How exactly does CBD work for anxiety? Our bodies have protein-based chemical structures that are attached to your cells called receptors. CBD interacts with our receptors, CB1 and CB2, found in our central and peripheral nervous systems. CBD alters the serotonin neurotransmitter which plays an important role in our mental health. Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression and anxiety. The conventional treatment for low serotonin is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as Zoloft or Prozac. SSRIs are only available by prescription and do have notable side effects which include nervousness, agitation or restlessness and may also include insomnia among other things.
Some people with anxiety may be able to manage their condition with CBD instead of an SSRI providing natural relief with limited to no side effects. However, you should talk to your doctor before making changes to your treatment plan. Changing your medications abruptly can have adverse effects.
Not all forms of anxiety are created equal. What does this research mean for anxiety sufferers?
A small 2010 study found that cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of social anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Brain scans of participants revealed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. In this study, cannabidiol not only made participants feel better, but also changed the way their brains responded to anxiety.
In a 2011 study, researchers looked specifically at cannabidiol to treat anxiety associated with public speaking.
Then a 2015 analysis of previous studies concluded that CBD oil is a promising treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
These findings could change the way we treat anxiety across the board. In our current age of constant input and levels of stress higher that any other time in history, a simple natural supplement, such as CBD, can be life changing. Not only from a mental health perspective, but a physical one as well. The research being done today can pave the way for the many applications for cannabinoids in modern day medicine.