PTSD is one of the many conditions for which CBD-based products offer hope. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs funded a $1.3 million research study that is looking into whether cannabidiol, or CBD, can in fact help to ease the symptoms of PTSD. They are using a synthetic form of CBD, rather than the kind of water-soluble CBD product that we believe is the most effective, but we are still very interested to see what the researchers discover.
The VA’s First Study of CBD-Based Products
As the New York Times reported, “The Department of Veterans Affairs is funding its first study on CBD, pairing it with psychotherapy.” Mallory Loflin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego as well as a researcher with the VA, is leading the study. She told the NY Times, “Our top therapies attempt to break the association between reminders of the trauma and the fear response. We think that CBD, at least in animal models, can help that process happen a lot faster.”
This area of study is right up Dr. Loflin’s alley. She works with the VA’s Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health, and specializes in studying new mental health treatments that target the body’s endocannabinoid system. (The endocannabinoid system is loaded with receptors that CBD-based products can bind with.)
A VA’s website dedicated to research topics reports, “Loflin says past research suggests that CBD can increase extinction learning in PTSD. This has to do with people ‘unlearning’ unhelpful responses and behaviors they’ve developed in the wake of trauma. This, she says, could boost the speed and effectiveness of prolonged exposure therapy, which helps patients gradually work through their traumatic memories. She says CBD could also ease insomnia and over-arousal. Those types of effects are beneficial on their own, but they could also further boost Veterans’ engagement and retention in treatment.”
It will be a while before the results of the survey are known. In the meantime, many vets have already found relief for their PTSD by using CBD-based products.