Anxiety is one of the worst feelings a human being can experience. It makes us nervous, scared, keeps us from completing basic tasks, and hinders our ability to live our lives to the fullest. There are many different treatments for anxiety-like therapy and medication, but there’s a new one on the market, Does CBD for Anxiety Works?
While these two may seem identical, they have some key differences. For starters, THC is the chemical compound in the cannabis plant that can make you high and generate all the different sensations you’ve probably seen depicted in movies and TV shows.
On the other hand, CBD does not make you high but can still create feelings of relaxation and general wellness, as well as happiness, focus, and increased attention span. So how does this relate to anxiety?
Well, in this new age of rapid medical advancements, researchers have found that CBD can be used to treat various forms of anxiety, sometimes just as well as the medication! This is why many people who’ve had trouble with traditional treatments for anxiety have turned to CBD since it can be cheaper and more accessible.
Not everyone has a rich inheritance, and mental health treatment can be costly. An average therapy session can cost up to $250 in the US alone. Many medical insurance companies either don’t cover mental health costs or require expensive copays that people can’t afford. Medication can be equally as expensive.
There is also the general fear of synthetic medications to consider. Many people are hesitant to take medication since it’s made by big pharmaceutical companies. It is more vital to make a profit than to look after their consumers.
This is why in recent years, people have turned to more nature-based methods, such as consuming CBD products, to treat their anxiety. Of course, before attempting any treatment, you should always talk with a psychiatrist or your primary care physician.
Now, when you think of CBD, you probably associate it with marijuana. By this point, you may be picturing yourself smoking a joint to calm your nerves. Don’t worry; this isn’t the only option!
CBD can come in many forms like gummies, capsules, and even dried fruit! Now that you have a background on CBD let’s get into how it works and what it can do for you!
Anxiety and the Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System, You probably don’t remember this one from science class. That’s because the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) is relatively new to the medical community, with research only starting in the early 90s. Still, there’s a lot that scientists are discovering about ECS, and it all looks very promising.
But first, let’s define what it is. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a network of receptors that may be found all throughout your body. Receptors are tiny cells that receive different stimuli, such as pain or pleasure, and then translate them into messages that are sent to the brain via neurons.
According to recent studies, the ECS is responsible for regulating a lot of bodily functions that impact anxiety, including:
So, if you’re feeling anxious, it could very well be that your endocannabinoid system is not working as it should. It may be failing to regulate your stress and therefore causing to make you more anxious than usual. Although research on the Endocannabinoid System itself is relatively new, most researchers agree that it significantly impacts your mental health, mainly because it regulates so many essential functions such as the ones we mentioned before.
For starters, having an unhealthy sleep schedule can significantly increase anxiety since not getting enough sleep causes people to feel tired and worn out during the day, which means they don’t get to complete all the things they have to do, which causes them more stress.
Furthermore, sleeplessness is a typical anxiety symptom. There are many people who suffer from this condition who find that they can not fall asleep due to racing thoughts and spend a lot of time lying in bed, wide awake, worrying about various things. This is how the ECS relates to anxiety since not regulating it properly causes people’s sleep schedules to become unhealthy.
There’s also the matter of pain management. The Endocannabinoid System relieves pain by breaking down enzymes that have a soothing effect on the body, muting or decreasing pain messages to create comfort.
However, if the ECS is not working correctly, it can break down these enzymes too fast and therefore only create a small amount of relief or not at all. This causes people to be more anxious since the enzymes are broken down too fast, causing acute emotional pain and stress.
The Endocannabinoid System also regulates appetite. This is why people with anxiety symptoms can find themselves eating very little or a lot, depending on how they deal with stress. When our system is confronted with a lot of pressure, it doesn’t quite know how to engage it, so our physical health is affected.
This is how the Endocannabinoid System can be impacted. If you’ve been having a lot of stress at work, going through exams, or any kind of profound life situation like moving cities or starting school, it’s normal for us to feel a lot of pressure.
However, when that pressure becomes too much, it can negatively impact our physical health, which is how our endocannabinoid system can become compromised. So, now that you know what the endocannabinoid system is and how it works, let’s get into the specifics of how CBD can decrease anxiety.
How Does CBD Relieve Anxiety?
As we mentioned before, a malfunctioning Endocannabinoid System can cause several issues, including many anxiety symptoms. This is where the CBD comes in.
Now, if you’re a cannabis newbie, you may be wondering what CBD is or how it relates to cannabis. Well, let’s start from the beginning. The marijuana plant has been used for centuries to treat everything from muscle pain to trouble sleeping. This plant has many chemicals called cannabinoids. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) are two of the most well-known among them.
The truth is that cannabinoids like CBD are incredibly structurally similar to the endocannabinoids that your own body produces, which is why they can enter your bloodstream without your body rejecting them. CBD works with receptors (the same ones that feel pain and stress) to intercept these messages and mute them or diminish them.
CBD also works with serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can have a massive impact on your mental health. According to Healthline, “Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression. In some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety.”
This is why most doctors prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft. But, as we described previously, these drugs can be costly and impossible to get without health insurance.
This is where CBD comes in to save the day! CBD interacts with serotonin receptors and gets them regulated to produce more serotonin, and you end up feeling less anxious and depressed. This is why some people have replaced their SSIs with CBD products. However, you should always ask your doctor before making any changes.
