CBD Oil and Anxiety. What do we actually know?
People have been using cannabis-derived medicine for centuries, and there are several documented uses of cannabinoids for medical purposes throughout history. For example, Queen Victoria used cannabinoids to alleviate menstrual cramps, and the Chinese emperor Sheng Nung used cannabis to treat rheumatism. In the 1980s, some people used cannabidiol (CBD) to treat symptoms of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, including seizures and headaches. It didn’t take long for sufferers to realize that CBD had an additional benefit: It significantly reduced their anxiety.
In recent years, there has been mounting evidence to confirm that CBD does indeed relieve anxiety, and many people use this compound daily to maintain a healthy sense of well-being. But what is the evidence for this? How does CBD interact with the body on a physiological level?
This article takes a look at the causes of anxiety and how CBD addresses these conditions. Keep reading to learn more.
Anxiety disorders are psychiatric disorders associated with debilitating worry or fear. Some of these conditions include:
People who suffer from anxiety can also develop depression and vice versa. These two conditions have overlapping symptoms, and they are commonly referenced together.
Most people regard anxiety as a psychological condition, but it is also a physical one. The primary causes of stress are typically environmental, but a person may form the subliminal belief that they are in danger, even when they are not. This subconscious and irrational state of fear can be challenging to address.
Normally, when there is a stressor in a person’s environment, the amygdala in the brain initiates the fight-or-flight response and triggers the release of adrenaline to put the body on alert. In response, neurotransmitters carry impulses to the sympathetic nervous system to increase the heart- and breathing rate, increase blood flow to the brain, and tense the muscles.
If you suffer from anxiety, you continuously experience these physical effects, and not only when there is a real danger. This constant state of stress can cause debilitating physical effects like dizziness, headache, nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome. However, these are not the only negative effects. Anxiety is a complex condition, and it can affect people in many different ways.
Your body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates several functions and processes. These functions include, among others, motor control, sleep, mood, stress, and nerve function. The ECS consists of three components, namely endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids are the molecules anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). The body produces these to maintain several internal functions.
Endocannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body. Endocannabinoid molecules bind with these receptors to initiate a particular action from the ECS.
The receptors are CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors in the peripheral nervous system. Enzymes break endocannabinoids down after they carried out their functions.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid and natural compound of plants of the cannabis genus. The production of CBD typically involves extraction from hemp, which is a variation of cannabis, and it is sold in the form of oil, gels, gummies, and more.
Another prominent cannabinoid and compound of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC,) which is the primary psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. THC is also present in hemp, but in low concentrations of less than 0.3%.
Because CBD is a cannabinoid with a similar structure to the body’s endocannabinoids, it can interact with the ECS.
How this interaction takes place is uncertain, however. Some believe that CBD alleviates anxiety by inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system’s response to stress, while others believe CBD affects the ECS regulation of processes like sleep and mood. Another theory is that CBD binds to an endocannabinoid receptor that has not yet been discovered.
People are often apprehensive about CBD because of its association with cannabis and euphoria. However, unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, and you will not get high from using it.
THC and CBD have the same molecular structures that consist of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. These two compounds have different atomic arrangements, however. As a result, THC binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system, which results in the user getting high.
Another difference between CBD and THC is that CBD is not addictive. CBD oils from trusted sources don’t contain enough THC to be habit-forming. While THC is the more addictive compound of the two, it doesn’t induce the same degree of physical withdrawal symptoms that nicotine, opiates, or alcohol do.
The body tends to tolerate CBD well, even in large doses. According to research, any adverse side effects that occur are more likely to be the result of interactions between the CBD and other medications that you may be taking.
Adverse side effects of CBD oil include:
CBD oil is generally very safe for use, and it can have a therapeutic effect on the mind and body. However, avoid CBD oils if you are pregnant or taking antipsychotic drugs. CBD products are also not safe for children below two years of age because trace amounts of THC can be harmful to their health.
Hard scientific evidence supporting CBD as an anxiety treatment is still forthcoming. Thus, the exact mechanism of CBD as cannabinoid is not certain. However, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that CBD is highly effective in alleviating anxiety.
If you live with anxiety and have tried several remedies without success, you may naturally consider CBD oil as a treatment. This compound has a safe profile, according to the World Health Organization, and it can be beneficial to your health in several ways.
If you are considering CBD as an anxiety treatment, consult with your doctor to determine the correct dosage. You should also research the cannabis-related laws in your state and ensure that you purchase your CBD products from a reputable supplier.
CBD Oil and Anxiety – What is the Truth? It’s a complicated question to answer. What are your thoughts?