Anxiety. For some, just saying the word can cause them to experience its symptoms. For others, anxiety can rear its ugly heads in many different forms and varying degrees of debilitation. Some physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety include discomfort, sickness, jitteriness, self-consciousness, nervousness, behavioral avoidance, negative effects on the nervous system, mental stress, and disassociation. On top of all these lovely symptoms there are a growing number of types of anxiety affecting millions of people around the globe.
Social anxiety, performance anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and many more archetypes of nervousness have begun to encroach on many different facets of our lives. Whereas anxiety used to be something most people didn’t talk about openly, nowadays everyone seems to suffer from anxiety in one of its many forms. What’s more, it’s not like anxiety only affects people who are down on their luck – busy, successful entrepreneurs, professional athletes, civil servants and health practitioners all grapple with the negative effects of anxiety.
How do people deal with all the stress, anxiety and depression that surrounds us all?
Healing from any anxiety disorder should be seen as a holistic process. Being active has been linked to not only physical benefits but also your mental and emotional wellbeing as well. Combining an active lifestyle with healthy eating, positive relationships and balanced mental health formulate the best holistic approach to being anxiety-free. However, achieving this kind of equilibrium is a lot easier said than done.
This is where certain natural remedies & supplements like CBD for anxiety have carved out a niche for anyone seeking safe, alternative treatments for their everyday nervousness. Does CBD help with anxiety? How long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety? Are there any CBD withdrawal symptoms or other risks to taking CBD for anxiety? What kinds of synergies are there between CBD and mental health?
Let’s explore the shadows of anxieties and shed some light on how CBD oil for anxiety can help you make a breakthrough in your journey towards good mental & physical wellbeing.
DOES CBD OIL HELP WITH ANXIETY?
As mentioned earlier, healing is a holistic process comprising your emotional, physical and mental health. Some of the ways in which we try to cope with all aspects of our wellbeing include physical activity, seeing a counselor or therapist, taking medications, or changing what we put into our bodies. Controlling your mental & emotional wellness often involves finding a balance between physical activity, nutrition and behaviors. Each of these elements can impact how you feel, but the real key to combating the effects of anxiety is to not focus solely on any one aspect of your health.
Exercising every day is great, but if it’s not combined with a healthy diet then you might end up squandering your progress. Similarly, understanding your mental & emotional proclivities is very important for leading a healthy lifestyle, but without consistent physical engagement you can risk falling into negative patterns.
In the scheme of balancing your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, CBD can provide a wide spectrum of benefits. Most people turn to specific medications to help manage their anxiety, others take a more natural approach using things like meditation to level out their anxious feelings while others have started to use a new form of coping to naturally medicate. CBD has been legal in the United States since December 2018 with the introduction of the Farm Bill. One of the main uses of CBD in the U.S. has been to manage nervousness and anxiety levels, CBD has been shown to interact with specific receptors in our brain that can relieve anxiety.
CBD has been studied and shown to help as an activator of the 5-HT1a receptor within our brain. 5-HT1a receptors are an activator for serotonin in our brain, which is what helps produce happiness in our brain. These receptors increase the synthesis of serotonin in our brain which helps improve things like appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, sleep and depression. When CBD activates the 5-HT1a receptors it increases the activity and presence of serotonin neurotransmitters in our brains, which brings forward positive effects in our brain.
However, the anxiety you feel when worrying about a big performance coming up is very different. Stress for an athlete/fitness pro can be quite crippling and affect their mental & emotional preparation. Performance anxiety can damage things like self-esteem and confidence which comes with an abundance of bodily reactions, such as:
- Increased heart-rate
- Heavy breathing
- Dry mouth
Many athletes who deal with performance anxiety are usually affected by the psychological effects and there is nothing actually wrong with their body, but when anxiety affects your psyche your fight or flight reaction kicks in and this is where the above symptoms can take effect.
