Does CBD Help With PTSD, Depression and Other Mood Disorders?

CBD help for PTSD, Depression and Mood disorders

Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the cannabis plant and is classed as medical marijuana (in the US, UK, and Canada) and can be acquired from stores and depots. Its benefits range from helping with depression and anxiety to helping to treat some of the symptoms of ALS and MND. It is a common question of whether CBD help with PTSD, Depression, and other mood disorders.

Claims are made daily regarding the benefits of CBD and the ailments that it can supposedly help with. In this article, we’ll detail whether CBD can help with depression and PTSD, whilst going over common misconceptions with CBD also looking at how much you should take as well as how you can take it.

Can CBD help with PTSD? Yes, scientific studies have shown that CBD can help with the treatment of PTSD.

In fact, a 2019 study found that 10 out of 11 PTSD sufferers who were given CBD “experienced a decrease in PTSD symptom severity”.

A 2018 overview of studies and research on PTSD and CBD suggested that “Human and animal studies suggest that CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for disorders related to inappropriate responses to traumatic memories.” Making it a candidate for: “pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD”.

Many variables have to be considered with CBD because it depends on the product, the quality of it and how some people metabolize CBD differently, just as with any biohacking supplement.

Can CBD help with depression and mood disorders? Yes, CBD has been shown to have antidepressant properties helping with disorders like depression, bipolar, cyclothymia and premenstrual syndrome.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol oil ( CBD) is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of industrial hemp plants. CBD is a cannabinoid, these are compounds found in the cannabis plant species. Unlike the similarly prominent cannabinoid, THC, CBD is non-psychoactive meaning it does not produce a ‘high’.

Because CBD is extracted from industrial hemp plants, it contains less than 0.2 – 0.3% THC content, so long as the product abides by this content level, it is legal in the US, UK, and Canada.

THC is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant species, it is responsible for the ‘high’ that cannabis gives you.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is short for Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that can be caused by past events that caused distress, anxiety or stress. People with PTSD relive the event in nightmares or flashbacks. This can cause insomnia and difficulty concentrating. Often the symptoms are so severe that it affects the sufferer’s wellbeing.

Triggering events can be anything from:

  • Accidents or tragedies (car crashes for example)
  • Experiences of war
  • Personal attacks (sexual assault, muggings eg)
  • Childbirth experiences
  • Health problems

Symptoms can develop days, months or even years after the event occurs.

Traditional remedies for PTSD, which are often very effective in treatment include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Psychologists/therapists
  • Therapy such as Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group discussion meetings

What mood disorders are there?


Depression can come from a variety of difficult experiences, from relationship problems, bereavement, sleeping issues, stress or chronic pain.

The symptoms of depression are:

  • A low mood which lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • Not enjoying life
  • Hopelessness
  • Overeating or losing your appetite
  • Sleeping a lot or not being able to sleep
  • Lack of concentration
  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts, self-harm thoughts

If a low mood doesn’t go away or becomes too much, seek help as soon as possible. Find support from your family, friends or doctors.

Low mood symptoms include:

  • Anxiety and worrying
  • Tiredness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Sadness

The symptoms are similar but the timeframe is key, if you have a prolonged period of low mood, seek help as soon as possible for relief.

Traditional remedies include:

  • Self-help like dietary changes, becoming more active and reducing alcohol intake
  • Antidepressants
  • Therapists/psychologists


Bipolar is characterized by extreme mood swings from depression (low mood and lethargy) to mania (high mood and overactivity).

With bipolar, mood swings can last for weeks on end, a normal mood may be a rare occurrence.

Bipolar can be caused by a number of things (similar to PTSD):

  • Life-changing events
  • Stress
  • Overwhelming issues
  • Genetic and chemical factors

Symptoms of depression are above, symptoms of mania, however, include:

  • Happiness
  • Energetic mood
  • Feeling ambitious
  • Spending money on things you wouldn’t normally get or can’t afford
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of want to sleep
  • Fast, quick speech
  • Becoming annoyed easily

Traditional remedies include:

  • Mood stabilizers
  • Medicine specifically for depression or mania
  • Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a better diet and getting more sleep
  • Therapy


Similarly to bipolar disorder, cyclothymia causes mood swings from emotional highs to emotional lows. The symptoms are often less severe and milder than with bipolar so people do not go for diagnosis.

Like bipolar, mood swings that come with cyclothymia can affect daily life from relationships to work and concentration. The biggest risk with cyclothymia is in the fact that bipolar can develop from it, therefore it’s important to diagnose it sooner rather than later.

Traditional remedies are again similar to those of bipolar, but they are aimed at reducing your symptoms, stopping them coming back and stopping the potential development of bipolar from cyclothymia. Mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and therapy are all options for treatment.

Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome is the term for the symptoms that women can sometimes experience in the weeks before their period begins. These symptoms are:

  • Upset, anxious or irritable nature
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Bloating or tummy pain
  • Spotty skin
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in appetite and sex drive
  • A tender feeling of the breast

Self-help remedies include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Taking painkillers
  • Healthy diet
  • Not smoking
  • Not consuming excess amounts of alcohol

Other remedies include: hormonal medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and antidepressants.

