CBD Oil for PTSD: Benefits and Best Products in Australia

CBD oil for PTSD in Australia

Recently, interest in Australia has developed rapidly regarding the use of CBD oil for PTSD.

Many people have already seen success with CBD products to help them calm down traumatic stress problems.

While non-intoxicating, this natural extract from cannabis has uniquely soothing properties for the mind.

Its neurologically therapeutic effects may potentially even mean CBD can help with PTSD.

Calm Woman Treating PTSD with CBD

In particular, it’s thought that CBD oil offers support for:

  • Reducing anxiety from PTSD (CBD lowers anxiousness)
  • Mitigating insomnia and bad dreams.
  • Helping to reconsolidate memories to prevent flashbacks.
  • Stabilising mood and emotional state.

These naturally relaxing, mentally grounding benefits of CBD products have seen it become widely used for disorders like epilepsy, anxiety, depression and chronic stress.

But do the benefits of CBD extend to PTSD?

Clinical evidence is increasingly suggesting it does indeed. However, its success rates in mitigating this condition tend to vary.

CBD Gummies for PTSD

Despite this, CBD tends to have advantages over traditional PTSD medications like SSRIs because it won’t cause dependence. The rarer, milder side effects it has in comparison also make it attractive as a natural alternative.

Let’s explore whether CBD oil can help with PTSD, how to use it and what risks to know before trying it.

Benefits of CBD Oil for PTSD

Questioning Woman

There are a few ways CBD oil helps with PTSD.

These centre around the product’s ability to calm, soothe and mentally support those with the condition.

CBD has a few essential therapeutic properties for the mind.

In particular, it can aid those with PTSD in avoiding intrusive thoughts or flashbacks, restructuring memories, counteract comorbidities like depression and help reduce night terrors.

Let’s take a look at each of these benefits in more depth. 

Supporting Sleep

Preventing PTSD Night Terrors

Using CBD oil for PTSD is valuable in supporting those with the condition to sleep better.

Those with PTSD very commonly suffer from sleep disorders. These disorders tend to result from distressing night terrors they experience.

PTSD nightmares can worsen anxiety at night before sleep because of their intensity.

Anxiousness can trigger hypervigilance, which disrupts sleep.

Night terrors or flashbacks during sleep can additionally cause intermittent waking and insomnia.

CBD oil can help with these PTSD problems in several ways.

Its calming mental effects can help those with PTSD to calm down at night and get to sleep more easily. Because it blocks anxiety through its anxiolytic abilities, CBD helps prevent PTSD anxiety from disrupting sleep. It counteracts sleep being delayed or impaired by negative thoughts or worry around bedtime.

What’s more, CBD has the direct capacity to bolster sleep quality. In particular, it improves REM stage sleep amounts by influencing circadian rhythm.

Stopping Insomnia with CBD Gummies

Endocannabinoid system activation from CBD has a regulatory effect on the brain’s sleep-wake cycle regularity.

Using CBD gummies for PTSD at night supports a more regular, consistent sleep pattern.

For those with PTSD, it can be helpful in counteracting insomnia symptoms, sleeping on time more regularly and getting more profound sleep.

In turn, neurotransmitter levels and mood become more stable due to sleep’s therapeutic benefits for the mind.

These effects were demonstrated in a 2016 study, which explored how CBD’s anxiolytic effects can help prevent insomnia in those with PTSD. A young girl with PTSD was given CBD over a series of months and displayed substantial improvements in insomnia symptoms.

The study concluded CBD’s properties helped it block insomnia that resulted from PTSD’s secondary anxiety and stress symptoms.

Anxiety Mitigation

Woman Using CBD Oil for PTSD Anxiety

Using CBD oil for PTSD isn’t just helpful for the condition itself. Some comorbidities commonly occur alongside it, which CBD can similarly assist with.

Anxiety disorders are one of these PTSD comorbidities. Trauma experienced and the flashbacks it triggers are a significant source of anxiousness, fear or panic.

