Anxiety affects a staggering number of people throughout the world and in all age groups, the number of people who are being diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder is growing at an alarming rate. But this is not new news, the numbers have been increasing for some time now. In response to the alarming growth in anxiety disorders, pharmaceutical companies developed numerous drugs to try and treat anxiety disorders, from SSRIs to benzodiazepines.
While the above mentioned drugs can be effective for some patients in helping alleviate anxiety, some sufferers don’t have such a good experience. Certain anxiety sufferers don’t see much of an improvement at all, or they may have experienced some of the many side effects that these medications can dish out. Additionally, benzos like Diazepam and Xanax can be highly addictive.
So ideally, if you feel you need to be medicated it may be beneficial to seek alternative natural treatments where possible. Which brings us to the subject of cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. And the question, could products containing CBD provide a viable alternative to the many medications currently on offer from the pharmaceutical industry for anxiety disorders and certain other mental health conditions?
There is well-documented evidence, from scientific studies and from stories of people’s own experiences – going back for at least 50 years that cannabidiol (CBD) has a positive effect in managing and helping to treat mental health conditions such as:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Anxiety
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Mild to moderate depression
It’s also important to note that no toxic dose for CBD is known, and there is no record from any source of a death or serious injury from CBD as of the time of writing this article.
Even though CBD oil has not been medically proven to be a cure or a treatment for anxiety, anxiety sufferers are still trying and testing a variety of CBD related products in the hope that it will relieve their anxiety symptoms and today, CBD oil is perhaps the most promising organic dietary supplement to do just that.
BENEFITS OF USING CBD OIL FOR ANXIETY
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep
- Less distracting thoughts
- Improved sense of well being
- Less need (or complete cessation) of using anti-anxiety medication and thus less side effects
Since CBD is organic with no known harmful side effects, can we perhaps assume that CBD is safer than synthetic, prescription medication for anxiety?
Regardless of whether we believe it is safer or not, if you are considering using CBD for anxiety you should always talk to your GP or a healthcare professional regarding its potential therapeutic aid for anxiety. CBD can also have drug interactions so please check with a doctor before taking CBD if you use other medications.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND CBD & THE BRAIN
CBD can help with anxiety and depression in two noticeable ways:
5-HT1A – CBD works by exerting several actions on the brain. It has been proven effective in boosting signaling via a serotonin receptor 5-HT1A agonist. 5-HT1A is a serotonin receptor subtype that is important because depression and anxiety can be treated with drugs that target the serotonin system. That is why selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often presribed, they work by blocking serotonin re-absorption in the brain. This, in turn, increases serotonin availability in the synaptic space. Consequently, there is an increase in the signals that are transmitted by the brain cells, thereby boosting mood and reducing anxiety in some cases. CBD works similarly to SSRIs. By boosting signaling via serotonin receptors. Some studies have even shown that CBD can enhance 5HT1A transmission and its effect on serotonin may be faster than that of SSRIs.
Hippocampus – The hippocampus is an area in the brain that plays a significant role in various brain functions. It is particularly known for its role in cognition and memory formation. Scans of anxiety and depression patients actually reveal a smaller hippocampus. And, depression therapeutic aids show regeneration of neurons or neurogenesis in this area. That means these therapeutic aids may help with depression and anxiety. Both CBD and SSRIs have been proven effective in promoting neurogenesis. This is important because evidence shows that when severely impaired, neuronal plasticity can lead to suicidal behaviors.
Therefore, considering the potential role that CBD can play in the therapeutic aid of an anxiety-related disorder, it may eventually become a highly favorable, safer, and effective therapeutic aid for anxiety compared to the available conventional drugs.
Can CBD oil have a positive effect in helping treat anxiety? With more research being carried out and more individual experiences being shared both online and in the media, the future for CBD oil will certainly be there for all to see. With the negative side effects being reported as minimal and the number of listed benefits growing with more research, we feel that it’s only a matter of time before CBD is accepted as a viable option to help treat anxiety disorders.
CBD oil will not work for everyone with regards to anxiety. Anxiety disorders are far too complex for there to be a “one-size-fits-all” drug to treat it.
Our advice is, if you are curious as to what CBD oil can do to help ease the symptoms of your anxiety, why not give it a try with a Starter CBD Oil along side cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which will help address the actual anxiety disorder to see if you can break down those barriers in your life caused by anxiety.