Introducing CBD dosages for anxiety activates your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Your ECS helps to regulate functions in your body such as sleep, mood, appetite and memory. Whenever your anxiety becomes triggered, CBD oil for stress or CBD oil for anxiety can influence GABA receptors, which manage the communication between our brain cells. This effectively helps to increase or decrease the firing of neurons in your brain.
When we decrease neuron firing, our GABA provides a sedative effect and CBD is able to work with our GABA receptors to naturally increase the calming effect GABA provides throughout your body. CBD has also shown to work well with your brain chemistry to produce higher levels of serotonin – leading to better moods, reduced stress and a calmer demeanor.
CBD AND ANXIETY ATTACKS
Anxiety and stress are often caused by the lead up to big events or moments of intense pressure (such as with athletes’ performance anxiety or entrepreneurs’ launching a new product). Our brains and bodies produce certain natural compounds which affect our fight or flight system. CBD is a natural phytocompound that can help our various systems to reduce this fight or flight impulse from going haywire. In doing so, CBD can assist our minds & bodies in reducing the various bodily reactions we feel when we become anxious about any upcoming performances.
Another prominent source for nervousness is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder that provokes a cycle of obsession and compulsions in the brain. These obsessions are sporadic and can be persistent, affecting productivity, daily routines and social interactions. OCD occurs when individuals frequently experience intrusive obsessive and repetitive behaviors, leading them to rely on rituals that are often beyond the norms of everyday life. These intense feelings of anxiety fuels the cycle of obsession and compulsive behavior.
So, if you’ve ever wondered “can CBD oil CAUSE anxiety?” the answer is flat out no – Cannabidiol helps to regulate certain functions in your brains & bodies that manage some obsessive tendencies. In this same vein, CBD has also been seen as a good treatment option for those suffering from PTSD and substance abuse disorders.
This is commonly seen in individuals who have returned from military combat, where as much as 1/3 of veterans who return from war can suffer from both PTSD and substance abuse. Those who suffer from PTSD or substance abuse face the challenge of consistently re-experiencing the events that brought on PTSD, creating a conditioned fear response which can get more intense with every episode. This puts those individuals into a negative loop – similar to OCD patients who feel stuck in a pattern. CBD is seen as a hopeful treatment which can help people to break that cycle by altering their fear memory response or reliance on potentially harmful, habitual remedies.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TAKE CBD OIL FOR ANXIETY?
There are many treatments available for dealing with anxiety disorders like OCD or PTSD, where individuals will get some type of psychological therapy and then be put on an antidepressant medication to help manage their various symptoms. Like many who deal with anxiety, their medications can sometimes compound on the stress/nerves they feel. that are prescribed usually have a long list of side-effects.
OCD comes from various malfunctions in the brain, when our hippocampus, amygdala and basal ganglia become overactive they begin to send excessive messages within the brain. This leads our brains to produce consistent fears and thoughts activating and heightening anxiety throughout the body. Worries about long-term use or side effects can add weight to a person’s anxiety, which has led many to seek out natural treatments like Cannabidiol.
CBD can directly affect the areas of the brain that harbor fears and overactive thoughts when OCD starts to kick in. Once you’ve learned how to take CBD for anxiety, these plant compounds can produce calming influences on your thoughts & feelings. CBD for anxiety binds to fatty acid proteins, preventing the decreasing of your fatty acid amide hydrolase. This results in an increase in your anadamaide levels which is where the symptoms of OCD are primarily generated. By pairing CBD and anxiety, you can count on less repetitive thoughts and an alteration of behaviors that happen to prevent intrusive behaviors – one of the major issues with OCD.
