Anxiety affects millions of people at some point in their lives. It can be triggered by an event or it can seemingly come out of nowhere, causing the feeling of panic, shot nerves, or trigger depression. The broad spectrum of mental health issues means that there is no single cure for anxiety and every single person has to lives deal with the ailment in their own way. Finding methods to cope and medicines which help is often a long and arduous task. Numerous studies conducted in recent years suggests that cannabidiol (CBD)—a product derived from the Cannabis sativa plant—can be extremely helpful.
Without getting too technical, CBD derives from the cannabis plant and is what the industry calls a ‘broad-spectrum’ drug, which means it can help with a huge number of different ailments from inflammation to insomnia. The product occurs naturally within cannabis plants so there is no worry of it being manufactured in a lab somewhere.
There have been some very popular viral studies on the effect of CBD. Some have experienced a lot of help with MS, nervous system issues, epilepsy, and lots of other illnesses. More and more detailed studies are being done into the drug but, when compared to many other medical products, we don’t have as much in terms of controlled studies. Instead, we do have the knowledge that CBD is totally safe and also the huge amount of anecdotal evidence and people who claim this product has changed their life.
Anxiety is not simple to pinpoint or to treat. Anxiety is such a wide-reaching term and covers everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to struggling with everyday issues brought about in our everyday lives. Anxiety is the stress response of our brain and can have a crippling effect on your ability to be positive. The responses are wired into our brain in the form of neurons.
Anxiety is not just a state of mind. It can lead to a lot of other issues such as paranoia, depression, panic attacks, and OCD. Treating it at source means treating the issues that are going on within the brain and this can be done with substances (such as CDB) as well as counseling and therapy.
CBD for Anxiety
CBD products like hemp oil have the ability to help with psychiatric and neurological and mental health issues. Anxiety, stress, and depression can almost indisputably be helped by taking CBD as an oil or other related products.
Studies that have been carried out, seem to point to the same conclusion: CBD oil for anxiety can have an effect similar to other anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication. It is all to do with the areas of the brain that are stimulated by CBD and the way in which it impacts them.
Many of the medications used for tackling anxiety disorders do so by increasing serotonin within the brain. Serotonin is, in simple terms, the brains “happy” substance. It helps regulate mood, keep us calm, and generally gives feelings of happiness. CBD oil for anxiety has been shown to stop the brain from reabsorbing serotonin and, therefore, boost an individual’s mood and state of mind in the process.
Another way the effects can benefit users is by stimulating new neuron growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain which regulates our mental state. These new neurons reduce anxiety.
This neurogenesis was first found in a 2013 study, which, in the grand scheme of the history of medicine is a very recent study. The anti-depressant effects have been mirrored in many other studies since. CBD hemp oil has been shown to quickly increase serotonin levels.
CBD is understood from studies to work with a receptor within the human brain. This receptor is called CB1. Proteins attach to cells within your brain and can receive signals, such as those provided by CBD. This can mean your brain responds to the drug you have taken.
Like many of the other aspects of taking CBD, the benefits are clear, though not yet fully studied. The basic evidence of this is that the high serotonin levels are triggered by the response of the CB1 receptor.
In other studies, CBD was shown to reduce the activity in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Without getting too scientific, these are active in the process of feeling anxious, and lowering their activity is good for your mental health in this scenario.
As you can see, the studies have drawn a few different conclusions, but there is always some debate in science and specifically the medicinal world. The main takeaway is that all of the studies, with almost no exceptions, have found a positive effect from taking CBD oil, with no real risk attached to it.
This sort of evidence and scientific studies are essential for working out exactly how CBD works and how much benefit it can be for people struggling with the various forms of anxiety. However, some of the most valuable evidence comes from first-hand experience. There are so many examples of people telling the tale of starting to take CBD oil for their mental health and experiencing an upturn in well-being. We live in an age of reviews, YouTube channels, and blogs where you can easily find a lot of people discussing their own experience with CBD and how it has impacted their lives.
Is CBD Safe for Anxiety?
