Fact Check: Does CBD Oil Really Work for Anxiety?

Cannabidiol (CBD), is a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant (marijuana and hemp variety). 

It is one among the hundreds of phytocannabinoids found in the resinous flower of cannabis and is known to be a safe and non-addictive compound.

CBD shares a close resemblance with another such cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. These two cannabinoids of cannabis have been extensively studied by scientists. 

Both these compounds are widely known for their therapeutic properties and use in modern medicine.

However, unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive substance and does not produce any intoxicating effect on those who consume it. This is because CBD and THC react differently with different receptors in the brain and the body.

It depends on the quantity in which compound is consumed, but CBD can in fact neutralize the intoxicating effects of THC, making it ideal for people who want only the therapeutic effects sans the ‘high’.

CBD is a curative substance that is not hallucinatory or psychedelic and according to industrytap the easiest method of administration of CBD is in the form of CBD oil.

Research seems promising with regard to the medicinal properties of CBD oil, proving to be incredibly useful in treating chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.

How does CBD work?

The human body has several receptors. Receptors are protein-based chemical structures that are a part of your cells. They react to different internal and external stimuli.

CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body, which are usually found in the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System, respectively.

Primarily, CBD acts by mimicking and augmenting the effects of certain compounds in our bodies called ‘endogenous cannabinoids’.

These compounds are named so because of the similarities they share with the compounds found in cannabis plants. These compounds make up the ‘endocannabinoid system’.

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has major consequences for almost every area of medical science and it helps explain how and why CBD is such a versatile compound.

The endocannabinoid system crucially regulates a broad range of physiological processes that affect our daily experiences like our mood, energy level, immune activity, blood pressure, intestinal fortitude, bone density, and glucose metabolism.

The consequences of a chronically deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system are Diseases. Disease progression can be stopped substantially by modulating the endocannabinoid system with the help of CBD.

Emergence of CBD

Many people have been seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals that are often associated with some harsh side effects. This led to a detailed study into how CBD reacts with our body and is able to perform all the functions of a pharmaceutical drug without the unpleasant side effects.

Extensive scientific research coupled with anecdotal accounts from physicians and patients highlight CBD’s vast potential to treat several maladies such as:

  • Autoimmune diseases (Inflammation, Rheumatoid Arthritis)
  • Cardiovascular Dysfunction
  • Gut Disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
  • Metabolic Syndromes (Diabetes, Obesity)
  • Neurological Disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Stroke, Epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea)
  • Neuropsychiatric illness (Autism, ADHD, PTSD, Alcoholism)
  • Skin Diseases (Psoriasis, Dermatitis, Acne)

Another area where research proves CBD to be a promising substitute to pharmaceutical drugs is in treating anxiety.

Various Anxiety Disorders Treatable By CBD:

Anxiety Disorders are a group of mental disorders that cause constant and overwhelming feelings of anxiousness and fear. 

This excessive anxiety is often the reason behind you avoiding work, family get-togethers, school, and other social situations that you fear may trigger or worsen your symptoms.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: 

One might experience excessive, unrealistic worries and tension with little or no reason.

Social Anxiety Disorder: 

A condition also called social phobia, it is when you feel overwhelming worry and self-consciousness due to routine social situations.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 

It is a health condition that is triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Its symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe bouts of anxiety. It is also characterized by uncontrollable recollections of the traumatic event.

CBD as a potential treatment for Anxiety Disorders:

Several studies have pointed towards the potential benefits of CBD for anxiety.

For generalized anxiety

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has claimed that in the case of generalized anxiety, CBD is shown to have reduced stress in animals.

Subjects of the study were observed as having lesser behavioral signs of anxiety. Increased heart rate, a prime example of physiological symptoms associated with anxiety was observed to be reduced in subjects of the study.

Other forms of anxiety

CBD is also known to help with other forms of anxiety-like Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It also helps in treating anxiety-induced Insomnia.

A 2010 study found that consumption of cannabidiol can reduce the symptoms of SAD. Brain scans of participants revealed the alterations in blood flow to brain regions that are linked to feelings of anxiety.

The study suggested that cannabidiol didn’t just make the participants feel better, rather it also changed their brains’ response to anxiety.

Research in 2014 concluded that CBD Oil has anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties.
Judging the quality of CBD can be tough considering different people use them for different purposes. CBD oils considered good for pain should usually be a full spectrum in addition to being pure and containing good quality ingredients.

If you are looking to buy one such CBD oil to treat anxiety, a well known and safe brand is Nuleaf Naturals which has a shelf life of 12 months and provides a sense of calm and focus when used as recommended. 

An analysis of previous studies revealed that CBD oil is indeed a promising treatment for several forms of anxiety, including: 

  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

CBD can help with PTSD symptoms like nightmares and replaying of negative memories as well.

The potential of CBD has been highlighted as a supplement to traditional treatments like medication and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as well as a standalone PTSD treatment.

A 2016 case study was aimed at exploring whether or not cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of PTSD and anxiety-provoked sleep disorder in a child with a traumatic past. It concluded that cannabidiol reduced the child’s anxiety significantly and helped her sleep.

In Conclusion

There are known side-effects to use cannabis, particularly when one smokes it. Studies aimed towards cannabidiol specifically, however, have found no adverse negative health effects.

CBD oil is an ideal option for people who cannot tolerate the side effects that are linked with other medications for anxiety, especially addiction.

However, if you are considering CBD oil to treat anxiety, make sure to consult your doctor if you are currently on any medications. CBD does not work well with other drugs and may affect your health negatively. 

Mixing other drugs with CBD can alter the metabolism process of your body. It may delay the breakdown of CBD and it may stay in your system for a longer period.

You can check the medications for a “Grapefruit Warning”, as Grapefruit reacts with certain drugs the same way as CBD does.

You must also research the laws in your area regarding the usage of cannabis products, although all CBD products with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight are considered legal in the USA.

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