Guide to CBD for Veterans
There are millions of veterans in the United States, representing almost 10% of the country’s total population. Many veterans live with chronic health issues, including PTSD, anxiety, pain and many more. It’s estimated that almost 37,000 are homeless and countless struggle with problems.
Unfortunately, only 50% of veterans that return from service will seek out help. There’s a stigma attached to getting help…so much so that many vets forgo it completely turning to routes of “self-medication” that far too often leads to substance abuse and addiction.
What Is CBD Oil?
Are you aware of the potential healing and recovery properties of Cannabidiol, also known as CBD? How about Hemp Oil? What is the military stance on using such products even if they contain no THC (the psychoactive drug)? In this article, we dig into the differences between the two and benefits being tested right now and answer the biggest question – Are these considered marijuana and illegal to use? Here are some things you need to know about CBD, Hemp, and THC:
- With only trace amounts of THC (less than .3%), it is unlikely to fail a drug test using Hemp/CBD.
- The CBD Oil and Hemp Oil comes from the legal, non-psychoactive hemp plant.
- The Cannabis Sativa L produces two types: marijuana and hemp.
- CBD (cannabidiol) is produced by both, but THC is not in both.
- Marijuana plant contains enough THC to get users “high”, hemp does not.
CBD is one of many naturally occurring cannabinoid compound found in Cannabis. Yes, this is a product of the same plant family of both marijuana and hemp. Fact is – cannabis does not mean marijuana. Cannabis is the genus name of the plant family that all forms of marijuana and hemp fall
Natural CBD Oil and Hemp Oil do not contain enough THC to be illegal (or get you high). It is negligible at best, but must be under .3% to be used on the market as Hemp or CBD Oil. It is the THC that is illegal within the federal government / military, but legal in some states. However, the non-psychoactive CBD has been gaining popularity throughout the media and scientific community (see links to studies below) with noticeable recovery benefits without the illegal substances and carcinogens of some forms of marijuana.
CBD oil is a promising new therapy that can provide relief to these veterans and make it easier for them to cope with their daily symptoms. Due to CBD’s high therapeutic potential, especially for veterans, many CBD brands offer financial assistance programs, in order to make their products more accessible and affordable to veterans.
Frequently asked questions about CBD Oil.
The Endocannabinoid System
Why are cannabinoids like CBD and Hemp so important? Because Our body has millions of cannabinoid receptors that are part of the brain, skin, and central nervous system (CNS) called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout our body from our biggest organ – the skin to the brain, digestive tract and throughout the peripheral nervous system (PNS). ECS is to protect the nerve fibers themselves, immune system, and helping to regulate the autonomic nervous system which impact appetite, sleep, mood, stress, and pain.
How Do You Take CBD Oil?
CBD oil products come in many shapes and forms.
- You can inhale CBD oil through a CBD vape pen.
- You can also consume CBD orally, by taking CBD capsules .
- You can also consume CBD orally, by eating CBD gummies or other edibles.
- Most people take their CBD sublingually, by applying CBD oil drops beneath the tongue.
- You can also apply CBD to the skin using a CBD topical product, massaging the CBD oil to engage pain receptors in the skin.
Those taking CBD for therapeutic reasons typically find more effective relief when they inhale a CBD vape oil or apply the drops sublingually, as these methods offer fast-acting relief with high bioavailability.
Can CBD Oil Can Help Veterans
The field of research into the benefits of CBD grows every day. Thus far, CBD appears to provide significant benefits for the following conditions commonly affecting veterans.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Addiction Recovery
Here’s how CBD can help.
CBD Can Help With Pain, Chronic Pain, Acute?
Veterans are both more likely to experience more pain than nonveterans, as well as to experience more severe pain. Severe pain is more prevalent among young and middle-aged veterans. It’s estimated that more than half of the veterans treated by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) centers across the country are affected by chronic pain.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), 9.1% of veterans, compared to 6.4% of civilians experiences severe pain on a regular basis.
Veterans that do seek treatment for their pain are often prescribed two or more opioid drugs, the most common being oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine.
And while it’s been reported that the number of veterans prescribed opioids has decreased, opioids are still some of the most addicting substances that exist.
