CBD For Anxiety: How Does It Help?
With the rise of the CBD industry both on and offline, many sellers and users are shouting about the benefits of CBD products. And one of the most common of these benefits surrounds positive mental health and wellbeing, including reducing symptoms of anxiety. But does taking CBD for anxiety really work? Here’s some of the most recent science behind CBD and anxiety to help you stay informed.
We live in a world that’s more stressful than ever before! Modern political, social and economic stresses seem to bombard us at every turn. And we live with devices in our pockets that constantly alert us of all of these issues whilst showing us all of the “perfect” lives of our friends on social media.
These stresses manifest themselves in our daily lives in the form of, well, stress! And as many of us know, stress is one of the leading causes of neurotic health problems such as anxiety.
So, how common is anxiety?
Well, according to MHFA England, there were 602,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018/19 in Great Britain alone. And in the UK population as a whole, there are upwards of 8 million cases of anxiety each year.
CBD and anxiety
With levels of anxiety on the rise, both the medical and recreational worlds are marketing a variety of coping mechanisms.
Many sufferers turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their anxiety, whilst many others turn to pastimes such as exercise. And of course, many choose to treat their anxiety medically, via medications or psychological therapy.
However, recent reports show that more and more people are turning to CBD to help with anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, PTSD and OCD.
Recent CBD trials and studies
So, let’s take a look at some of the science behind using CBD for anxiety. Of course, the CBD industry is still relatively new, and there’s new research happening all the time. But there is growing evidence to suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) can help to reduce anxiety without any known side effects.
CBD oil is rich in chemicals called cannabinoids, which bind to specialised receptors in the brain. The best-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what makes people “high” after using marijuana. CBD, however, binds to these receptors without producing a psychoactive effect. That’s because CBD oil is derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant grown for industrial use that has not been bred specially to produce significant levels of THC.
When it comes to using CBD specifically to help manage anxiety, the evidence is positive from a number of different studies. One found that CBD oil could reduce symptoms in people who have social anxiety disorder. Brain scans of participants who had taken CBD oil revealed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain that are linked to feelings of anxiety. Tests proved that CBD oil reduced symptoms of anxiety in participants, but also interestingly, that it changed the way their brains responded to anxiety.
Another study found that CBD oil helped to treat public speaking anxiety. An analysis of studies to-date concluded that CBD oil can help treat anxiety in various forms. They include social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Why is CBD great for anxiety?
So why is this? We’re still finding out, but it’s all to do with how cannabidiol interacts with the nervous system. Specifically, CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system respectively. This interaction may alter serotonin signals. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays an important role in your mental health. Scientists associate low serotonin levels with depression symptoms. In some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety.
And here’s the really interesting part. The conventional treatment for low serotonin is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Such as sertraline (marketed as Zoloft) or fluoxetine (better known as Prozac). These SSRIs are drugs that are only available by prescription. Yet some people with anxiety may be able to manage their condition with CBD instead of an SSRI, feeling the same beneficial effect.
Importantly, studies into CBD oil have found few or no negative side effects – which certainly isn’t the case for the well-known pharmaceutical tranquilisers. This makes CBD a great potential option for people looking for relief from the symptoms of anxiety without unwanted side effects like addiction.
Want to learn more about taking CBD for anxiety?
Of course, if you’re suffering from anxiety or another mental health disorders, you could try CBD for yourself. Or, if you have more questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to get in touch with ULU. We’re always happy to inform and help!
And if you want to know more about the benefits of CBD, check out our blog post: ‘3 Surprising Ways CBD Can Benefit Your Wellbeing.’
Whilst CBD does not have any known negative side effects for those with anxiety, you should never use it to entirely replace prescribed medication without first consulting your GP.