Can CBD Oil Help With Anxiety?

CBD and Anxiety

Are you one of the 40 million Americans adults who suffer from anxiety?

Is being chronically stressed affecting your health, relationships, and quality of life?

You might have trouble with falling asleep, feel irritated without knowing why, or even have the occasional panic attacks.

Maybe your anxiety is affecting your relationships and how you socialize with your friends. Not to mention, the physical symptoms like heart palpitations, chest tightness, and digestive issues.

If you’ve been to the doctor for your anxiety, they might have prescribed antidepressants for you.

Antidepressants work by making serotonin more readily available in your brain. Serotonin is a brain chemical that is associated with feeling good, which explains why you might feel better after taking antidepressants.

But antidepressants can come with unwanted side effects, both long and short-term. If you take them for a prolonged period, you could be increasing your risk of getting addicted.

Recently CBD has been gaining in popularity among those looking to enhance their wellness. It is a natural supplement and it is not meant to cure any conditions. However, there are people that report feeling better after using CBD.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. It has been gaining in prominence after Congress lifted several restrictions on the cultivation and sale of hemp products in 2018.

In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look into how CBD works, and if it might have an effect on anxiety.

Table of Contents

What is CBD? And how does it work?

Understanding CBD & The Body

To understand how CBD works, we should briefly discuss the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is responsible for maintaining balance within the human body by regulating various functions like sleep, mood, appetite, immune response, among others. 

The endocannabinoid system is made up of 3 components.

  • Endocannabinoids –  Chemical compounds produced by the human body that are similar to ones found in cannabis plants.
  • Cannabinoid receptors – The CB1 and CB2 receptors that get activated by endocannabinoids. 
  • Enzymes – Enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids when their job is done.

When something is out of balance, the ECS goes to work. Endocannabinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors to regulate functions that need attention. For example, if your body needs fuel, the ECS reminds you to eat by making you feel hungry.

Once everything is back to an optimal level, the enzymes break down the endocannabinoids since they are no longer needed, thus providing an accurate response.

CBD does not directly interact with the cannabinoid receptors. Although it isn’t clear how CBD interacts with the ECS, there is some evidence to suggest that CBD enhances the activity of the human body’s own cannabinoids.

Along with influencing the ECS, CBD also interacts with several non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain to affect a wide array of functions like sleep, mood, pain, and more.

 

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Why are people with anxiety turning to CBD?

CBD is not a cure for anxiety. But many people report that CBD has a calming effect on them, and it helps them feel better overall.

There are a few different ways in which CBD interacts with the brain that might be responsible for its calming effect.

Anandamides – Anandamide is a cannabinoid produced by the human body that has been linked with calmness and relaxation [3]. Influencing the ECS in a way that makes more anandamide available might have a calming effect on someone who is stressed.

Serotonin – Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is also known as the feel-good hormone [4][5]. As we explained above, antidepressants work because they make more serotonin available in the brain. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD may also promote brain health [6][7]. Someone with a healthy brain function could benefit in their fight against mood disorders.

How to use CBD oil

Tinctures The most common method of taking CBD for anxiety is through a tincture. It is the most convenient way to use CBD because you’ll know exactly how much you’re using. You’ll use a dropper to place the desired amount of CBD oil underneath your tongue.

 Topicals – Topicals usually come in the form of salves or balms. People often use topicals directly on sore or stiff muscles. Many users report that CBD topicals have a soothing effect. One of the advantages of topicals is that it is relatively fast-acting because it doesn’t have to go through the digestion process.

 Gummies – You can also take CBD as gummies or other edibles. They are convenient but may take longer to have an effect because they have to be metabolized first.

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Final thoughts

As the research on CBD continues, we can be hopeful that it will emerge as a beneficial tool for those battling mood disorders. In the meantime, if you want to use CBD to enhance your feeling of wellness, be sure to consult with a doctor before you begin.