According to the National Institute of Health, around eighteen percent of the US adult population from one type of anxiety disorder or another. This truth alone, makes it by far the most common mental disorder that individuals suffer from today. “Anxiety disorders are highly treatable,” states the Anxiety and Depression American Association (ADAA.org), “yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment” despite such high occurrence rates.
A variety of reasons exist and are sometimes due to the anxieties themselves which can prevent patients from seeking help. Many individuals do not want to experiment with prescription medications, and go through the trial and error of finding the right one for them. These reasons alone can lead many individuals to never seek, let alone find the treatment that they oh so need.
CBD is fast becoming a very viable option for a wide range of people suffering from anxiety disorders, and for good reason! However, there is a lot to know about CBD, and how it can interact both positively and negatively with the affects that anxiety can have on a person's mind. To explore further, we will also go into the possibilities that CBD can provide in terms of treatment and or management for those suffering from anxiety disorders.
***Before we go on, it is important to remember, and always keep in mind that you should always seek help from a medical or psychiatric professional if you are concerned about your mental state, or are considering changing your pharmaceutical regimens.***
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System:
As we learn more and more about CBD, and what it can do for us, we further explore the potential that this unique chemical compound possesses. Many recent studies have shown what effects CBD can have on specific anxiety disorders, and the results might surprise many people. Before we get into the specific ways in which CBD can affect anxiety, we shall discuss the reasons why CBD is so effective.
To understand why this is, one must first understand what the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is, and how it works. One must also understand CBD. Named after cannabinoids which were first found in the Cannabis plant, this special set of neuron receptors found all throughout mammalian bodies is exactly as it sounds; a system that is natural to the body that is crucial to the maintenance of said individuals.The non psychoactive chemical, CBD, can be extracted apart from THC and can effectively provide balance to the human ECS, by linking with phytocannabinoids (aka cannabidiol/CBD) from the cannabis plant. To save you from even more science talk and big words – CBDs seek to even out the many maladies of the affected human, bringing back homeostasis, which generally means it can perform as an anti-inflammatory, pain reducing and mood soothing supplement with little to no side effects.
Homeostasis is a term for the utterly crucial aspect of being “just balanced”. While the cannabinoids that are produced within our own bodies are not the same as those found within our plant relatives, the fact that we have these receptors to begin with results in the effectiveness of CBD. The Cannabinoids that our bodies produce, and absorb are essential to the homeostasis that is so crucial to our survival. The ECS is responsible for helping regulate the following:
- Motor Control
- Immune System Function
- Pleasure and Pain
- Anxiety and Depression
As one can easily see, the Endocannabinoid system covers a lot of ground and is quite crucial to our happiness and survival. It is thanks to this system that our body can absorb CBD via some of these specific receptors, and can gain the many medicinal benefits that come with CBD consumption. “When the ECS is disrupted, any one of these things can fall out of balance. Dysregulation in the ECS is thought to contribute to a wide variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome,” claims Herb.co in their “ECS for Dummies” article. Many people overlook the absolute importance that cannabinoids play in our everyday health.
What can CBD do for your Anxiety?
Anyone that has experience with anxiety of any form will know how debilitating it can be for individuals and those around them. Thankfully, those who suffer from anxiety have many treatment options out there for them, to include meditation, physical activity, pharmaceuticals, talk and group therapy, deep breathing exercises, and even emotional first aid. CBD is now a legitimate treatment modality that can be consumed in a variety of ways, and in most cases is completely legal without a medical marijuana prescription. CBD is become vastly available for the public, and this is a great thing with those suffering from anxiety as many patients have found little success with other treatments, and sometimes want to hide their treatment methods out of shame. While shame and secret keeping is unhealthy for the mentally unstable, CBD can provide that secret remedy that no one ever has to know about as it has no side effects and causes no impairment – the patient can work, drive, care for others, all while consuming CBD.
“Animal and human studies have suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may possess anxiolytic properties, but how these effects are mediated centrally is unknown.” According to a 2004 study published in the Journal for Neuropharmacology. However, the 2004 study concluded that, “CBD has anxiolytic properties, and that these effects are mediated by an action on limbic and paralimbic brain areas” and this is very promising for those who suffer from anxiety. Another study published in the same journal in 2011, also showed some extremely promising results. The study was conducted on those suffering from general anxiety disorder, especially concerning social situations, such as public speaking, “Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.” While the exact effects and reasons for such effects are not completely understood yet, it seems very helpful that CBD can provide such relief to those suffering from anxiety. With what the current research is showing, it is possible that CBD could become the future of mental health medicine.
What Risks are Associated with CBD use for Anxiety?
Of course, nothing is perfect, and CBD is no different. While early clinical research shows that CBD can be very effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and other mental disorders, it can also have some adverse affects on some individuals. A study published in 2011 that gave CBD a stunningly positive safety profile, but did not ignore side effects.
“Several studies suggest that CBD is non-toxic in non-transformed cells and does not induce changes on food intake, does not induce catalepsy, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature), does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions. Also, chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans. Conversely, some studies reported that this cannabinoid can induce some side effects, including inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism, alterations of in vitro cell viability, decreased fertilization capacity, and decreased activities of p-glycoprotein and other drug transporters. Based on recent advances in cannabinoid administration in humans, controlled CBD may be safe in humans and animals. However, further studies are needed to clarify these reported in vitro and in vivo side effects.”
It seems that CBD has very limited negative side effects, seemingly limited to dry mouth, lightheadedness and other usual side effects related to Cannabis consumption. One notably negative side effect affects those suffering from Parkinson's. For reasons yet unknown, CBD may increase related tremors, so please keep that in mind. Overall, studies show that CBD for most individuals is a very safe, and effective option to aid in the relief of anxiety and related mental issues.
So many people, with any of the wide range of anxiety disorders, are constantly searching for anything to help relieve their symptoms; to live happier and healthier lives. For many people CBD might be just what they need. While a great deal of research still needs to be done, preliminary findings are very promising, and only time will tell what the future of CBD in medicine will be.