There are over 20 million veterans in the United States who live with chronic health issues, including PTSD, anxiety and chronic pain.
CBD oil is a promising new therapy that can provide relief to these veterans, making it easier for them to cope with their daily symptoms.
The field of research into the benefits of CBD grows every day and there are now CBD assistance programs available for helping veterans.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is one of the most common issues facing the veteran population with between 10% and 20% of veterans experiencing PTSD. That’s about 3 to 6 times higher than the rates of PTSD among the civilian population.
PTSD is accompanied by nightmares, flashbacks and an elevated level of fear or stress. Other symptoms of PTSD may also include depression, anxiety and sleep issues.
People with PTSD often feel constantly “on edge” and many veterans develop PTSD due to a traumatic experience during combat.
Typically, PTSD is treated through a combination of psychotherapy and medications like SSRIs or antidepressants. While 60% of patients do respond to SSRI treatment, patients may experience negative side effects and only about 20% to 30% achieve full remission.
The good news is, researchers are finding that CBD may be effective for recovery from PTSD.
According to a review of eleven studies examining the effects of CBD on military veterans with PTSD, CBD can alter memory processing while minimizing the negative emotions associated with a memory. Specifically, CBD helps block the brain’s retrieval of traumatic memories, reducing the individual’s likelihood of experiencing a flashback.
At the same time, CBD also creates an antidepressant-like effect, activating a pleasure response which minimizes the negative emotions the person typically experiences.
This feedback loop, when repeated with a consistent CBD regimen, may eventually cause the individual to remember the trauma less frequently, and to remember it with less emotional intensity. In this way, CBD targets both cognitive and emotional symptoms of PTSD.
Currently, the Veterans Administration is funding its first study focusing on CBD. The researchers are researching how CBD can help veterans “unlearn” the negative behaviors and thought patterns they’ve developed in response to their trauma.
According to a 2013 study, 40% of veterans with PTSD also had generalized anxiety disorder
In fact, anxiety and depression are two of the most common conditions for which people take CBD.
Many individuals with anxiety find CBD helps alleviate their symptoms.
Case studies show CBD provides a calming effect of serenity and prevents recurring anxiety problems.
In a review of scientific literature by researchers from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, scientists found that studies clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD.
In 2016, a study showed that CBD can produce a fast-acting antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect by stimulating serotonin in the brain.
Besides anxiety, insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of PTSD and many veterans who are sleep deprived also experience other health problems.
Without adequate sleep, healthy individuals experience reductions in their overall quality of life and well being.
If the individual is also living with chronic pain, a lack of sufficient sleep on a regular basis can worsen their pain, making symptoms harder to manage.
Because insomnia often results from stress, CBD’s effectiveness as an anti-anxiety agent makes it equally effective at relieving sleep issues.
Many people hаvе rероrtеd thаt tаkіng CBD a fеw hоurѕ bеfоrе bеdtіmе bаlаnсеѕ their body аnd fасіlіtаtеѕ a good nіght’ѕ sleep.
Veterans are more likely to experience more pain than non-veterans and severe pain is more prevalent among young to middle-aged veterans.
Many veterans are prescribed opioids to cope with their symptoms, despite side-effects and the high risk for addiction. Rates of opioid addiction are alarmingly high in America, with more than 130 Americans dying each day from an overdose.
Research shows that CBD can be just as effective at managing chronic pain. CBD engages receptors located throughout the nervous system, allowing it to provide targeted, effective pain relief.
Moreover, CBD is able to reduce pain and inflammation without producing negative side effects.
Part of what makes CBD such an effective treatment for pain is that it has a positive effect on the brain’s emotional response to traumatic memories.
Substance abuse is a serious issue among veterans with nearly one-third of veteran suicides preceded by alcohol or drug use.
Around 11% of veterans receiving VA care are diagnosed with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). SUD is highly correlated with PTSD among veterans, affecting about one-third of all veterans.
Substance abuse can also develop from opioid addiction and veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from an opioid overdose.
Tobacco use is significantly higher among veterans than non-veterans, with over 20% of veterans smoking cigarettes. Research suggests that CBD can significantly reduce the urge to smoke.
In one study, smokers reduced the total cigarettes they smoked by as much as 40%. In another study, the reduction in cravings grew stronger over time, as long as the CBD treatment was sustained.
In addition to providing relief for the primary symptoms of PTSD or pain, CBD can also aid in addiction recovery accompanying these conditions.
VA Clinics and CBD
Since VA clinics can only prescribe medications that have been approved by the FDA, they cannot currently prescribe CBD. Furthermore, CBD is not covered by Medicare or Social Security benefits at this time.
The good news is, anyone in the U.S. including veterans can get access to CBD products without going the the VA clinic or without a prescription.
Although most quality CBD oil cost anywhere from $70-$170 for a month’s supply (depending on the strength), some CBD companies are providing assistance programs for veterans up to 50% off.
CBD Assistance Programs
Comfort Leaf offers some of the highest quality CBD products at a discount of 50% off to all US military veterans.
To receive the veterans discount for Comfort Leaf, find the Veterans Portal tab at the top of the page to create an account.
You’ll be asked to upload a photo ID (VA card, DD214 form, military ID, or driver’s license with veteran designation) for verification.
Once you’re approved you will receive an exclusive military discount on all products when you’re logged in to your Veterans Account.