CBD Oil for Anxiety: Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve experienced anxiety, then you know how much of a pain it can be in life. Anxiety can leave you feeling overwhelmed, nauseous, fatigued, and unable to function at your best.
The good news for those suffering with anxiety, is that CBD oil could be a promising anti-anxiety treatment.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Most people get worried. But, unlike occasional worry, anxiety is a mental health disorder that can get in the way of normal functioning.
Anxiety often manifests as feelings of dread, fear, or worry. And can lead to the development of secondary symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and nausea.
There is a range of anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. These disorders can manifest in different ways with a variety of symptoms.
Unfortunately, anxiety affects many people—approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report they have experienced a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) in any given week.
When you run the numbers, this is a significant number of people.
Anxiety can seriously impact your mental health, wellbeing, quality of life and ability to carry out everyday tasks. Current conventional treatment options often include SSRI medication. While SSRIs can be useful, they also can result in some serious side effects like weight gain, headaches, nervousness, and insomnia. Treatments with fewer side effects could be a welcome potential for many with anxiety.
HOW CAN CBD HELP TO TREAT ANXIETY?
Anxiety can negatively impact your life, but how can CBD help to treat anxiety?
Here's the science:
CBD induces its effects on the body by interacting with your endocannabinoid system. It also interacts with serotonin receptors, which in turn could help to lower your anxiety levels.
Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood regulation. You may have heard of serotonin referred to as the “happy hormone” because of its ability to improve mood and impart feelings of happiness. Serotonin’s impact on mood is so strong that it's a treatment for disorders like depression and anxiety.
Studies show that CBD has the ability to activate serotonin receptors like 5-HT1a. This activation leads to an increase in mood-boosting serotonin levels. A 2019 study investigated the effects of CBD on serotonin receptors in mice. The study found that CBD activated serotonin receptors and resulted in reduced anxiety in the mice.
CBD AND CORTISOL
Another way that CBD may help to reduce anxiety is by acting on your cortisol levels.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS CBD OIL FOR ANXIETY?
There is some significant research demonstrating the anti-anxiety effects of CBD in humans. But, it's important to keep in mind that this research is in its infancy. And more robust clinical studies are needed before definitive conclusions can be made about the efficacy of CBD as an anti-anxiety medication.
A 2019 study investigated the effectiveness of CBD as an anti-anxiety treatment, giving CBD oil to teenagers with social anxiety disorders. The participants received either 300 mg of CBD or a placebo daily for four weeks. They had their social anxiety disorder symptoms measured at the start and end of the treatment period. The results found that the CBD oil treatment managed to reduce anxiety in the participants significantly and that CBD oil could be an effective treatment option for social anxiety.
The effects of CBD on anxiety levels were also investigated in a 2011 study. This study specifically involved patients with generalised social anxiety disorder. Patients were given either CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test meant to induce their anxiety symptoms. The study showed that CBD resulted in a significant reduction in anxiety, cognitive impairment, and speech performance discomfort for participants.
Patients who received the placebo experienced increased blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance during the test, all physiological measures of anxiety. These same physiological increases were almost nonexistent in patients who received CBD, highlighting the anxiety-reducing potential of CBD. There were some limitations in this study, including the small sample size, but it does show CBD’s potential to help with anxiety.
WILL CBD OIL CURE MY ANXIETY?
CBD oil shows promise as a treatment for anxiety and related conditions, but more research is needed before medical professionals can know how effective CBD oil is for anxiety.
CBD oil for anxiety is not a total cure-all, but it could be an exciting future treatment.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Anxiety affects millions of people and can be debilitating. Current treatment options can also result in serious side effects. So, the anxiolytic properties of CBD could offer hope to many.
Current research shows that CBD has anxiety-reducing properties, and further studies will be able to show how effective CBD might be as an anxiolytic. For now, when it comes to CBD oil for anxiety, the future seems bright.