I don’t know about you, but in my life I have anxieties galore. There’s the stress of work, family, relationships and much more. Plus, my family has a genetic tendency toward anxiety and depression, making me prone to that sort of thing. Because of this, I’d look for natural ways to deal with this problem. The CBD found in CBD oil is one option I have recently turned to with great success.
Although we normally don’t view anxiety and anxious thoughts as being desirable, this normal response is an important part of our lives, allowing us to better cope with a range of threats to our personal welfare and safety – or that of our loved ones. Such responses make it possible for us to anticipate potential threats and deal with them will for they become a real danger. We can also be motivated – by our anxiety – to do things that will improve our lives or our situation, whether it’s working hard to pay bills or trying to improve our relationships.
Using CBD Oil for Anxiety: Does It Work?
But I have personally also found it to be true that – in those instances where I fail to effectively manage such a natural responses – these anxieties can often become maladaptive, impacting my relationships and my work. For the average person, this can result in a diagnosis of one or more anxiety related disorders. This can be extremely serious – having even physical ramifications. While it may sound like a cliché to say that “stress kills,” it happens to be true.
Anxiety-based disorders have a huge impact on a large percentage of the population in the United States. In fact, surveys have shown that his many as 40,000,000 people 18 or older suffer from an anxiety related problem. As a response to this, pharmaceutical companies around the world have created a wide range of drugs designed to alleviate anxiety. These drugs include tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium and serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft and Prozac.
It is true that drugs like these can be quite effective – or partially effective – for many of those patients who take them. However, many don’t respond that well, while others have a very negative response to these drugs. While some patients see no improvement, many others find that the side effects are simply intolerable. In addition to this, many tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium can be extremely addictive – making it difficult to stop taking them even if the patient wants to.
Obviously, an alternative approach seems justified. Many people feel that CBD oil (cannabidiol), which is the most important constituent in cannabis, could offer an effective alternative to the anti-anxiety medications currently being used by doctors across the country. And recently, a number of studies have provided data supporting this contention.
The Use of Cannabis Strains for Anxiety
Recently, there has been a great deal of interest regarding CBD by consumers, scientists and doctors. Just what is the reason for this? Quite simply, in addition to the fact that research suggests that CBD can counteract some of the negative side effects of THC, multiple studies have also demonstrated – following years of experiments involving both humans and animals – that CBD offers remarkable anti-anxiety benefits.
When given as needed, CBD seems to be well-tolerated, safe and quite beneficial in treating any number of anxiety related disorders. This can include:
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder)
GAD (General Anxiety Disorder)
How Does CBD Function in the Body
CBD works in several different ways in the brain – all of which can help to explain its effectiveness in treating anxiety. Before looking at this in greater detail, it should be noted that the vast majority of research studies conducted to determine how CBD works have been carried out on animals.
While this is par for the course when it comes to scientific research, at the same time it has to be admitted that results from studies carried out on animals do not always perfectly translate to human beings. At the same time, this preclinical research does offer further insight that can move researchers in the right direction.
I’d like to point out that there is a specific type of serotonin receptor – 5-HT1A – that is extremely important in cases of depression and anxiety. Often medications are designed to target these kinds of receptors in the serotonin system. Pharmaceutical companies around the world have developed or are developing SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Zoloft and Prozac.
These inhibitors function by preventing the brain from reabsorbing serotonin. This in turn increases how much serotonin is available in the synaptic spaces. This helps your brain cells that are transmit serotonin signals, reducing anxiety and – in some cases – improving your mood. I should also note that the underlying biochemical basis for how this works is extremely complex and not entirely understood. But it does seem to work.
As I understand it, CBD operates in a manner similar to an SSRI by boosting the signals from serotonin receptors. Multiple animal studies have shown that the use of CBD can significantly enhance5-HT1A transmission, with the result that it may actually be more effective and faster than using SSRIs.
Depression and Cannabis
One of the principal reasons I personally started taking CBD is its effectiveness in fighting depression. One of the most important areas of the brain is the hippocampus, since it plays such a vital role in any number of critical brain functions. One of its principal roles involves memory and cognition.
Depression can significantly impact this area of the brain, with brain scans revealing that depressed or anxious individuals frequently have a small hippocampus. In fact, when these individuals are successfully treated for anxiety or depression we see new neurons being generated throughout the hippocampus. So CBD can be an important part of this treatment. Specifically, one study of mice in particular discovered that a series of CBD administrations can encourage the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, which should help reduce depression or anxiety in affected individuals.
Further research has demonstrated that both CBD and SSRIs are capable of promoting this kind of neurogenesis. This is extremely significant, since there is evidence suggesting that individuals with reduced neuron plasticity may have a tendency toward suicidal thoughts and actions. Studies carried out in the future that compare the neurogenesis effects of SSRIs and CBD could provide a better understanding of how depression works and how we can effectively treat it.
How Does CBD Help with Anxiety?
Building on these various animal studies, further human studies have begun to offer further evidence to prove that CBD is useful in alleviating the symptoms of many extremely common anxiety related disorders, including anxiety itself and acute stress. This accumulation of supporting evidence is one of the reasons why this product has become so widely popular in the United States and elsewhere.
One of the more interesting studies I have found was a research project carried out by Brazilian scientists. These researchers conducted a double-blind study of individuals suffering from generalized social anxieties. After these individuals consumed CBD, they found that there was a noticeable drop in their anxiety level. These researchers verified the obviously subjective opinions of the test subjects by carrying out brain scans, confirming a change in blood flow in the brain that was consistent with reduced anxiety.
A second small study carried out by other researchers with patients afflicted with social anxieties involved a test in which these patients would speak in public. Those participating reported they experienced far less anxiety when they had consumed CBD before giving their speech. These findings were supported by objective means, such as by taking the subjects blood pressure level and heart rate before, during and after the speech.
These researchers then concluded that CBD had significantly reduce the anxiety levels and cognitive impairment of these individual subjects, allowing the subjects to feel much less discomfort during their speech. A side-by-side placebo test had that group experiencing higher levels of discomfort, including both cognitive impairment and anxiety.
When I look at both the anecdotal evidence in the various empirical scientific studies carried out over the years regarding the use of CBD, it’s difficult to argue with its effectiveness. Accumulated evidence obtained from a range of animal studies are helping to better characterize in detail just how CBD acts when it gets to your brain. All of this evidence points to it being an effective means for dealing with both anxiety and depression.
In the same way, various human studies of individuals afflicted with anxiety disorders are beginning to confirm the efficacy of CBD when used for dealing with anxiety. When considering the massive financial and social costs the United States and its citizens experience because of anxiety disorders, CBD can potentially play a huge role in alleviating a wide range of anxiety-based disorders.
Clearly, even more research – which would include large RTC’s (random controlled trials) – is required to better understand the long-term potential and possible side effects of CBD and CBD oil. This will help to further demonstrate both its remarkable efficacy and its safety profile – as compared with other currently available treatment options and drugs. This will help to make it a more acceptable alternative or addition to modern, manufactured pharmaceuticals.