Benefits Of CBD For Anxiety: Fascinating Research Results!

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Are you troubled with anxiety and does the idea of taking pills make you even more anxious? If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone in this struggle. If you are struggling to find a fix for anxiety, then perhaps it is time to think out of the box with the benefits of CBD For Anxiety.

In recent years, our understanding of cannabis and related products has emerged dramatically.

Now we know that CBD oil is proven to have numerous health benefits. One of these benefits is its ability to reduce anxiety and promote calmness.

Are you looking for answers for the questions such as:

  • What causes anxiety in the first place?
  • How can CBD oil help with anxiety?
  • What does research suggest in regards to the use of CBD oil for anxiety?
  • What are the different ways of using CBD oil for relieving anxiety?

This article will walk you through answers for these and a number of other questions. Let’s get to it.

What is Anxiety?

The word ‘anxiety’ is commonly used but do you really know what it means?

Anxiety or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can be defined as ‘unrealistic, persistent, and excessive worry about everyday things.’

The worry could be related to elements like finance, future, health, family, and so on. [2]

Anxiety

Anxiety is often difficult to control, and it leads to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, anxiety is characterized by the presence of the following two elements: [2]

  • Excessive worry for at least six months
  • Difficulty in controlling that worry

Three of the following four elements should also be present:

  • Difficulty in sleeping or any form of sleep disturbance.
  • Muscle tension and generalized body aches.
  • Restlessness.
  • Psychological features like getting fatigued, difficulty in concentrating, and increased irritability.

What Makes You Prone to Have Anxiety?

We are still trying to understand what causes anxiety and what might make someone prone to have an anxiety disorder.

The research so far suggests that anxiety is the result of some risk factors, which include: [3]

  • Genetics: Perhaps your genes are to be blamed for your anxiety. According to research, genes contribute 30 to 50 percent toward the development of anxiety. Children born to mothers with an anxiety disorder were found to be more likely to have anxiety themselves.
  • Brain Anatomy and Function: Researchers have noticed some changes in brain structure and function of individuals with anxiety disorders. Prefrontal cortex and amygdala are two regions in the brain that are closely linked and are associated with behavior. Research suggests that if you are suffering from anxiety, the link between these brain regions gets weaker with time. Moreover, anxiety can be the result of an imbalance in the level of different brain chemicals like GABA, glutamate, serotonin, and so on. We will discuss these more in detail in the later text.
  • Environmental Factors: In 50 to 70 percent cases, anxiety is the result of environmental factors. Anything that inflicts some sort of trauma can lead to anxiety. The trauma types can be physical, psychological, economic, social, and so on.

What is CBD Oil?

The medical marijuana or hemp plant contains a variety of bioactive compounds.

Cannabinoids make one of the most important and the most biologically active group of chemical compounds naturally found in the hemp plant.

Among the cannabinoids, Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most common cannabinoids.

Both of these cannabinoids have a variety of effects on the human body, but unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties- that is, it does not make you feel high. The oil containing CBD is called CBD oil.

CBD Oil

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD oil interacts with the body through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that is extensively distributed inside your body.

The ECS plays a crucial role in maintaining a state of hemostasis in your body.

In simple words, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) fine tunes a number of processes in our bodies and helps it achieve a state of balance.

The ECS controls several aspects of every body function. These include your balance, pain, sleep, immunity, mood, appetite, and hormonal balance.

CBD interacts with the ECS through specific receptors called the cannabinoid receptors.

Think of CBD and the cannabinoid receptors like a key and a lock respectively.

Only a certain type of key will fit into and will open a certain type of lock.

Similarly, only CBD will interact with the cannabinoid receptors that are located in your body.

The cannabinoid receptors (the locks) are of two main types: type 1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptors and type 2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptors.

The CB1 receptors are located in the nervous system, mainly in the brain.

The CB2 receptors control some parts of the neuronal communication and are found in the immune system as well. [5]

In addition to getting cannabinoids from the CBD oil, your body can produce cannabinoids on its own as well.

These cannabinoids are called the endocannabinoids and include 2-AD and Anandamide. [5]

What’s quite obvious from all of this discussion is that the ECS is a vital regulatory system in our bodies.

Unfortunately, most of us know very little about this system, and we put very little effort into supporting this system.

That’s where CBD oil can help you. CBD oil can help increase the levels of non-euphoric cannabinoids in your body and can help your endocannabinoid system regain its hemostasis.

What is the Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Anxiety Disorders?

The exact role of the endocannabinoid system in anxiety disorders is somewhat complicated and not completely understood.

However, here we will try to give a simplified explanation of the complicated mechanisms.

One of the roles of the endocannabinoid system and the related receptors is that they control the release of brain chemicals like Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) and Glutamate.

