Can CBD Oil Treat My Anxiety?
Anxiety is not just a synonym for feeling worried or stressed out.
It is a serious condition affecting the lives of almost 40 million Americans. Restlessness, heart palpitations, insomnia, constant worry and tension, and trembling is a constant part of the daily lives of anxiety sufferers. It is shocking to know that anxiety is one of the most common illness in The United States.
Prolonged stress and anxiety can put strain on a person, physically as well as mentally. It also affects their friends and family, co-workers, and the larger community. With manifestations from hair loss, high blood pressure, heart attacks, gastrointestinal problems, and sexual dysfunctions. anxiety takes a real toll on people's health.
Pharmaceuticals, home remedies, and other therapies can relieve the symptoms of most of the people suffering from anxiety (including those with PTSD, OCD, and panic disorder). But all of these medications and procedures come with potentially serious side effects. For this reason, many people are considering a natural alternative for relief from anxiety. A non-psychoactive compound called Cannabidiol, or CBD, found in the cannabis plant, have been used for anxiety and stress relief since the 1980s.
In order to understand the effects and health benefits of CBD, hemp oil, cannabis oil, and medical marijuana, we will have to take a deep look at the effects of these on our brain and body.
First, let’s discuss what anxiety is and how traditional remedies are becoming less effective against it.
It’s a natural emotion to feel stressed or anxious now and then. It's related to our natural fight or flight response when we perceive any kind of threat, whether physical or psychological. For example, you may feel nervous during a work presentation, before or during an interview, during a test, or right before making an important decision.
Anxiety disorders are different from periodic anxiety that we face in our daily lives. They are more acute, and may not reflect the reality of situation. They are actually a group of mental illnesses and disorders that can cause such great distress which keeps you from carrying on your daily activities normally and smoothly.
If untreated, the anxiety and the fear or worry resulting from it can be disabling. But if regular treatment is undertaken, most people can manage those feelings and get back to a normal life.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders is a broad term that includes different types of conditions:
- Panic Disorder: In this type of anxiety disorder, one feels a feeling of terror or doom that strikes randomly. You may feel heart palpitations, chest pain, and sweating during a panic attack. Sometimes, it may even feel like someone is choking you or you are having a heart attack.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: It is also known as social phobia. In this type of anxiety disorder, a person is too overwhelmed and self-conscious about everyday social situations. They are constantly worried about others judging them or being embarrassed or ridiculed.
- Specific Phobias: There are many types of phobias that can be included in anxiety disorders. One may have a fear of heights or fear of flying, from closed spaces, clowns, and even water. These fears go beyond what’s appropriate and hinder your daily life experiences.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: In the generalized type of anxiety disorder, you feel constant tension, worry, and apprehension for no definable specific reason.
All anxiety disorders have some general symptoms in common:
Panic, fear, and uneasiness
Not being able to stay calm and still
Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
Shortness of breath
Causes of Anxiety
There is currently no proven research about what causes anxiety. These disorders, like every other form of mental illness, originate from a combination of environmental and bodily changes and even genetics. As these are influenced by genetics, these disorders can run in families. Summing up, they can be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that controls our emotions, especially the ones that control fear and stress.
Diagnosing of Clinical Anxiety
If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety you should consult a doctor that treats mental disorders. The doctor will examine you and ask for your medical history. They may run some tests to rule out any other medical illnesses that might be causing your symptoms. Currently, there is no specific lab test that can diagnose anxiety disorders.
Most people with anxiety try one or more of the following therapies:
- There are many antidepressants that work for anxiety disorders. These include Citalopram (Lexapro) and Fluoxetine (Prozac).
- Your doctor may add anti-convulsant medicines (typically taken for epilepsy) and other low-dose antipsychotic drugs to help make other treatments work better.
- Anxiolytics are the specific class of drugs that help lower anxiety. Examples are alprazolam (Xanas) and clonazepam (Klonopin). They are generally prescribed for social or generalized anxiety disorders but can also be used for panic attacks.
It is a type of counseling that specifically addresses the emotional response to mental illness. A mental health specialist helps you with your anxiety by talking about how to understand and deal with it.
Nowadays a new method of treatment and preventing anxiety is being developed using CBD oil, containing the natural compounds known as Cannabinoids. Let’s take a look at the nature and effects of CBD oil for the treatment of anxiety.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is a compound that belongs to a more general class of compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. For the past couple of years, Researchers have been looking at the therapeutic uses of CBD.
CBD oils are oils that contain specific concentrations of CBD. The concentrations vary according to the use of these oils in different illnesses.
Are CBD and marijuana the same?
Until now, the best-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is the most active ingredient in marijuana.
THC and CBD both are present in cannabis sativa in different concentrations and both of these compounds produce different effects.
THC is a psychoactive substance that creates a mind-altering "high" when used in smoking or cooking.
CBD is totally different from THC, as it is not psychoactive. Meaning that CBD does not change a person's state of mind when used.
Source of CBD
Hemp is the least processed form of the cannabis plant. Most of the CBD that is used medicinally comes from hemp. Hemp contains most of the CBD that people use medicinally. Hemp and marijuana are obtained from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, but the two are very different.
Over the course of years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants so that they contain high levels of THC and other compounds that are of interest to them.
