Is Cannabidiol the answer to reduce anxiety? Is it the safe and legal alternative to anxiety medication? Does CBD alter your mind? Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for anxiety.
Consuming marijuana for recreational purposes may sometimes feel good for relaxation, but it may also trigger anxiety. However, there’s a compound in cannabis plants that actually reduces anxiety and doesn’t get you high, but promotes calmness and relaxation: CBD (Cannabidiol).
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) makes for up to 40% of the cannabis resin, being one of more than 100 compounds (cannabinoids) that can be extracted from cannabis plants such as hemp or marijuana. CBD oil extracted from hemp oil is legal and non-psychoactive, as it contains no THC — the mind-altering cannabinoid in marijuana.
CBD is an increasingly popular supplement that has taken health enthusiasts and medical professionals by storm. It is estimated that around 20% of the population in the United States is suffering with anxiety disorders, and most of them resort to going to therapy or start taking dangerous prescription drugs that can cause addiction and side effects.
As CBD represents a safe and natural way to reduce anxiety, more and more people are choosing it to fight symptoms such as restlessness, headaches, heart palpitations, neck tension, nausea, shortness of breath, pulsing in the ears and that general fear of impending doom.
However, the benefits of CBD are not limited to its anxiolytic effects. CBD has been known to soothe pain, help with digestive problems, improve sleep quality, promote wellness, diminish PTSD symptoms, promote cardiovascular health and protect against neurodegenerative disease.
How Does CBD Reduce Anxiety?
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is the condition where a person is nervous or uncomfortable in certain social situation. Getting sweaty palms, finding it hard to make eye contact and fearing public speaking are usual symptoms of SAD. This irrational fear of being among other/new people can make a person avoid all social contact because others might judge them.
It is believed that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC have the ability to interact with specific receptors located in the amygdala — a region of the brain responsible for our fight-or-flight response. CBD then works to make that part of the brain less excitable, reducing your response to anxiety, depression and stress.
CBD is also thought to have an effect on serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that deals with anxiety, depression, mood, sleep and memory. This property makes CBD an interesting choice in treating anxiety-induced insomnia. CBD acts on serotonin receptors in the same way as antidepressants and anxiety medications.
Cannabidiol is safe and well-tolerated by the body, and can help with panic disorder, social phobia, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), OCBD and mild to moderate depression.
CBD for Anxiety: Studies and Research
A 2011 double-blind placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology followed 10 participants suffering from social anxiety who had never received treatments for this condition. At the end of the study, the subjects who received a 400mg dose of CBD experienced considerably reduced subjective anxiety. After performing brain scans that revealed cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with anxiolytic effects, the study concluded that CBD reduces anxiety in social anxiety disorders (SAD).
In a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, subjects suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) were asked to perform a public speaking test. The study found that pretreating with CBD “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in speech performance.”
Researchers have also discovered that CBD enhances the signaling of a subtype of serotonin receptor called 5-HT1A and may affect serotonin faster than antidepressant drugs. The study concluded that CBD is effective in treating depression.
Other studies have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in order to investigate how CBD affects fluctuations in regional blood flow and neural correlates of brain activity. The fMRI and SPECT results clearly show CBD has the ability to reduce anxiety, fear and irritability and improve stress response.
Studies also show CBD can help with other forms of anxiety (including PTSD), help treat anxiety-induced insomnia and schizophrenia.
One study that involved mice aimed to investigate if CBD’s anxiolytic effect depends on hippocampal neurogenesis. Researchers found that CBD can promote neurogenesis.
CBD Dose for Anxiety
While a dose of 400mg of CBD has been used to reduce social anxiety disorder, a specific dose of CBD for anxiety cannot be established for certain, as the strength and bioavailability can vary greatly in CBD capsules and CBD oils.
This is why it’s recommended you start by taking a smaller dose, maintain it for a few days, then increase the amount of CBD if you want stronger results and they seem attainable. By gradually increasing your dosage, you ensure your not taking more CBD than your body can handle. Plus, since your body is YOUR body, you can experience for yourself and reach an ideally personalized dosage rather than taking someone else’s word for granted.
Bottom Line on CBD and Anxiety
Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, IBS or PMS can all be linked to a deficiency serotonin — the feel good hormone. Low serotonin levels are usually addressed with prescription SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac or Zoloft. CBD can be an excellent natural, safe and legal alternative to SSRIs, as it can help you manage your anxiety and depression.
Plenty of people suffering from PTSD get their relief by using CBD. Users say Cannabidiol allows them to be more energetic, as CBD does not come with the characteristic THC-induced laziness.
If you can’t smoke marijuana because THC makes you paranoid and anxious, then you should give CBD a try, as it doesn’t contain THC, the high-causing compound in cannabis plants.
CBD can help you overcome the fear of missing out (FOMO), eliminating those anxiety-filled moments when you’re panicked that there’s something important happening out there and you are going to miss it.
CBD can help improve sleep quality, reduce nervousness and headaches, and make you feel in control of your anxiety. No more stress, no more munchies, and no more spinning out of control.
So, if you have a fear of public speaking, are claustrophobic or have to board a plane, CBD can be a great safe and legal way to regain control of your emotions.
CBD is available in oil, capsule and even gummy bear shape. However, CBD in oil form can cause measuring error and spillage, this is why it’s better you go for CBD capsules or CBD Gummies, which contain an ideal, pre-measured dose.