One of the major changes researchers have noticed in the animal models of anxiety disorder is how the functioning of the endocannabinoid system and the brain chemicals change.

Researchers have noticed two main changes:

  • The first change is that the release of GABA through type 1 cannabinoid receptors suffers a decline. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes calmness and relaxation. A decrease in the levels of GABA promotes stress and anxiety.
  • Another change noticed in animal models of anxiety is the increase in the brain levels of glutamate through type 1 cannabinoid receptors. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that leads to increased alertness and stress.

How Does CBD Oil Help With Anxiety?

CBD

Researchers are still trying to connect the dots as to how CBD for anxiety promotes anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) effects.

Following is how CBD oil has shown to improve anxiety as per research.

# 1: CBD Oil Improves Anxiety Through Receptor Modulation

Serotonin, in addition to GABA, is another brain chemical that promotes the feeling of well-being, relaxation, and happiness.

It acts on the brain through the receptors called the 5-HT receptors.

Results of Brazilian research have shown that the use of CBD leads to serotonin-like effects. It is because CBD leads to the activation of 5-HT1A receptors.

The use of CBD in mice produced an anxiolytic effect, relieving stress, and led to the extinction of fear memories. [7]

Another type of receptors CBD acts on is the GABA receptors.

Results of studies conducted on mice showed that the use of CBD produced anti-anxiety effects similar to benzodiazepines (most commonly used anti-anxiety drugs).

This effect was mainly due to the action of CBD on the GABA receptors of the brain. [8]

# 2: CBD Promotes Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Hippocampus is a part of the human brain that controls diverse functions like emotions, cognitive well-being, and memory consolidation.

This region of the brain- like other brain regions- is made up of cells called neurons. The production of new brain cells is called neurogenesis.

Unfortunately, the brain neurons have a limited capacity to undergo neurogenesis.

An increasing amount of newer researcher has shown that a higher level of hippocampal neurogenesis is associated with better cognitive function and an improvement in emotional functions.

A decline in the hippocampal neurogenesis, however, has been identified as a potential causative factor in psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression.

Interestingly, researchers have noticed that the longterm use of CBD Oil For Anxiety is linked to enhanced neurogenesis in the brain hippocampus.

In addition, they have also noticed the increased expression of cannabinoid receptors in this region of the brain with the regular use of CBD.

This, in turn, leads to improve mental health, subjective well-being, and a remarkable reduction in anxiety. [9]

# 3: CBD Reduces Anxiety By Inhibiting Certain Brain Regions

As mentioned before, anxiety is the product of the increased activity of certain brain regions.

Some of these brain regions include limbic and paralimbic areas. These regions are largely associated with an increase in the feelings of anxiety, stress, fear, and depression.

In a human study, researchers noticed the effects of the use of CBD Oil For Anxiety on the activity of different brain regions.

The participants (who happened to be suffering from major anxiety disorders) were divided into two groups: one group received 400 mg of CBD, and the other group was given a placebo.

The brain activity was visualized through highly advanced imaging techniques.

Surprisingly, researchers noticed the group that used CBD had a significant reduction in the activity of their limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain.

It was subsequently associated with a reduction in anxiety levels as well. [10]

What Does Research Suggest Regarding CBD Oil for Anxiety?

When it comes to research studies, Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are the most effective in determining research quality.

So let’s quickly summarize some RCTs looking into the efficacy of CBD oil for anxiety.

The first RCT tested the results of using CBD in relieving anxiety in individuals suffering from the fear of public speaking.

The participants were divided into two groups to either receive 600 mg of CBD or placebo.

Results showed that the CBD group showed a significant improvement in anxiety and cognition.

Moreover, they reported significantly less discomfort in their speech performance. [11]

The Brazilian RCT that looked into the brain activity following the use of CBD has already been summarized above. [10]

In a study, the participants were divided into different groups. They were given CBD, diazepam (anti-anxiety pills) or a placebo.

Of the three groups, the CBD group showed a significant reduction in their anxiety symptoms compared to the other groups. [12]

Are the Benefits of CBD for Anxiety Better Than Anti-Anxiety Drugs?

Benzodiazepines or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the main types of drugs used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders like panic disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Like all other drugs, these drugs come with tons of side effects. These include reduced effectiveness with time, increased dependence, sedation, rebound anxiety, and so on.

Drugs

One major thing that makes CBD oil for anxiety better than the anti-anxiety drugs is its superior safety profile.

Also, it is just as effective in reducing anxiety as the mainstream anti-anxiety pills.