CBD oil’s anxiety-reducing properties are hugely valuable for counteracting these issues. It calms anxiety by interacting with receptors in the brain responsible for regulating fear. These receptors are found in the hypothalamus.

Via this pathway, CBD eases the nerves and helps block anxiety from occurring. In other words, it reduces sensitivity to stressors that can trigger PTSD symptoms. This can help prevent the hypervigilance that many with PTSD fall into due to their stress response becoming hyper-sensitive.

Medical CBD for Anxiety

Significantly, CBD also modulates the GABA receptors. Boosting GABA helps suppress stress. By modulating these receptors, CBD oil may help individuals with PTSD feel calmer and more at ease. This helps break the cycle of reliving stress-inducing memories that cause acute anxiety. Achieving this means getting better sleep and a more relaxed demeanour for those living with PTSD.

Memory Management

Using CBD Oil for PTSD Flashbacks

A particularly interesting benefit of CBD oil for PTSD appears to be its capacity to alter how memories are stored and retrieved.

In people with the condition, memories can become a source of trauma, anxiety and fear. Trauma experienced in the past can become ‘burned’ into memory. Memories become painful flashbacks that trigger panic attacks. Flashbacks from PTSD can be involuntary and occur at any time. New evidence shows that these distressing problems can be mitigated in some circumstances by CBD.

The cannabinoid has explicitly the ability to influence memory consolidation. Research suggests it helps to ‘rewire’ neural pathways responsible for storing and retrieving memories. In turn, this assists individuals in managing these memories better. Studies are showing that doses of CBD oil can lower incidences of intrusive flashbacks and nightmares. The mechanism for these effects isn’t fully understood. It could be the result of CBD’s serotonin receptor agonism. Serotonin controls memory formation and learning. Altering its activity in brain receptors correspondingly may enhance memory consolidation.

Extinction Learning Benefits 
Man Happy from Cannabidiol

In particular, CBD could help individuals to ‘discard’ memories that cause fear. Studies into CBD oil for PTSD have indicated it helps to block out memories that trigger flashbacks of trauma. Blocking them re-conditions the mind to avoid reacting. This is known as ‘extinction learning‘. It’s a process where we ‘learn’ to lower our reaction or response to a particular stimulus gradually. Reducing sensitivity to it helps to protect the mind. Stressors that trigger panic attacks and PTSD symptoms become much less impacting and more easily ignored.

A 2020 study demonstrated this effect with CBD oil. It showed that using the cannabinoid lowered stress reactions in the brain’s amygdala. Fear symptoms became downregulated, even in the presence of stressors. It was a promisingly successful signal that using CBD oil helps with PTSD cases in some instances.

Improved Mood

Older Woman Delighted from CBD Products

A more indirect way that CBD oil could assist with mitigating PTSD is via grounding mood.

CBD has stabilising properties for emotions and stress response. These properties help users to manage their feelings better, stay calm, and even feel happier. There’s a big reason this is very valuable amongst those who have PTSD.

The disorder has many mood dysregulation comorbidities. Those with it tend to suffer more from depression, irritability and mood disorders. PTSD can trigger dysregulation in emotions, stimulating bouts of anger or sadness. Some experience very large mood swings or rage from it.

Man Enraged from PTSD

Bringing mood back into balance is an essential way that CBD oil can assist with PTSD’s damaging impact on mood regulation. One way it achieves this is through soothing endocannabinoids like anandamide. This endocannabinoid is known for its calming feelings of ‘bliss’ it causes in users. Such feelings enable individuals to feel better. Preventing depressive mood states while aiding with day-to-day emotional regulation is a potent benefit of endocannabinoids when dealing with PTSD.

Reducing Irritability
Smiling Woman Hiking with CBD Tincture

Using CBD oil for PTSD also helps in preventing irritability. Some of this can be attributed to its neurotransmitter-modulating properties. It strengthens the normal functioning of glycine, GABA, and serotonin. In combination, this is hugely helpful for emotion and mood control. Keeping these critical neurochemicals in harmony helps avoid bouts of rage or lows of depression.

