Updated: May 6
Can CBD influence our fear? Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about mental health, and we have collected everything related to anxiety and post-traumatic stress in this article. And how these disorders generate excessive feelings of fear.
WHAT ARE FEAR AND ANXIETY?
Fear is the negative emotional sensation associated with the perception of a physical or psychological danger that can be real or imagined, accompanied by other psychological sensations (anxiety, anguish, hypervigilance) and physical changes (cardio-circulatory and muscular hyperactivation). The common goal is to react as quickly as possible to said danger, usually through 3 primary mechanisms: fight, flight, or freeze.
Fear and anxiety represent an advantageous defense mechanism for survival at a more biological and animal level. This is because, through association with memory, it allows us to be prepared and avoid possible future dangerous situations of a similar type.
But on a more social and human level, the fear and anxiety caused by some scary or traumatic experience can facilitate the appearance of a more stable type of anxiety disorder that can incapacitate the person both on a personal level (avoiding some places, situations, or people who are associated for some reason with the traumatic event) as well as at a professional level (problems at work or in studies).
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress represents a state of tension that is perceived both physically and mentally in response to a demanding or challenging situation such as being exposed to danger, a continued psychological or physical effort, or to achieve personal and/or professional goals.
Although it represents a positive tool that allows us to adapt and respond to different situations in daily life, stress acquires a negative connotation when it is present in excess or chronically, and the individual has difficulty managing it.
In these cases, among the most frequent symptoms observed, cognitive and emotional problems stand out, such as feelings of anxiety, anguish, and fear.
WHAT IS POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can affect people who directly or indirectly experience a shocking and dangerous traumatic event such as an accident, assault or abuse, a natural disaster, and death, particularly in war situations.
When these traumatic events occur, our body responds with the fight/flight/freeze mechanisms to deal with the situation in the fastest and most efficient way possible, implying psycho-physical reactions of cardio-circulatory hyperactivation, hypervigilance, anxiety, and fear.
Although it is normal and functional for survival to experience these symptoms during and after having lived through traumatic situations, generally, with time, the emotional load is softened, and the symptoms of stress disappear.
In some people, this mechanism of gradual "forgetting" does not occur, and they continue to experience the same symptoms of anxiety, fear, anguish, and hyperarousal with the same intensity as the first moment, even though months or years have passed, also frequently accompanied by flashbacks, nightmares, and reminiscences.
This situation is recognized and diagnosed as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). People who suffer from it may have a worsening quality of life both psychologically, socially, and professionally.
It has been observed that psychological treatments usually provide limited or temporary benefits. Pharmacological treatments may not be effective for many people and may have adverse side effects that often interfere with psychological therapy.
For these reasons, there is an urgent need to find a treatment that can provide more stable effectiveness and that you can also use with other tools without creating interference, but rather synergies.
ECS AND POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS
Thanks to the most current scientific studies, it has been observed that the Endocannabinoid System plays a crucial role in the physiological and psychological regulation of response to different situations of stress and danger, as well as being involved in the mechanisms of consolidation, recollection, and extinction of the memories.
In particular, Anandamide, the endocannabinoid neurotransmitter similar to THC in Cannabis, would play a fundamental role in the mechanism of extinction and "forgetting" of adverse and traumatic memories thanks to its modulatory activity on CB1 receptors.
For this reason, it is known as the molecule of "bliss" or "happiness" (which is the translation of the Sanskrit word "Ananda") since it helps the body to recover a state of well-being and balance.
Several studies have observed that the inhibition of Anandamide degradation enzymes, known as FAAH, facilitates the mechanism of extinction of adverse memories and mitigates the associated symptoms of anxiety and fear.
CBD AND POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: HOW IT WORKS
Many recent studies, both in animal models and in humans, have revealed the mechanisms by which CBD can represent an effective tool both to deal with the symptoms of PTSD and to favor their gradual mitigation and disappearance.
· If used in the first moments after experiencing a traumatic event, CBD can alleviate the acute physical and psychological symptoms associated with the experience, characterized by anxiety and fear, allowing the subsequent consolidation of the memory to have a less intense emotional and negative connotation.
· At a biochemical level, CBD has the ability to inhibit FAAH enzymes, causing an increase in Anandamide levels in the brain; that is, it stimulates the functioning of the Endocannabinoid System itself. Thanks to this effect, the mechanisms of creation and consolidation of memories are modulated, hindering the reconsolidation of adverse memories and facilitating their extinction and "forgetting" processes.
· Thanks to its anxiolytic and antidepressant effect, CBD favors emotional stability and balance, relieving feelings of anguish and fear and reducing the intensity and/or frequency of panic attacks and possible flashbacks.
· Due to its calming and relaxing effect, CBD has favors rest and improves the quality of sleep, being of particular help in PTSD to reduce night nightmares.
In addition, thanks to its positive modulation on the mechanisms that cause psycho-physical stress, CBD is an excellent tool to facilitate and accompany the psychotherapeutic exposure treatment (which consists of gradually exposing oneself to traumatic memories in a controlled situation without having the negative experience associated with the event), favoring its success.
In the same way, CBD could also be helpful at a preventive level to deal with all those situations associated with a traumatic memory and cause a similar reaction of fear and anxiety. Being able to experience these situations without having a negative experience represents a significant positive reinforcement to weaken the association between memory and negative emotions.
HOW TO USE CBD FOR PTSD
Although scientific studies with people suffering from PTSD still lack standardization of forms of use and dosage, animal studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD used internally.
In general, it is advisable to start with a minimum dose of a low-medium concentration product and gradually increase until the expected effect is achieved. You may also use our dosing guide by clicking here. However, it is recommended to always contact a health professional before using CBD internally to have a suitable follow-up. In addition, it is always advisable to have the support of a specialized psychologist who can help with more comprehensive support. Click here for our CBD oil options.
IS CBD SAFE? PRECAUTIONS
CBD is a very safe substance, even when used in large quantities. However, care must be taken when taking drugs or suffering from heart problems or blood pressure. For this reason, in these cases, it is always advisable to contact a health professional.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Side effects are usually mild to moderate in intensity and may include tiredness, drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and decreased appetite.