One of the primary reasons to take CBD is to manage anxiety and depression. There are numerous success stories from all over the world praising CBD for its calming therapeutic effects. However, medical research is still limited, and a lot more needs to be done before CBD becomes an FDA-approved medication for doctors to recommend and prescribe.
That said, the evidence is promising and many have turned to CBD as an alternative to traditional medications. Others use CBD to manage mild anxiety and as a supplement to help balance several biological functions within the body.
The bottom line is that the documented benefits of CBD are still mostly anecdotal as the medical research struggles to catch up. While the research appears positive, let’s take a look at what we really know. Here is the latest research on CBD for Anxiety.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an active component derived from cannabis. It is found in both marijuana and hemp plants. Most CBD products sold on the open market contain CBD from hemp in order to avoid the potential legal implications of dealing with marijuana.
Although CBD is an essential component of medical and recreational marijuana, it does not have psychoactive qualities like the compound in marijuana that gets people “high,” THC. CBD is not addictive and there are no health problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
In other words, CBD will not get you high. It does not have intoxicating effects, so you won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works by influencing receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This complex biological system was discovered in the human body in the 1990s, and there’s still little known about how it works. Although there is still much to be discovered, it is known that this system impacts several major processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, and memory.
CBD interacts with receptors in the body known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors act primarily on the central nervous system, controlling movement, pain, coordination, appetite, mood, memory, and other functions. CB2 receptors act on the peripheral nervous system, influencing inflammation and pain.
How CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors isn’t fully understood. However, it seems to have a direct effect on serotonin signals in the brain, a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in mental health. For instance, those with low serotonin levels commonly experience depression and anxiety.
For this reason, CBD is often used to manage anxiety and depression instead of traditional medications, like Zoloft and Prozac. However, you should talk to your doctor before changing your treatment plan.
CBD for Anxiety: What the Latest Research Says
CBD research is ongoing, and while it is, in many ways, still in its infancy, so far the data points to several benefits. One of those benefits is how it affects people with anxiety and depression. However, most of the data comes from experiments performed on animals such as rats and human trials have been limited.
That said, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), CBD reduces stress and anxiety. In one study performed on rats, CBD reduces physical signs of anxiety. It also lowered physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate.
So far, the research indicates that CBD may be an effective treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This is good news because it may offer an alternative to the Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) such as Prozac and Zoloft that are traditionally prescribed for with this disorder and can have unpleasant side effects.
CBD has also shown promise with other forms of anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Anyone with the condition can tell you the negative impact constant anxiety has on their quality of life. For them, the potential CBD has in treating this disorder is exciting.
In 2011, a study was conducted to see what effects CBD would have on people with SAD. In the study, one group was given an oral dose of 400 milligrams of CBD and the other a placebo. The study concluded that those who received the CBD experienced noticeable reductions in stress and anxiety levels.
Other recent studies have shown promise in using CBD to treat PTSD symptoms. Participants shared a reduction in nightmares and the constant replaying of traumatic memories. While it’s certainly not a cure-all, CBD appears to be an excellent supplement to traditional treatments and medications.
CBD for Other Neurological Disorders
CBD is also being studied for its use in treating other neurological disorders. Interestingly, while there’s growing evidence of CBD’s effect on anxiety, there is still not enough evidence to say it’s an effective treatment for depression.
In a literature review on CBD and psychiatric disorders from 2017, the researchers found evidence that CBD can help those with anxiety disorders. However, there remains the need for controlled trials before any meaningful conclusions can be drawn.
A 2016 study found evidence for the use of CBD as an antipsychotic. It may help to prevent schizophrenic episodes in some people. If this is the case, it’s an exciting discovery given the potentially debilitating side effects of many antipsychotic drugs.
The bottom line is, more human tests are needed before the medical community can begin recommending and prescribing CBD for anxiety and other disorders. Information is needed to better understand how CBD works, its potential side effects, and the ideal dosage.
CBD for Anxiety
CBD has a wide range of potential benefits, including for the treatment of inflammation, pain, depression, stress, epilepsy, and anxiety. While it’s generally considered safe, the CBD industry has far outpaced scientific research.
That said, the future looks bright and the evidence points to significant benefits in using CBD for anxiety. Despite the unknowns, CBD can be an effective treatment.