In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Americans are urging their lawmakers to deem CBD stores as essential. In a YouGov poll that surveyed more than 5,300 US adults, 53% of respondents said that medical marijuana dispensaries should be considered essential services, citing the therapeutic effects of CBD on chronic pain and anxiety, which we are experiencing a lot of these days. CBD has been scientifically recognized as an effective way of dealing with anxiety symptoms, promoting a calming effect without the “high” of THC, but its effects could be more widespread than we thought.
Recently, a new category of people has been vetting the soothing effects of CBD and backing up its potential to improve their quality of life: veterans. Although studies have yet to show that CBD can treat PTSD symptoms, research is underway. In the meantime, more and more veterans are sharing their emotional stories about how CBD has helped them cope and feel like themselves again after coming back home.
People have been fighting wars since the dawn of time, and the emotional toll that takes on the human mind should be common knowledge. And yet, the term “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” only appeared in specialized literature in 1980. Before that, it was commonly known as “soldier's heart,” or “shell shock,” and its implications weren’t fully understood.
PTSD doesn’t occur only in veterans – anyone who has been involved in a terrifying event can experience it. However, because so many veterans are affected by it compared to the general population, this is where we see increased awareness.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs show that up to 20% of veterans who served in Iraq operations and 15% of those who served in Vietnam have PTSD every year. Regardless of the war they fought in, the symptoms of PTSD can be devastating, preventing veterans from readjusting to family life and integrating back into society.
Specialists explain that PTSD symptoms, as well as their severity, vary from person to person and that it can take months, even years, for them to appear. When they do occur, symptoms include:
· Experiencing vivid and distressing flashbacks of the traumatic event
· Avoiding people, places, and experiences that remind them of the traumatic events
· Feeling anxious, jumpy, and irritated
· Feeling detached and estranged from others, including family and loved ones
· Difficulty focusing
· Insomnia and nightmares
As a result of these symptoms, not only do veterans have trouble reconnecting with their loved ones but also readapting to society. More often than not, PTSD leads veterans into a vicious circle that involves divorce, inability to get a job, personal bankruptcy, homelessness, and even suicide. The latest report from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs revealed that, on average, 20 veterans take their lives every day. These are clearly concerning statistics and, although many organizations have emerged in recent years, striving to advocate for the needs of veterans, PTSD is a problem that persists.
So far, there are two different types of treatment for PTSD: professional counseling and medication (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Treatment is suggested from case to case, depending on the severity of symptoms and, with long-term care, veterans can once again lead a normal life. However, a problem emerges when veterans aren’t aware that they have PTSD or don’t have access to proper healthcare.
How can CBD help?
CBD, the non-psychoactive component from the cannabis plant, stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system, which controls many biological functions, to produce its own cannabinoids. Unlike the other well-known compound in the cannabis plant, THC, CBD doesn’t get you high. Instead, recent studies have shown that CBD may alleviate chronic pain and that it can be used to manage anxiety symptoms. CBD can be found in many forms, from CBD oil to organic CBD nugs. You can even vape it using a Delta 8 Vape Cart, or you can include it in your food. The dosage, however, should be adapted from case to case. According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence of health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD. The full spectrum of CBD benefits is still unknown, but the medical community is conducting research to find out if it can treat other conditions too. In the meantime, CBD is enjoying widespread popularity, with legions of people reporting that it has offered them many health and wellness benefits.
Among them, there are many veterans who explained that CBD played a big role in helping them cope with PTSD. Although CBD doesn’t cure PTSD directly, or at least it hasn’t yet been proven to do so, it can manage its symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, and the inability to focus. In a recent interview, former Green Beret Adam Smith, who spent 17 years in the Special Forces, explained that because of PTSD, he had a hard time falling asleep and concentrating, and he was experiencing suicidal thoughts. In addition, he was also dealing with joint pain after the many injuries he had sustained on duty.
After he tried CBD, however, the feeling of constantly being “switched on” slowly faded, allowing him to sleep better, concentrate, and feel better all around. He also pointed out that CBD, unlike many pills prescribed for PTSD, doesn’t have harmful side effects, and it didn’t make him feel sedated. Oftentimes, traditional medication for anxiety makes patients feel numb, triggering a vicious circle where if they don’t take the pills, the symptoms come back in a whirl.
After he got out of the military, he relocated to a state where the use of marijuana wasn’t legal, which is why he now tries to raise awareness on the benefits of CBD and help other veterans get access to it through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.). Like Adam Smith, there are many other veterans who reported a better state of wellbeing after taking CBD and who are now urging lawmakers to allow physicians to complete state-legal medical marijuana-recommendation paperwork. Although CBD should be in no way regarded as a magical solution for PTSD and successful recovery involves many lifestyle changes, it can help manage crippling symptoms like anxiety and insomnia, and that’s a benefit that can’t be ignored.