Here’s one area where CBD can help. Research shows that CBD and other cannabinoids can be effective at managing difficult to treat pain.
Part of what makes CBD such an effective treatment for pain is that it also changes the brain’s pain response, similar to its effect on the brain’s emotional response to traumatic memories. As a result, over time, as the CBD helps relieves the inflammation contributing to the pain, the individual also perceives the pain less intensely, making it easier for them to manage.
CBD Can Help With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is one of the most prevalent issues facing the veteran population. Between 10 to 20% of veterans experience PTSD. For reference, that’s about 3 to 6 times higher than the rates of PTSD among the civilian population.
PTSD is accompanied by persistent, distressing symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, and an elevated baseline level of fear or stress, which cause the person to avoid certain people or places that remind of their trauma. They may also develop depression, anxiety, and sleep issues.
Research has discovered that individuals with PTSD have lower levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid responsible for feelings of wellbeing, memory, motivation, and more, than those who don’t suffer from PTSD. CBD, while not considered a “treatment” per say, is something that has shown to benefit CBD.
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 minifies the negative emotions the person typically experiences during a flashback.
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.
How Can CBD Help With Anxiety?
Many individuals with anxiety find CBD helps alleviate their symptoms. In fact, anxiety and depression are two of the most common conditions for which people take CBD. Aside from active combat, there are several other influences that can lead veterans to develop anxiety, including long periods of separation from family members, sleep deprivation, sexual assault, discrimination, substance abuse, and more.
People with PTSD often feel constantly “on edge.” Exposure to seemingly innocuous things can trigger a flashback, a feeling of anxiety or even panic. Many veterans develop PTSD due to a predatory threat they experienced during combat. One study looked into the effectiveness of CBD at treating this kind of trauma specifically, using a rat model.
A 2015 review found that existing preclinical evidence “strongly supports” CBD for the treatment of several anxiety disorders including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Veterans who find they are one of many who have developed chronic anxiety could benefit from regularly taking CBD.
Can CBD Help With Sleep and Insomnia
It’s suggested we need at least seven hours of sleep each night to effectively function throughout the day.
Unfortunately, countless veterans don’t get the sleep they need.
Besides anxiety, insomnia is one of the most prevalent symptoms of PTSD. Among the veteran population, insomnia itself is one of the largest predictors of PTSD.
Anyone who’s suffered from sleep issues and insomnia knows just how detrimental it can be to one’s overall health and wellbeing.
And while sleeping pills are a multi-billion dollar industry, they weren’t exactly designed to be taken on a long term basis.
Not to mention they can be detrimental to your health.
The way CBD helps with several other conditions. By bringing balance to the endocannabinoid system.
Research has found that endocannabinoid signaling can help regulate sleep stability.
Because insomnia often results from stress, CBD’s effectiveness as an anti-anxiety agent makes it equally effective at relieving sleep issues. CBD has been shown to stabilize sleep patterns, improve sleep while also reducing PTSD symptoms, and, for anxiety patients in one study, increase sleep quality in just a month.
Natural Addiction Recovery
Substance abuse can also develop from opioid addiction. Veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from an opioid overdose. In addition to providing relief for the primary symptoms of PTSD or pain, CBD can also aid in addiction recovery accompanying these conditions.
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 were given a CBD inhaler and observed. After just one week, the 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.
CBD Assistance Program
Unfortunately, because VA clinicians can only prescribe medications that have been approved by the FDA, they cannot currently prescribe CBD. CBD is currently unregulated by the FDA. Although, that may change soon, as the FDA just approved the first drug containing CBD in 2018. CBD is also not covered by Medicare or Social Security benefits.
However Knockout CBD is proud to offer CBD assistance for veterans. Military Service Members, get 20% Discount at Knockoutcbd.com and Free ground shipping.
To receive the veterans discount, you’ll need to create an account with your name and email, and upload a photo ID (VA card, DD214 form, military ID, or driver’s license with veteran designation) for verification.
These men and women have put their lives on the line and deserve access to and information about every treatment available to them.
There are several clinical trials, as well as tons of anecdotal evidence on the efficacy of CBD and THC for helping with many of the problems our veterans are currently facing.