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Cannabidiol or CBD is a type of naturally occurring cannabinoid. It’s contained within the cannabis found inside marijuana and hemp plants. Cannabis has been used for anxiety relief since 1500 B.C. in India. Ever since then, experts and healthcare professionals have studied the effects of cannabinoids as a potential treatment for a wide range of brain diseases and emotional problems such as anxiety, work stress, post-traumatic stress, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain among others. As far as battling anxiety is concerned, the preliminary research has showed a positive impact of CBD oil. For experienced users, using a CBD vape starter kit is a great way to reap the benefits of this awesome natural product.
CBD, even though it’s derived from Cannabis, doesn’t provide any intoxication or ‘make you high’ like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, usually consumed while smoking weed.
In this post, we will discuss about the potential benefits of using CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety. Hopefully, after reading this post, you can have a better understanding about using it for yourself.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is among the most common emotional and behavioural problems that our society is currently dealing with. In fact, a 2017 report released by the World Health Organization suggests nearly 264 million people are living with anxiety worldwide.
As anxiety has become more and more prevalent among the world’s population, researchers and healthcare professionals from across the globe are constantly working towards finding new ways to combat stress and anxiety.
In the most concise form, anxiety can be defined as a state of being which is accompanied by excessive worrying and restlessness. People who suffer from anxiety have a hard time making decisions, speaking in public, tolerating criticism, or asking their boss for a raise.
From social anxiety and panic disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and agoraphobia, anxiety comes in many ‘shapes and sizes. No matter what kind of anxiety you a suffer from, a dose of cannabidiol is most likely going to help you cope with the unpleasant symptoms associated with this condition.
How does CBD Oil work?
The human body has many different receptors. Receptors are protein-based chemical structures that are attached to your cells. They receive signals from different stimuli.
CBD is thought to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, respectively.
The exact method of CBD affecting the CB1 receptors in the brain isn’t fully known. However, it is assumed to alter serotonin signals.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays an important role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression. A lack of serotonin in some cases has also been linked to increased anxiety levels.
The conventional treatment for low serotonin is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac). SSRIs are only available by prescription.
Some patients with anxiety can use CBD to manage their condition instead of SSRIs. However, such a change is not recommended without getting a doctor’s advice in the first place.
What are the benefits of CBD oil: Research and evidence
Over the years, several studies and research undertakings have pointed towards the benefits of CBD oil as it pertains to combating anxiety.
CBD oil for generalized anxiety
For generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats.
During the study, the test subjects on CBD oil showed a significant decrease in their anxiety levels. Physiological symptoms such as an accelerated heart beat, also showed signs of improvement. However, more research needs to be done when it comes to the impact on humans.
CBD oil for other forms of anxiety
CBD oil can do more than just helping people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It has also shown to be of help for people suffering from other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD oil may also help patients overcome anxiety-induced insomnia.
A study on the impact of CBD on people suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) was conducted in the year 2011. Participants were given an oral dose of 400 milligrams (mg) of CBD or a placebo. All the recipients of CBD reported a general drop in their anxiety levels.
A significant number of recent studies have also shown the usefulness of CBD when it comes to managing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Usage of CBD oil reduced the recurrence of nightmares and negative memories. These studies have looked at CBD as both a standalone PTSD treatment as well as a supplement to traditional treatments like medication and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBD oil for other neurological disorders
The impact of CBD on other neurological disorders has also been studied and documented.
A 2017 literature review on CBD and psychiatric disorders concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to tout CBD as an effective treatment for depression.
The authors did find some evidence to suggest that CBD could help with anxiety disorders. However, these studies were uncontrolled. This means that the participants weren’t compared to a separate group (or “control”) that might have received a different treatment — or no treatment at all.
Based on their review, more human tests are needed to better understand how CBD works, what the ideal dosages should be, and if there are potential side effects or hazards.
A 2016 studyTrusted Source found that CBD can have antipsychotic effects in people with schizophrenia. On top of that, usage of CBD doesn’t carry the same dangerous side effects that some antipsychotic drugs have.
CBD oil dosage recommendation
If you are willing to try CBD oil to deal with your anxiety, have a detailed conversation with some doctors first. They can help you figure out a starting dosage that’s right for you.
However, the nonprofit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) does advise that very few commercially available products contain enough CBD to replicate the therapeutic effects seen in clinical trials.
In a 2018 study, male subjects received CBD before undergoing a simulated public speaking test. During the research, it was observed that when a 300 mg dose of CBD was administered to a test subject 90 minutes before they spoke publicly, the test subject experienced a significant drop in the anxiety level.
Members of the placebo group and study subjects who received 150 mg saw little benefit. The same was true for subjects who received 600 mg.
The study only looked at 57 subjects, so it was small. More research, including studies that look at female subjects, is needed to determine the appropriate dosage for people with anxiety.
What are some side effects of CBD oil?
Since CBD oil is a naturally occurring chemical, it is generally considered safe for usage. However, some CBD users might experience side effects such as:
- Excessive weight loss
- Loss of appetite
CBD in your body can also interact with other supplements or medications that you consume. If you are a user of medications that come with a “grapefruit warning” such as blood thinners, exercise extreme caution. CBD and “grapefruit warning” drugs have an impact on the enzymes that regulate drug metabolism in your body.
A study on mice reported an increase in liver toxicity among the mice that were injected with a cannabis extract which was very rich in CBD. That could have also been caused by the extremely large dosage given to the mice.
If you are already under anxiety medication, you shouldn’t stop taking it and replace it with CBD oil without speaking to your doctor. While CBD oil might be a good way to combat anxiety, an abrupt stop to your current medication might result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and irritability.