Can CBD Oil Manage Or Treat Anxiety
A Health Supplement to Help Manage Anxiety And Panic Symptoms
Anxiety and panic serve an important purpose when it comes to survival. Panicked responses are rooted in the body’s sympathetic nervous system, where we instinctively know to flee, fight, or freeze in response to a perceived threat or danger.
These responses can save our life if we are in a dire situation, but when they happen for the wrong reasons, or for no apparent reason at all, they can be disruptive and downright debilitating.
Anxiety and panic can occur seemingly out of nowhere and subside almost as quickly. Attacks manifest themselves in many ways and can happen regularly as a result of a larger disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and other psychological conditions.
During a spell of anxiety or panic, an individual may feel intense fear, palpitations, shaking or quivering, shortness of breath, sweating, and sensitivity to sights, sounds, and movement. The duration of these symptoms may vary, but they can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours. They also may occur regularly, even multiple times daily or in a short period of time.
Anxiety and panic can be a normal and natural response to some situations and it’s not unusual for a healthy person to experience an anxiety attack in reaction to stress or nervous exhaustion, but major issues and disorders can develop in which anxiety and panic symptoms are persistent for periods of months or years.
Those with anxiety disorders may also find that typical coping or calming resources, such as reassurances from others, are ineffective in alleviating physical and psychological symptoms. It’s also not unusual for a treatment to become less and less effective as symptoms continue.
Anxiety can also be a generalized state; not marked by a sudden onset and decrease of symptoms, but rather an overall feeling of apprehension, discomfort, and distress that can wear on one’s energy levels, ability to work and live, and maintain healthy relationships.
Anxiety will frequently manifest as a series of physical symptoms that affect sleep, pain perception, digestion, thermoregulation, motor skills, and other bodily functions.
There are a number of different ways to treat individuals suffering from anxiety, panic disorders, and anxious behaviors. Talk therapy, counseling, and many modern psychological resources have been shown to be better coping mechanisms and aid individuals suffering from anxiety.
Even when conventional calming and relaxation techniques fail, it is possible to develop other methods and get to the root of any underlying causes or trauma that might be the foundation of one’s anxiety.
Psychiatric medications and drugs are also often prescribed to curb the symptoms and responses that occur in individuals with anxiety disorders. While they can provide relief for people, others may have difficulty managing their dose and consistent use, particularly when side effects can cause their own serious disruptions and impairments.
This has led to a growing trend of using more natural health supplements to help manage anxiety and panic symptoms. CBD oil has gained special attention for this reason.
How Does CBD Impact Anxiety?
With a growing number of studies examining the effects of CBD, or cannabidiol, the anxiety and stress-reducing effects of this chemical compound have been increasingly confirmed. There is also mounting anecdotal support from users that describe calming and mood lifting benefits upon taking the oil.
CBD is what’s known as a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemicals that are present in the human body as well as plants belonging to the cannabis genus.
When cannabinoids are introduced into the body, a number of effects occur due to the response of the endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of a series of receptors that then connect to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in other systems through the body and has been shown to have an impact on many different physiological functions, including sleep regulation, thermoregulation, inflammation, pain perception, mood and stress levels, appetite and gastrointestinal function, hormone levels, and more.
As the endocannabinoid system has been shown to provide direct routes to the brain and a range of different responses and behaviors, researchers have been exploring treatments that target this system in an effort to modify physical and psychological conditions.
There have been many studies that examine how CBD might be used to aid pain management, inflammation, and in the treatment of many severe and chronic conditions. There has also been a growing body of studies and anecdotal support for CBD uses in alleviating anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, compulsive disorders, and even some forms of psychosis.
CBD’s limited side effects have contributed to its potential as a new type of mental health aid. While some individuals may have difficulty managing conventional medications as a result of side effects and potential risks, CBD could provide a supplement or alternative to such treatments.
CBD poses no known risk of toxicity. Though it is possible to build a tolerance with excessive use, withdrawal symptoms are mild and typically subside within a few days. Commonly reported side effects include drowsiness or tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite.
Such effects are regarded as more manageable than many of the risks and side effects associated with some prescription anti-anxiety and psychiatric medications. This does not mean that courses of treatment should be casually altered or replaced with cannabidiol or any natural health supplement, but the support for CBD’s efficacy as a reliable anti-anxiety treatment is mounting.
The Case For CBD As An Anti-Anxiety Aid
The vast majority of cannabidiol studies are rooted in laboratory and animal tests. They have continued to provide evidence of CBD’s therapeutic properties and capabilities for regulating anxiety and stress.
Though human-based studies are far fewer in quantity, they have provided a promising foundation for CBD as a more widely accepted anxiety reducing, serotonin-regulating resource. Findings over the last few years have merited further examination.
