Can CBD Really Free my Mind From Anxiety?
We all feel anxious from time to time; it’s a normal response to anticipating things in life. What you don’t want, is anxiety to control every decision you make. When anxiety stops you from socialising, visiting new places, playing a sport, and enjoying things you usually get pleasure from, then it’s time to find a solution. It’s not ‘just a phase’ for those with an anxiety disorder. In fact, a staggering 31.1 percent of American adults have experienced an anxiety disorder in their lives. As well as this, women are more likely to suffer from it than men.
Pharmaceutical companies do have drugs to combat anxiety – from Valium and Xanax to SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac. While some patients find traditional methods to be effective, others would disagree. Let’s not forget, tranquillisers like Xanax are extremely addictive and offer more problems than solve. It’s like moving from one issue to the next — an unending parade of unfortunate circumstances.
Personally, I don’t feel anxious a lot of the time. For me, the most crippling moments of anxiety always seems to be before a Kickboxing competition, singing in public or getting on a plane. Truth be told, I really have to force myself past the throat clench — I understand my triggers. Those that feel anxious on a daily basis will not find it that easy.
Alternative options to treating anxiety are lacklustre if you ask me — so what about CBD?
Over the years, this popular cannabinoid has created an unstoppable boom — from scientists to consumers alike — and for good reason. The research on this particular cannabis compound has released lots of exciting news. It’s non-addictive and non-psychoactive. Yes, the studies have really only been done on animals, but humans are conducting their own experiments. So far, we know that CBD can help with a range of things:
How CBD Responds to Anxiety
You may feel skeptical knowing that official studies have only been done on animals. However, from those animals, we have learned that CBD can boost our serotonin receptors, working in a very similar way to SSRIs. A group of researchers based in the University of San Paulo and King’s College London found that CBD has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects. These tests are mostly done on mice, but mice often exhibit the same reactions that we as humans may have.
When diagnosed with depression or anxiety, brain scans will usually show that patients have smaller hippocampal neurogenesis. This is the part of the brain that plays a huge role in cognition and the formation of memories. Surprisingly, a study has shown that continued use of CBD can help to regenerate hippocampus neurons — this is great news for treating both anxiety and depression.
By building a foundation on animal studies, it was only a matter of time before people took experimentation into their own hands.
CBD for Anxiety: What Does the Research Say?
Mice are not men — researchers love a placebo effect with human subjects. In order to obtain accurate results from people, there needs to be some form of trickery. A study performed in 2011 applied a test on patients with generalised social anxiety. Half of the participants were given CBD and the others were given a placebo. Those that had the CBD noted that their anxiety levels, cognitive impairment, and discomfort significantly decreased. Again, their brains were scanned and found that patients were showing anti-anxiety effects through their cerebral blood flow patterns.
Doctors can’t outright prescribe you with CBD for anxiety just yet. However, that hasn’t stopped a few doctors from testing the field. The information that we already have on CBD is super promising. It can tackle insomnia, epilepsy, chronic pain and arthritis to name but a few. Let’s not disregard the fact that people are actively searching for natural treatments. As we know, the chemicals and side effects in most pharmaceutical drugs can be damaging to our health and mental state.
Dr. William Cole, Functional Medicine Practitioner, has stated that CBD can help patients with autoimmunity, anxiety, and pain. It can be just the thing that people are looking for when thinking of alternative treatment. In an article with MindBodyGreen, Dr. Cole explained that; “I have been using CBD on various patients at my functional medicine center for some time now, and we are loving the clinical results! I use it to support healthy balanced inflammation levels in people with autoimmunity, pain, and anxiety. For some, CBD has truly been the missing link in their health puzzle. It’s one of the few things that I, too, take every day”.
Dr. Aparna Iyer, a holistic and integrative board-certified psychiatrist in Frisco, Texas, is of a different opinion. She believes that while CBD seems to be the cure-all and end-all to many illnesses, there’s still not enough evidence to fully back up the claims; “While many people have told me individually that they have gained a lot of personal pain/anxiety/depression/psychosis relief from the use of CBD oil, research is still ongoing and has not definitively determined either clear benefits or harm. There is definitely some interesting research that is being conducted on the treatment of psychosis with CBD oil … there has not been much regulation of the product, which is concerning when I want to make sure that my patients are getting a safe product”.
What we Know so Far…
The harsh reality is that about 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety and only about one-third of those will receive treatment. Most of the time, anxiety and depression are comorbid — and no one wants to take a cocktail of drugs to relieve symptoms. CBD could help with both — it’s a very natural and safe option, and is available in most health stores. It could be a really good option if you’re tired of pharmaceuticals.
Know this: CBD is not a cure, that’s far from the truth. Rather, it’s there to alleviate symptoms and to help you relax. It’s FDA approved — even for anxiety — but you have to be wary about the dosage. Really, the best way to determine what’s best for you is to consult your options with the manufacturer or a medical professional. For example, I bought a CBD topical cream a few months ago and wanted to put it on my face. Unsure of what it would do, I emailed the manufacturer and they assured me that it was OK to use, but not in replacement of a moisturiser. Better to be safe than sorry.
CBD oil, vaping, edibles, and capsules seem to be the most popular and effective methods for treating an anxiety disorder. Keep in mind that certain types of anxiety — GAD, social anxiety, panic disorder, or PTSD — may need a stronger/weaker CBD concentration than others. As well as this, each person differs from the other. What works for you might not necessarily work for the next.
The main thing to note is that CBD is not a miracle treatment. Don’t be misled by companies that guarantee 100 percent effectiveness. It’s quite unfortunate, but due to the cannabis industry reaching a high peak, companies will take advantage of watering down products. Read labels very carefully and make sure you buy quality products from reliable sources.
*Disclaimer: I am not an advocate of CBD or any affiliate products of cannabis. All opinions are my own, based on personal experience and in-depth research.