In some, CBD oil even exhibits antidepressant qualities. It’s a valuable way to assist with PTSD’s frustrating comorbidities. Some researchers have likened CBD to antidepressants like benzodiazepine. But unlike pharmaceutical antidepressants, which are addictive, CBD is non-addictive and natural. It functions along some of the same pathways as SSRIs. These are designed to improve serotonin reuptake, which helps boost mood. While CBD products won’t replace them, they could present a more mild alternative for some. Particularly given that SSRI compounds like Prozac often cause long-term reliance. CBD oil holistically promotes a grounded, relaxed mind despite being less potent. This mental state forms the basis of healthy emotions and resistance to PTSD symptoms.

Evidence for CBD’s Ability to Calm Down PTSD

Research on CBD for PTSD

Does CBD oil work for PTSD? There’s mixed evidence on the topic. Many clinical trials have shown it has beneficial uses in targeting some people’s conditions. Others find it less helpful.

Several clinical studies have investigated the effects of CBD oil in animal models of PTSD. These studies have shown that CBD administration reduced fear and anxiety-related behaviours in subjects, suggesting it has potential as a treatment option. However, further research involving human participants is necessary to validate these findings. Studies were often performed in combination with traditional therapy approaches like CBT. Using these techniques amplified the reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Studies on Treating PTSD with CBD Oil

For example, a 2019 analysis highlighted the positive effects of CBD oil on PTSD symptoms. In one study, 12 to 37mg of oral CBD oil daily was provided to patients with PTSD. Each reported consistently lower anxiety and better sleep.

A separate 2018 study showed CBD offered therapeutic benefits in blocking intrusive thoughts and unwanted memories associated with trauma. This study also noted the cannabinoid’s ability to reduce physiological stress symptoms such as heart rate increases, sweating or difficulty breathing. It suggested that using CBD Oil for PTSD was valuable for both mentally and physically blocking signs of acute stress.

CBD Researcher

A 2013 review of 48 patients proved that CBD oil could help promote extinction learning. Doing so accelerated the removal of traumatic memories that worsened PTSD symptoms. Patients were given 32mg of CBD daily. Researchers sought to understand how CBD altered their fear response and influenced memory formation. They showed that the cannabinoid helped in reconditioning memory. Correspondingly, this reduced fear responses to trauma stimuli and calmed PTSD symptoms.

Man with Post Traumatic Stress

Testimonies from individuals with PTSD who have used CBD oil as a treatment also offer us valuable insights. For instance, veterans with PTSD often incorporate CBD products into their treatment regimens. Numerous stories from this group have suggested there can be positive outcomes. These individuals frequently report reduced anxiety, improved sleep quality and better ability to manage troublesome memories. Most also mention it reduces the frequency of intrusive flashbacks.

The body of evidence (both clinical and anecdotal) continues to grow in support of CBD oil’s ability to help with PTSD. Further studies will help to bolster these early insights.

CBD vs Medical Cannabis for PTSD

Medical Cannabis for PTSD

Interestingly, medical cannabis also seems to have usefulness in mitigating PTSD symptoms. There’s a likely explanation for this.

Both CBD and THC have therapeutic properties. In some cases, the two cannabinoids are synergistic when used together. Some users find that consuming THC alongside CBD helps with anxiety, sleep and mood despite it being psychoactive. 

But for most people with PTSD, THC isn’t safe (unless assessed by a psychiatrist).

CBD Dropper Bottle

CBD (Cannabidiol) is better suited to calming the overactive stress response associated with PTSD. It’s also more helpful in combatting comorbidities of PTSD without worsening them.

