Treating Panic Attacks Using CBD
Before we begin, we want to note that clinical panic attacks are nothing to take lightly, and if you suffer from them please get the help of a medical professional. This guide, while informative, is not meant to diagnose or offer any medical advice. While CBD is an amazing supplement that has been proven to help with a myriad of issues, you should always consult with a doctor prior to beginning any type of new supplementation.
That said, there are countless individuals worldwide suffering from high anxiety and panic attacks who are finding that CBD oil has been quite effective in helping them deal with their disorder.
Due in part to its calming effect, and because it is a natural and healthy alternative to what are sometimes harsh, side effect riddled prescription drugs, its popularity for those suffering from panic attacks has grown.
But does it really work? And can it help you?
This and more will be explored in this informational guide, as well as touching on what some of the current scientific research on CBD may indicate.
What are panic/anxiety disorders?
Millions of Americans suffer from debilitating and frightening panic and anxiety attacks. Incidents that bring on stress and irritation for the rest of us can bring on total panic for individuals with anxiety disorders. Worst yet, these attacks can sometimes come on without warning or presence of a “trigger” at all, impacting quality of life and contributing further to stress, depression and more.
Individuals can suddenly become bombarded by anxious thoughts, resulting in physical symptoms like heart palpitations which make you think you’re going to have a heart attack.
Other symptoms of panic attacks may include:
- Rapid or pounding heart rate
- Shaking or trembling
- Sense of impending doom or hopelessness
- Fear of death
- Fear of loss of control
- Chills or hot flashes
- Chest pain
- Faintness, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Feeling detached
- Tingling or numbing sensation
- Abdominal cramping
- And more…
Living with overwhelming and even disabling fears and worries is extremely difficult at best, leaving many individuals turning to pharmaceutical (and even recreational) drugs for help.
Traditional treatments or anxiety/panic
Current treatment for anxiety and panic attacks sometimes do little to help.
Patients rely on anxiolytics or anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan and Valium, sometimes to their detriment, leading to dependency or addiction. Doctors also often throw antidepressants into the mix, usually a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.
These drugs work (in part) by increasing the serotonin in your brain; patients with anxiety and panic often don't produce enough of this “feel good” chemical, and this causes them to feel anxious and depressed.
CBD vs SSRIs
Note: Again, we are using comparisons here only for the purpose of educational theory and discussion. If your doctor has prescribed SSRIs to you, continue taking them as prescribed and always discuss options like CBD with your physician prior to making any changes to your regimen.
SSRIs work by acting on the serotonin receptors in your brain to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. However, they produce side effects which can include drowsiness, insomnia, and sexual problems, and generally aren’t recommended for long-term use when other options are available.
Studies suggest SSRIs only work on about half of the people who take them. This is why many sufferers of panic attacks and anxiety are now opting to use CBD oil as an alternative or complimentary supplement.
Scientific studies have revealed that CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties. Further, it is also considered to be generally safe to take, and well-tolerated, even at high doses with few to no side effects.
Similarly to SSRIs, researchers have discovered CBD oil may ease anxiety by acting on the serotonin pathways in your brain. This means that CBD may improve the ability of nerve cells in your brain to transmit messages to each other, aid in balancing brain chemicals, and as a result, improve your mood and reduce your symptoms of anxiety.
While more research is needed on this topic, CBD may affect serotonin faster than traditional antidepressant medication (SSRIs), and without the harmful side effects like low libido or feeling overly sedated.
The most common side effect of taking CBD is a dry mouth. However, the majority of research on the human consumption of CBD have shown little or no side effects.
Does CBD really relieve anxiety and panic?
CBD is just one of over 100 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, however, CBD is devoid of any psychoactive properties. When consumed alone CBD works best for anxiety. Consuming the full plant (smoking marijuana) yields contradictory results, with some studies finding that it eases anxiety and others saying it makes it worse.
Studies on CBD are much more promising as studies conclude that CBD offers many health benefits yet without the harmful side effects of cannabis or even prescription drugs. In several states, marijuana is now legal for medical patients and effective for treating many medical issues. CBD is legal nationwide and can be purchased easily.
Although more studies on how CBD can treat anxiety need to be carried out, including research on the benefits and risks, studies to date imply that it may hold promise as a potential therapeutic aid.
Researchers say CBD oil has the potential to treat many types of anxiety, like social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Neuropharmacology demonstrated CBD’s ability to induce rapid “antidepressant effects” and “enhance cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission” in a similar fashion to some medications prescribed for panic attacks.
Another study, published in the International Journal Neuropsychopharmacology, looked at CBD’s ability to induce neurogenesis may also offer some adjunct help for those with panic attacks given that SSRIs have also demonstrated this same capability.
Dosing CBD for anxiety
CBD oil isn’t a regulated medical treatment for anxiety which means it’s not immediately clear what dosage to take and how often you should take it in order to achieve optimal results. Further, we all have a different physiology, which means CBD exerts a differing level of effects in each individual.
That said, after first discussing with your physician you should do one of the following:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Start with the smallest dose possible
After dosing, keep a journal of the time of day, dose, and effects (if any) that are noticeable. From there, either scale the dosing up or down each day until you find the lowest possible dose that produces the desired result.
How to Consume/Use
Another added benefit of CBD is that it can be consumed in any number of ways tailored to both your preferences and needs.
A few options include:
- CBD drops and tinctures (placed under the tongue)
- Oils that can be added to food or drinks
- Vaping cartridges for inhalation
- Prepared such as gummies or candies
- Convenient pills or capsules
While CBD can be consumed in many ways drops under the tongue and inhalation are the two methods that will provide the quickest and most acute results. Whereas edibles and capsules need to be digested and may take up to 20+ minutes to absorb, but will also come on smoother and potentially provide a longer-lasting effect.
Is CBD right for your anxiety?
CBD can be a healthy holistic alternative to tradition anti-anxiety drugs for those looking to add to or try out natural supplementation. Always discuss any changes in supplementation with your doctor, and only use a high-quality third party tested CBD oil like the one's we have at Rebel.
Their stocks of high-quality CBD are tested for purity, potency and efficacy, as well as being organic and all-natural.