One of the most frequently cited studies involves a group of subjects with social anxiety disorder. During the study, each of the subjects was asked to speak in front of a large group of people while researchers measured anxiety levels. Those individuals given CBD were found to experience significantly less anxiety than those who were given a placebo.
Additional studies have tested CBD’s effects on individuals with PTSD, as well as those dealing with different types of addiction as a means of coping with their stress and pain, including addiction to nicotine, opioids, and other substances. Some studies have found that anxiety-driven compulsive and addictive behaviors were lessened through the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol.
In PTSD cases, some researchers see the endocannabinoid system’s relationship with memory as a means of treating individuals with anxiety and panic disorders, particularly those that are rooted in memories of traumatic events. Animal studies and some human studies have confirmed the potential for CBD as a treatment that reduces the symptoms of disorders related to inappropriate retention of adverse memories.
Other research has found that cannabidiol could help correct sleep disorders and insomnia that occurs as a direct result of PTSD and memories of traumatic events. The sleep-regulating effects of CBD are often sought for individuals dealing which chronic pain, but there’s also promise for those who have found their sleep disrupted due to anxiety and mental trauma.
It’s important to note that many more human-based clinical studies will be needed before scientists fully understand how CBD affects anxiety and it’s symptoms. More research is also needed to determine the best way to use it as a safe and reliable treatment for different anxiety and panic disorders.
This has not hindered some people when it comes to using products like CBD oil to reduce their anxiety. If you think CBD oil for anxiety may be an option for you, make sure you account for a few considerations.
“Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.”
Considerations For Managing Anxiety With CBD Oil
The oil may not be a reliable health aid for any and all anxiety issues. Some studies have found that cannabidiol did not have a significant effect for lessening anxiety or anxious responses to negative stimuli when tested in healthy adults.
Though many more studies are needed, it’s possible that CBD may be more effective for individuals with more severe anxiety-based disorders rather than as a casual treatment for occasional or low-grade anxiety or stress symptoms.
It’s also important to note that the method in which the oil is used can affect the way it is experienced. CBD oil that is absorbed through the skin, as part of a topical treatment, or ingested in the form of a food or beverage will result in a slower onset of effects and a longer duration compared to CBD that is inhaled through and absorbed by the lungs.
This is why CBD oil may not be an ideal treatment for a sudden occurrence of symptoms such as a panic attack. It may be more useful as a general therapeutic treatment, providing the user with a slower release of effects.
Though there is much anecdotal support for CBD’s use as an alternative or supplement to conventional psychiatric medication, it’s important to speak to your primary care physician, therapist, and/or psychiatrist before making any changes or adjustments to your current courses of treatment, especially if you are taking any medications.
Although there are few known risks and low side effects associated with CBD oil alone, research is still needed to determine long-term effects, possible contraindications, and which disorders are best treated by cannabidiol based medicines.
There are also many risks associated with abrupt alterations or discontinuation of certain medications. This is why it is necessary to talk to a care specialist who is familiar with your case before using cannabidiol to manage anxiety or other mood, stress, and psychiatric disorders.
Since CBD oil is a health supplement that is not currently regulated by any central or governing agency, there can be much inconsistency when it comes to quality and purity. This is why you must carefully consider your source before purchasing and using any health supplement, including CBD oil.
Be sure to choose a reputable CBD oil supplier that provides clear information on dosing, ingredients, intended use, and the manufacture source of your cannabidiol product. While it is legal to use CBD oil derived from marijuana in states that allow medical marijuana use, you’ll want to ensure the CBD oil you use is manufactured from legal hemp crops and contains no significant levels of THC if you live in an area where cannabis-based medicines are not legal.
Fortunately, high-quality CBD can be readily obtained from legal hemp sources online. This means that no marijuana is required for its production. It is also important to differentiate CBD oil or hemp oil from THC oils and oils and other products that are simply marketed as “cannabis” or extracted “cannabis plant” leaves, seeds, and stems.
CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, but they are entirely separate substances. CBD is not psychoactive. It does not produce a “high” or cause feelings of disorientation, paranoia, or apprehension, which are frequently associated with marijuana and THC use.
CBD’s lack of psychoactive effects make it favorable for the treatment of anxiety and panic, while THC can worsen feelings of apprehension. This is yet another reason to ensure the CBD oil you choose contains no THC.
But as cannabidiol is a naturally derived health aid that is not yet regulated as conventional medications, it may affect everyone differently and experiences can vary from one product to the next based on quality and purity.
This is why it is important to do your research to find a reputable CBD source and rely on the guidance of a trusted care professional.
“We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely; however, few studies have investigated chronic CBD dosing.”