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CBD and Anxiety: Understanding the Therapeutic Potential

  • 3 min read
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  • Updated 311 days ago
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Everyone experiences occasional anxiety, particularly in times of stress. Although most bouts of anxiety are short-lived

Nearly 20 percent of our population struggles with episodes of heightened anxiety that can last hours, days, or weeks at a time.

While there are numerous medications doctors can prescribe to help manage anxiety symptoms; these treatments are not universally effective. Many people find they cannot tolerate the side effects. That may explain why less than 40 percent of people living with anxiety seek treatment.

Whether you are living with occasional bouts of anxiety or struggle with symptoms daily, it's important to know there are many ways to manage anxiety without medication. Numerous people claim significant relief using CBD.

The Medications Commonly Prescribed for Anxiety

The medications most often prescribed for anxiety work by increasing the levels of key neurotransmitters in your brain. Anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) work by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to calm overexcited nerve impulses. Many antidepressants work by increasing serotonin levels. Research shows that low serotonin levels can cause anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

CBD Interacts with Key Receptors Throughout Your Body

CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of more than 100 potentially beneficial cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. This non-intoxicating cannabinoid interacts with the receptors of the largest regulatory system in your body, your endocannabinoid system.

The interaction between the messengers and receptors of your ECS regulates nearly every essential function in your body, including your mood and emotions. CBD is also shown to interact with your serotonin, dopamine, and GABA receptors, the same receptors influenced by anti-anxiety medications.

Although CBD is not a cure or treatment for any known health disorders, laboratory tests, animal studies, and user testimonials show CBD has significant therapeutic potential for the symptoms of anxiety. Consider the following examples:

  • An investigative report published in Neurotherapeutics concluded there is considerable evidence supporting the use of CBD for anxiety after reviewing the results of animal testing, epidemiological studies, and preclinical experimentation. The authors emphasized the potential value of CBD for the symptoms of general anxiety, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and other anxiety disorders while noting the need for additional studies.
  • In a double-blind inquiry in 2011, 12 subjects were given CBD before a public speaking Twelve members of the control group received a placebo. After speaking, test subjects were asked to assess their anxiety levels. Investigators discovered that test subjects receiving CBD had fewer anxiety symptoms, specifically noting less physical discomfort and less anxiety-related cognitive impairment than those given the placebo.
  • A ten-year-old with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was experiencing troubling side effects from her prescription medication with only partial relief of her anxiety symptoms. During a hemp CBD trial, the child's anxiety symptoms decreased. Researchers also noted that her sleep quality improved throughout the duration of the study.

Selecting the CBD Product That's Right for You

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. The plants are classified by their THC content, the cannabinoid that causes the "high" marijuana is known for. If you are considering using CBD sourced from marijuana, it may be important to know that high levels of THC can intensify anxiety symptoms. You may want to consider using a strain with a higher CBD to THC ratio or a hemp-derived CBD product.

If you currently take medication, please consult your physician before using CBD. Although CBD has very few side effects on its own, cannabinoids can interact with several medications.

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