When our Veterans finally get to come home and retire from active duty, they usually face another battle on the Homefront; taking care of their physical and mental wellbeing. CBD is an avenue that many scientists are researching to find out if the benefits can help Veterans combat an array of health concerns. Research is ongoing but from what scientific research and trials have already discovered, CBD when used properly and in conjunction with other medical and psychological efforts, can help with a variety of issues, from PTSD, inflammation, anxiety, to pain, as the references in this blog will prove. We’ve already discussed the different delivery methods of CBD in our “See CBD Differently” Blog and the products we have for each method so we’ll dig into the benefits for our Veterans today.
PTSD is one of the major issues that face our Military Personnel; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs attribute PTSD affects 11-20% of those who served in the most recent operations; Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and 30% of Vietnam Veterans (1). The National Institute of Mental Health explains that symptoms of PTSD range from trouble sleeping, hyper arousal to any situation and increased anxiety due to always feeling on alert for a potential threat, and reactivity symptoms, being startled easily, avoidance of feelings about the traumatic events, avoidance of certain situations such as large crowds or small rooms that might bring back memories of the traumatic experience, flashbacks of the events, stress, anxiety, depression, feelings of guilt or blame, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, memory issues, and feeling isolated when dealing with all of these issues (2). PTSD can affect a Veteran’s day to day life or it can surface during certain events or when a trigger comes up randomly.
The Veteran’s Association released this article on Veterans and CBD,
“A study in 2011 investigating the effects that CBD has on anxiety mentioned that ‘a single dose of 600mg. (CBD) reduced anxiety’ – However evidence indicated that the CBD lessens anxiety best ‘in subjects where stress had been caused before CBD administration.’ This means that CBD is ideal for those who get anxious from experiences, situations, or in random moments. Therefore, veterans currently suffering from PTSD who get random episodes of significant anxiety could get relief using CBD Oils after each traumatic incident. A medical paper from 2015 titled ‘Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders’ studied the possibility of CBD assisting with erratic and unstable moments of PTSD. The study recorded that ‘in a sub chronic study, CBD administered daily 1 hour after predator stress (a proposed model of PTSD) reduced the long-lasting anxiogenic effects of chronic predator stress…’ In an additional study of chronic anxiety, systemic CBD ‘prevented increased anxiety produced by chronic unpredictable stress…… What this means is that Veterans, combat soldiers, or other people alike can probably use CBD within an hour of their experience, and significantly decrease the adverse effects of the disorder.”(3).
A study done in 2015 that compiled 49 clinical, primary preclinical and epidemiological studies concluded that CBD can help support treatment for anxiety disorders such as PTSD and SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) and reduces anxiety levels in both experimentally induced anxiety in healthy subjects without affecting the baseline levels of anxiety and reduced levels of anxiety in humans with SAD. CBD was shown to help reduce activation of the amygdala and assisted with fear reduction. The study concluded that CBD efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors in the disorders of PTSD, SAD, OCD, PD (Panic Disorder), and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). (4).
An Article submitted to The Journal Frontiers in Neuroscience under the Neuropharmacology section, Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials, studied the clinical trials of CBD in both animals and humans in regards to CBD helping with eliminating traumatic memories.
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by poor adaptation to a traumatic experience. This disorder affects approximately 10% of people at some point in life. Current pharmacological therapies for PTSD have been shown to be inefficient and produce considerable side effects. Since the discovery of the involvement of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in emotional memory processing, pharmacological manipulation of eCB signaling has become a therapeutic possibility for the treatment of PTSD…Human and animal studies suggest that CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for disorders related to inappropriate responses to traumatic memories. The effects of CBD on the different stages of aversive memory processing make this compound a candidate pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD. CBD also shows an action profile with fewer side effects than the pharmacological therapy currently used to treat this type of disorder.” (5).
CBD has also been reported to assist people with physical ailments such as pain and inflammation.
Our military veterans and service members are at a greater risk of developing Arthritis with 1 in 3 Vets developing Arthritis as opposed to 1 in 5 members of the general public. Our military face developing Arthritis from combat injuries, bomb shock waves that weaken joints, as well as from carrying 60-100-pound packs that weaken joints which can lead even young service members to developing arthritis. In fact, a 10-year study on arthritis in active duty military showed that Osteoarthritis was 26% higher in the under 20 age group than in the general population in the same age bracket. (9)
This year at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology meeting, CreekyJoints, an online support group for those in the arthritic community, presented their results of a survey conducted to prove how much the community of arthritis sufferers have benefited from the use of Marijuana and CBD in managing symptoms. Out of 1,059 people surveyed, more than half had tried Cannabis or CBD to manage symptoms related to their Arthritis; 97% of those who had tried CBD said that their symptoms improved. Those surveyed said that not only was pain, inflammation, and physical movement impairment, the main symptoms of arthritis, the causation to try CBD or Marijuana; but also, to aid with sleep issues, anxiety, and depression that comes from being in so much pain and discomfort for so long. (6).
