One of the more exciting prospects of CBD oils and CBD creams are their many benefits for use with veterans. Not only can veterans take advantage of CBD oil for pain management, but there are also several studies that show CBD’s effectiveness on PTSD and anxiety symptoms.
Injuries sustained through training and on the battlefield can have long-term consequences on the bodies of returning veterans. Many veterans deal with chronic aches and pain, premature arthritis, and lower back and joint problems. Veterans with PTSD are often dealing with traumatic memories and experiences, including side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. CBD is showing promising results in the treatment of PTSD and chronic pain through the reduction of inflammation and its connection to the body’s endocannabinoid system.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is derived from the male hemp plant, rather than the female cannabis plant which contains the hypnotic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. CBD accesses the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates inflammation, the immune system, sleep cycles, and appetite.
The ECS is made up of two kinds of receptors: CB1 and CB2. THC bonds with CB1 receptors, and while it helps to decrease anxiety and increase appetite, many people dislike the hypnotropic effects because they are unable to function at work, school, or with their families.
CBD, on the other hand, has bonding properties with CB2 receptors, which are believed to decrease oxidative stress chemicals in the muscle and joint tissues, which causes inflammation. While acute inflammation during illness or after an injury is actually a good thing, it can end up lasting for too long, causing long-term problems.
Inflammation is not supposed to linger, but sometimes our bodies– due to stress, poor diet, or environmental factors — don’t know when to shut off the inflammation immune response. Over time, inflammation can cause damage to muscle tissues and joints. Many wounded warriors coming home from their duties have injuries that will not heal due to over-stimulated inflammation response.
Inflammation, chronic pain, and PTSD
Inflammation has been definitively linked to autoimmune disorders, some types of mental illness, and chronic pain. Over time, the constant inflammation immune response begins to damage the DNA of cells and change their genetic structure. Genetic mutations have a high potential to become a terminal illness, and that risk increases with age.
Chronic pain is the result of inflammation in the muscle tissue due to traumatic injuries or degenerative changes. Many veterans experience the most chronic pain in their lower backs, where years of punishing exercise, maneuvers, and battlefield hazards have caused their spines to shift out of alignment and their disc space to narrow between vertebrae.
While over 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives, 66.6% of veterans report some type of chronic pain, with 49.3% experiencing back or neck pain. In fact, veterans are more likely to experience joint pain than non-veterans, attesting to what their bodies go through during training and war.
According to RAND, 20% of American veterans returning from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars experience symptoms of PTSD. This percentage comes from the number of veterans who actually seek help; in reality, it’s believed that 50% of veterans will not seek help for their PTSD. In addition, 19% of veterans have a traumatic brain injury, which can also cause inflammation and contribute to symptoms of PTSD. It’s believed that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
How CBD can help
CBD, because of its binding properties with CBD2 receptors, helps regulate inflammatory responses throughout the body, and locally when applied through CBD creams and oils. For minor aches and pains, localized topical CBD oil for pain relief works quickly because it penetrates the skin and accesses the ECS system directly, without having to go through the digestive system first.
Many veterans have found immense relief through topical creams and oils, especially for their chronic lower back pain and joint pain. Wounded veterans have also found relief by using hemp oil for pain relief, especially since they don’t have to take habit-forming pharmaceutical opioids.
CBD has also been shown to have a relaxing effect on the body, called the “CBD glow,” which helps with anxiety, insomnia, and appetite regulation. CBD is also proving to be a leading treatment in depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss symptoms and behavioral changes related to traumatic brain injuries.
CBD is an amazing breakthrough treatment for wounded veterans who deserve more than just a pill to deal with their pain and trauma. CBD can effectively help soldiers return to normal life by making their pain manageable and improving their symptoms of PTSD.
For veterans who have earned their Purple Heart on the battlefield, consider getting him or her some CBD cream for Purple Heart Day this August.