Can You Use CBD to Reduce PTSD Symptoms?

10% of people suffer from PTSD at some point in their life. The complex mental condition is categorized as a poor adaptation to a traumatic experience. People exposed to combat are much more likely to exhibit PTSD symptoms; some studies have shown the rate to be as high as 30% in veterans.

In this post, we will explore the potential uses of CBD for PTSD and specifically look at how CBD for veterans can be implemented. While our understanding of the cannabinoid isn’t fully understood, we have anecdotal and scientific evidence to help our understanding of CBD’s potential to relieve PTSD symptoms.


Current treatments for PTSD patients have unpredictable results and can cause life-threatening side effects. CBD’s potential to treat symptoms of PTSD without an adverse counterreaction has caught the attention of scientists, researchers, and patients struggling with the condition.  

CBD advocates are excited about using CBD for PTSD because the symptoms of the condition fall within the cannabinoid’s scope of potential benefits. For example, many people suffering from PTSD experience trouble sleeping and deal with depression and anxiety. Experts believe that a healthy endocannabinoid system helps regulate conditions like the sleep-wake cycle and mental health conditions making these side effects more manageable.

While CBD (or any other treatment) hasn’t shown the potential to cure PTSD, regular use has demonstrated a significant reduction in symptoms and an improvement in quality of life.

PTSD and CBD Studies

Cannabis compounds haven’t received the attention they deserve, but our understanding evolves as CBD becomes more available and accepted. Below is the most prominent CBD study examining the potential to treat PTSD symptoms, along with a meta-analysis of recent research.

2019 Study in Colorado

In 2019 researchers from universities and medical institutions around Colorado observed CBD’s potential to help patients diagnosed with CBD from a health professional. The study ran for 8 weeks with patients receiving a flexible dosing regimen of CBD, along with routine psychiatric care.

The severity of each patient’s symptoms was evaluated after 4 weeks of treatment by a patient-completed PTSD PCL-5 questionnaire.

According to their baseline questionnaire results, researchers found that 91% of the participants experienced a decrease in PTSD symptoms. The mean total of decreased symptoms was 28%, from a baseline score of 51.82 down to 37.14.

Meta-Analysis of CBD for PTSD Studies

Reviewing a meta-analysis is an excellent way to get a feel for scientific progress regarding a specific condition. Brazilian researchers compiled an overview of all current research on CBD for PTSD.

The paper references multiple animal and human trials covering the effectiveness of CBD on trauma-induced mental health conditions. While the researchers state that more studies are needed, they conclude that “the effects of CBD on the different stages of aversive memory processing make this compound a candidate pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD.” 

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CBD for Veterans

Veterans have PTSD at an alarmingly high rate due to the increased likelihood of experiencing traumatic events. Many of the symptoms such as guilt, shame, remorse, and disinterest in activities they once found enjoyable are more challenging to overcome, but CBD could be an essential part of a multifaceted treatment strategy.

Using CBD for PTSD

CBD offers patients with PTSD an option to relieve symptoms without serious side effects. While improving sleep and mental health issues are within the scope of the ECS, other conditions are more complicated to treat. PTSD is a complex condition that can only be overcome with a multidimensional strategy. CBD isn’t a proven treatment but could become an essential part of relieving symptoms of PTSD when combined with a support group and psychotherapy.