On September 24th of this year the Arthritis Foundation released their own article on a CBD Guideline for Arthritis sufferers. Part of the push to release this article was that in July, the Arthritis Foundation conducted a survey of 2,600 Arthritis sufferers on the use of CBD in their treatment plan. Of those surveyed 79% said they were using CBD to help manage their symptoms. You can find those guidelines here, https://www.arthritis.org/about-us/news-and-updates/cbd-guidance-for-adults.php, (7). The Arthritis Foundation also sent a formal letter with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for the study and regulation of CBD products in order to help the 54 Million sufferers of Arthritis find safe CBD to help with managing their pain and other symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation also released this statement on it’s stance on CBD:
“As the largest organization representing the voice and needs of people with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation has always welcomed new treatment options because no single drug, supplement or therapy works for everyone. We believe patients should be empowered to find safe management strategies that are appropriate for them. The more options available, the likelier it is that more people will benefit. We are intrigued by the potential of CBD to help people find pain relief and are on record urging the FDA to expedite the study and regulation of these products. While currently there is limited scientific evidence about CBD’s ability to help ease arthritis symptoms, and no universal quality standards or regulations exist, we have listened to our constituents and consulted with leading experts** to develop these general recommendations for adults who are interested in trying CBD. (8) “
An article published in the December 2017 issue of Pain, The Journal of the International Association of the Study for Pain, found that inflammation caused by Osteoarthritis, was decreased with the use of CBD (11). Dr. Peter Grinspoon wrote an article in the Harvard Health Blog, for Harvard Health Publishing, and sites an article from the European Journal of Pain, where it was discovered that CBD inhibits inflammation as well as neuropathic pain and that CBD used topically can help ease pain and inflammation (12). The reason that CBD helps with the reduction of inflammation throughout the body is because the Cannabinoids in the CBD bind to the Cannabinoid receptors which are in your body’s cell membrane receptors. (13). CBD binds to the CB2 receptors in your body, the CB2 receptors are known to link to hyperactive immune cells and then release the anti-inflammatory protein Caspase. The protein Caspase then sends a signal to the body to start the death of the cell that is inflamed, through Caspase revival, the production of the inflaming cytokines is diminished which slows down the inflammation. (14)
The anti-inflammatory abilities of CBD can also help with Traumatic Brain Injuries, as the Veteran’s Association has written about on their website. CBD’s ability to release Caspase can help with TBIs by reducing the inflammation to the damaged brain and increasing blood flow to the brain which is necessary to help with the protection of brain cells and assist is lessening further brain damage. Traumatic blows to the head, leading to inflammation, swelling, and immune activation are a daily concern for military members in combat, on deployment and even during training, these injuries usually lead to concussions or mild TBI. The effects of TBIs can be life long, affecting depression, a decline in cognitive and motor function, increased anxiety, and changes in behavioral, social, and emotional. Severe TBIs can also result in the injured person starting to have seizures. Besides the inflammation and blood flow assistance, CBD can also help the Endocannabinoid System re-regulate and balance itself; the ECS is an important part in developing behavior, physical abilities and psychological well being. (15)
Pain from inflammation and arthritis is not the only type of pain that our Veteran’s face in the reality of post service life. Chronic pain from injuries, physical stress on the body, and affects from surgeries are all too common in military veterans and service members. In a recent study published this year on the affects of CBD when used to treat patients with chronic pain; stated that the patients found relief of not only symptoms but some were also able to reduce the current medication they were on. Over an 8-week study of patients with moderate to severe chronic pain for at least two years who were currently on stable on opioids for their pain for two years, were given a bottle with 15 mg. of CBD soft gels, patients took different doses based on their own needs, between 15 – 30 mg. of CBD per day. 53.2% of the patients who used CBD daily found that after 8 weeks were able to reduce their opioid medication. 6.4% were able to reduce or eliminate anxiety medication, 4.3% were able to reduce or eliminate their sleep medication. The participants who did not use any CBD did not reduce their opioid medication at any point of the 8-week study. 94% of those who used CBD in the study also reported that the quality of their life was improved by taking CBD with the variables being, pain, sleep and mood. (10)
Currently the research is still ongoing as to how CBD can help both Veterans and civilians alike, work still needs to be done to help CBD become fully integrated into the health market. There are many moving pieces in the quest for more naturally derived cures to some of the issues facing both Veterans; the FDA and the Government are still working to catch up to the research on CBD. CBD is legal in all 50 states and we encourage Veterans to reach out to their local VA for assistance with any CBD legality questions that they may have before embarking on their own CBD journey. The abilities of CBD to help with the onslaught of issues that Veterans face when retiring from active duty are promising and we hope that with more research we can find more positives from this amazing plant!
