Does CBD Have Major Benefits As An Anxiety Treatment?
Does CBD Have Major Benefits As An Anxiety Treatment?
As someone doing your own research about the breakthroughs being discovered with CBD, you may have preconceived notions about what CBD is, or have heard mistaken points of view from friends who haven’t really gathered facts as carefully as you should. One of the biggest myths about CBD is that it can make a person “high” when in fact that is absolutely not the case. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, and while it is found naturally in cannabis plants, it is also a naturally occurring class of organic compounds produced within the human body itself.
Does CBD Cause A Euphoric “High” When Ingested?
The confusion stems from the fact that cannabis plans also produce another chemical compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is well-known to many people who have smoked marijuana or eaten edibles that contain THC. The euphoric “high” they associate with cannabis comes directly from the THC content, not at all from the CBD content of the plant.
In studies being done to determine whether or not Cannabis plants can play an important role in reducing anxiety levels among people suffering from health issues related to tension, depression, anxiety and other ailments, the public tends to focus primarily on a correlation between “feeling high” from the THC and being less anxious as a result. The facts however are showing more and more that the “high” from the THC is far less impactful in the search for a real treatment for anxiety than the more subtle and persistent reduction in stress levels that appears to be caused by the CBD content without any mind-altering side effects at all.
As with any new leading-edge discoveries in modern medicine, it is always important to point out that we are far from having a completely accurate understanding of exactly how CBD might be reducing the anxiety levels in millions of people around the globe right now. The current theory espoused by many in the field is that CBD interacts with what are commonly referred to as the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your central nervous system, which then distributes the byproduct throughout your peripheral nervous system while reducing the sort of biological ‘noise’ that causes undue anxiety.
The exact ways that CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain are not fully understood. One theory is that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may relax serotonin inhibition in the brain and allow more efficient uptake of serotonin signals as an important neurotransmitter.
Low serotonin levels have been associated by medical studies with people who experience many forms of anxiety and depression. In some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety.
Based on the preliminary findings and anecdotal evidence available to this point, consensus is building behind the theory that CBD has an anti-anxiety effect without causing any sense of euphoria because rather than masking feelings or symptoms of anxiety, it may be addressing the root causes of anxiety as the cellular molecular level throughout the human nervous system.
Traditional medical treatments for low serotonin levels include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRI) such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac). SSRIs are only available by prescription and are created in a laboratory as synthetic FDA approved pharmaceuticals. These medications have been thoroughly tested and have demonstrated proven results with a great number of patients, but they have also proven to have negative side effects as well. For that reason, researchers continue to seek out new generations of therapeutics that will hopefully one day provide even more relief with even less of a side effect profile. Whether organic CBD from the cannabis plant eventually becomes a part of the solution or not, only time and further study will tell.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The most common form of anxiety ailments is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Symptoms of GAD are unfortunately plentiful and may include:
- Inability to Concentrate
- Frequent Irritability
- Lack of Focus
- Muscle Ache
- Bowel and Digestive Dysfunction
- Tension Headaches
- Numbness or Tingling
While many medical therapeutics have been tried over the past century for overcoming General Anxiety Disorder with limited success, there is a lot of new hope surrounding early studies regarding CBD. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that “pre-clinical research (including both cell culture and animal models) has shown CBD to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful, including antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-anxiety properties.”
A recent report from NIDA went on to say that “CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress, reducing both behavioral and physiological (e.g., heart rate) measures of stress and anxiety. In addition, CBD has shown efficacy in small human laboratory and clinical trials.”
The early results of these reports are about as positive as any that have come out since scientists first began studying possible anxiety treatments, but more work does need to be done before these scientific findings become fully accepted on a global scale.
However, the combination of laboratory clinical trials being undertaken currently, and anecdotal evidence available from the recent legalization of cannabis on a state-wide basis and acceptance of CBD globally by consumers is making a compelling argument for further study and adoption of CBD as a treatement for General Anxiety Disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Anxiety can also come in other forms, Social Anxiety Disorder, for example is a common cause of serious health and wellness difficulties for many people. Social anxiety disorder is also sometimes referred to as Social Phobia and in extreme cases it can have a paralyzing affect on a person that makes attending social gatherings, working in an office environment, or even meeting in person with family and friends cause of considerable alarm. More than merely feelings associated with an introverted personality, Social Anxiety Disorder often manifests with physical symptoms as well. Ranging from mild but noticeable obstacles like sweaty palms and a dry mouth, to severe heart arrhythmias and migraine headaches or worse in more extreme cases.
In 2011, a now famous study published in the Sage Journal of Psychopharmacology discussed preliminary research into the effect that CBD treatments have on people suffering with Social Anxiety Disorder. Participants were each given an oral dose of 400 milligrams (mg) of CBD or a placebo. Those who received CBD experienced reduced anxiety levels and had a physically definable decrease in the biochemical catalysts that cause it.
As the study explained, “Relative to placebo, CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety (p < 0.001), reduced ECD uptake in the left parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampus, and inferior temporal gyrus (p < 0.001, uncorrected), and increased ECD uptake in the right posterior cingulate gyrus (p < 0.001, uncorrected). These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”
The limbic system is an information area of brain function that controls much of our health and emotional wellness. The structures of the limbic system and the interacting areas of it are directly involved in providing the human body with motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. The limbic system is also where the subcortical structures of the body meet the cerebral cortex. By influencing the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system, the limbic system plays a key role in providing balance between the instinctual “fight or flight” modes that all humans present.
In short, research appears to have shown that CBD can have a direct impact on the system of the body responsible for effectively regulating your urge to react to emotional stimuli, tamping down over-reactions at a biochemical level and establishing a calmer disposition as an overarching framework for all of your behavioral predispositions.
Dosage and Side Effects of CBD For Anxiety Treatment
With so much positive news surrounding CBD as a potential treatment for long-suffering anxiety patients, the logical next questions become how much CBD should I take, and are there any side-effects I should be aware of before starting a regimen of CBD myself?
The truthful answer is that CBD study is still in its early phase. That means most of the information available about these important subjects comes from early-adopters who are engaged in a pioneering effort to help themselves while providing data for others who will eventually follow in their footsteps.
So far, none of the side effects of CBD appear to be serious and in fact, as an organic compound it stands to reason that the eventual results will show that CBD is far safe for human consumption than synthetic alternatives produced in a lab.
Dosage is often determined a case-by-case basis through incremental trial and error. Starting with micro doses and adjust intermittently until the best dosage can be determined. Things like body weight, metabolism and activity level do appear to affect proper dosage, but once again, with CBD the promise of an amazing recovery from anxiety related illnesses is there while some of the specifics continue to be worked out by many smart minds sharing the effort to save so many from the anxiety discomforts they have faced for far too long.