How CBD Helps Combat Stress, Anxiety, and PTSD
For anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety, I don't need to explain that anxiety is a horrible condition. Some people suffer from day to day anxiety generalized anxiety, while others suffer from levels of anxiety that paralyze them. Anxiety can include a host of diagnosis including but not limited to panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobia, PTSD, OCD, separation anxiety, and social anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can impact one's job, relationships, and social life.
If you suffer from anxiety, you are not alone, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
- 19.% of US adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year
- 23.4% female’s vs 14.3% males
- 31.9% of adolescents had an anxiety disorder
- 22.8 % of adults with anxiety disorders had a serious impairment.
It should alarm us as a society that anxiety disorders are on the rise, especially among adolescents and younger people. Could CBD oil be part of the solution?
PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of anxiety that many individuals face, especially our veterans. PTSD is defined as a trauma-and stressor-related disorder. These individuals are exposed to a traumatic event, experience symptoms (night terrors, flashbacks, avoidance of situations, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety, depression) and demonstrate avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity.
- The 12-month prevalence of PTSD is in the US is 3.5%
- It is estimated that in veteran populations the 12-month prevalence is 24%
- 80% of people with PTSD have comorbid psych disorders. These disorders can impair function, employment, relationships, and self-care.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?1
Anxiety can present in many different variations. For most anxiety will result in the following symptoms fear, worry, nervousness, unease, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, and dry mouth. Anxiety may also present in the form of pain, numbness and tingling, digestive issues, fatigue, and brain fog.
Anxiety disorders all have one thing in common, according to CBD: What You Need To Know. Traumatic or emotional memories are stored in the hippocampus center of our brains. For most individuals, these memories will disappear with time. For those suffering from PTSD or anxiety disorders, these adverse memories did not fade away. This increases the likelihood of these memories reoccurring.1
We as humans have something called the fight or flight response. This response is physically defined as a release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the hormone that is produced in response to danger or a fearful event. Adrenaline release is an excellent thing for those people in the face of danger or our ancestors who had to escape being a wild animals next meal.1
When bad memories or stressful events are not correctly consolidated in our minds, the memories reoccur. The body interprets these memories as "danger," in turn, adrenaline is released. Adrenaline will result in rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, dry mouth, trembling hands, GI changes, numbness and tingling, and other stimulatory symptoms.
You could imagine this is why Anxiety and PTSD are such exhausting conditions. Imagine going from “zero to one thousand” several times a day. Imagine living in a state of constant “fight or flight” mode. 1
What about individuals who have been subject to long term stress? Take, for example, people who experience unhealthy work, friend, or at home relationships. Chronic stress results in the perception of a constant low-level threat, which leads to a continuous release of adrenaline and cortisol. The release of these hormones can result in increased body fat and blood pressure. This may also result in decreased immune system function. 1
CBD: A beacon of hope for those suffering from PTSD and anxiety
Let's start with the basics and what we currently know about CBD and the endocannabinoid system. In an important study by Marsicano et al. (2002) it was shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in the extinction of adverse and fear-producing memories. This could be a huge benefit for those who have PTSD. Stimulation of the endocannabinoid system with CBD may be the answer.
Three separate studies are explained in CBD What You Need To Know.1
- In one particular study, mice were used. The study involved placing the mice in a maze with a snake. Some mice were given CBD; some were not. The mice given CBD had significant reductions in defensive immobility and explosive flight. Even with these reductions, the mice treated with CBD showed no alteration in risk assessment and defensive attention. The CBD treated mice (in English) did not have panic attacks even in the face of great fear!
- In another study, humans were given CBD before speaking in front of a video camera. In the study, people who were given CBD, and people who were given diazepam were shown to have significantly less public speaking anxiety.
- It has also been observed in 911 survivors that those who have PTSD following the world trade center attacks were shown to have decreased levels of circulating endocannabinoids.
More on CBD and PTSD:2
It is proposed that CBD works by inhibiting the uptake or breakdown of your bodies own endocannabinoids. 2 This has to do with CBD’s indirect effect on the CB1 receptors in the hippocampus. People who have PTSD have increased levels of CB1 receptors but decreased levels of endocannabinoids. Taking CBD helps to increase one's own production of endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids bind to the receptors, and the appearance of PTSD-like behaviors is decreased (as shown in animal models).
In short, the most promising research surrounding PTSD and anxiety about CBD is its potential role in promoting the extinction of adverse memories. What a great thing!!
If you suffer from anxiety or PTSD, do not go about it alone. Seek professional help. In my offices, we find talk therapy to be one of the most effective tools in helping our patients. Finding a therapist that is EDMR certified is also a great start.
I would also recommend the two books listed below. You can find these both on Amazon.
1) Why Zebras don’t get ulcers
2) The body keeps the score
Many of our patients are also instructed to search Ted Talks on YouTube. Search Ted Talks on anxiety/PTSD.
Lastly, there is a strong link between anxiety and the bacteria in your gut. Yes, you read that right, your gut (microbiome) health may be affecting your anxiety! Did you know your gut has many of the same neurotransmitter’s found in your brain?
Get more sleep. If you are not sleeping your brain is not able to properly organize and consolidate the day's events, which is a significant factor with anxiety and PTSD. If you did not see our podcast on sleep, this is a must watch.
Seek out a functional medicine physician for further guidance on nutrition and anxiety. MTHFR defects, thyroid imbalances, autoimmune disease, micronutrient deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity, and other factors may be the “root cause” attributing to some of the anxiety you feel. Always seek the root cause.
When dealing with anxiety and PTSD for most people, the micro and standard dosages will work. This can range between .5-100mg a day of CBD. Like anything start slow and work your way up. More is not always better. Keep in mind over time, it is not uncommon that your starting dosage may decrease. In my offices, we begin with 5 mgs a day and increase from there until the “sweet spot” dose is achieved. Please watch the video on CBD BioCare’s website for more information on CBD dosage.
Why CBD BioCare:
When it comes to choosing the right CBD oil quality matters. CBD BioCare provides organic, domestically grown, third-party tested, CO2 extracted, medicinal grade, full spectrum CBD oil products, and lines. The company goes above and beyond to educate the consumer while remaining transparent as possible with their clients.
I use CBD BioCare products with my patients, friends, family, and myself. Having sold supplements for 9+ years before becoming a chiropractic and functional medicine physician, I know a thing or two about product quality and integrity.
Choosing a CBD oil product can be confusing for patients, doctors, and consumers. If you want to make life a little less stressful, choose CBD BioCare today!
*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Frank Michalski and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Frank Michalski nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.
1) CBD What You Need To Know. By Gregory Smith MD MPH
2) 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