As the world turns to more natural treatments for disease and disorders, the letters CBD are coming up more and more often. But more than just a random string of letters, CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is a compound naturally found in hemp plants. It can provide a number of health benefits and is known for its ability to treat anxiety. Find out more about how CBD oil can work to produce a calming effect.
How It Works
The science behind how CBD works inside the body to treat anxiety is not fully understood, but here’s what scientists are saying so far.
CBD oil is thought to work with a brain receptor called CB1. Receptors are tiny proteins that are attached to your cells. The receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond.
When CBD enters the system, it may work with CB1 in such a way that it alters serotonin signals. Serotonin is a chemical in the body that affects your mental health. Low serotonin often goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression.
Most people turn to anti-depressants like Zoloft and Prozac to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety, but CBD may work as a natural alternative that produces fewer side effects.
Historically, CBD has gotten a bad rap because it is linked to THC. This is because both CBD an THC are cannabinoids that come from the hemp plant. However, the two have very different properties and CBD does not produce the mind altering effects THC does.
The reason this is relevant when considering treatment for anxiety is because many know that THC can increase anxiety in certain people and feel this may also be the case with CBD. The truth is, although the effectiveness of CBD in fighting anxiety is still being studied, people must examine research done on cannabidiol exclusively and ignore studies done on medical marijuana in order to get a clear understanding on how it can treat anxiety.
In the same vain, people must be careful to purchase CBD products that are pure in order to get the ultimate benefits in treatment.
But Does It Work?
Now that we have (hopefully) cleared up any confusion that may arise in comparing CBD to THC we can look more clearly at studies that have shown CBD to be successful in treating anxiety. These include the following:
2010: A small study found that cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Brain scans of participants revealed changes in blood flow to regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. Participants were said to feel better and experience changes in the way their brains responded to anxiety.
2011: This study had similar results to that of the 2010 study although it researched participants experiencing anxiety related to public speaking.
2014: Research was published with findings that CBD oils have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in an animal model.
2015: An analysis of previous studies was conducted with findings that CBD oil was effective in the treatment of various types of anxiety including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.
The analysis also pointed out that although CBD may be a good short term solution, its effects on long term anxiety are unknown.
2016: A study was conducted on a child with a history of trauma who was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety provoked sleep disorder. Researchers found that the CBD helped her sleep.
2018: More recent studies are being conducted to determine whether CBD could be effective in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use. Phase 2 of these studies will test whether it can be used to calm addictive tendencies in opioid abusers. Results from these studies is still a few years off.
Studies such as these are ongoing and continue to prove that CBD is effective in fighting anxiety. In fact, in April of 2018, a panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration recommended approval of the first pharmaceutical grade CBD, Epidolex. This medication is approved to treat seizure disorders in children.
Although Epidolex is approved in the treatment of seizures and not anxiety, the two have been proven to be related meaning doors could soon open and CBD based treatments for anxiety to start appearing on the market.
Related Uses of CBD
Because CBD relieves anxiety, it can relieve symptoms of depression and weaken the fear response both of which are closely related to anxiety. It can also improve sleep as anxiety is a major source of insomnia.
There are a number of other health benefits CBD can provide including being effective in the treatment of life threatening illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
There are so many people in the world that suffer from anxiety. It is good to know that research is showing that CBD may be emerging as a natural alternative to many drugs that can yield unpleasant side effects. Hopefully, with a bit more research, CBD may begin to be a leading accepted form of treatment for anxiety and its related disorders.