CBD may help to prevent long term effects from traumatic events

Published Feb 20, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Antwon McMullen

The marijuana plant has a long history of being useful for a wide variety of reasons, including both medical and recreational, but this new research could change the lives of PTSD sufferers. Though THC often gets the spotlight for its intense psychoactive effects, CBD is now being hailed as the holy grail of cannabinoids. It can help to reduce inflammation, get rid of pain, lessen mood swings, increase levels, and more, but now we can also add to the ever-growing list, the destruction of bad memories.

The research

Though lately, CBD has hit the headlines due to its recently discovered ability to protect a patient from brain damage following a traumatic injury to the brain, this study focused on the psychological benefits of the cannabinoid from a different type of trauma that is most well known by its official title PTSD. PTSD happens when someone experiences an incredibly stressful event.

To start, researchers had to induce PTSD-like symptoms in rats, and that was done with a small electrical shock through one chamber of the rat's cage paired with bright lights. Over time, the rats became terrified of blinking lights and the impacted chamber. The scientists who are from Brazil then used the rats with PTSD to test CBD’s possible influence over memories of the trigger environment.

A CBD isolate solution was then administered into an important portion of the brain called the hippocampus, a region that is believed to have a great deal to do with our long-term memories via syringe. Over a period of time, researchers exposed the impacted rats to the stimuli and situation that would cause a fearful reaction, all the while diligently recording their results.

Results

Unfortunately, the only time that the CBD seemed to be effective was when it was used as a treatment prior to the fearful incident. So while this study does show that CBD can be useful if it’s taken as a preventative measure, it can’t do much, at least so far as we can tell, to erase the haunting memories of our past, or to effectively treat PTSD symptoms in patients.

How to get more CBD into your daily routine

Since CBD seems to be most effective when it’s taken as a daily supplement as you traverse through life, it makes sense that you might want to know how to incorporate it into your daily routine in a comfortable way. Luckily, there are several options out there to choose from and each one suits a different type of person depending on personal preferences.

For instance, someone who is comfortable with the idea of smoking might benefit most from utilizing high CBD strains of either hemp or cannabis, whereas a person who has quit smoking or has never tried it might be more comfortable with a CBD vape pen. CBD vapes can come in a variety of strengths, but they only suit people who are happy with inhalable cannabis products.

Since inhaling anything into your lungs can cause irritation, that method of consumption isn’t the most recommended, particularly in cases where the user is already experiencing breathing or other lung-related health issues. For them, something like a CBD tincture, infused edibles, capsules, or CBD isolate may be more enjoyable. These products fit into the oral category, so they have the health benefit of not needing to be inhaled and the time-released effect that comes from breaking down the cannabinoids in the stomach.

Finally are the topical CBD cream treatments, which tend to be more beneficial for skin problems, but they aren’t a very effective delivery method of the cannabinoid. Our skin is well equipped to keep foreign entities and elements out, and that keeps the majority of the CBD from getting absorbed. Roughly 90% of the cannabinoid will rest on the surface of the skin and get rubbed off over time, so it makes an excellent addition to a CBD regimen, but it isn’t a very good option on its own if you’re looking for high doses.

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