For most people, scary events and traumatic memories don’t turn into a life-altering condition. It’s normal to retain bad memories after a distressing event – this is nature’s way of keeping us safe and ensuring we don’t repeat the experience. But for some people, these unpleasant memories can turn into a crippling disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder. This disorder, often abbreviated PTSD, can have far-reaching and devastating effects on a person’s life. People with this condition may have involuntary flashbacks, become unable to work, and have difficulty in their personal relationships.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is usually treated with therapy, medications, or both. However, these treatments aren’t always effective. People who suffer from PTSD need a wider variety of treatment options so they can find something that works for them. For people who haven’t gained any relief from traditional treatments, cannabidiol, or CBD – a compound extracted from the cannabis plant – may be a safe and effective alternative.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder that develops after a person has witnessed something shocking or terrifying. War veterans are at high risk for developing PTSD, but anyone can have this disorder. Events like car accidents, sexual assault, or acts of terrorism can all lead to the development of PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder has several main symptoms. First, a person suffering from this disorder has involuntary flashbacks to the traumatic experience. These memories can be so vivid that the individual feels like they are living through the experience again. Nightmares are also common.
Second, people with PTSD may become avoidant or feel detached from the world. They may try to avoid places or situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Many people with PTSD isolate themselves, which can damage their friendships and relationships.
Third, PTSD makes people feel jumpy, fearful, or constantly on the lookout for danger. Sometimes people with post-traumatic stress disorder have been known to “snap” and attack other people because they perceive a threat where, in reality, none exists.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating condition that can seriously damage a person’s ability to live normally. Without treatment, people with PTSD are at high risk of developing other mental health problems, abusing alcohol or drugs, or committing suicide.
Cannabidiol: A Natural Mental Health Booster
What is cannabidiol? More and more people are turning to this natural substance due to its ability to treat a wide variety of physical and mental disorders. Cannabidiol, often just called CBD, is a cannabinoid – a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the compound THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis, cannabidiol doesn’t give users a high, which makes it ideal for medicinal use.
Among its many health benefits, CBD has powerful antidepressant and anxiolytic properties. It also carries no dangerous side effects. CBD’s potential for improving mental health could make it an ideal treatment for PTSD.
How Cannabidiol Treats PTSD
Cannabinoids aren’t just found in cannabis – the human body also produces them. Cannabinoids that occur naturally in the human body are called endocannabinoids, while cannabinoids extracted from cannabis, such as CBD, are called phytocannabinoids. The human endocannabinoid system plays a role in many areas of physical functioning, including memory and mood.
Studies have found that PTSD sufferers have dysfunctional endocannabinoid systems. These people have an unusually high number of cannabinoid receptors in areas of the brain that have to do with fear. This is an important discovery because it could explain why memory seems to short-circuit in people who suffer from PTSD. Most people are able to let go of traumatic memories or cover them up with newer memories, but people with PTSD cannot.
Current medical thinking theorizes that supplementing the body’s own endocannabinoids with cannabis-derived cannabinoids like cannabidiol could relieve some of the memory problems associated with PTSD. Cannabidiol and other cannabis-based compounds may be able to suppress negative memories and prevent flashbacks by binding to the increased number of cannabinoid receptors in a PTSD patient’s brain. CBD can also help to relieve anxiety and depression, making it a particularly good choice for treating PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating condition, but there is hope for recovery. New discoveries about the role of the endocannabinoid system in post-traumatic stress disorder may open the door for more treatments that utilize cannabis and CBD. CBD has the potential to give PTSD patients relief from their symptoms by dampening traumatic memories and relieving anxiety and depression, helping them cope with the stressors of life again.