It can help with:

  • Anxiety and Depression: CBD oil has been studied for its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and antidepressant effects. It interacts with serotonin receptors, which play a role in mood regulation. Some studies suggest that it may help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, which often coexist with PTSD. THC, in contrast, tends to worsen these conditions and can directly cause anxiety or depression in many people, so it is only suited for very short-term use in a narrow range of individuals with PTSD.
  • Sleep Disturbances: CBD might help improve sleep by addressing underlying factors contributing to insomnia. It has shown a potential to regulate sleep patterns by interacting with receptors related to the sleep-wake cycle. While THC also has some benefits for sleep in treating insomnia, it can reduce REM cycle sleep and overall sleep quality.
  • Hyperarousal and Panic Responses: CBD’s calming effects might help mitigate hyperarousal and panic responses commonly seen with PTSD. In contrast, THC doesn’t assist here. It is not anxiolytic and can worsen symptoms of panic or anxiousness.
Medical Cannabis
Medical Weed for PSTD

Medical cannabis containing THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is not suitable for most people with PTSD because of its psychoactivity. In many, it will substantially worsen symptoms of anxiety or panic that PTSD is associated with. It can be used, though, if medically prescribed. Some people do find it helps with their symptoms. This needs to be assessed by your doctor or psychiatrist and shouldn’t be self-diagnosed.

THC (i.e. medical cannabis use) can assist some individuals who have PTSD with:

  • Relaxation: Low doses of THC might induce a sense of relaxation and calm because of the cannabinoid’s euphoric effects. However, higher doses of THC can risk increasing anxiety and paranoia. This might not be suitable for individuals with PTSD, especially considering their existing elevated fear levels.
  • Sleep: THC has been reported to help some individuals with sleep disorders, but it can also disrupt the sleep cycle and lead to grogginess the next day. This effect may vary from person to person. Most people report it helps them sleep more quickly, but their sleep isn’t as restful or restorative. In those with PTSD, this could have some usefulness where insomnia is acute.
  • Emotional Regulation: THC affects emotional processing and memory consolidation. This could be relevant for managing traumatic memories associated with PTSD. However, this effect is complex and might not always be beneficial. It could intensify negative emotions in many instances. Individual experiences with this effect are highly variable. It appears unreliable.
THC Downsides
Cannabis Oil Products

There are also significant limitations in how THC can be used for PTSD. It can’t be taken in high quantities. Doing so hugely increases the risk of mental harm or psychosis.

In contrast, CBD oil is safe to use daily at high doses because it’s not psychoactive. Most people don’t report any side effects from doing this. Often, it assists in accelerating benefits.

You’ll need to weigh your options when it comes to CBD and medical cannabis for PTSD, but it’s wise to be very cautious with THC. In either case, consult your doctor first to understand the best option for your condition.

How to Use CBD Oil for PTSD

Woman Taking CBD Oil for PTSD

There are a few items to consider before taking CBD Oil for PTSD. Let’s cover the primary considerations here.


A CBD Dose

When it comes to CBD oil dosages for PTSD, you should start at low doses. Only use several drops of CBD oil per day initially. Around 10-20 mg of CBD per day is a suitable initial dose. This can be divided into multiple smaller doses throughout the day. Follow this protocol for several weeks before increasing the doses to a level that suits your individual needs. Finding the lowest amount of CBD you can use while obtaining a benefit is the best approach to minimise side effect risks.

Dosing for PTSD is individualised, as everyone has differing symptoms of this disorder. Multiple health factors affect how doses benefit you. These factors can include body weight, metabolism, sensitivity to cannabinoids, and the severity of your symptoms. It’s essential to try different dosage ranges to find what works for you. There isn’t a prescriptive approach that works for everyone’s PTSD. Some people won’t see any benefit or may find traditional treatments more efficacious. You’ll need to find this out for yourself by trying it.

Timing of Doses

Guy Eating CBD Gummies

While it’s possible to take CBD oil at any time for PTSD, many find the best results by timing their doses. For example, those with insomnia from PTSD may find using CBD gummies or oil before bedtime helps more effectively. In others, daytime flashbacks can be problematic or be triggered by stressors occurring during the day. Dosing in the morning might better assist in preventing the occurrence of these. Again, you’ll need to test out the best approach for you.

