This article demonstrates the potential of cannabis to treat anxiety and forms of nervousness. Medical marijuana is an emerging new interest in this area. The purpose of this article is to gain a clear understanding of anxiety and other social stress in today’s world; it will explore how to test for anxiety and what may relieve anxiety and calm your nerves. It will demonstrate that the natural health properties of cannabis are proving useful for relieving anxiety.
What is anxiety, exactly? On the most basic level, the word is defined as “apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill,” or simply “a state of being anxious” (merriam-webster.com). As a medical condition, there are some anxiety disorders such as specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and selective mutism (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2013).
According to the most recent scientific interpretations, there are 7 categories of anxiety disorders:
Anxiety is not a disease that we catch; it is the result of our behavior and a phenomenon that we all experience sooner or later. What is most important is to realize what behavior brings us the most anxiety, and try to avoid it. AnxietyCentre.org writes that anxiety is not a random, unknown, or uncontrollable disease or illness that we can develop, inherit, or contract– instead, anxiety results from a particular style of behavior.
Find your inner peace. Read How to Find Deeper Calm and Peace When You Have Anxiety.
What is the difference between anxiety and stress? Anxiety, on the other hand, is slightly different and manifests itself in hundreds of different ways. The most common manifestation is increased tenseness and nervousness, but CalmClinic.com lists the following psychological and physical symptoms that may be displayed:
Less common physical symptoms may include rashes, feeling uncomfortable after eating, and a feeling of choking. Given these many problems, it is no wonder that anxiety is known as a mental health disorder for a reason. Those with anxiety “often find themselves with compulsive worrying, irrational fears, trouble branching out socially and more. Anxiety is both a physical and mental issue that affects millions of people all over the world” (CalmClinic.com).
Traditional ways of finding calm and peace are meditation, exercise, moderating one’s diet, or practicing a hobby. Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system are one of the newest methods examined in current science for relieving stress and anxiety. Studies produced by Bergamaschi et al. demonstrate the action of CBD in limbic and paralimbic brain areas, which are known to be associated with anxiety. The anxiolytic effects of CBD “have been extensively demonstrated in animal studies and in healthy volunteers submitted to anxiety induced by several procedures, including the simulation of public speaking … CBD has shown to disrupt forward intrinsic connectivity between the amygdala and the anterior cingulate during the neural response to fearful faces.” (Bergamaschi et al., 2011).
Interested in more creative ways to avoid stress? See Anxiety Relief in Today’s Mad World.
CBD as Anxiety Relief
CBD has calming effects, that help to relieve anxiety, without a ‘high’. CBD stands for cannabidiol which is one of over at least 113 different cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. CBD makes up 40% of the plant itself. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that react with chemical receptors. In the human body, they are called endocannabinoids because they are endogenous within the human body. In other words, they are produced naturally by us. When people take cannabis in different ways and different strains they are introducing these external cannabinoids such as CBD and THC to the body. These cannabinoids then interact alongside our endocannabinoids to act as reinforcements for our body so we can fight against our ailments more naturally.
The receptors that the cannabinoids communicate with are the CB1 and CB2 receptors which are found throughout the body. However, some appear more prominently in other areas i.e. the brain (CB1) and the immune system and neurons (CB2). These receptors help the chemicals and proteins within our bodies communicate and do their jobs. When we suffer anxiety we are lacking in certain proteins and neurons such as dopamine which can make us happy but most importantly our body’s system is not acting as it should. Since anxiety is considered a mental issue we would want more cannabinoids interacting without CB1 receptors within our brain while also helping to produce more. Research carried out by Sachin Patel, M.d., Ph.D. in two different studies supports this theory. He discovered that the CB1 receptor played a key role in anxiety i.e. if they are destroyed anxiety increases.
CBD is a more attractive and healthier choice, as it is less addictive than certain prescription drugs. Crippa et al (2010) note that “no study to date has investigated the effects of CBD on human pathological anxiety and its underlying brain mechanisms.” The authors predicted that, relative to placebo, “CBD would reduce anxiety in subjects with SAD and that this effect would be associated with the modulation of the functional activity of temporal-limbic structures and paralimbic regions, including the cingulate cortex” (Crippa et al., 2010). The results look promising, and all patients have hitherto yielded positive test results.
For more information about CBD for anxiety, read Can CBD Oil be used to treat anxiety?
What CBD Oil is and How it Treats Symptoms of Anxiety
Above we have detailed how CBD can be used to treat anxiety in both theory and in scientific studies. To use CBD oil to treat anxiety merely is one of the many methods someone can use to consume CBD. Methods of consuming CBD include using joints i.e. smoking (joints/vapes), lotions, creams, oils, eating (baked goods/sweets) and even drinks (soft drinks/teas). Each method has can allow you consume CBD oil but each method brings with it certain restrictions i.e. food will not taste good if there is too much CBD oil and it will not provide any benefits if there is too little CBD oil. Therefore it is up to the user to self medicate (due to their being no official medical guidelines) until they find a dosage and consumption method that is right for them.
Applications such as creams would be used for ailments that relate to the skin such as acne and drinks may relate to dietary issues.
CBD oil is a concentrate oil from the cannabis plant. In products such as oils (for applying under the tongue) and vapes there are different percentages of the cannabis oil mixed with terpenes, phytocannabinoids, essential oils and in some cases flavoring. Using CBD oil to treat Anxiety is effective because it can decrease anxious feelings created within the brain as mentioned above but it can also provide pain relief, reduced stress, improved focus and appetite, better mood, better memory, proved immune response and help you sleep. As you can see these benefits will help tackle the many corresponding symptoms of anxiety as well as help improve a persons lifestyle which in turn can make them happier and less anxious. This is good to know as some forms of anxiety can be brought on through lifestyle as well as through mental issues. Furthermore it provide natural relief which means there are zero major side effects compared to potential opioid alternatives.
For some they believe that the benefits of CBD when treating anxiety could be all down to a placebo effect. What does this mean for you? It is important to be aware of your own physiological experience with placebos, and understand if your response to medicine is merely placebo. For the skeptics, there is ample evidence to support the other side of the argument: that CBD in and of itself can ease anxiety; it is not merely a case of the brain tricking the body to feel better.
One website reports that, due to the communication between both the neurotransmitters and hormones, “the brains of people who suffer from anxiety disorders are often difficult to treat through pharmacologically. This is due to both a murky understanding of how anxiety affects the brain on a molecular level and also how CBD can treat anxiety too. We have talked about findings here before however they cannot be considered 100% certain until further research is carried out.
Even though we have seen a mixture of both factual findings and massive amounts of anecdotal evidence certain states in the United States have decided to legalize the use of both recreational cannabis as well as medical cannabis. This allows patients with both major and minor illnesses gain access to the treatment they have read about. Even though it will not cure them, after all what medication does. It will provide them with hope that they can treat themselves and self medicate appropriate dosages so they can find a solution to their own problems, including anxiety.
Learn more about how CBD treats anxiety. Check out CBD Oil Could Be the Solution Your Anxiety Problem?
In conclusion, the scientific consensus is that CBD has anxiolytic effects that “are mediated through an action on limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain” (Crippa et al., 2004). This is a fantastic cure given directly to us by Mother Nature. CBD may be a future therapeutic option for anxiety, and “future studies of CBD in clinical anxiety such as panic and social anxiety disorder and comparative studies of its anxiolytic effects and other anti-anxiety compounds are clearly indicated” (Crippa et al. 2007, S21). Given all of this useful information, we recommend that, if you are struggling to cope with anxiety, you experiment with CBD oil.