Following are some of the reasons that make CBD oil even a better option compared to the anti-anxiety pills: [13]

  • Early Onset of Action: One of the significant drawbacks of the anti-anxiety pills is that they take longer to act. You have to take these medicines for some time before you can see any results.
    On the other hand, CBD oil is quite different. It starts its anti-anxiety function relatively quicker.
  • Reduced Dependence: Dependence is one of the side effects of the anti-anxiety pills that even the clinicians fret. It means that with time your mind and your body become used to taking these pills. When you fail to take these pills, it can manifest as adverse psychological and physical symptoms. It is like an addiction. You can experience major withdrawal symptoms when you give up the use of these pills.
    CBD oil is quite different. Since it only contains CBD and does not contain the psychoactive component THC, you don’t get dependent on the use of CBD. You don’t experience withdrawal symptoms when you give up the use of CBD oil.
  • No Sedation: Another major side effect with the use of anti-anxiety pills is they make you sleepy. In fact, diazepam and other benzodiazepine are also used for the treatment of insomnia.
    You don’t experience these side effects with the use of CBD oil. It does not make you drowsy or sleepy.
  • No Tolerance: One phenomenon commonly associated with the use of anti-anxiety pills is the development of tolerance. What it means is that your body gets used to a certain dose of a drug. As a result, your body requires a higher dose of the same drug to produce similar effects. For example, if you were using 1 mg dose of an anti-anxiety pill. You might have to increase the dose to 2 mg after a month to get similar symptomatic relief.
    That phenomenon can get dangerous because, after certain dose limits, the side effects of the drug become more common compared to the benefits. You don’t develop tolerance with the use of CBD oil.
  • No Major Side Effects: Above all, the safety profile and benefits of CBD for anxiety are remarkable. It is quite safe to use and has a little tendency to produce serious side effects, which are quite commonly seen with the use of different anti-anxiety pills.

How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?

The exact dosage depends on many variables like the strength of CBD oil, your general body build, your body weight, and so on.

According to research, the dosage of CBD oil preparations used range between 300 and 600 mg per day.

CBD Oil For Anxiety - Pinerest

However, determining the right dose is more of a hit and trial. You can start with a lower dose and keep on increasing the dose step by step until you see the desired outcomes.

You should not jump to higher dosages very quickly. Rather, it is advisable to keep increasing the CBD oil dosage slowly till you see the desired outcomes.

How Should I Take CBD Oil?

You can use CBD oil in different ways. For instance:

  • You can take it orally with water or other liquids.
  • You can add it to edibles.
  • Even some people try smoking it through vapes or e-cigarettes.

Taking the CBD oil orally seems to be the most effective way of using CBD oil.

Are There Any Side Effects With the Use of CBD Oil for Anxiety?

As mentioned before, CBD oil has got a good safety profile. As long as you are careful with the dosing, you can avoid major side effects with the regular use of CBD oil.

Like anything else, you might experience some side effects with the use of CBD oil. Some of these side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Changes in moods.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Dizziness.

Conclusion

To sum up, the benefits of CBD for anxiety can prove to be a promising solution to your anxiety problem. It is scientifically proven to help improve mental well-being and has got a good safety profile as well. However, you should always consult a healthcare professional before trying for your mental health.


References

  1. https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
  2. Sadaf Munir, et al. Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2018 Jan
  3. Michelle A. Patriquin, et al. The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Stress. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2017 Jan-Dec; 1: 10.1177/2470547017703993.
  4. Radmila Pavlovic, et al. Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations. Molecules. 2018 May; 23(5): 1230.
  5. Shenglong Zou, et al. Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Mar; 19(3): 833.
  6. S.F. Lisboa, et al. The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety. Vitamins and Hormones. 2017, 193–279. doi:10.1016/bs.vh.2016.09.006
  7. Bitencourt RM, Pamplona FA, Takahashi RN. Facilitation of contextual fear memory extinction and anti-anxiogenic effects of AM404 and cannabidiol in conditioned rats. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009;18:849–859.
  8. Moreira FA, Aguiar DC, Guimaraes FS. Anxiolytic-like effect of cannabidiol in the rat Vogel conflict test. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2006;30:1466–1471.
  9. Alline C. Campos, et al. The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system. international Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 16, Issue 6, 1 July 2013, Pages 1407–1419
  10. Crippa JA, et al. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. J Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jan;25(1):121-30. doi: 10.1177/0269881110379283. Epub 2010 Sep 9.
  11. Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, de Oliveira DC, De Martinis BS, Kapczinski F, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36:1219–1226. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.6
  12. Zuardi AW, Shirakawa I, Finkelfarb E, Karniol IG. Action of cannabidiol on the anxiety and other effects produced by delta 9-THC in normal subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1982;76:245–250.
  13. Mateus M Bergamaschi et al. Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 May; 36(6): 1219–1226.

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