CBD Pharm appreciates the sacrifices that our Veterans and Military Service Members have given for our freedoms and the well being of our Nation. We hope that this blog helps answer some questions you may have and as always, we wish you health, wellness and peace.
Maryville University. Understanding a Veteran with PTSD. Published online. Retrieved from https://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/psychology/understanding-a-veteran-with-ptsd/
National Institute of Mental Health (2019). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
Veterans Association (2019). Can CBD Oil Help with Anxiety & PTSD In Veterans? Published online. Retrieved from https://va.org/can-cbd-oil-help-with-anxiety-ptsd-in-veterans/
Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
Bitencourt, R. M., & Takahashi, R. N. (2018). Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. Frontiers in neuroscience, 12, 502. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00502
Meehan, Maureen. (October 21, 2019). Arthritis Sufferers Lead The Way For Advancing Cannabis As Pain Medicine. Market Watch. Published online. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/arthritis-sufferers-lead-the-way-for-advancing-cannabis-as-pain-medicine-2019-10-21-14465214?mod=investing
Arthritis Foundation. (September 24, 2019). Arthritis Foundation Relesases First CBD Guidance for Adults With Arthritis. Published Online. Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/about-us/news-and-updates/cbd-guidance-for-adults.php
Arthritis Foundation. Fund Arthritis Research at the Department of Defense. Published Online. Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/advocate/our-policy-priorities/research-and-prevention/fund-arthritis-research-at-the-department-of-defense/
Alex Capano, Richard Weaver & Elisa Burkman (2019) Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study, Postgraduate Medicine, DOI: 10.1080/00325481.2019.1685298
Philpott, Holly T., O’Brien, Melissa, McDougall, Jason J. (December 2017). Attenuation of Early Phase Inflammation by Cannabidiol Prevents Pain and Nerve Damage in Rat Osteoarthritis. Pain. The Journal of the Interantional Association for the Study of Pain. Vol. 158 Issue 12.
Grinspoon M.D., Peter. (August 24, 2018). Cannabidiol (CBD)- What We Know and What We Don’t. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. Published Online. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476#:~:targetText=A%20study%20from%20the%20European,of%20chronic%20pain%20to%20treat.
Veteran’s Association. Anti-Inflammatory CBD Helps Maintain A Healthy Body. Published Online. Retrieved from https://va.org/anti-inflammatory-cbd-helps-maintain-a-healthy-body/
Veteran’s Association. Is CBD The Answer To Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?. Published Online. Retrieved From https://va.org/is-cbd-the-answer-to-traumatic-brain-injury-tbi/
Raypole, Crystal. A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System. Healthline. Published Online. Reviewed by Dr. Alan Carter. Retrieved From https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system-2
- Maryville University. Understanding A Veteran With PTSD. https://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/psychology/understanding-a-veteran-with-ptsd/
- National Institute of Mental Health (2019). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
- Veterans Association. Can CBD Oil Help with Anxiety & PTSD In Veterans? https://va.org/can-cbd-oil-help-with-anxiety-ptsd-in-veterans/
- Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
- Bitencourt, R. M., & Takahashi, R. N. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00502
- Meehan, M. Arthritis Sufferers Lead The Way For Advancing Cannabis As Pain Medicine. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/arthritis-sufferers-lead-the-way-for-advancing-cannabis-as-pain-medicine-2019-10-21-14465214?mod=investing
- Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Foundation Relesases First CBD Guidance for Adults With Arthritis. https://www.arthritis.org/about-us/news-and-updates/cbd-guidance-for-adults.php
- Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Foundation Relesases First CBD Guidance for Adults With Arthritis. https://www.arthritis.org/about-us/news-and-updates/cbd-guidance-for-adults.php
- Arthritis Foundation. Fund Arthritis Research at the Department of Defense. https://www.arthritis.org/advocate/our-policy-priorities/research-and-prevention/fund-arthritis-research-at-the-department-of-defense/
- Capano, A., Weaver, R., Burkman, E. Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study. DOI: 1080/00325481.2019.1685298
- Philpott, H. T., O’Brien, M., McDougall, J. J. Attenuation of Early Phase Inflammation by Cannabidiol Prevents Pain and Nerve Damage in Rat Osteoarthritis. The Journal of the Interantional Association for the Study of Pain. Vol. 158 Issue 12.
- Grinspoon M.D., P. Cannabidiol (CBD)- What We Know and What We Don’t. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476#:~:targetText=A%20study%20from%20the%20European,of%20chronic%20pain%20to%20treat.
- Veteran’s Association. Anti-Inflammatory CBD Helps Maintain A Healthy Body. https://va.org/anti-inflammatory-cbd-helps-maintain-a-healthy-body/
- Veteran’s Association. Is CBD The Answer To Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?. https://va.org/is-cbd-the-answer-to-traumatic-brain-injury-tbi/
- Raypole, Crystal. A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System. https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system-2