Millions of people struggle with anxiety each day. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, one out of thirteen people suffers from anxiety across the world, and anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. Most people with anxiety turn to medications, such as antidepressants or benzodiazepines, to help manage their symptoms. However, these medications may be addictive and may become less effective as people develop a tolerance to them over time. Instead, some consumers who are seeking anxiety relief have begun to turn to CBD as an all-natural alternative. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and anxiety.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a chemical compound that’s found in the cannabis plant and one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the plant. CBD can be found in marijuana or hemp plants, but it is most often cultivated from hemp plants to remain legally compliant in all 50 states. Unlike its close relative, THC, CBD is not psychoactive and won’t get you high. Instead, many consumers seeking feelings of relaxation and calm have been turning to CBD.
CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system runs throughout your body and plays a role in regulating things like mood, sleep, memory, and more. CBD interacts with receptors in your endocannabinoid system, which may contribute to an overall sense of balance and calm.
What Is Anxiety?
Fear and anxiety are our bodies’ natural response to stress. In fact, they’re necessary for our very survival. Yet excessive or persistent fear may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Other symptoms of anxiety are increased heart rate, shortness of breath, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping. You might find yourself experiencing panic attacks, or an overwhelming feeling of distress and fear.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure of the exact cause of anxiety. However, it seems to be combination of factors working together, including, genetic and environmental factors, as well as brain chemistry. There isn’t currently a single test that can diagnose anxiety. Instead, a diagnosis requires several mental health evaluations and psychological questionnaires with your health practitioner. Plus, your doctor may want to conduct a physical exam, including blood or other tests, to rule out an underlying medical condition that could be causing your symptoms.
Can CBD Treat Anxiety?
Multiple studies have evaluated the potential effectiveness of CBD in treating anxiety. Way back in 2009, a review published in Frontiers in Immunology looked at the use of CBD in neuropsychiatry. After reviewing over 161 studies and papers on CBD, researchers concluded that the compound may have anti-anxiety and antipsychotic properties.
A 2010 study looked at patients with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD). Researchers concluded that CBD may reduce anxiety in SAD due to its effects on the limbic and paralimbic brain area. Another study performed in 2018 found that treatment with CBD may reduce anxiety caused by fear of public speaking during a speech. Participants scored much lower on an anxiety questionnaire after taking 300 mg of CBD.
A 2015 review looked at over 120 studies on CBD and concluded that preclinical evidence shows CBD’s possible effectiveness in reducing anxiety. It stated that CBD appeared to treat anxiety caused by a number of disorders, including PTSD, OCD, PD, and SAD, with a notable lack of negative side effects. Though the mechanisms of how CBD works remain unclear, it may have something to do with certain molecules in the brain, namely CB1R and 5-HT1Ar. Researchers concluded that their findings emphasize the potential value and need for additional clinical trials evaluating the potential use of CBD in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Benefits of CBD for Anxiety?
CBD may hold potential for treating anxiety, and many consumers turn to CBD as a natural alternative for its potential benefits in comparison to current anxiety medications. For instance, fast-acting anxiety medications, such as Xanax and Valium, work quickly to bring users down from an anxious state. However, they can quickly become habit-forming, especially as users develop a tolerance to the medication. Plus, side effects can include things like drowsiness, sedation, fatigue, and even depression. They also show a rebound effect and can actually cause anxiety the longer you use them. It seems that the more you use the medication, the more you need it, which is the perfect recipe for an addiction. CBD, on the other hand, shows no risk of tolerance or dependence. In fact, even the World Health Organization agrees that CBD doesn’t show any indications of causing dependence. Plus, the side effects of CBD are minimal, and can include diarrhea and dizziness.
CBD may hold a lot of promise in treating anxiety, and further studies may provide more understanding into its potential benefits. If you’re looking to give hemp a try, our proprietary full-spectrum Hemp Extract powder is a great choice. It’s completely tasteless and dissolves completely in any food.