How does CBD help with PTSD?

A 2018 review of CBD as a treatment for PTSD highlighted that the endocannabinoid system – that CBD interacts with (indirectly or not) – regulates emotional behavior and is important in emotional memory processing specifically for past traumatic experiences. With this discovery came interest in CBD’s potential for treatment in PTSD.

Preclinical studies in rodents found that CBD helped to forget unhappy/traumatic/upsetting memories and block them from coming back. Following this, human studies have found the same result. This finding, lead to the endocannabinoid system being seen as having a big part in the “extinction of aversive memories”.

Check here for more detail in the review itself here.

How does CBD help with mood disorders?

The properties that CBD has been shown to have includes:

These properties are all relevant in treating mood disorders which can cause anxiety, worry, depression and psychotic symptoms. Linked are studies that evidence these properties.

CBD forms and dosage

CBD comes in a variety of forms, these include:

  • Oil in sprays and tinctures
  • Capsules
  • Topicals/creams/balms/lotions
  • Vaporizers/vape oils
  • Edibles/gummies
  • Infused water
  • Infused coffee
  • Tea
  • Shower gels/bath bombs/bath salts and shampoos

Dosing is not a certain thing for CBD. Dosages vary from patient to patient depending on a number of variables including, condition, the severity of condition, weight, and metabolism.

For mood disorders, fast relief can be seen in vapes, which usually take effect instantly or within 5 minutes. Capsules, sprays, and tinctures take longer (up to 2 hours) before taking effect but do last longer when they do take effect. Pick which you prefer and use accordingly.

Look to the medium to higher dosage sections in the table below for mood disorders and PTSD (after consulting with your doctor) which gives an outline of body weight relating to dosage.

Misconceptions surrounding CBD

One of the main concerns is if CBD will get you high. Legal CBD extracted from industrial hemp plants are legally required to contain less than 0.2 % in the UK, and 0.3% in the US, THC content.

This amount is insignificant and presents no risk of getting ‘high’ from taking any CBD products. But there are things to be aware of which is why we write this all about CBD and drug tests.

Many variables have to be considered with CBD because it depends on the product, the quality of it and how some people metabolize CBD differently, just as with any biohacking supplement.

Legality of CBD

In Canada, CBD along with recreational marijuana use is legal, however individual provinces have their own laws so check here for a more detailed outline on the legality of CBD in Canada. CBD products from Canada may contain more than the legal amount of THC (as there is no limit) than other countries allow, so be cautious in transporting or trying to import CBD products from Canada.

In the United States, some states have legalized recreational marijuana use while some outlaw CBD as they do not differ it from marijuana itself, check here for a state by state guide on the legality of CBD in the US. In federal law, CBD is legal so long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.3% THC content.

In the United Kingdom CBD is legal as long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.2% THC content.

In Australia, CBD and other ‘medicinal cannabis’ products can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner following an in-depth assessment of the patient’s condition and individual, outside circumstances.

Side effects and risks of CBD

Side effects of CBD are largely uncommon and insignificant. Short term side effects include:

  • Tiredness + mood changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite change

Long term side effects are unstudied as studies have only recently begun on CBD.

Failing a drug test because of CBD

Drug tests look for THC and its metabolites. Because CBD contains trace amounts of THC a false positive can result from taking CBD so be cautious when taking CBD before a drug test. Both the Hemp and Marijuana plant, which CBD can be derived from, contain THC. Industrial Hemp is legal because the amount of THC is limited to 0.2 – 0.3%, where Marijuana plants have no limit, which is why the plant is illegal.

CBD can interfere with your body’s ability to process certain pharmaceutical drugs; specifically, it inhibits cytochrome p450. As with some other medications, CBD is metabolized in the body by the enzymes in the CYP450 system. So, in competing for these enzymes, CBD can reduce the metabolism of other drugs, raising their blood levels and having the inhibitor effect described above.

This means that lower dosages are more likely to be required without knowing so. This could lead to the potentially harmful levels suggested above. Clinical trials have shown this where CBD is provided in hundreds of milligrams (mg) daily. The average CBD supplement pill can range from 10 to 40 mg, therefore the effect may not be as strong in smaller doses of CBD.

Drugs that are affected by grapefruit do have warnings so watch out for these and avoid CBD when seeing this warning.


CBD is one of the most promising, new, potential treatments for PTSD considering what research, studies, and trials have found. Removal of and then blocking of traumatic or painful memories is vital to help with treating PTSD and is something that can take years of therapy to do.

For mood disorders, CBD shows all the properties necessary to help with an abundance of the symptoms that are present in a variety of disorders. Users swear by its effect on them. The biggest difficulty for CBD is dosage as there is no clear answer. Test and trial, increasing your dosage gradually until you feel the desired effect.

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