One of the major factors that helped turn the tide of the cannabis wars in favor of compassion and acceptance is the enormous help that soldiers returning to civilian life have received from CBD therapy.
We have long known the effects of war on a soldier’s psychological health. In the old days, a frontline soldier who had seen the horrors of war firsthand was said to be “shell-shocked” when he exhibited symptoms of trauma.
Now, through scientific study, we know that soldiers often experience more than transient “shock” after returning from combat.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, better known by the acronym PTSD, is a mental disorder that often presents itself on the heels of a traumatic event. Although PTSD is not limited to soldiers, as we’ll discuss later, the term gained prominence in the popular imagination following the return of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
A Soldier’s Story
Adam Smith, an accomplished member of the elite American force the Green Berets, was on the verge of suicide.
If he had pulled the trigger of the loaded handgun that he had prepared, Smith would have become just another lamentable statistic, a member of the alarming club of returning soldiers who kill themselves due to emotional and physical trauma.
Instead, through a serendipitous series of events, Smith became introduced to CBD, and the rest was history. Smith regained his mental health and launched his own business, Tactical Relief, to help veterans in circumstances similar to his own.
PTSD Isn’t Limited to Soldiers
As mentioned at the outset, PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced trauma – from car accidents, physical or sexual abuse, from sports injuries, and more.
Anyone who suffers from flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, or anxiety could potentially find relief with CBD supplementation.
Understanding and Treating PTSD
PTSD develops because the brain is incapable of properly processing a past traumatic event. A trigger, such as a noise, smell, or sight that reminds the patient of the trauma can trigger a negative emotional response.
Without treatment, PTSD can last for years. The most effective treatments for PTSD so far include:
• Cognitive Processing Therapy. In a clinical setting, a licensed therapist helps the patient work through the trauma verbally.
• Prolonged Exposure Therapy. This method involves exposing the patient to the stimuli that might trigger a PTSD flashback. In a controlled setting, the therapist works with the client to establish anxiety-fighting skills like breathing techniques to overcome the stimuli.
• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Also called EMDR, this method of treatment seeks to re-organize the brain’s thought patterns to associate positive events with the trauma, thereby reducing the distress it causes.
• Medication. The most popular medication for treating PTSD among conventional healthcare practitioners has historically been the class of drugs known as ss serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While these drugs are successful for some, many experience overwhelming negative side effects, including suicide ideation. For this reason, PTSD treatment with SSRIs is not appropriate for all patients.
CBD for Treating Soldiers’ PTSD: A Better Way
In the body, CBD works on the endocannabinoid system, or, the ECS. The ECS is a network of receptor sites on cells and naturally occurring cannabinoids produced in the human body. The ECS fulfills many important roles, including regulating anxiety.
Soldiers diagnosed with the disorder have experienced significant improvement in PTSD symptoms in clinical tests.
Many CBD manufacturers offer substantial discounts for soldiers who present their federal IDs at the point of purchase. Veterans across the US who benefitted personally from the medicinal use of CBD have opened cannabis businesses to help their brothers and sisters in arms, and anyone else, who might benefit from CBD.