Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in cannabis (marijuana and hemp) plants. Early research is promising regarding the ability of CBD oil to help relieve anxiety.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t cause any feelings of intoxication or the “high” you may associate with cannabis.
Learn more about the potential benefits of CBD oil for anxiety, and whether it could be a treatment option for you.
How CBD works
First of all, we need to understand how CBD works. As a human being, we are born with endocannabinoid system and endocannabinoids. The crucial role of endocannabinoid system is to keep in balance our body and mind. Our body naturally produce endocannabinoids, which fits to receptors CB1 and CB2 of endocannabinoid system. Once our body can’t produce enough endocannabinoids, immune system becomes weak, and organism is disbalanced.
There are phytocannabinoids, mimic to endocannabinoids, found in flower of hemp. CBD oil is made by extracting hemp flower. In that way, phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, attach to the receptors CB1 and CB2 instead of endocannabinoids. These receptors are mostly found in central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
The exact way CBD affects CB1 receptors in the brain isn’t fully understood. However, it may alter serotonin signals.
Serotonin, neurotransmitter, plays an important role in our mental health. Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression. In some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety.
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 people with anxiety may be able to manage their condition with CBD, instead of an SSRI. However, you should talk to your doctor before making changes to your treatment plan.
If you don’t have any treatment plan, CBD oil is the most natural option for you. You don’t need any prescription to buy CBD.
How CBD can help with anxiety?
Since, we know how CBD works, let’s check it out how CBD can help with anxiety.
CBD may also benefit people with other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It may help treat anxiety-induced insomnia as well.
In 2011, a study researched CBD’s effects on people with SAD. Participants were given an oral dose of 400 milligrams (mg) of CBD or a placebo. Those who received CBD experienced overall reduced anxiety levels.
Multiple recent studies have shown that CBD can help with PTSD symptoms, such as having nightmares and replaying 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 behavioral therapy (CBT).
Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. It's something most of us experience to some degree throughout our lives. This differs from anxiety disorders, in which the anxiety does not go away, gets worse over time and interferes with daily activities like job performance and relationships.
For the low-level anxiety, coping mechanisms like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, journaling or working with a therapist may help. But for some people, that’s not enough.
“Of all the wellness tools in my toolbox, CBD oil has been the best addition to my life for anxiety,” said Carlene Thomas RDN, dietitian and author of the upcoming recipe book "CBD Drinks for Health."
“It worked immediately, effectively and effortlessly in a way that adaptogens and years of meditation hadn’t.” (Adaptogens are herbs, roots and mushrooms that theoretically “adapt” to what your body needs and help protect against various stressors.)
Anecdotal evidence abounds for CBD and decreased anxiety, but scientific research remains limited. Up until recently, because of the federal regulations around CBD usage, research had been difficult to do. The research that does exist on CBD for anxiety use was either done on animals or with small groups of people. From what we know, there seems to be evidence that CBD has a calming effect in the central nervous system.
It appears to be related to CBD binding to and activating a serotonin receptor, which can result in a calming, mood-boosting effect. It’s also unclear what is dosage is necessary to see the anti-anxiety effects. Many studies used dosages of 300 to 400 milligrams per day, while most over-the-counter CBD products have labels that suggest 10 to 15 milligrams per day.
In short, CBD’s effect on anxiety is still unclear and more research needs to be done. Plus, we have to remember that there is a difference between the quality and amount of CBD used in research settings and the CBD products that are available on the shelves.
Side effects of CBD
CBD may be from a plant, but there are still some potential side effects to be aware of. Some people have reported dizziness, nausea, fatigue, dry mouth and diarrhea while taking CBD. Also, CBD may interact or interfere with certain medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking it.
One review done in 2017 found that close to 70% of CBD products sold online were improperly labeled and either contained less CBD, more THC or different ingredients than what was stated on the label. In addition, the way the CBD is consumed - whether that’s in oils, edibles, capsules or lotions - affects how it's absorbed in the body, and not all forms are absorbed as well.
"Sublingual CBD oils are a great delivery method - they’re bioavailable, fast-acting and bypass the digestive system, unlike edibles," says Thomas. "Edibles are a fun experimental way to add CBD to a routine, but your body doesn’t absorb as much CBD and it can take longer to kick in."
While there are a lot of positive anecdotal reports from people who’ve taken CBD to help manage anxiety, and the research we have is promising, we still need to see larger, longer-term studies. CBD seems to be mostly safe for humans, but its effect can vary greatly from person to person. It also comes with an expensive price tag. If you decided to try CBD, make sure to purchase it from a reputable source and talk to your doctor before starting it.
We need to understand that CBD oil is natural product, and we need to use it constantly to feel better and faster the effects. It restores our organism in a balance, and that is not possible overnight. It takes time.
Also, dosage is the key. I heard so many stories, that CBD oil did not help. It did not help because most of them bought product with low potency of CBD and use a small amount.
If you have any questions about dosing, effects, do not hesitate to contact us. Schedule free consultation with us, ready to help!