A study published in the journal of Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology conducted animal subjects to doses of the drug ecstasy – an agent known to increase symptoms of OCD. The animal subjects then began to obsessively bury marbles in the sand which were laid out for them. Once these animals were given a high dose of CBD they stopped burying the marbles, demonstrating that the OCD stopped once they took regular CBD doses for their anxiety. More study is needed to definitively prove CBD can decrease the effects of OCD, but the signs point towards a positive influence in helping individuals dealing with this debilitating condition.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is experienced by 3.6% of adults in the world according to the National Institute of Mental Health, with women being nearly three times more likely to be affected than men. The trauma felt during PTSD can be both mental, physical and emotional. When serious, life-changing trauma occurs those affected can become disoriented, anxious, experience extreme mood swings or have vivid nightmares. As these symptoms progress, PTSD develops and can hold of a person’s every waking moment. It is common for those experiencing PTSD to develop things like depression, substance abuse, sleep issues and various other mental health disorders.
There are various treatments that are conducted to help deal with PTSD, things like cognitive processing therapy where the individual talks through their trauma with a therapist or eye movement and reprocessing where the individual focuses on the trauma while watching or listening to another neutral trigger. Recent research is starting to point out that CBD oil for stress and CBD oil dosages for depression can have positive effects on the primary symptoms of PTSD.
SAFE CBD OIL DOSES FOR ANXIETY
Hemp, like cannabis, contains many compounds referred to as “cannabinoids”, but the two most typically associated with the plant are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). THC is the compound in hemp & cannabis responsible for the “high” some people experience. CBD on the other hand is non-psychoactive and can actually reduce the mind altering effects associated with THC. This is one of the main reasons why CBD dosages for anxiety are so popular – there are no “jitters” or psychoactivity that can compound a person’s feelings of anxiety. Cannabidiol is very effective at instilling calm, relaxing your body & mind and helping you to focus.
When CBD is consumed it activates the two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system known as CB1 and CB2, this directly affects the body’s central nervous system by increasing things like pleasure and the way our memories are processed and acting as a blocker of traumatic memories. This provides a lessened emotional experience allowing for those suffering from PTSD to feel less anxiety towards a traumatic event since they are having less of a negative emotional experience.
As time goes and the use of CBD continues, CBD starts to block the consistent memory retrieval, which is a big issue with those suffering from PTSD as they are constantly thinking of their traumatic moments. CBD can also contribute to helping those who have had to deal with a predator in their lives.
A study done by the Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto at the University of São Paulo showed that when mice were exposed to a cat, they displayed threat stress. When CBD oil for anxiety was administered they showed signs of lower levels of stress and nervousness towards their natural predator, sustained over the period of a week. Researchers believe this is due to the CBD having an activating effect on our 5HT1A receptors, providing an anti-anxiety effect in the mice. This led them to ascertain that CBD can help those suffering from PTSD through its consistent anti-anxiety effects.
Being in large groups or interacting with people can be very difficult for some people, this is known as social anxiety disorder (SAD), this can cause a significant distress in their day-to-day function. This can include social interactions, performing in front of people, being in a small group or playing sports.
SAD has been linked to mental health problems with both a combination of biological and psychological factors, coming from things like a traumatic life event, a family history of anxiety or mental health and substance problems. Again, like most mental health disorders the way it’s commonly dealt with is through various therapy options and antidepressant medications.
CBD dosages for social anxiety are a growing trend in the industry. CBD has been found to increase blood flow in the body’s cingulate cortex, affecting how we interpret the reactions of others. CBD is also known to reduce blood flow to both the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus, which is the area of our brain that recalls memories, therefore helping reduce the constant stress of going out into public.
Each part of the brain that involves anxiety like the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and PAG all contain CB1 receptors which is known to be boosted by CBD as it binds with those specific receptors throughout the body. Using CBD to deal with SAD looks like it can help deal with unpleasant memories of anxiety or embarrassment and better help individuals perceive the reactions of others.
We hope this article has helped to shed some light on the answer to the question: Does CBD oil help with stress & anxiety? As always, more research is needed to support a lot of these positive associations between CBD and anxiety, but the more we focus on exploring the benefits of CBD for mental health the sooner we’ll align the public appetite for CBD with the science behind its efficacy.