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CBD oil may be able to lessen anxiety but further studies are required. Using CBD oil for anxiety is a relatively new treatment and has not yet been fully explored in scientific literature. As a result, there is a current lack of information, but there is some promising research being done. Some of these tests can give us an inkingly on whether CBD oil could actually lessen anxiety.
Everyone suffers from anxiety at some point in their life. Anxiety is formed out of our “fight or flight” response. It’s an adrenaline rush that helps us act alert in risky situations. Humans evolved to feel anxiety to know they’re in danger. It is a useful way of assessing risk. It is not pleasant but it serves its purpose..
Anxiety disorders, however, are different. When the general public suffer from anxiety, there is an identifiable cause that can be dealt with. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Social Anxiety Disorder do not necessarily need a trigger. It’s often an irrational response. Their anxiety can be pervasive, intense, and debilitating. In order to be diagnosed there are criteria for how often you experience debilitating anxiety.
Anxiety causes bodily stress and has serious health implications. Bodily stress can be a leading cause in increased heart rate (short term), increased risk of heart attack, raised blood pressure, strokes, some cancers, increased risk of infection, and difficulties fighting off infections. Relationships can suffer as people become irritable or withdrawn; social situations can be unbearable; work can become difficult or impossible. Anxiety and panic are physical bodily responses of the “fight or flight” phenomenon and are triggered without reason or in unreasonable proportion.
About 18% of the US population is estimated to have some type of anxiety disorder.
The Causes of Anxiety
Modern lives require us to be on the ball constantly, and they are making people with anxiety more anxious. Social media, stressful work lives, social isolation, a lack of sunlight and exercise, a poor diet, and poor health are all known to contribute to anxiety.
People with generalized anxiety disorder often show “overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour” and an “imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood.”
It is known that genetics play a role in developing a generalized anxiety disorder. If a close relative has GAD or a social anxiety disorder, you are about 5 times more likely to develop the condition yourself.
Trauma, such as childhood emotional, sexual, or physical abuse, PTSD, and violent attacks, can all contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder. It is now known genetics and environmental factors intermix to determine brain chemistry. The prolonged misuse of drugs also can lead to an anxiety disorder. Many people do not have an identifiable reason for developing an anxiety disorder. It is merely their genetic disposition responding to their environment.
Regular Treatments for Anxiety
There are a lot of ways to relieve anxiety, such as therapy, rest, meditation, prescription drugs, exercise, and purposeful activity. Unfortunately, therapy can be expensive, especially in the United States, where it might not be covered on insurance plans. Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, can be effective for some. Rest can help but with heightened anxiety feel impossible. A busy life can also mean there is no time to rest. The same goes for meditation.
Exercise is an all-round benefit but it can be difficult for disabled people, people who are socially isolated or unable to do so for medical reasons, or the symptoms of mental illness–such as anxiety. Anxiety that could be relieved by exercise can be what stops people from exercising.
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. One of the symptoms of depression for some people is overwhelming anxiety, or anxiety with no identifiable cause. Antidepressants and prescription medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are partially effective against both depression and anxiety, though the latest evidence suggests that many are no more effective than placebos. Anti-anxiety drugs can have some serious side effects as well, from weight gain to psychosis and suicide in the most severe cases. Using SSRI’s might help with anxiety but create mental health or physical problems that were worse than the symptoms they were used to treat. SNRI’s have horrible side effects. Also, Benzodiazepines are extremely addictive. Testing medicines can be risky for people with anxiety disorder.
It is for this reason that many people are seeking alternatives to commonly prescribed medicines and therapies to treat anxiety. There is increasing interest in using CBD oil for anxiety.
CBD for Anxiety
Cannabidiol (CBD oil) is one natural chemical found in the cannabis plant. Because of its association with its cousin, THC, the psychoactive part of the plant, it has been illegal for most of the last century. This criminalization is odds with facts about the drug. Studies are finally seeking to meet modern scientific standards. Studies suggest it is a very safe and tolerable drug, with a wide variety of potential therapeutic uses. This is a disappointment to those who, over the years, would have tried to safer alternative had it been available.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the largest network of receptors in the nervous system. The effects of CBD come from the ECS by altering how other cannabinoids (which are neurotransmitters) interact with these receptors. The reason that CBD looks promising for treating anxiety disorders is that the ECS has been linked quite clearly to anxiety and depression.
The “ECS [has] a unique regulatory capacity for maintaining emotional homeostasis”, according to one study that looked at the relationship between anxiety and the ECS. Because CBD can alter the way the ECS communicates and regulates the rest of the brain. It could be a very effective tool for treating anxiety.
The current science is still lacking however. It is known that CB1 receptors are acted on by CBD, but not how this affects mood. It is, however, understood from animal studies that CBD was effective in “reducing both behavioral and physiological (e.g., heart rate) measures of stress and anxiety.” Human studies are rare, but they also suggest that CBD reduces anxiety.
Some evidence suggests that CBD helps people detach from their traumatic memories, one of the leading causes of anxiety disorders. The physiological symptoms of anxiety are reduced when people take CBD, according to several studies. This is certainly a benefit for the body. CBD is well known for having broad mood stabilizing and pain relief effects, which could result in reduced anxiety.
As well as affecting CB1 receptors, CBD appears to mediate signalling in serotonin receptor 1a. This could prove relevant in using CBD for anxiety treatment if low serotonin is one of the causing effects.
Only use CBD oils for anxiety if it is legal in your country, and then only on the recommendation of a qualified healthcare professional.
Consuming CBD Oil
According to most who take it, CBD does not have a particularly pleasant taste, but it is not revolting. It can be swallowed as a pure oil, diluted into a drink, or included in food. It is recommended that only pure, independently tested CBD oil is used as this will allow the patient to compare doses and establish a proper treatment plan.
CBD can be placed under the tongue for quick absorption; the taste will be much more tolerable with a candy to mask the flavor. Alternatively, CBD can be vaporized and inhaled. There are some small health risks associated with vaporization, but they are minimal.