CBD Oil for Anxiety

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CBD Oil for Anxiety: What You Need to Know

In the past few years, Cannabidiol (CBD) was able to beat the stigma associated with cannabis (better known as marijuana or hemp). Despite the controversy linked with CBD due to recreational use of marijuana, there’s been a growing awareness of the possible health benefits of CBD, especially in soothing daily worries. Others, however, use it to treat more serious conditions such as anxiety disorders. 

Unlike its cousin Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, another type of cannabinoid), CBD does not cause the “high” or feelings of intoxication associated with cannabis. But how does it really work in treating serious medical conditions like anxiety disorder? Is it the right treatment for you? 

CBD Oil for Anxiety: How it interacts with the mind and body

There are many different types of receptors distributed all over the human body. They are protein-based chemical structures found in the cells and tissues, and they help control almost all organs in the body. They are sensing molecules or elements that send signals to the cell to elicit specific physiological change or reaction. They receive various signals from different stimuli. 

Studies suggest that CBD interacts with the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are both found mostly in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. It is still unclear how CBD affects the brain’s CB1 receptors, but studies show it may change signals of serotonin.

Commonly known as the happy hormone, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a huge role in one’s mental health. Low levels of serotonin is attributed to depression. In some cases, it is linked to anxiety. 

With that said, low level serotonin is treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), which is only available through prescription. The common medications in the market right now are the Prozac (fluoxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline). 

The advent of research in CBD suggests that it may be able to manage anxiety disorder better than SSRI. However, as with any other medications, it’s best to talk to your doctor for any changes you wish to make. 

cbd oil helps anxiety

Research and evidence on CBD oil for anxiety and its effects

There are multiple scientific studies that support the supposed health benefits of CBD for treating anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

In June of 2015, the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a paper about the biological and potential therapeutic effects of CBD. Initial research showed reduction of anxiety and stress in animals such as rats. 

The study showed CBD’s therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models, including reduction of behavioral and physiological (heart rate) signs of stress and anxiety. 

Other forms of Anxiety 

In 2011, the Journal of Psychopharmacology published a report on the neural basis of CBD’s anxiolytic effects for generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD). Study subjects were given either 400mg oral dose of CBD or placebo. Those who received the CBD showed overall reduction in levels of anxiety.

There are also many studies that support the benefits of CBD for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 2018, Rafael M. Bitencourt and Reinaldo N. Takahashi from the University of South Santa Catarina, Tubarão, Brazil and Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil (respectively), published a study that showed the therapeutic effects of CBD for PTSD symptoms. Their study suggests that CBD is a candidate for pharmacological and physiological therapy for PTSD. The study also showed very few side effects compared to the current pharmacological therapy used today like cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. 

CBD and other neurological disorders

The effect of CBD is also being studied in other neurological disorders, such as depression. Experts believe that the positive effects of CBD are largely related to the brain’s serotonin receptors. 

Low serotonin level is a common symptom of depression. Though CBD doesn’t necessarily increase the body’s serotonin levels, it may affect how the brain responds to the serotonin already existing in the system. An animal study in 2014 conducted by Alexander R. de Mello Schier, et al., from the Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ), showed the effects of CBD in the brain’s receptors produced both anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. 

A recent study in 2018 by Jose A. Crippa, et al., from the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, showed that CBD has antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective properties. It also showed CBD’s potential as a treatment for other neurological conditions like schizophrenia, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, PTSD, social phobia, and even sleep disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. 

Moreover, it is important to note that CBD doesn’t cause any debilitating or significant side effects often associated with the common antipsychotic drugs. 

Suggested Dosage

It is best to talk to your doctor if you’re considering CBD as treatment for your anxiety. They can help in determining the right starting dosage for you and recommended dosage moving forward. They also can explain what to expect with the treatment and the potential risks. This is extremely important, especially if you’re already taking a prescription medication that contains CBD (i.e. Epidolex) or any type of seizure medication. 

As said earlier, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you “high”. Nonetheless, your dosage depends on different factors, such as:

  • Your current weight
  • The condition being treated
  • Your body chemistry
  • The CBD concentration (capsule, drop, oil, pill, vapes, or gummies)

If your doctor doesn’t recommend CBD for you, then you can start with small dosage and increase it gradually. You can start with 20mg to 40mg per day. Increase your dosage by 5mg per week and continue until you feel the symptoms subside. 

Also, different forms of CBD will have different dosage. CBD oil for anxiety treatment has different set of determining factors too, including:

  • Your current weight
  • Easiness
  • Level of discomfort
  • Concentration

Since there are different factors for determining dosage, some result in trial and error. Fortunately, there is no known lethal dosage for CBD. Studies, however, show that the human body can tolerate up to 750mg.

It is best to keep track of the dosage you’re taking and how it affects the symptoms. 

cbd for anxiety

Common Side Effects

CBD may be non-psychoactive, but it does cause some side effects to other people. Some of the common side effects are:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in weight

Exercise caution if you take blood thinning medications with “grapefruit warning”. Grapefruit and CBD both interact with metabolism enzymes. 

CBD oil can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, but it can also cause withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop the prescribed medication. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Fogginess
  • Nausea

Bottom Line

The mainstream market erased the stigma associated with CBD and it’s becoming a popular alternative medication for a number of health issues. Also, it is important to note that different forms may have different levels of effects. If you’re interested in trying CBD oil for treating your anxiety, then it’s best to consult your doctor. Be cautious when taking CBD; it’s generally safe but it may interact with other medications.

You might also like to read: Hemp Seed Oil Benefits for Your Skin 

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