CBD Use for Anxiety: Will It Work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of chemical called a cannabinoid found naturally in cannabis (hemp and marijuana) plants. The latest research shows promising results regarding CBD’s ability to help relieve anxiety.
CBD is naturally non-psychoactive, meaning it does not cause the “high” or any intoxicating sensations commonly associated with cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another type of cannabinoid found in cannabis which is responsible for its mind-altering effects.
Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of CBD for anxiety, and whether it could be an option for you.
How Does CBD work?
The human body has many different receptors, which are protein-based chemical structures attached to your cells that receive signals from diverse stimuli.
Experts believe CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Precisely how CBD affects these receptors is not fully understood; however, it is believed they may alter serotonin signals.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is important for mental health. Serotonin deficiency is commonly associated with people suffering from depression. In certain cases, low serotonin levels may also cause anxiety.
The conventional treatment for serotonin deficiency is a prescription medication known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac) which may cause significant unwanted side effects.
Many people with anxiety are managing their condition with CBD due to its effectiveness and minimal side effects. Prior to making any changes to your treatment plan, you should speak with your medical practitioner first.
Supporting Evidence and Research
There are a number of studies which support the potential benefits of CBD for anxiety.
CBD for generalized anxiety disorder
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that CBD has been shown to reduce both behavioral and physiological measures of stress and anxiety in animals, and has shown efficacy in small-scale clinical trials with humans.
Although the results so far have been promising, more research needs to be done on humans and GAD.
CBD for other types of anxiety
People with other types of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may benefit from using CBD. It may also help relieve anxiety-induced insomnia as well.
A 2011 study which researched the effects of CBD in people with SAD showed that those who received CBD experienced significantly reduced anxiety levels when given 400mg of CBD compared to those who received a placebo.
Several recent studies have shown that CBD may help people with PTSD symptoms, such as nightmares and replaying negative memories. These studies have looked at CBD as both a standalone treatment for PTSD and also as a supplement to conventional treatments like medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBD for other neurological disorders
CBD has also been studied as a safe and effective alternative to antipsychotic drug treatment for people suffering with a wide range of mental disorders including schizophrenia.
Additionally, CBD is associated with fewer intolerable side effects than conventional antipsychotic drugs.
If you want to try CBD for your anxiety, talk to your doctor to help figure out a starting dosage that’s right for you. Several factors contribute to how much CBD you should take, including:
- The severity of your condition
- Your body mass
- Your individual metabolism
A good rule of thumb is to start low and gradually increase your dosage until you feel relief. For example, you might start with 20mg per day for a week, and increase this amount by 5mg per week, continuing until you feel the desired effect.
CBD side effects
CBD is generally well tolerated and is considered safe; however, it may cause adverse reactions in some people.
The most commonly experienced side effects in studies include:
- Changes in appetite and weight
CBD has drug interactions with some medications. Speak to your medical practitioner about CBD safety prior to starting any treatment.
One mice study showed that CBD-rich cannabis extracts may possibly cause acute liver toxicity. However, some the mice in the study were ministered extremely large doses of the extract.
How to buy CBD
As CBD has become more popular due to its efficacy at treating a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, it is available in many stores and online. It is important to know that your CBD is contaminant-free from the soil it was grown in and the chemicals involved in the extraction of CBD from the hemp plant.
Look for CBD that was grown in the United States or another location with transparency, and was extracted using a clean method such as CO2. Never take any chances and ask to see the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) from a reputable third-party laboratory. The COA should show the amount of CBD in the product as well as any residual contaminants from the production process.
Wellness Garden Medicinals offers a CBD sublingual tincture in three concentrations and two flavors which has been shown to be very effective at treating anxiety through anecdotal evidence.
Additionally, we offer a CBD topical salve which is all-natural and contains 14 powerful essential oils and botanical extracts from powerful plants such as kava kava root, passion flower, ylang ylang, and Melissa leaf which complement CBD’s antianxiety effects.
Our customers report reduced stress and anxiety as well as much improved sleep when the topical salve is applied to the chest, temples, and bottoms of the feet. For severe anxiety, our customers use a combination of sublingual tincture and topical salve which provides CBD to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) through two separate vectors, sublingually and transdermal.