CBD has seen massive growth as a safe and natural OTC remedy for anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are becoming the most prevalent mental illness in the West, affecting 40 million adults annually in the United States (U.S.) alone.
Currently available pharmacological treatments for anxiety include serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressant drugs, anticonvulsants and atypical antipsychotics. However, these treatments often have limited response rates and residual symptoms. Some of these also have adverse effects that may limit tolerance and adherence. The substantially growing anxiety issue and limitations of current treatments demand more novel pharmaceutical treatments.
In recent years, cannabidiol (CBD) has become a widely used remedy for anxiety. Some people use CBD to soothe their everyday worries, while others use it for more serious conditions like generalized anxiety disorders. Numerous animal studies, and even some human studies, suggest that CBD possesses powerful anti-anxiety properties. When administered properly and accurately, it serves as a safe, well-tolerated and beneficial treatment for many anxiety-related disorders. These include panic disorder, social phobia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and moderate depression.
With such potential, CBD has become quite welcome to patients and the medical community. Although opposing parties exist, the compound is mostly welcome in the medical community given its lack of psychoactive effects. Also, to have such a beneficial substance be a natural remedy is a plus, when compared to pharmaceutical drugs.
Here, we take a closer look at how cannabidiol (CBD) works for treating anxiety naturally.
What is CBD?
CBD is a major compound found in the marijuana plant. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most intense psychoactive compound of cannabis, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound which doesn’t give users the customary “high” that is generally associated with cannabis use.
CBD has powerful medicinal properties, including anti-anxiety properties, making it useful for some health conditions. It balances THC, calms users down, giving them a quieting and unwinding feeling.
CBD is not addictive. A 2018 report published by the World Health Organization mentions that, at present, CBD has not caused any public health issues, such as driving under drug influence, comorbidities, etc.
How does CBD treat anxiety?
5-HT1A is an important subtype of serotonin receptor. Some anxiety medications activate this receptor in the serotonin system, having the effect of reducing some fear-related behavior. That’s why pharmaceutical companies manufactured selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which block reabsorption of serotonin in the brain and increase serotonin availability in the synaptic space. It further helps brain cells transmit more serotonin signals, which reduce anxiety and boost mood.
Similarly, CBD may boost serotonin signaling in the brain, reducing anxiety. A Spanish animal study revealed that CBD enhances 5-HT1A transmission and affects serotonin faster than SSRIs.
The hippocampus area plays a critical role in many major brain functions such as memory formation and cognition. Brain scans of patients suffering from anxiety show a smaller hippocampus, and successful treatment of anxiety generates new neurons in the hippocampus.
A mice study found that repeated administration of CBD may help the brain regenerate neurons in the hippocampus, which is useful for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Research shows that CBD promotes such neurogenesis.
Using the results of animal studies, researchers have already started human studies to demonstrate that CBD may treat common anxiety-disorder symptoms such as acute stress and anxiety.
A small double-blind study of people suffering from generalized social anxiety revealed that patients who consumed CBD experienced significantly decreased anxiety symptoms. Brazilian researchers who conducted this study performed brain scans showing cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with an anti-anxiety effect to validate these subjective reports. In another study, patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder performed a virtual public speaking test.
The findings suggest significantly less anxiety, confirmed by objective anxiety indicators such as heart rate and blood pressure. Based on these studies and others, cannabidiol appears to be an effective and safe treatment for anxiety.
CBD products for anxiety
CBD has increased in availability as more and more nations and U.S. states are legalizing cannabis. A growing number of cannabis and pharmaceutical companies have started selling CBD-infused oils, salves, supplements, edibles, and other products as natural remedies, particularly for issues like pain, stress and anxiety.
The vast variety of CBD products allow patients to choose any preferred way of consuming it. Effects of CBD may vary among individuals, depending on its dosage and method of consumption.
CBD oil is the most popular method of using CBD. It is a concentrated form of the active CBD extract combined with other oils such as coconut oil or olive oil. The most effective method to use CBD oil for anxiety is to take it sublingually– hold the oil under your tongue for five minutes, so the blood vessels absorb the CBD.
CBD oil is used for making other CBD products, such as:
- CBD tinctures;
- CBD capsules– great for oral consumption but can also be taken sublingually;
- Smokeables and vape products for people who have acute problems, such as pain or panic attacks;
- CBD-infused edibles and beverages, such as baked goods, chocolate bars, gummy bears, CBD peanut butter, snacks, etc.
There is no standard CBD dosage. It varies greatly among individuals depending on their condition and level of illness. People with anxiety should consume between 10 to 50 mg (milligrams) of CBD for 5-10 days as a starter. It does help to do what I call “a course” of CBD to allow it to get into the system. Using 10 mg of CBD capsules or oil may be helpful to treat mild-to-moderate general and social anxiety. Higher doses can reduce panic attacks.
The way people consume CBD also impacts how much they need. When you consume CBD gummies or tinctures orally, the liver degrades some of what’s consumed before it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. Sublingual consumption prevents this and reduces the required dosage by about 40 percent. However, for issues such as anxiety, IBS, or lower body pain, delivering CBD straight to the gut can be more beneficial.
Cannabis legalization will ease the CBD purchase process, making it quite easy to obtain over the counter. In places where it is legal, patients enjoy the remedial benefits of this natural compound without the side effects that are commonly associated to pharmaceutical medications. CBD has become widely accepted as a treatment method for several conditions, including anxiety, and its lack of psychoactive effects have made it easier for the medical community to accept. Current trends suggest that the acceptance rate of this compound as a legitimate medicine will continue to increase. If you need help with CBD dosing, or want to buy some to try yourself, reach out to Ezra at ezrahelps.com.