How CBD Oil Works To Treat Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues facing the US and world population. Until recently, anxiety has mainly been treated through behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes and traditional western medicine (i.e. prescription drugs).
But the rise of CBD’s popularity as a health supplement potentially capable of having a positive impact on those suffering from anxiety and a whole host of other ailments, has brought this natural oil into the spotlight.
With a trend towards natural alternatives to harsh and side effect-laden pharmaceuticals, individuals and researchers are turning towards CBD oil as a potential tool for alleviating or helping to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
Read on to learn more about what the science says and how CBD oil may offer promise for millions of individuals suffering worldwide.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is usually described as a feeling of worry, unease or nervousness. We will all experience an amount of anxiety at one time or other – after all, it is the body’s natural response to stress. However, extreme feelings of anxiety can affect the sufferer’s daily life. It can also lead to other related disorders such as Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Depression.
Anxiety affects a large proportion of the US population and approximately 40 million US adults over the age of 18 are said to suffer from anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. As a result of this, Pharma companies have developed a number of drugs to treat anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. These drugs include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Zoloft and tranquilizers such as Valium.
While these drugs can be very effective for many patients, some patients report little improvement. They can also report experiencing very unpleasant side effects. Some of these drugs can also be highly addictive. This has led many people to consider, safe, effective alternatives and CBD is fast becoming one of the most popular alternative treatments for the relief of anxiety.
Consumers and scientists are growing increasingly aware of the benefits of CBD. A number of studies also show the benefits of CBD for the treatment of anxiety. When a good quality CBD product is used in the right amounts, it can be a safe way to treat anxiety symptoms, and with minimal side effects.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is one of 104 cannabinoids (chemical compounds) found in the Marijuana plant. CBD does not possess the psychoactive substance THC that is usually associated with Marijuana. This makes it a popular choice for those who are looking to remedy a variety of physical and mental ailments, without experiencing the mind-altering effects of Cannabis.
CBD is also considered to have few side effects in comparison to some prescription medications. The naturally occurring substance is mixed with oil, which acts as a carrier for the CBD, making it easier for users to administer.
CBD “may” help to alleviate symptoms of a number of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders including but not limited to:
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Mild and moderate Depression
How Does CBD Work To Alleviate Anxiety?
It is important to note that most of the research into the effects of CBD on anxiety is based on studies of animals. Although animal studies can’t always translate precisely to humans, they provide key insights into the effects that a substance could have on the human body and brain.
CBD impacts several areas of the brain, which show why it could be an effective treatment for anxiety:
5-HT1A Agonist: Anxiety and depression can sometimes be treated with drugs that target the body’s serotonin system. As previously mentioned, SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft are designed to work in precisely this way. SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain and this increases the amount of serotonin that is available in the brain. This helps the brain to transmit more serotonin signals. These signals can help to reduce anxiety and boost mood. CBD works in a similar way, by boosting signaling via the serotonin receptors.
Hippocampal Neurogenesis: The Hippocampus is a major area of the brain and it plays an important role in a number of brain functions, namely in the formation of memories and cognition. Brain scans of human patients with anxiety or depression have revealed that they often have a smaller Hippocampus. A successful way to treat depression is by encouraging the birth of new neurons in the Hippocampus. An animal study showed that repeated CBD use may encourage the Hippocampus to regenerate neurons, which could aid the treatment of anxiety or depression. This research could lead to future studies, which could significantly change the way we understand depression and the ways in which we treat it.
A small number of human studies also show the ways that CBD could reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. A study conducted in Brazil showed that patients with Social Anxiety showed reduced levels of anxiety and discomfort when taking CBD Oil before performing a public speaking exercise.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
The confusion surrounding the legality of CBD can make it difficult for users to make informed purchasing decisions. The majority of cannabinoids are classed as illegal, under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but CBD is different.
With the introduction of the new Farm Bill in late 2018, CBD derived from hemp and that which contains less than 0.3% THC is generally considered “legal” across the United States.
However, due to the complex nature and evolving landscape of laws surrounding both cannabis and CBD, it is advisable to check that CBD is legal in your location before making your purchase.
So Can CBD Oil Be Used To Treat Anxiety?
In short, yes! While more research is definitely required to demonstrate and validate the potential benefits of CBD for treating anxiety, animal studies have already given us insight into the positive ways that it can affect the brain. There’s no doubt that the positive benefits of CBD, coupled with reportedly mild-to-no side effects could eventually lead to CBD Oil playing a key role in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders.