How and Why CBD Oil Helps with Anxiety
Cannabidiol (CBD) is among the over one hundred chemical compounds that are found within the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are two of the most well-known cannabinoids, but they have one vastly different property. While THC has psychoactive effects, CBD does not. In other words, THC will make the user high, but CBD won’t. Instead, CBD is notorious for its medicinal qualities which include the potential to treat chronic and acute pain, depression, insomnia, and anxiety, among various other ailments. One of the most favored ways to take CBD is by using CBD oil. You can find CBD oil for sale online or in some health stores.
Anxiety affects each of us in some way or another. Before attending a big meeting or doing something new, we may feel unsure, nervous, or underprepared. In some cases, these feelings could manifest into physical symptoms like clammy hands or headaches, or even shortness of breath. But for those who have been determined to have an anxiety disorder, anxiety is a lot more than just feeling a little overwhelmed. In severe cases, it can be completely debilitating.
The typical treatment options for anxiety usually center around either medication, therapy, or both. This includes medications like antidepressants, SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), and benzodiazepines; as well as cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy. However, while these methods of treatment can be effective for some patients, there are also those who don’t respond favorably. Some might not see much improvement, and others can’t tolerate the side effects. Furthermore, tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium can be highly addictive.
This is where CBD oil comes in. Over recent years, CBD has gained a great amount of interest from scientists, clinicians, and consumers. Not only has research suggested that CBD could counteract the effects of THC, but a number of animal studies, as well as mounting evidence from experimental human studies, have suggested that CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties. When used acutely, it appears well-tolerated, safe, and could be beneficial for numerous anxiety-related disorders, including panic-disorder, social phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and mild to moderate depression.
How does CBD work?
CBD causes several actions in the brain, which explains why it could be effective for treating anxiety. It’s known to induce a state of calm in some people, and research has found that it has the potential to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. While the exact mechanisms behind why CBD is able to treat anxiety are not yet fully understood, it appears that the compound has similar effects to that of conventional anxiety medication.
One of the ways that cannabinoids such as CBD have effects on the body is by activating receptors present in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is made up of receptor sites that are found throughout the body, and these are known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. Both THC and CBD are able to interact with these receptors because they are similar to endocannabinoids which are the molecules within the body. While CBD has a low affinity to the CB1 and CBD, it is an agonist for the 5-HT1A receptor.
The 5-HT1A is involved in serotonin neurotransmission. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood. This is why depression and anxiety are sometimes treated with medications that target the serotonin system. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft and Prozac, work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. This then increases the availability of serotonin in the synaptic space. This is what helps the brain cells to transmit more serotonin signals, which can in some cases boost mood and reduce anxiety. It is thought that CBD works in a similar way to SSRIs by boosting signals through serotonin receptors.
Also, CBD has been shown to affect hippocampal neurogenesis. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that helps to comprise the limbic system. It plays a big role in navigation and memory. The formation of new neurons in the brain is known as neurogenesis. Both SSRIs and CBD are known to promote neurogenesis. Brain scans taken of patients who suffer from anxiety and depression usually show a smaller hippocampus, and successful treatment is associated with increasing neurons in the hippocampus.
How CBD oil helps with anxiety
Over recent years, CBD oil has been used as a viable treatment for both depression and anxiety. At present, the impact of CBD oil on anxiety is considered to be a standout amongst the most well-funded sectors and most captivating of current cannabis research. As far as cannabis-related treatments are concerned, data has found that CBD oil and anxiety are amongst the most explored subjects on the web.
In a small double-blinded study that was conducted by Brazilian researchers, patients who suffer from generalized social anxiety were examined. After using CBD, these participants were found to have a significant decrease in anxiety. Researchers confirmed the patients’ feedback by performing brain scans that showed cerebral blood flow patterns that were consistent with anti-anxiety effects.
In another study that was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the effects of CBD on generalized social anxiety were also examined. As part of the study, 24 participants were divided into two groups. One of the groups received a single dose of CBD, and the other received a placebo. All of the patients were then asked to participate in a simulated public speaking test, which was designed to induce anxiety. It was found that using CBD as a pretreatment significantly reduced anxiety, discomfort, and cognitive impairment in speaking performance. Also, the negative self-evaluation during public speaking was almost eliminated by CBD.
The researchers of this particular study stated that CBD had important advantages when compared to pharmaceutical drugs that are currently available for the treatment of social anxiety.
Why CBD oil helps with anxiety
In a study that was conducted by market-research firm the Brightfield Group, it was found that many consumers are giving up on pharmaceuticals in favor of CBD oil. The truth is, CBD oil doesn’t result in tolerance or dependence issues and it doesn’t have the same adverse side effects that many conventional medications do.
The study surveyed 2,400 users of HelloMD, which is a cannabis education and advocacy website. One of the most intense findings of the study was that 42% of CBD users reported that they had given up on pharmaceutical drugs and opted to rather use cannabis in some form. Most of the respondents reported that CBD was a great help and that they use it regularly.
Getting back to the main point, CBD oil is generally considered to be a much safer option. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Librium are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. However, they have been linked to a large number of lethal overdose-related deaths. Also, the side effects related to benzodiazepines include things such as drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, difficulty breathing, and sometimes even a coma. It’s clear that this type of drug is very dangerous and has a high potential for abuse. CBD oil, on the other hand, is effective and well-tolerated, with no adverse side effects. There has been no reported evidence for potential physical dependence, tolerance, or withdrawal, and it isn’t associated with abuse potential.
CBD oil acts as a social worker. It enters the brain and nerve sites to stimulate balance and correct the depressive or anxious action of the brain cells. CBD is often referred to as a “toner” for the system. The action that it has is toning the nervous system to respond to stress in a healthy manner, rather than reactively as the amygdala does. Think of a coach or social worker interacting with a group of stressed-out individuals. In the same way, the CBD oil works by guiding, toning, and training the group to respond in a more rational manner to stressful stimuli.
It’s important to note that the exact way that CBD acts on the ECS is not yet fully understood. However, data that has been collected through various studies and patients has confirmed that CBD can have a toning and gentle effect on the system.
Final thoughts on CBD and anxiety
While the role of CBD in the treatment of anxiety disorders remains unclear, as further long-term studies are necessary to assess benefits and the risks, CBD oil certainly seems to offer a potential alternative solution. But keep in mind that while there are plenty of great CBD oils available, it’s important to make sure that you are buying your product from a legitimate retailer that has been third-party tested for quality and potency.
Although CBD oil is considered safe to use, anyone who has a diagnosed medical condition or is taking prescribed medication should check with their physician before taking any supplement, including CBD. High doses of CBD could affect the way that some drugs are metabolized in the liver.