Did you know that you can use CBD topicals for anxiety? Well, there is growing evidence that it can be helpful in easing the symptoms of anxiety. CBD comes in several forms – oils, tinctures, edibles, vapes and topicals. It makes sense that ingested or inhaled CBD would work for anxiety, but topicals?
Well, yes. To understand why, let’s break it all down.
What is a CBD topical?
The use of cannabis as a medicine goes back thousands of years. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of a bunch of chemicals in the cannabis sativa plant. Its medicinal attributes include anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. CBD is nonpsychoactive, and that’s an important distinction if you’re concerned about getting high. You won’t get high.
A CBD topical is something you apply to your skin, such as a lotion, cream, balm or salve. The difference has to do with the texture of the product, which in turn may make a difference in absorption. Lotions and creams usually have a higher water content. These products absorb more quickly. A salve or balm has more oil, which lingers on the skin, penetrating more slowly.
Topicals, made with CBD, carrier and essential oils, use full-spectrum hemp oil to be more effective. CBD is just one of many components derived from hemp. True the others appear in lesser quantity than CBD, but they are important in supporting what CBD does in our bodies. Together they create an entourage effect. Essentially, the entourage effect is what happens when all the components of the CBD topicals work in concert to support your health.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
To understand how CBD topicals work for anxiety, we need to understand how our bodies interact with CBD. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, professor in the department for medicinal chemistry and natural products at Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School and School of Pharmacy, Institute for Drug Research, began studying the healing potential of marijuana in 1963.
From his studies, Mechoulam identified endocannabinoid receptors in mammals. In short, he learned that the human body is particularly receptive to the healing cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. He basically discovered that all mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for helping regulate and balance certain bodily functions. It can assist in:
- Energy balance
- Appetite stimulation
- Blood pressure
- Embryonic development
- Nausea and vomiting control
- Memory and learning
- Immune response
Within the ECS, patrolling CB1 and CB2 receptors help maintain balance in our bodies by regulating appetite, mood, pain and other body processes.
- CB1 is found primarily in the central nervous system, including parts of the brain and spinal cord.
- CB2 is found mainly in immune system tissues.
- Interestingly,both have been found in skin.
Our ECS is always on the lookout for imbalance. When an imbalance occurs, the ECS produces cannabinoids that interact with CB receptors. The subsequent chemical process targets and resolves the imbalance to restore perfect balance.
How to use CBD topicals for anxiety
Topical CBD products work differently in the body than the products you consume or inhale. You see, topicals don’t enter the blood stream, so they get to work faster. When you apply CBD to your skin, CBD molecules penetrate to reach the many endocannabinoids present in the skin. Upon contact with CB receptors, the CBD molecules send signals that can help relax your body and mind and lessen the feeling of stress, making you feel more grounded. Tension, often the precursor of anxiety, responds well to CBD topicals.
Tension can also cause sleeplessness, which creates fatigue that can exacerbate tension. The cycle goes on. Headaches, another form of tension, often are a harbinger of anxiety. The best place to use a CBD topical is directly on the area of tension: temples, neck, shoulders, lower back, even your feet.
Chronic pain including arthritis, neuropathy, and others can create anxiety. Relieve the pain, relieve the anxiety. In such instances, apply the appropriate CBD topical directly to the area and massage it thoroughly. Not only will the warmth of the massage help the topical to penetrate; massage itself can be calming and soothing.
It’s important to note that you can’t overuse CBD topicals. They aren’t psychoactive and they aren’t addictive. Plus, there are few, if any, known side effects. So, you can apply it as often as you need to without concern.