Veterans experience a relatively unique set of potential daily stressors. This is evident when we consider that around 44% of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have mentioned that they had problems with readjusting once they returned home. What’s more, about 23% of veterans who were deployed during their service say that deployment negatively impacted their wellness, with nearly a third saying they lived through distressing experiences.
Many veterans have spoken about embracing the benefits of medicinal cannabis and CBD in pursuit of improved wellness. In fact, IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) actively advocates the establishment of support for veterans who want to use medical cannabis and CBD.
Combining the use of CBD products with conventional treatments may help veterans manage and improve their wellness. Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of CBD for veterans:
What are the benefits of CBD for veterans?:
Some veterans find it challenging to adapt and adjust after living through a stressful experience. They may remember and relive traumatic events, have negative changes in their thoughts and moods, or become hyper-aroused (or irritable). This could also affect their concentration and sleep patterns. CBD hemp extract helps navigate occasional anxiety and helps improve sleep, among other benefits, by influencing the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies.
The ECS is thought to be one of the most vital and vast receptor systems for sustaining good health. It affects many of our biological processes including things like regulating stress, controlling our mental and emotional responses, and therefore may help people in letting go of or forgetting unpleasant memories.
The ECS works by interacting with a series of receptors on cells throughout the body designed to accept cannabinoids, both those that exist naturally in the body (endocannabinoids) and other cannabinoids like the CBD in Charlotte’s Web hemp extract oil (phytocannabinoids). There are two main types of endocannabinoid system receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) which are primarily concentrated in the brain and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) which are found throughout the body.
Because CBD influences receptors in our brains that relate to memory and emotions, CBD could potentially assist veterans who are having difficulties adjusting after living through distressing events. CBD has also been shown to help people improve sleeping patterns while reducing occasional anxiety and stress.
Tell me more about the research behind CBD for veterans:
A study published in 2013 showed that the use of CBD could assist persons who experience unpleasant memories of a situation*. The researchers refer to ‘aversive memory extinction’ – where disturbing memories become less frequent.
In a paper written in 2018, researchers Bitencourt and Takahashi mention that this benefit could be seen when CBD is used in conjunction with other treatment options like exposure-based therapy. There are various theories on exactly how CBD assists in lessening the occurrence of unpleasant memories with no conclusive findings yet. However, there have been some interesting findings that CBD could support the body in forming new neurons in the hippocampus. This area of the brain plays an essential part in processing memories.
A scientific review in 2015 concluded that CBD also has considerable potential to help with every day or occasional anxiety. The amygdala is an area of the brain known to be crucial in processing intense experiences that trigger our fight or flight response. Sometimes we’re not able to fully process frightening experiences that happened in the past, and we may become more vulnerable to having anxious feelings in the future even in the absence of any obvious trigger. One study demonstrated that increasing anandamide (an endocannabinoid produced in the body) levels in the amygdala of mice helped them to forget frightening events. What’s more, CBD had that same effect in humans in a study of 48 volunteers.
Can active-duty members of the armed forces use CBD?:
As per Army Regulation 600-85, dated July 23, 2020, active duty service members are prohibited from using or consuming any product derived from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the product’s THC content. The regulation specifically mentions any CBD products that are ‘introduced into the human body.’ This includes food products, lotions and oils, soaps and shampoos, and cosmetic products used directly on one’s skin. The Air force, Navy and Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all issued similar statements. Cannabidiol (CBD) is listed as a prohibited ingredient by the Department of Defence, despite the House of Representatives approving an amendment relating to the use of hemp products by members of the military in July 2020.
CBD products have a range of benefits that may help individuals improve their wellbeing by reducing occasional anxiety and stress levels as well as improving sleep patterns. To learn more, read more of our blog posts and take a look at our selection of CBD products, or contact us directly.