In the past few years, Cannabidiol (CBD) has taken over the wellness world, becoming a favored remedy for anxiety. People turn to CBD oil to feel calm and to help with conditions like generalized anxiety. Even though research on CBD oil is still in its infancy, evidence it can help people with anxiety ease their symptoms is enough for those struggling to give the alternative remedy a try.
The Connection between CBD & Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect roughly 18 percent of the US population each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. While some people seek treatment with medication, others are turning to CBD oil for help instead. According to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018, around 62 percent of users mentioned they use CBD to treat a medical condition, with anxiety being in the top three.
The connection between CBD and anxiety happens at a brain receptor called CB1. While the way CBD affects this receptor is still not fully known, scientists believe it alters serotonin signals. Serotonin plays a critical role in mental health, as low serotonin levels have been linked to depression and anxiety in some people.
Several studies are analyzing the potential benefits CBD can provide people with anxiety. General studies have shown improvement for people with social anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety-induced insomnia, and general symptoms of anxiety.
In 2010, a study showed Cannabidiol could reduce symptoms in people with social anxiety disorder, with brain scans showing changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. The participants not only reported feeling better overall, but researchers also reported seeing how changes in the participants’ brains also changed their response to anxiety triggers.
In 2015, an analysis of previous CBD studies concluded that the results proved promising to treat numerous forms of anxiety. However, the report noted that the results were based on the role of CBD in treating short-term anxiety; further research is still needed regarding its long-term effects.
Another 2016 case study looked at the effects Cannabidiol could have in reducing PTSD symptoms and anxiety-induced sleep disorders in a child with a traumatic history. The researchers found that Cannabidiol helped reduce the child’s anxiety and insomnia.
In 2017, a study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research concluded there was no improvement to negative emotional stimuli or reduced anxiety in healthy participants. The study analyzed participants’ responses to negative images or words, as well as threatening faces and sensitivity to social rejection, after taking Cannabidiol. This same year, a comprehensive review of other CBD studies found inconclusive results. The review’s authors said there wasn’t enough evidence to claim CBD was indeed a valid treatment for depression. But, they did note positive results for anxiety. However, further research is still needed.
Most recently, in 2018, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology tested the effects of Cannabidiol in people with high paranoid traits. The study found no impact on anxiety, cortisol levels, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and persecutory ideation.
A Word from GR8NESS
If you’re experiencing anxiety symptoms, including restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and sleep problems, you should consider contacting your doctor as soon as possible. Working with a mental health professional can help you find the right anxiety treatment plan for you.
Letting an anxiety disorder go untreated can impact your quality of life and even lead to physical health problems. If you’re thinking of using cbd for treating anxiety – and it’s legal where you live – still consider reaching out to a medical professional. Self-treating your anxiety symptoms can have consequences, always check with your doctor to make sure what you’re doing is right for you.