Everything You Need to Know About Taking CBD Oil for Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect 40 million US adults every year. That translates to more than 18% of the entire US population. On top of that, 8% of kids and teens also develop such disorders.
For a long time now, medications were the first line of treatment for anxiety. Cannabidiol (CBD), however, provides a more natural, plant-based way to treat anxiety disorders.
The best part is, scientific studies have found evidence that CBD oil for anxiety works. The many uses of cannabidiol have even earned it its own national holiday in the US.
The big question now is, how exactly does CBD help people with anxiety disorders?
We're here to give you an in-depth look at how cannabidiol can help, so be sure to read on!
What Is CBD?
CBD is an initialism for "cannabidiol," which is one of the more than 60 cannabinoids found in cannabis. You may have also heard of these plant-based cannabinoids referred to as "phytocannabinoids." It's important to note this since humans also produce their own, called "endocannabinoids."
Phytocannabinoids are the active chemical components of the cannabis plant. Although there are 60+ of them, CBD is one of the two primary ones that have earned a lot of scientific respect. The other one is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Do note that while both CBD and THC comes from cannabis, THC is the only one with psychoactive effects. Some researchers even found evidence that CBD seems to "offset" THC's psychiatric effects.
More than that, cannabidiol has shown to have pain-relieving effects in many studies. That appears to come from CBD's analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Researchers found that this cannabinoid can ease both pain and inflammation.
Cannabidiol, however, also appears to have anxiolytic and anti-depressant like properties. As an anxiolytic, CBD may help relieve the signs and symptoms of anxiety. As an anti-depressant, it may be useful as a non-drug treatment for those with depression.
CBD Basics: How It Works
CBD's potential benefits arise from how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). All mammals have an ECS, the name of which actually came from none other than cannabis itself. Yes, humans have a cell-signaling system inside the body named after cannabis!
As a cell-signaling and messaging system, the ECS helps the body retain "homeostasis." This is the body's ability to keep its entire self in balance. When the body is in a homeostatic state, it functions optimally, or you could say "at its peak."
In that way, the ECS plays many integral roles in various physiological processes. These include immune functions, hunger, memory, sleep, mood, stress, and pain, to name a few.
Scientists found that one way CBD benefits people is by acting upon the ECS receptors. There are currently two known ECS receptors: the CB1R and the CB2R.
Most of the CB1 receptors are in the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system (CNS). However, they're also present in the spleen, endocrine gland, and even the white blood cells.
CB2 receptors are more abundant in the white blood cells, as well as the spleen and the tonsils. All in all, the majority of CB2Rs exist in the immune system.
What Then Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil consists of extracts of cannabidiol mixed with a carrier oil. Keep in mind that the purity of the product depends on the exact extraction method used. The best techniques used at the moment include CO2 extraction and winterization.
On that note, be sure to confirm the extraction method used in a specific CBD product. One way to do this is by ensuring that the product has undergone lab testing. The manufacturer should readily make the lab test results available.
Where CBD Oil for Anxiety Comes Into Play
As mentioned above, CBD possesses anxiolytic effects. These benefits include reducing stress as well as slowing down the heart rate. It also helps promote relaxation, which, in turn, can help ease anxious thoughts and stress.
Scientists are still researching how exactly CBDA & CBD works against anxiety. Current studies, however, found that cannabidiol helps with anxiety in the following ways.
Interactions With the Happy Hormone Serotonin
One way that CBD for anxiety works is through its actions upon serotonin. Serotonin belongs to the group of "happy hormones."
As a happy hormone, serotonin helps stabilize mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being. It also promotes better sleep and even digestion. Moreover, it allows the cells in both the brain and nervous system to "keep in touch" with each other.
As such, a lack of serotonin can lead to many conditions, including anxiety and depression.
CBD doesn't exactly make the body's serotonin levels skyrocket. Instead, it seems to change how the brain responds to serotonin that's already present. Studies found that CBD's contact with serotonin resulted in anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects.
Anxiety is one of the ways that the body reacts to stress. However, chronic feelings of apprehension or stress can become severe and debilitating. It can become super hard to control and may lead to more severe conditions like phobias.
Since stress is a key factor in anxiety disorders (AD), it's vital to have better control over it. Proper management of stress can help prevent it from turning into a full-on AD. In people who do already have AD, managing stress can help keep panic attacks at bay.
Fortunately, CBD products, like CBD oil, can help with anxiety by acting as a stress reliever. By lowering stress levels, it can also help lessen anxiety-inducing worrisome thoughts. With fewer anxious thoughts, you can then make yourself less prone to panic attacks.
Mitigates the Effects of Anxiety Triggers or Stimuli
Anxiety disorders have a severe multiplying effect on feelings of fear and dread. Worrying thoughts are also constant, overwhelming, and crippling. In people with AD, these sensations get amplified in response to certain stimuli.
Stimuli are things that evoke or trigger a specific functional reaction. They can be physical objects, a recollection of events, or even ongoing situations. Anxiety disorder triggers vary widely in people with anxiety disorders.
For instance, in people with a social anxiety disorder (SAD), this can be making small talk. In people with generalized anxiety disorder, having to leave home can be a stimulus in itself. In some people, AD can even get triggered by looking at the face of another person.
CBD for anxiety seems to once again help by acting upon the brain's way of processing stimuli. It modifies certain brain processes, making these "triggers" feel less fearsome. All in all, cannabidiol appears to modulate these anxiety-inducing stimuli.
As CBD reduces the "severity" of triggers, people with AD may find it easier to cope with their condition.
GABA is a type of amino acid in the body that serves as a neurotransmitter in the CNS. One of its primary functions is to diminish the activity of the neurons that it binds to. It slows down nerve transmissions happening in the brain, thus; lessening nervous activity.
Scientists found that, aside from serotonin receptors, CBD also acts upon GABA receptors. In this way, cannabidiol changes the shape of a specific GABA receptor. As it does, the natural relaxing and calming effect of the amino acid appears to increase.
As such, taking CBD products may help you find it easier to relax. This, in turn, may help quiet those racing thoughts that make you anxious. This can be even more helpful if your anxiety disorder makes it difficult for you to sleep.
Less Pain, Less Anxious Thoughts
Pain and anxiety disorder often coexists. In people with AD, for instance, their condition can amplify the pain they feel. Suffering from pain, on the other hand, can invoke even more worrisome or fearful thoughts.
The great news is, pain relief is one of the most well-studied benefits of CBD oil. Many studies have long since found how cannabidiol can help ease pain, even the chronic kind. It appears to disrupt how the brain and body process pain signals.
In this way, CBD helps lessen inflammation and pain. It reduces not only the degree of pain but also its frequency.
As pain conditions can have a severe effect on anxiety, then easing the latter can improve the former. If you feel less pain, then you may feel less anxious. If you feel less anxious, then you may also feel less pain.
Consider All These Benefits of CBD for Anxiety
As you can see, CBD oil for anxiety brings about a wide array of benefits for some people. It some user say they feel more relaxed, which can then quiet those racing thoughts inside your gray matter. Its calming effects may also help you not only fall asleep faster but also sleep better and longer.
All these can then help you manage your anxiety disorder.
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