In the past, options for treating anxiety have been limited to therapy and medication. However, some patients have found it difficult to treat their anxiety with prescription drugs. This is because of side effects that can severely impact their lives. For them, CBD could be a viable option for treating their anxiety in a more natural way without the harsh side effects that other medications may cause.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring substance that is extracted from cannabis and hemp plants. It is rich in cannabinoids, which are natural chemicals that bind to specific receptors in the brain. There are many types of cannabinoids. The one that most first think of is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the “high” that people experience after smoking or ingesting marijuana. However, CBD that is derived from hemp does not cause a high or any alterations of the user’s mental state.
So, how does CBD that does not produce a “high” provide relief from anxiety? It interacts with two of the body’s receptors, CB1 and CB2, respectively found in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Receptors are protein-based structures that react when exposed to different stimuli. It is not yet understood how CBD affects these two receptors. However, it has been shown to increase the production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is essential for good mental health.
Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and can be the culprit behind anxiety for some patients. This deficiency is commonly treated with prescription medications, like Zoloft or Prozac that are selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs do not always work well for some people because of their side effects. CBD could be an alternative treatment option for those who use SSRIs to treat their anxiety.
How CBD Can Help Those with Anxiety
Medical studies provide increasing evidence that CBD oil could provide relief to those suffering from anxiety. In a study conducted by researchers in Brazil, the effects of CBD use by patients with social anxiety disorders were studied. The participants in the study felt better after using CBD. But most notably, brain scans of the participants showed that it had also changed the ways their brains responded to their anxiety. A 2014 study published by the Institute of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro concluded that CBD oil provided anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects on their animal test subjects.
Studies suggest that CBD could potentially treat some anxiety and neurological disorders like:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
- Anxiety-induced insomnia
- Some neurological orders that are treated with antipsychotic drugs
CBD oil could be the answer for many patients who are frustrated with the level of relief or side effects they are experiencing with their current medication regimen.
Disclaimer: If you are currently taking prescribed medication for anxiety or neurological disorder, do not stop taking your medication without first discussing your options for treatment, including the use of CBD.