The short answer is yes. There are very few cases of any negative impacts of CBD oil, especially if you purchase high-quality processed CBD products. In rare cases, some people can experience a dry mouth or even dizziness, but this is hugely unlikely. The fact that CBD is grown and processed in a way that is totally natural means that the risks and side effects really are at a minimum.
Compared to products like Xanax and Prozac, which can have a lot of different side effects, CBD has virtually nothing negative. Of course, if you are already taking prescribed drugs for your anxiety then it is not as simple as just switching over as many of these drugs require a tapering off period to safely stop.
CBD can be used as part of a wider treatment plan. It may not be the only product you use to tackle your anxiety. Fortunately, it can be used alongside other medicines. You should consult with a medical professional regarding any medication you are taking but it is very rare that anyone would advise against using CBD.
If you don’t know the exact process of how CBD is made, it can be easy to think that the effects of THC will be mirrored in CBD. THC is the psychoactive element found in cannabis. It is what makes us “high” if we smoke cannabis. This is not the same as CBD products, which are made to have less than 0.3% THC content in them. In many places, this is even a legal requirement for CBD oil.
THC, as well as being what causes the high feelings, is also the element that can ramp up anxiety and paranoia. The stereotype people have of people who are smokers of cannabis is that they end up paranoid and anxious so it can be easy to wonder how a product that has the same origin (the cannabis plant) can totally avoid these feelings.
CBD products have been derived from cannabis by being separated from the other elements present. Though a trace of THC may remain, it is not enough to have an effect, and even if it were, it would be counteracted by the effect that the CBD has of mellowing people and increasing calmness.
Types of Anxiety and CBD Dosage
As we’ve already mentioned briefly, anxiety is a broad spectrum, affecting everyone in different ways and to varying degrees. There are certain types of anxiety, though, such as those below. If you are able to pinpoint which is impacting on your life, then it may alter the way you treat your anxiety and even the dosage you take.
As a very rough rule of thumb, if your anxiety is not interfering with your day-to-day routine or impacting things like your ability to get out of bed, leave the house, go to work or interact normally in social situations, then starting with a low dosage is recommended. This dosage can be achieved through drops, CBD products such as gummies and other edibles and even through CBD vaping.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD brings about anxiety caused by distressing or traumatizing events which have occurred in your life. This is a very common issue with ex-service people. It can occur in anyone who has experienced some form of trauma or even if they have witnessed certain traumatic events. PTSD is a serious illness and can lead to complications far beyond just anxiety. People who suffer from PTSD can experience flashbacks, have trouble sleeping, depression and so on.
It is easy to see why CBD has become a popular choice for treating PTSD. Combined with other therapies, it can be a great way to tackle many of the symptoms that go along with post-traumatic stress.
PTSD is considered a severe disorder. Taking small amounts of CBD oil will help for some, but generally starting with a medium or high dose is far more likely to give you results. Fortunately, there is not a huge amount of risk with CBD, even if you are taking quite large doses. Start with a medium dose and work up to the amount you find helpful. Many people suffering from PTSD have to take regular doses throughout the day to tackle their symptoms.
CBD oil can be a godsend for those suffering from getting to sleep. This is a common issue among PTSD sufferers. Taking a dosage before bed can lead to you feeling calmer and less active, meaning you are less likely to have distressing thoughts late at night. It can also lower your heart rate.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder can be a very difficult issue and one which is often misunderstood. This level of social anxiety is effectively a phobia of social situations and can lead people to be worried about social situations, struggle with eye contact, and small talk. In extreme cases, it can lead to people avoiding social situations.
Social life is a big part of modern life. If you are struggling with this, then it can lead to difficulty making friends, having relationships or even going to work.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, other forms of counseling and, of course, medication are ways to tackle social anxiety disorder. It is clear that the numerous effects of CBD can help a huge amount with this issue. The calming effect of CBD and the dulling of the parts of the brain which cause anxiety mean that social situations should become easier to deal with.
Though there are no specific guidelines for taking CBD for social anxiety, in terms of how much to take at least, the dosage will probably depend on the severity of the anxiety. As is generally the advice with CBD, start with a low dosage and see how it is impacting you, if it isn’t having the desired effect you can then increase your dose to see if the treatment becomes more effective.
