Anxiety happens. To everyone at some point. But, when it’s always lurking, or gets worse and messes with daily life, that’s a different story completely.
Anxiety is actually pretty common, according to the World Health Organization, which states that nearly 264 million people worldwide suffered an anxiety disorder in 2017. Anxiety disorders range from a more general condition to specific disorders such as seasonal affective disorder, also called SAD; post-traumatic stress disorder; or agoraphobia, the fear of being in a place that may cause you panic or embarrassment.
Generally, these anxiety disorders are treated with lifestyle changes or medication. For instance, psychotherapy can help get to the root cause of your anxiety and empower you to overcome the thought processes that keep in in a chronic state of worry or fear.
Medication for anxiety is plentiful: antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, serotonin enhancers and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium. Although people often find relief, many of these medications can cause unpleasant side effects.
Other options include meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or other means of caring for yourself. Plus you can do all of them in the quiet of your own home.
What about CBD for anxiety?
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is an active compound derived from hemp. It is one of at least 60 compounds present in the cannabis plant, of which hemp is a member. CBD is nonpsychoactive, so there is no high associated with it as you would experience from THC, derived from marijuana, also a member of the cannabis family. For that reason, more and more people turn to CBD for a plethora of conditions, one of which is anxiety.
Although there is a dearth of research that has been done on treating anxiety on humans, animal research has shown evidence that CBD is calming to the nervous system. One study earlier in the year of 72 adults did show that 79% of the participants noted a decrease in their anxiety levels, which is promising. Other anecdotal evidence also points to reduced anxiety in humans.
With passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and legalization of hemp, I suspect we’ll begin to see more studies done on humans. In the meantime, experimenting with CBD from hemp is an option. Unlike pharmaceutical treatments, CBD hasn’t produced any harmful side effects. But, work with your medical practitioner, too.
How does CBD work for anxiety?
There is still a lot to be learned about how CBD works, but we do know that every human has an endocannabinoid system, which processes cannabinoids to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in our bodies. Within that system are receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors can be found in cells throughout the body and in the nervous system. It’s believed that CB1 and CB2 receptors interact favorably with CBD when there is an imbalance in some part of the brain or body. It can have a stabilizing effect especially when serotonin levels in the brain are out of whack. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is what keeps your mood in balance.
Low serotonin levels generally tend to bring on depression and anxiety disorders. Introducing CBD kicks the CB1 receptor, most commonly found in the brain, into gear and it binds with a serotonin receptor to activate its calming effect. Therefore, CBD can also be called in to treat other conditions such as:
· Post-traumatic stress disorder
· Generalized anxiety disorder
· Social anxiety
CBD dosage for anxiety
There are several ways to take CBD—edibles, vapes, oils and capsules. Vapes deliver CBD the fastest, edibles and capsules go through the digestive system, which is slower and acts as a timed release. Oils are placed under the tongue where the sublingual gland disburses it to the right place more quickly than if it went through digestion. It’s important to hold the oil under the tongue for 30 or more seconds to get the full benefit.
Dosage for any condition varies because CBD has not yet been regulated. Therefore, your weight, age, type and intensity of symptoms all need to be taken into account. Plus, you need to be sure the product you’re taking is the real thing. CBD has gotten so popular that some companies claim CBD in their products, but don’t deliver.
Do your homework to find organic CBD derived from hemp and tested by a third-party lab, talk with your medical practitioner and then experiment with dosage. Start with a lower dose and increase as necessary. Go slowly and pay attention to how you feel.
It’s not a silver bullet, and may not help everyone, but it can’t harm you to try it.