On the other hand, hemp farmers have rarely modified the plant and these hemp plants are used to create CBD oil.
How CBD works
All cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, produce their effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors located in different parts of the body.
Some cannabinoids are also produced by the human body. There are two types of receptors for CBD in our bodies, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are present throughout the body but are mainly present in the brain.The CB1 receptors in the brain are concerned with coordination and movement, appetite and emotions, thinking mood, fear and memories, and other functions. THC attaches to these receptors.
CB2 receptors are more abundant in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.
Researchers believed that CBD attaches to these CB2 receptors, but it now appears that CBD does not attach directly to any receptor. Instead, it directs the body to use more of its own cannabinoids that are synthesized by the body itself.
CBD and Anxiety
CBD oil is used by many anxiety patients to deal with their stress, anxiety, emotional problems and also to get a sound sleep.
Studies suggest that ongoing administration of CBD could trigger hippocampal neurogenesis (the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus). The hippocampus is a brain region responsible for cognition and memory. This area becomes smaller in patients with depression or anxiety, which may explain the specific thinking patterns that are observed in these conditions.
Overall, it appears that Cannabidiol is a compound that can directly impact the functioning of various areas of brain and neurotransmitter receptors.
Research CBD for the Treatment of Anxiety
Most of the evidence for CBD’s effects on anxiety is derived from animal studies and laboratory experiments.
- In a report published in the journal Aerotherapeutics in 2015, scientists analyzed this preliminary research related to CBD and anxiety and found that CBD oil is effective in the treatment of conditions like social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Another study published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2011 proved that CBD may help alleviate social anxiety.
For this research, 600 milligrams (mg) of CBD was given to 24 persons with social anxiety disorder an hour and a half before performing a simulated public speaking test. On the other hand, 12 other people with social anxiety disorder performed the same test without receiving any CBD treatment. Results showed that pre-treatment with CBD effectively reduced anxiety, discomfort, and cognitive impairment, while the participants were delivering their speech.
- Another study that was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2018, tested the effects of Cannabidiol in people who are experiencing paranoid symptoms and showed that Cannabidiol had no impact on anxiety, heart rate, cortisol levels, blood pressure, and persecutory ideation.
So what’s the final conclusion? What exactly does research say about the use of CBD oil for the treatment of anxiety.
Here is your answer. CBD can most likely lower anxiety level and can also reduce the associated symptoms. Cannabidiol can lower anxiety and help reduce the symptoms associated with a wide range of psychological conditions and brain disorders.
The studies mentioned above indicate CBD may provide an effective treatment for:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety
Neurochemistry and CBD
There is a built-in system in the human body that is specifically designed to process the cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
Researchers call this system ‘the endocannabinoid system’. It plays a major role in homeostasis (the ability of the body to maintain a healthy inner balance). This means CBD oil can regulate appetite, mood, and sleep. By regulating all these, it can lower the level of anxiety we might be experiencing at a given moment.
But the real surprise is the ability of this compound to affect the receptors in our body specifically the brain, helping to alleviate depression and anxiety. Truly fascinating is that this compound can have a real impact on the brain receptors involved in the body’s response to anxiety.
For example, Cannabidiol works similarly to SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that are a category of psychiatric drugs specifically designed for anxiety and depression. It brings your serotonin level back to normal which reduces the symptoms of anxiety.
What is the Optimal CBD Dosage for Anxiety?
Different people react differently to CBD oil. For some, only a small amount is enough to receive the desired effect, and for others, a large amount may be needed. You should always start with a small amount and work your way up if you feel you need a higher dose. Most of the CBD oil products that are available commercially have a recommended serving size right on the bottle. It is best to stick with that and take it as recommended.
Most CBD users prefer 10 to 20 milligrams once or twice a day. While some people using CBD oil for anxiety prefer to use only 1mg twice a day. You should keep this in mind that it may take some time for you to feel the continual effects of CBD oil. You should give it at least ten to fifteen days before you begin taking a larger dose.
Mode of Administration
When you are using CBD for therapeutic purposes such as an anxiety disorder, most people medical specialists recommend sublingual administration (applying CBD oil under the tongue). This is because the sublingual route provides a maximum dosage of administered CBD to the body.
A lot of new users are reluctant to try CBD for their illnesses because they associate it with marijuana and other drugs. But CBD for anxiety and stress is now widely accepted. Various studies and experiments have proven that CBD is helpful for people suffering from generalized anxiety disorders and PTSD, social anxiety and OCD. It’s a versatile substance that has a lot of therapeutic effects and acts as an antipsychotic, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant.
People are using CBD as anxiolytic and stress relievers all throughout their bodies. You can have a few drops after work to calm yourself down or can use a special pattern of prescription to alleviate pain. Many people have to use CBD oil or other anti-anxiety supplements daily but some of them find that their symptoms disappear completely over time and they can stop the usage. Once you’ve felt the relaxation that CBD oil provides for stress and anxiety, you’ll definitely share your experiences with the world.
Despite all the research studies that have shown a wide variety of benefits from using CBD oil for anxiety, the FDA still does have dosage recommendations, or qualify it as a drug for anxiety. Clinical trials based on the research related to CBD for anxiety and stress are still new, and there is a lot more to catch up.