Product Type

Sugar Coated CBD Chews

Any CBD product can be effective for PTSD. This includes oils, tinctures, CBD gummies, capsules, or vapes. Most find CBD oil preferable because it can be quickly taken, accurately measured, and titrated up in dose over time. In others, more rapidly absorbed ingestion methods are needed for acute symptoms. For instance, sprays or inhaled products quickly diffuse into the bloodstream, which can help with rapid relief. Each method has benefits and drawbacks, but your product choice should reflect your tastes and preferences. Providing you’re using a high-quality product, there is little difference in achieving results through any particular ingestion method. 

Whichever product you choose, ensure you remain consistent and follow the product’s recommended dose guidelines. To get the best results, you need to be methodical. Monitor your experiences and effects over time, including any side effects. You should see improved mood, anxiety levels, sleep quality, and overall well-being with sustained use of CBD oil. If not, revisit your approach in dosage or product. In addition, you should speak with your physician. They can provide an optimised dosage plan for your needs.

Is CBD an Alternative to PTSD Medications?

Woman Considering CBD for PTSD

CBD oil isn’t at all a complete treatment for PTSD symptoms. It’s also best used with other therapies or treatment options. It can be a natural alternative to some pharmaceutical medications in some people. Yet, in others, it won’t work for PTSD.

Pharmacological medications for PTSD, such as SSRIs or SNRIs, are more potent than CBD products. They also help in directly counteracting comorbidities like depression or anxiety. Each is commonly prescribed under medical guidance. Problematically, though, these compounds have more severe side effects than CBD. For instance, they can trigger mood problems, insomnia, irritability, suicidal thoughts or worsening of PTSD symptoms in many. It isn’t easy to know how someone will respond to any medication until they have experimented with it. CBD oil shouldn’t be viewed as a reliable alternative to psychiatrist-prescribed medicines.

Incorporating Therapy

Man Speaking to Therapist

When using CBD oil for PTSD, the best results are always seen when it is taken alongside other treatment options like CBT.

Using multiple treatment methods simultaneously amplifies the combined effects of each. This can accelerate their ability to calm PTSD.

Therapy methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Exposure Therapy are often employed by clinical psychologists seeking to assist patients suffering from PTSD. These techniques aid the subject in reprocessing and managing their trauma. For example, exposure therapy aids some in lowering their reaction to PTSD stimuli. It does so by preventing symptoms from occurring through Pavlovian conditioning. Combining such techniques with CBD oil’s mentally calming effects should further strengthen their benefits in counteracting PTSD.

Risks and Side Effects

Woman Upset

CBD oil has some side effects. For instance, using it can result in:

  • Dry mouth (or ‘cotton mouth’).
  • Lethargy or drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Stomach irritation and diarrhea.

These can occur but are relatively rare. They also generally will pass in hours. More significant side effect risks exist when using medical cannabis for PTSD. This is due to its THC content.

THC acts more powerfully on CB1 brain receptors. It has risks in stimulating paranoia, anxiety, depression, mood changes, lethargy and even psychosis in some individuals. It’s not advisable to use it for anyone who has an underlying mental illness or a genetic history of neurological disorders, as it can trigger these disorders.

Compartmentalising Memories

Minimising side effect risk is straightforward with CBD. Use a high-quality product and follow dosage guidelines. Most people only see side effects when they use too much CBD. But even more likely, they have opted for a cheap product that contains additives they’re intolerant of. Stay conservative with doses. It’s best always to use the lowest amount possible that will net you benefits.

Additionally, avoid mixing CBD oil with existing PTSD medications until you’ve cleared it with your doctor. CBD can cause adverse reactions with some pharmaceutical drugs if taken together.


CBD gummies with hemp leaf

Using CBD oil for PTSD offers substantial benefits for some individuals.

This makes sense, given the therapeutic benefits of CBD for the mind. It has a range of powerful effects that make it ideal for helping with acute stress symptoms and PTSD comorbidities.

In particular, the benefits of CBD for PTSD appear to be:

  • Improving sleep and preventing insomnia from PTSD.
  • Blocking PTSD anxiety.
  • Helping to accelerate extinction learning.
  • Assisting with memory consolidation to reduce flashbacks.
  • Strengthening mood and emotional stability.

