Can You Use CBD Oil for Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

A bottle of CBD oil for anxiety and hemp leaves against a blurred background
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Are you interested in alternative treatments? Then you have probably heard of Cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years for its medicinal uses. It is sourced from marijuana plants and hemp. The compound has shown great potential for treating several health conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Depression, and chronic pain.   

In this article, we will be discussing the use of CBD oil for Anxiety and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Let’s begin.

What Is Anxiety?

Everyone feels anxious and overwhelmed from time to time. When things don’t go your way, it can elevate your stress levels and cause you to panic. However, experiencing a general bout of anxiety and suffering from an anxiety disorder are two completely different things. The former is a natural response to stress but the latter is a psychiatric condition that can disrupt your daily life. It requires you to seek help from a medical health professional.

Anxiety disorders are typically characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Nervousness and restlessness
  • Excessive perspiration and trembling
  • Insomnia
  • Hyperventilation
  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Avoiding things that make you feel anxious
  • Experiencing a sense of impending doom or danger
  • Having trouble concentrating and worrying about something for long periods

CBD Oil for Anxiety: What Does the Evidence Suggest?

As per the ADAA, nearly 40 million people in the US tend to develop an anxiety disorder every year! Despite being a treatable condition, only 33% of people suffering from anxiety disorders seek treatment. This is particularly worrying given how the illness can impact your quality of life.

Of late, there has been plenty of discussion regarding the use of alternative treatments such as CBD oil for anxiety. We reviewed some of the most prominent studies conducted to examine the efficacy of CBD oil against anxiety. Here’s what we found:

  • A 2019 study involving 72 adult patients examined the effect of CBD in treating anxiety disorders. CBD was able to reduce anxiety in 79% of the patients within the first month of study. These levels remained low during the remainder of the study, as well. 
  • Another 2019 study evaluated the use of CBD in the treatment of social anxiety. The researchers administered 300 mg of the cannabinoid in 37 teenagers. CBD caused anxiety levels to decline significantly during the treatment period.
  • A 2011 study also showed the use of CBD oil to treat anxiety among individuals who fear public speaking. The results showed that CBD greatly reduced anxiety levels, prevented cognitive impairment, and increased comfort levels.

The mechanism by which CBD reduces anxiety levels is unknown. Researchers believe that CBD helps increase serotonin levels in the brain which can have anti-anxiety effects. However, more studies are required to determine how CBD influences brain chemistry and if there are any side-effects to using CBD oil for anxiety.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is closely linked to anxiety. It is a condition that occurs in individuals that have experienced deeply traumatic events involving serious physical harm.

Some examples of events that may lead to PTSD include sexual assault, war, natural disaster, losing a loved one, or being in an accident. These events can induce post-traumatic stress which has many signs and symptoms.

Some of the symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the traumatic experience and suffering from nightmares and hallucinations
  • Avoidance of a person, a place, or a situation that reminds you of the event
  • Being excessively emotional
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Anger management issues
  • Feeling anxious and jumpy

CBD Oil for PTSD: What Does the Evidence Suggest?

A person adding CBD oil to a cup of tea

The National Center for PTSD estimates that 60% of men and 50% of women undergo at least one traumatic experience in their life. As far as the risk factors of PTSD are concerned, women are more prone to suffering from PTSD than men. This is because the rates of sexual assault, physical assault, and child sexual abuse tend to be higher in women.

Treatment of PTSD can involve Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, medications, and more. Studies have also examined the use of CBD oil for treating this condition.  We did some research on the same and here’s what we discovered:

  • A 2019 study involved the use of CBD in addition to standard psychiatric care for treating PTSD. The results suggested that 91% of patients found CBD effective in reducing the severity of their symptoms.
  • A 2018 review on the use of CBD for treating Post-traumatic stress disorder indicated that CBD can have a positive effect on aversive memory processing. It can serve as a potential pharmacological accessory for treating PTSD alongside psychotherapy.
  • As per a 2009 study, CBD also helped manage nightmares and other symptoms in 72% of patients with PTSD. It also improved their quality of sleep.

Is CBD Oil the Right Choice for You?

Despite the promise shown, the FDA has not approved the use of CBD oil for anxiety or Post-traumatic stress disorder. We suggest you consult a mental health professional or a physician before you opt for this treatment.

You must also watch out for any potential side-effects and cease using CBD oil immediately if your body does not react to it positively.

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