You may be beginning to doubt CBD’s advantages at this time. The good news is that there are a lot of studies out there backing up these claims! CBD was given to participants in a study released only last year to 397 adults living in
New Zealand who all had various mental health conditions, including anxiety. According to Medical News Today, “70% of study participants reported some level of satisfaction with CBD treatment, ranging from good to excellent.” And this study isn’t an outlier by any stretch of the imagination.
Another one was conducted in Japan where teenagers with general anxiety disorder were divided into two groups: one was given 300mg of CBD oil every day for four weeks, and the other one was given a placebo (basically being given an oil that contained no CBD while participants were told that it did.) According to Leafly,
“The anti-anxiety properties of CBD reduce symptoms aligned with the disorder, providing relief comparable to Paroxetine, a drug commonly used to treat the condition.” This study proved that CBD products such as CBD oils and tinctures could relieve anxiety symptoms and do so in the same way as medication.
Other Benefits of CBD
If you thought CBD could only alleviate anxiety, then you thought wrong! CBD also offers plenty of additional advantages, including:
- Improves sleep cycles
- Better focus
- Feelings of happiness, relief, and joy
- Dissipation of negative thoughts
- Improves appetite
Don’t believe us? According to the American Anxiety and Depression Association, “The range of conditions for which CBD has been assessed is diverse, consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties.”
CBD is recognized to aid in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including:
- General Anxiety
- Chronic Depression
So, if you know someone with any of these conditions or deal with them yourself, you may consider recommending CBD to them or trying it yourself to see how it works out!
On top of relieving your anxiety, CBD can also help increase your focus when you have to do a complicated task. Some users like to take CBD capsules in the morning because it helps them maintain their focus during the day and perform tasks more effectively.
CBD can help with relaxation as well, aiding people to calm down and have a better sleep. This is why most people use oil tinctures before bed to help them relax and sleep better. How oil tinctures are used is by administering a few drops (as many as the person sees fit) below the tongue and holding it there for a few minutes.
Why below the tongue? This area is affluent in capillaries, tiny little veins that can be found at the end of more prominent veins. By placing the oil there and holding it, the capillaries can absorb the CBD much faster and get it right into the bloodstream to have much quicker and more long-lasting effects.
Don’t worry if that sounds awful CBD tinctures come in a variety of tastes, including apple, peach, lemon-lime, and dozens of others. CBD oils are specialized for focus, so you can take a few drops in the morning and then some others at night or take a few AM capsules and then some PM ones in the evening, which many companies do offer.
Oils, not your thing? No worries! You may consider trying CBD gummies, which many people find more practical since they taste amazing and have pre-measured amounts of CBD in each gummy, so you don’t have to struggle with a dropper or worry about it getting too much or too little of a dose.
CBD gummies also come in sleep-specialized or focus specialized varieties, meaning that you can take some for breakfast or on your way to work and others as dessert for dinner!
Legality of CBD
When contemplating taking any type of CBD for whatever purpose, this is an important consideration to bear in mind. According to Medical News Today, “Cannabis-derived CBD products are illegal federally but legal under some state laws.”
To give a broader picture, cannabis is currently legal in some capacity in nearly all fifty states. Always check your state’s laws to see if you can legally have access to CBD products.
There is also the issue of drug testing. If your job requires a bi-monthly urine test, then this is the part you should read! CBD does not cause you to fail a drug test because it is not tested for in most drug tests (especially the ones that are mandatory in some jobs like urine tests), meaning that it will not cause a positive result.
However, as we discussed earlier, CBD comes from the same plant as THC. And extracting only CBD from the plant can be pretty tricky. Moreover, many CBD products are often made in the same factories as THC products, which means cross-contamination is likely to happen.
This is why most CBD products can contain traces of THC, which is a drug that will cause the test to be flagged if it is found in your urine. Now, if you read the first part and you went out and bought some CBD products and then suddenly realized that you have a drug test tomorrow, you may be freaking out. Don’t worry; you may be able to avoid having an awkward conversation with the police!
CBD Products Come in Three Varieties
Broad-spectrum: This CBD has a range of cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis and usually contains no THC, although some products can still have traces in them. So, if that’s what it says on the bottle of the oil, you took, maybe have a speech for your boss written down just in case.
Full-spectrum: This CBD takes compounds from the entire plant, which means it can contain up to 0.3% THC. If you see this written on the bottle, then definitely have that speech for your boss in your back pocket and get started on those reference letters!
CBD Isolate: CBD Isolate products contain no traces of CBD because the company takes special care to isolate the CBD from the other compounds of the cannabis plant by using different solvents or CO2. Therefore, any products with the words’ CBD Isolate’ written on them contain only the purest form of CBD.
So, if you got the last one, congratulations! You have nothing to worry about, but you may still want to bring that written speech to work just in case.
Throughout this article, we talked about everything from CBD to how it works with the endocannabinoid system to which words to look for in each product before an upcoming drug test. The truth of the matter is that anxiety is terrible. It makes you feel sad, lonely, and miserable.
Sure, there are traditional treatments out there, like therapy and medication. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with those treatments, and they do work for many people. But sometimes, things get too complicated. Anxiety gets the best of you, you can’t concentrate, and you need an extra hand.
And that’s okay. Anxiety is not a choice; it is a thing that has to be dealt with. And there is nothing wrong with needing a little backup so you can fight back against your fears and feel better. CBD for anxiety can be the backup you need to feel better and live life to the fullest! Because anxiety or not, you deserve love, happiness, and fulfillment, just like everyone else.