Evidence from research indicates that cannabidiol (CBD) has a role to play in relieving anxiety. CBD acts through different mechanisms to exert therapeutic effects and to promote a sense of wellness. Researchers are still trying to understand the exact mechanism through which CBD works; the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and serotonin system have been primarily implicated in anxiety relief. That said, several patients have reported reduced anxiety levels after consuming CBD. This article explores the use of CBD in treating anxiety, the science behind it and the art of consumption.
This is how it works.
CBD is one of the numerous cannabinoids that make up medical marijuana. It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning that it does not trigger a sense of euphoria. Cannabinoids interact differently with the ECS, and CBD does not appear to have a high affinity for any of the endocannabinoid receptors. However, CBD has shown immense influence over vital functions that the ECS regulates. This includes addressing issues such as pain, mood and anxiety disorders and improving immunity.
A 2018 survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research showed that almost 62% of CBD users were using the CBD to treat pain, anxiety, and depression. It is no surprise that most CBD products flying off dispensary shelves are geared towards providing relief for the three. Is there a science to back up the use of CBD for treating anxiety?
What Does Research Say?
Most studies that have investigated the use of CBD to treat anxiety have been animal studies. An analysis report published in the Neurotherapeutics Journal in 2015 showed that CBD was effective in relieving different types of anxiety such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBD and Social Anxiety
A study that was published in 2011 in Neuropsychopharmacology showed that CBD has potential in relieving social anxiety. This is a kind of anxiety that creeps in when a person is in a social setting. It is a mix of extreme fear, anxiety, and lack of a desire to be in a social environment. This has the potential to impede one’s relationship because the individual is not able to socialize.
This study had 24 participants who were all suffering from social anxiety. They were offered either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo (double-blind model) 90 minutes before a performance, which was public speaking. The results demonstrated that CBD was able to reduce the anxiety that was associated with public performance. CBD reduced the apprehension, anxiety, and discomfort and helped the patients to deliver their speech effectively.
A different study conducted in Japan also investigated the potential of CBD in relieving social anxiety in teenagers. Thirty-seven teenagers between 18 and 19 years were offered 300mg of CBD or a placebo in a double-blind model. This was given daily for four weeks. While very few patients experienced any adverse events, participants who had received anxiety had marked reductions in anxiety levels. This led the researchers to conclude that CBD helps treat social anxiety.
CBD and Generalized Anxiety Disorders
A 2015 review including 49 studies showed that CBD has potential benefits in addressing several anxiety disorders. This includes generalized anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In a case series published in 2019 in the Journal of Alternative and complementary Medicine, a different study investigated the potential of CBD in treating PTSD. The researcher found that the administration of CBD orally helped reduce the symptoms of PTSD in the participants. CBD was also able to relieve nightmares in a subset of psychiatric patients experiencing nightmares as a symptom of PTSD.
CBD Dosage for Anxiety
CBD dosage for anxiety is never an exact science because everyone’s ECS is unique. However, a few studies have shown that most users will experience similar effects after consuming CBD. What has been demonstrated by these studies is a bell-shaped response to CBD where most users will have the same effects with CBD, and only a few will lie in the extremes. In the study published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology, most participants suffering from social anxiety got significant relief after they consumed 300mg of CBD daily.
How Does CBD Treat Anxiety
CBD treats anxiety by increasing the levels of circulating serotonin in the body. Serotonin (the feel-good hormone) is associated with a feeling of happiness and wellness. Increasing the levels of Serotonin may help to relieve anxiety. This has been demonstrated in a study that showed that blocking serotonin receptors (thereby increasing circulating Serotonin levels) helps treat anxiety and depression.
Side Effects of CBD
Most users tolerate CBD well without experiencing any adverse events. However, a few users have reported the following adverse effects:
- Stomach upsets
- Mood changes
CBD may also interact with several medications, including benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and anti-epileptic drugs. CBD can either increase or reduce the potency of the drugs that it interacts with. If you are on any medication, it is essential to consult with your pharmacist before starting any treatment with CBD.
How To Consume CBD For Anxiety
CBD comes in many effective formulations that include the following:
- Pills and capsules
- Lotions and creams
- Transdermal patches
- Bath bombs
When choosing the best formulation for anxiety, you should consider your individual needs and preferences. The availability of the product is also essential. While the formulation may affect how soon you will begin to experience anxiety relief, what matters at the end of the day is the quality and potency of the product. A full-spectrum CBD product will allow you to enjoy greater anxiety relief through a mechanism that is referred to as cannabis synergy.
Does CBD Cure Anxiety?
Research has shown that CBD helps to relieve different kinds of anxiety disorders. This includes social anxiety, generalized anxiety, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. CBD may increase the levels of circulating Serotonin, and this suppresses the feeling of anxiety and depression. When choosing a CBD oil for anxiety, ensure that you go for a full-spectrum one to enjoy the synergistic benefits that occur when cannabinoids and terpenes are combined in a product.