Does CBD Oil Work As Treatment For Anxiety?
There is plenty of buzz surrounding CBD. Look around, and you will see that the market is flooded with products with “CBD” on their labels. There are CBD oils, salves, gummies, lotions, and even jelly beans, lollipops, and chocolates!
From all indications, CBD is becoming more popular by the day. While CBD has been in use in other countries and cultures for thousands of years, it is only recently that it has become a much-talked-about product in the mainstream and is now a veritable juggernaut in the world of wellness.
Without a doubt, the popularity of CBD has something to do with its growing reputation as an effective remedy for a number of medical conditions. The many purported benefits of CBD oil include the treatment of anxiety
What exactly is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in cannabis plants such as marijuana and hemp.
Unlike its better-known and more psychoactive cousin tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD does not make users feel high or experience mind-altering effects. What this particular cannabinoid does is treat or provide relief for a variety of health issues, and there’s some evidence—both scientific and anecdotal—about its efficacy.
CBD As Treatment For Anxiety
One of the medical conditions that CBD is believed to be an effective treatment for is anxiety. The most common mental disorder in the United States, anxiety affects 40 million adult Americans every year.
Anxiety sufferers are usually treated using psychological counseling and therapy. Medication also plays a huge role, with patients often prescribed various anti-anxiety drugs that range from benzodiazepines to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Many patients, however, are now looking for alternatives, and CBD oil is one option that often finds itself on that list.
The Existing Research on CBD Oil and Anxiety
Several scientific studies have already focused on the potential of CBD oil as a treatment for people suffering from anxiety disorders.
There’s a 2011 study that gave 24 people suffering from social anxiety disorder either a dose of CBD or a placebo before engaging in a simulated public speaking test an hour and a half later. Those who received CBD showed a reduction in their anxiety levels, as well as in their discomfort and cognitive impairment while delivering their speech.
In addition, a group of experts from the New York University School of Medicine has published research that attests to the efficacy of doses of CBD in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to SAD, PTSD, OCD, and other mental disorders.
A case study published in 2016 says its subject, a 10-year-old girl who is suffering from PTSD after being sexually abused, exhibited a decrease in anxiety after receiving doses of CBD. She also showed a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of her sleep.
How CBD Oil Treats Anxiety
How CBD oil works as a treatment for anxiety is still not clear to this very day. The prevailing theory today is that CBD oil interacts with cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system and may alter serotonin signals in the process.
People suffering from depression typically have low serotonin levels, a situation that could also give rise to anxiety. Traditionally, SSRI medications are used as a treatment for low serotonin. Some anxiety sufferers, however, are already turning to CBD instead of an SSRI.
CBD Ingestion Methods For Anxiety Treatment
If you are suffering from any type of anxiety disorder and you’re considering using CBD oil to help manage your condition, there are several ways you can take doses of the cannabinoid.
If you’re using CBD oils and tinctures, you can take your CBD dose sublingually using a dropper. This method provides the quickest results, usually taking 10 minutes or so to take effect.
If you’re a vaper, then you can get your CBD fix that way, too. To make sure the CBD cartridges you’re buying are legit, buy them only from legal state-licensed cannabis stores.
As mentioned above, there are also CBD edibles available in the market. Consuming CBD in food form is probably the easiest way to take the cannabinoid. The results, however, may take a little longer. Chewing CBD gummies, for example, may take some time before the effects kick in.
Keep in mind that when eating CBD products, the liver will eventually metabolize the cannabinoid. That means the quantity of cannabidiol that reaches your circulatory system will be limited.
More importantly, consult your doctor before using CBD as your anti-anxiety medication. There’s always the risk of adverse interaction with some of the medicines you’re currently taking, as well as possible side effects.
Possible Side Effects
Cannabidiol has been subjected to several small-scale clinical trials, and there has been some evidence of side effects.
Some subjects of those trials reported feelings of tiredness after receiving their dose of CBD. Others complained of gastrointestinal discomfort and reduced appetites.
The said clinical trials, however, are small-scale ones, which means the evidence is still inconclusive. To decisively establish the side effects of CBD, scientists need to conduct more extensive research as well as clinical trials.
Other Uses of CBD
The potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders may still need to be definitively established by more scientific studies. Nevertheless, the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved the cannabidiol as a prescription drug for another medical condition indicates that CBD, indeed, has therapeutic value.
The drug, called Epidiolex, is a highly purified form of CBD. Since June 2018, it has been an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of seizures caused by Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which are rare forms of epilepsy.
People also use CBD as an arthritic pain reliever, acne treatment, sleeping aid, and even for pet care.
For now, the studies on CBD oil as anxiety treatment remains limited. Still, the fact that these existing early studies show that cannabidiol can reduce anxiety firmly establishes its potential as a remedy for people suffering from different forms of anxiety.
About the Author
Lauren Klesser is the Content Marketing Strategist for Half Day CBD, a thoughtfully-curated brand of organic hemp-derived products like CBD oils, CBD vape and CBD gummies, which are designed to help manage pain, anxiety, stress and sleep issues. In her spare time, she plays axe throwing and escape games with her family and friends.