Some of the landmark studies regarding CBD and its effects have involved social anxiety disorder. One, conducted in 2010, took brain scans of those who had taken cannabidiol, and it was observed that there were drastic changes in the flow of blood to the parts of the brain which are most active during feelings of anxiety.
CBD was shown to make the participants in this study feel better generally but also altered their brains reaction to anxiety brought about by social interactions.
In 2011, a further study backed up these findings by treating the anxiety experienced before public speaking.
General Anxiety Disorder
General anxiety disorder or GAD is the term used for inherent anxiety which isn’t specifically triggered by, or a result of, one event. It is the term for people who are anxious about a variety of situations in their life. This type of anxiety is not reactive and may be caused by a lack of serotonin or neurotransmitters.
Generally, the diagnosis of GAD is to do with a consistent period of experiencing three or more of the symptoms. These symptoms include panic attacks, increased heart rate, trouble sleeping and general feelings of nervousness.
It is thought that over six million adults experience GAD every single year in the USA, which is, of course, a huge problem.
Treatment of GAD with CBD oil is very popular. CBD oil is often a good first step for people who find that they are starting to more regularly experience some of these symptoms. CBD can help to tackle the anxious feelings, but also many of the symptoms including increased heart rate and trouble sleeping.
Just like social anxiety disorder, people suffer from GAD to varying degrees. The severity should dictate the treatment and if symptoms persist it is always wise to get medical advice. If the symptoms are relatively mild then starting with a small dose of CBD is recommended.
Working Out Your CBD Dosage
When we talk about low dosage or high dosage, what do we actually mean? How much is a low dose? There are some calculators out there, which will take into account your weight and the CBD product you are using. If you are consuming CBD in the oil form, then it will probably be measured in drops. Naturally, this will depend slightly on your size and weight. If you are a large male then you may need to take more than a petite female, for instance.
How to Take CBD for Anxiety
There are a variety of different ways to consume CBD. Oil is perhaps the most common way to get cannabidiol into your system. The oil will come with a dropper and drops are usually advised to be placed under your tongue, held in your mouth for a period of time before being swallowed. This is the “standard” method of consumption but it certainly isn’t the only option.
CBD products include vapes, which are good for small doses but can also be tough to track how much you have consumed. Other products include gummies, which are consumed like sweets. You can also purchase capsules which can be swallowed or as suppositories.
Other Benefits of CBD
CBD has been shown to have many other benefits. These are not completely understood yet due to the fact that there are no long-term studies of CBD to draw from. However, just like the benefits for anxiety and depression, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for CBD helping with a variety of different issues.
Everything from anti-inflammatory effects to slowing the growth of cancerous tumors has been studied and noted. People with disorders such as epilepsy and MS have been turning to the product, too, and it has been shown to help with seizures, nervous system disorders, and as an all-around pain relief.
Studies have shown that cannabidiol may well increase our cardiovascular health, boost our immune system and lower the chances of diabetes. It also treats the pain associated with arthritis and other joint issues.
Naturally, these benefits increase our general well-being. In turn, this can help people who are struggling with anxiety. If your general health is increased, it often follows that mental health can also improve. Even if this is not the case in your specific situation, these extra benefits are an added bonus.
Legality and Medical Advice Associated with CBD
It is always advisable to look into the local laws on cannabis-derived products. However, the USA is, in general, very receptive and open to CBD oil and other CBD products. The fact that there is a low THC in the product means there are very few places where it could be considered to be illegal. Of course, in some parts of the USA cannabis is now totally legal even without being processed into CBD oil (this is not recommended to treat anxiety).
CBD is not a controlled substance and is easy to order online and get delivered to your home.
Sufferers of anxiety disorders of all varieties should be in regular consultation with medical professionals. Your doctor will be able to tell you their opinion on the use of CBD oil and will also know your specific medical history as well as any medication you are already taking. Many doctors are open and receptive to the benefits of CBD oil.