated that cannabis reduces activity in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that reacts to threats with fear. Participants included those who had not been exposed to trauma, trauma-exposed adults without PTSD, and trauma-exposed adults with PTSD. All participants were provided a low dose of THC, possibly through CBD oils, or a placebo. All participants were then exposed to threatening stimuli. Those who had been given THC had lowered threat-related activity in the amygdala.
Another study has shown that cannabis can also help to suppress or even extinguish traumatic memories, minimizing the chances of a person experiencing traumatic flashbacks. Usually, a traumatic experience would extinguish on its own, but if new memories of the traumatic trigger form, then that extinguishment period starts over again. But through the use of THC and CBD, the extinction rate was enhanced so that the brain required less time to unlearn its triggers.
The Pros Of CBD Oil For PTSD
Including the advantages mentioned above, there are several other benefits to using CBD oil that can help a person recover from PTSD.
- CBD doesn’t provide a euphoric effect, so there is very little chance of an addiction being created. A person can receive all of the benefits without developing a dependency.
- In states where CBD is legally sold, it is easy for anyone to purchase without a prescription from a doctor. That makes it very accessible to those who need it the most and don’t want to wait a long period for their doctor’s approval.
- The use of CBD oil is supported by the FDA, though CBD products are not regulated.
The Cons Of CBD Oil For PTSD
Keep in mind that just because it works for those suffering from PTSD, it’s still a good idea to seek the advice of a professional before running out to buy CBD oil. There are a few downsides to CBD oil in regards to treating PTSD.
- Epidiolex, the only CBD product approved by the FDA, has yet to undergo any concrete market applications in the treatment of many conditions, which means that the market for FDA-approved products is very, very small.
- CBD oil could have adverse side effects in individuals who are taking other medications. These side effects could include loss of appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue.
- The growing demand for CBD products has led to an increase in mislabeled products, and because they’re not FDA-regulated, there’s no real way to tell the percentage of CBD and/or THC you’re getting in a product.
Exercise caution when purchasing CBD oils of any kind; choose reputable dealers who care about the products they’re selling so that you know exactly what you’re getting.