Can CBD Oil Help with Anxiety?
Anxiety is such a hot topic these days and it seems that more or less everyone struggles with it in our stressed out society. In terms of mental illness, anxiety is the most common one.
The National Institute of Mental Health states that 18% of the American population over the age of 18 lives with some form of anxiety which comes on such a wide spectrum. This accounts for roughly 40 million people (1)!
The World Health Organization suggests that close to 264 million people are living with anxiety around the entire world. That is a lot of us suffering in silence (2)!
So what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a condition characterized by restlessness and excessive worry. Those of us struggling with anxiety often experience difficult in making decisions, speaking in public, tolerating criticism, or asking for our needs to be met. The spectrum is so wide meaning that anxiety comes in many shapes and sizes and you do not necessarily needs to be diagnosed with it to be experiencing it for yourself.
So what can we do to help?
Other than being diligent in terms of our stress management, ensuring that we are meeting our nutritional needs with a healthy diet, and seeking out a therapist to help us through difficult times, there are some supplements that can be helpful in the short-term.
One product that can be helpful is CBD oil.
The advantage of CBD oil in this respect is that while a number of these other options are effective over the long-term, CBD oil can help us to get some relief from unpleasant symptoms quickly and when we need it the most. It is also not addictive in any way.
“This is my first time using CBD oil and I love the sense of calm it gives me. I feel anxiety free, stress free and emotionally non-reactive to negative situations. I’ve shared it with my mom and sister - both of them loved it too! It’s a pretty incredible and natural way to take care of yourself without the side effects of prescription drugs”
— REBECCA RAUSCH, HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST, VANCOUVER
So how does CBD oil help?
CBD is a natural compound called cannabinoid that binds to unique receptors in our brain. There are two very common cannabinoids which are CBD and THC. Cannabidiol or CBD is the main cannabinoid found in hemp and unlike THC this compound is not psychoactive and so it does not produce a high and is shown to boost mental health. CBD has a direct effect on the CB1 receptors in your brain which affect levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin which is at the centre of mood imbalances.
Our body has something called the endocannabinoid system which plays a major role in the ability of the body to maintain a healthy inner balance also known as homeostasis. This also means that CBD can help regulate sleep, appetite, mood, and the level of anxiety we are experiencing at any given moment. CBD works just like SSRI medication which are a category of medication designed just for anxiety and depression to bring serotonin levels back to normal.
One of the studies shows...
CBD could lessen the symptoms of social anxiety. Brain scans of participants showed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. Not only did the CBD help participants to feel better, but it also changed the way their brains responded to anxiety (3).
There is also promise for numerous other forms of anxiety and CBD other than social anxiety disorder mentioned previously. This includes panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and insomnia linked with post traumatic stress disorder.
Who can use it?
Research on CBD has found few or no negative side effects which means CBD oil could be a good option for people who do not tolerate the side effects of other medications for anxiety including addiction. Also ensure that you purchase CBD oil from a trusted source that can guarantee there is no THC in the product since this component can further contribute to anxiety (add link to testing).
What is the best way to use it?
Start slow and notice how you feel. You can safely increase the dose if you are not feeling the desired effect. Note that you cannot overdose on CBD, and if you are curious what would happen if you take to too much, you can check out this post!
Most often you will want to take CBD oil when you feel the onset of any unpleasant symptoms linked to your anxiety. You can hold it under the tongue for a minute or so and it works almost instantly so it can be absorbed under the tongue. You can refer to further instructions here.
“I originally tried CBD oil to help with stress and anxiety. I was not sleeping well and I was having daily chest pains. I haven’t had any chest pains since starting CBD oil (2 months now)! There is no magic moment when you feel it kicking in… it’s very subtle and with daily use, I have found that not only has my anxiety stabilized but so have my moods. I feel calmer now and well balanced.”
— PATRICIA PIRES, OTTAWA