Much of the clinical evidence now supports these properties of the cannabinoid. Studies have demonstrated CBD’s capacity to help with PTSD and related mental disorders.

These appear to stem from its activity on the brain’s CB1 cannabinoid receptors in areas responsible for fear regulation. In addition, the capacity of CBD to alter serotonin and GABA levels plays a key role.

Full-spectrum CBD Oil for PTSD

Using CBD oil for PTSD won’t be a substitute for prescribed medicines like SSRIs or SNRIs. It’s not a valid alternative in these cases. CBD should only be used for holistic mental wellbeing, calmness and stress reduction. Taking it in combination with therapy like CBT is also good practice. Doing so will mean better, faster results.

If you’re considering CBD for PTSD, it’s always a necessity to check in with your doctor. Don’t self-diagnose or begin taking it until you do so. You may end up wasting your time and money. Get a treatment plan and consider other therapies, too.


Is CBD Good for People with PTSD?

Research on the use of CBD for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is still in its early stages. The cannabinoid has displayed therapeutic benefits for the condition in many studies. These have indicated that CBD’s anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and serotonergic properties have made it applicable to PTSD. This includes its ability to help suppress traumatic memories. CBD additionally supports mood and mental calmness that helps with quality of life.

What Is the Best CBD Strain for PTSD?

The term “strain” is commonly associated with cannabis plants that contain varying ratios of CBD and THC. However, CBD-dominant strains with no THC content are typically recommended for individuals with PTSD. This is because THC can worsen symptoms of PTSD or exacerbate anxiety in many cases. CBD produced from hemp containing no THC is ideal for avoiding these issues while retaining the therapeutic mental benefits the cannabinoid offers.

Does CBD help with PTSD anxiety?

Managing PTSD-related anxiety can require a multifaceted approach. Some strategies include:
Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy can be effective in addressing PTSD-related anxiety and helping patients build resilience against stressors.
Medications: Antidepressants like SSRIs, anti-anxiety medications, or other prescribed medications may be recommended by doctors to help with PTSD if appropriate. Natural products like CBD gummies for PTSD can also assist many individuals. They mainly help those sensitive to pharmaceutical treatments and desire less side effect-prone alternatives.
Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and healthy sleep patterns can positively impact PTSD symptoms.
Mindfulness Techniques: Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage anxiety symptoms. Using calming activities such as yoga, as well as seeking therapy if required, can equally benefit those who have anxiety from PTSD.
Adding CBD gummies or other products as support helps strengthen these approaches.

How much CBD is needed for PTSD?

Experts recommend beginning with a low dose of CBD and gradually increasing it until the desired effects are achieved. A typical starting dose is 20-40 mg of CBD daily, either as a single dose or divided into smaller doses throughout the day. Some people may find relief with lower doses, while others may require higher ones. Monitoring how your body reacts to CBD and adjusting the dosage accordingly is essential.

How long does CBD oil take to work for PTSD?

When taking CBD oil orally, the peak effects occur within 1-2 hours after ingestion. However, consistent use of CBD oil over time leads to more excellent cumulative benefits for PTSD. This is because CBD builds in the body. Be patient and consistent with CBD oil use for PTSD because individual responses can vary. Results take time to achieve.


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Steve Jacobs Author Headshot

Originally from Byron Bay (Australia), Steve Jacobs is a writer and expert on the world of hemp. His passion for hemp products developed from working with organic hemp cultivators and sustainable skincare brands in Byron. Inspired by these eco-friendly approaches to crafting superb products, Steve realised the opportunity at the intersection of aromatherapy, natural skincare and the magic of hemp. He founded Bondi Hemp to bring this dream to life, bringing rejuvenating hemp extracts, refreshing botanical hemp topicals and revitalising essential oils to everyday Aussies. True to his Byron roots, Steve infuses every drop of his responsibly produced hemp products with the rich terroir of the Byron Region, resulting in unsurpassed quality without harming the earth. Today, Steve continues to write and speak about hemp, skincare, and aromatherapy from his family’s home in Northern NSW.