How Does CBD Help with PTSD?

Approximately half of Americans will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives. Among them, one percent will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3.6% of adults have PTSD in a given year. Women are almost three times the size of men to be affected.

How can CBD treat PTSD? What are the symptoms? We'll cover everything you need to know regarding CBD for PTSD.

PTSD is complicated for patients to live with. Many misconceptions persist because the disorder is hard to relate to, which causes many sufferers to feel alone or ashamed.

While treating fear memories, as with other memories, CBD interrupts the process of memory consolidation (thus promoting the fear memory eradication) and reduces the acute response to fear. However, more importantly, CBD also reduces the memory fear in individuals.

Stick around and we will cover all sorts of topics associated with PTSD and the continuing research surrounding CBD's efficacy with it.

Several forms of psychotherapy, often associated with medications such as SSRIs, are significant forms of PTSD treatment. However, there is increasing evidence that cannabinoids (CBD) may also be useful in treating PTSD, especially anxiety symptoms and sleep disorders.

In a 2012 study, researchers studied the impact of CBD on stress caused by the predator threat and its possible consequences on PTSD. In the study, researchers exposed rats to a predator (cat).

An hour later, they received either a single or a repeated dose of CBD. Rats receiving repeated doses showed less anxiety during the seven days after predator exposure. Researchers hypothesize that these results are related to how CBD activates 5HT1A receptors within the brain.

They also concluded that the anti-anxiety benefits of CBD could be of great interest to people with PTSD.

In a meta-analysis for 2017, researchers examined the effects of CBD on fear memories, extending a previously cited study on the results of CBD on memory consolidation. 

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder triggered by a frightening event, whether you are witnessing or experiencing it. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, and intense anxiety as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Many who experience traumatic events in the past may have temporary difficulties coping with them, but over time, and with excellent personal care, they generally improve. If symptoms worsen, persist for months or even years and interfere with your daily functioning, you may be suffering from PTSD.

Getting effective treatment after developing PTSD symptoms can be essential to reduce symptoms and improve function.

What Causes PTSD?

You may develop PTSD if you attend an event involving actual or imminent death, serious injury, or rape.

Doctors do not know why some people suffer from PTSD. As with most mental health problems, PTSD onset consists of a complex combination of factors, including:

  • Stressful experiences, which include the amount and severity of trauma you've suffered during your life.
  • Hereditary mental health risks, such as the family history of anxiety and depression
  • Characteristics inherited from personality, often called temperament.
  • How your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress

Treatment Options for PTSD

If you suffer from worrying thoughts or feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, talk to your doctor. These are common precursors to PTSD and are signs that you are having trouble recovering from your trauma.

Getting treatment as soon as possible may prevent you from worsening your PTSD symptoms.

While CBD is not a cure for any disease, it has been shown to help with symptoms you may be experiencing. If you want relief and think CBD may be a solution for you, be sure to check out Mana Artisan Botanics™

Medical Treatment

Several types of medications can help alleviate PTSD symptoms:

  • Antidepressants: These medicines can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. They can also help improve sleep and concentration problems. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating PTSD.
  • Anti-anxiety drugs: These drugs can alleviate severe anxiety and related problems. Some anxiety medicines are potentially abusive. They are, therefore, generally only used for a short time.
  • Prazosin: Although several studies have shown that prazosin (Minipress) can reduce or suppress nightmares in some people with PTSD, a more recent study has shown no benefit over placebo. However, participants in a recent survey differed from the others in the factors that could potentially influence outcomes. People considering taking prazosin should consult a doctor to determine if their particular situation may warrant a clinical trial of this medicine.

Alternative Treatment

Treating post-traumatic stress disorder can help you regain control of your life. The alternative treatment is psychotherapy, but it may include medication. The combination of these treatments can improve your symptoms:

  • Teaching you how to control your symptoms
  • Help you think better about yourself, others, and the world.
  • Learn ways to deal with new symptoms
  • Treatment of other problems often associated with traumatic experiences, such as depression, anxiety, or alcohol or drug abuse.

CBD Treatment

PTSD may require more attention than anxiety or depression to find a solution since it is a more severe condition. For this reason, make sure you consult your doctor before using CBD oil, especially if you are taking other medicines.

If you want to take CBD oil, we recommend starting with a smaller daily dose (20 mg to 25 mg), and increase it or decrease it based on your results. Depending on whether or not you use a full or broad-spectrum CBD product, consider your dosing if you suspect you may be subject to drug testing.

Sometimes, larger doses of full-spectrum CBD products may trigger a positive result for THC on drug screenings, even though THC is legal in very small doses within CBD products (0.3%).

How CBD Can Treat PTSD Symptoms

Symptoms of PTSD can occur in the month after a traumatic event, but sometimes they may not happen for years. These symptoms may cause significant problems in social or professional situations, in relationships and with your ability to perform your routine daily tasks.

The symptoms of PTSD are intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thought and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary with time or from person to person.

Recent research is increasingly suggesting that CBD may be another way to treat PTSD and other anxiety disorders. CBD appears to have a positive effect on many central symptoms of PTSD, including re-experimentation events, avoidance symptoms, and arousal symptoms.

The body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a fundamental role in emotional regulation as well as in the consolidation and recovery of memory. Due to how CBD interacts with the ECS, researchers have found that CBD can affect the way we train and remember things. CBD improves overall memory function, which is particularly beneficial for people with PTSD.

There are many ways to consume CBD. You can vape it, drop oil under your tongue (sublingual tincture), eat it in foods, apply it to the skin, etc.

No matter how we choose to ingest CBD, it always activates our CB1 and CB2, the two primary cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. CBD interacting with the brain creates ripple effects on the central nervous system, increasing pleasure and recovering impaired memory processing. Even more, it can help you block negative memories.

In other words, your body feels an impulse of pleasure while blocking traumatic memory, allowing you to feel less anxiety about past trauma. Because they have a less painful emotional experience with memory, it helps reduce the symptoms of avoidance and excitement.

Over time, ECS enhancers, such as CBD, work to help you block permanent memory recovery, promoting reduced memory intensity. This results in less anxiety when recalling a traumatic event. Therefore, CBD may be especially useful as a treatment for PTSD since it addresses the cognitive and emotional aspects of the disease.

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What's the Dosage for PTSD Symptoms

Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight. 

We've built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below: 

The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.


There are several clinical trials and a lot of anecdotal evidence on the efficacy of CBD to help address many of the issues that people currently face. Helping to alleviate PTSD symptoms, anxiety, chronic pain, and more, CBD is becoming a popular option for people with one illness or the other.


About the Author Jessica Jones

Jesse has spent most of her adult life struggling with anxiety. After studying neuroscience at University, she has since dedicated her life into researching the effects of CBD on the human body. The content on this website reflects her research.

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