Nearly a third of Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetimes, a rate that’s doubled in the past 20 years. While many people who suffer from anxiety try to ignore it, believing it’s just a part of normal everyday stress, some turn to pharmaceutical medications. But those drugs meant to calm anxiety can sometimes be debilitating due to their unwanted side effects that include everything from a diminished sex drive to depression.
Early research has shown some very promising signs for using cannabidiol (CBD) oil to combat anxiety. It’s a type of cannabinoid naturally found marijuana and hemp plants, but unlike THC, the cannabinoid responsible for getting you “high,” it won’t give you a buzz although it may provide multiple benefits, including anxiety relief.
The Scientific Research
While the scientific community is still catching up, an increasing number of anxiety sufferers buy CBD to enjoy relief. As more research is conducted and more clinical trials get underway, the evidence is pointing to CBD becoming a more mainstream, safe, and all-natural way to treat anxiety.
Recent research from Washington State University looked at how levels of anxiety (as well as stress and depression) were affected by people who smoked various quantities and strains of cannabis at home. It was one of the first attempts by scientists in the United States to look at just how cannabis, in varying amounts of THC and CBD might affect medicinal cannabis users’ feelings of well-being when smoked outside of a lab. Previously, pills have been used. The results, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, suggested that cannabis can dramatically reduce short-term levels of anxiety.
Numerous other studies have been conducted as well, including a 2014 study that showed CBD provides both anti-anxiety and antidepressant-like effects. Several others have pointed to its potential benefits for reducing anxiety such as the National Institute of Drug Abuse which reported that CBD decreased stress in animals, with subjects observed as having reduced behavioral signs of anxiety, including decreases in heart rate. Research has shown potential benefits for disorders like social anxiety and post-traumatic stress, and evidence has suggested that the compound may also help insomnia that’s been triggered by anxiety.
CBD oil is believed to work with a brain receptor known as CB1, a tiny protein attached to body cells that receive chemical signals from various stimuli, helping them to respond. While the exact method CBD affects CB1 is yet to be determined, it’s believed to alter serotonin signals, an important chemical involved in mental health. With low serotonin levels, one is more likely to develop anxiety or depression.
Using CBD Oil for Anxiety
As CBD oil for anxiety is still a relatively new alternative, it can take some time to determine the correct dosage. The amount to take varies from person to person and there are no official guidelines in place just yet. For anyone just starting out, it’s best to begin with a lower dosage to give the body time to adapt, ensuring that too much isn’t taken initially, although it is safe to take in high doses under most circumstances. If you don’t notice beneficial effects, you can then slowly increase the amount every few days.