Anxiety disorders affect 40 million Americans—that’s 18% of the adult population. You may struggle in social settings or speaking in front of groups. Maybe you find it difficult to wind down after a long day at work and are unable to fall asleep. More serious panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, or phobias figuratively paralyze millions. One question we get asked often: How can CBD help anxiety?
This article will answer that question. It also provides information so you can make informed decisions when it comes to CBD and your health.
But before we dive into how Cannabidiol—also known as CBD—can impact many common forms of anxiety, it’s helpful to give a quick primer on CBD itself. Are you already familiar with CBD and anxiety on their own? If so, and you want to know how they interact together, feel free to skip the next two sections.
What is CBD?
CBD is a hot topic in news media and likely even in your own social circles. But what is this “buzzy wellness product of the moment” exactly? Is it legal? And is it safe?
CBD is a natural compound that comes from the cannabis plant. It’s one of 85 unique compounds (cannabinoids) found in the plant and is known for imparting a feeling of relaxation or serenity.
When it comes to cannabis—hemp and marijuana are two varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant—you might immediately think of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is its less famous but equally researched cousin. Unlike the THC compound, CBD is not psychoactive. CBD doesn’t have the same mind-altering effects as marijuana. Put simply: CBD is non-intoxicating and won’t get you “high.”
CBD is becoming big business and a darling of mainstream media—for good reason. With increased scientific study and research to support their health benefits (including anxiety) CBD-rich oil extracts and other CBD-infused products are receiving added attention for their therapeutic potential.
Is CBD Legal? Is It Safe?
Two questions often arise when discussing CBD:
- Is it legal? Federal law allows for the cultivation, processing, and marketing of hemp and hemp products. While CBD oil made from hemp plants is legal to be sold and bought in the United States from a federal perspective, some states may restrict or ban the product. CBD is legal in states where medicinal or recreational marijuana use is legal. Additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books. Here is The Legal Status of CBD in 2019, via com.
- Is it safe? “The current evidence suggests that the active ingredient in CBD oil is safe,” Dr. Esther Blessing, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University, told Time magazine. As with any dietary supplement, CBD could pose risks when combined with other medications. It’s always best to consult with your physician. Perhaps the greatest danger related to CBD, however, is purchasing products from a non-reputable retailer. It’s critical for consumers to do their homework and buy only third-party-tested CBD from a credible manufacturer.
The Effects of Anxiety in Your Life
Did that get your heart racing? When we were students, those two words often brought on a rush of anxiety. We all experience anxiety at some point in our life. It’s natural, in fact. Anxiety is an adaptive response to help us cope with threats and motivate us to take action. Anxiety can take a variety of forms. Worried about a looming deadline? Nervous about an upcoming medical procedure? Stressed that you aren’t prepared for any number of life’s big moments (buying a house, becoming a parent)?
That’s normal. But if your worry continues and even gets worse over time, that’s when anxiety can impact your daily activities.
When anxiety impacts your personal and professional relationships, it can lead to diagnosable anxiety-related disorders.
Anxiety in its most benign form includes an uneasiness that prevents sufferers from achieving their full potential. Anxiety-related disorders generally “feature worry, nervousness, or fear that is ongoing, excessive, and has negative effects on a person’s ability to function,” according to Anxiety.org. At times, these issues could be even more debilitating such as a panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Anxiety-related disorders affect 18% of adults in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Many address these disorders with prescription medications. Such protocols can be effective. But certain patients experience undesirable side effects or they fail to see significant improvement in their symptoms.
A growing segment of the population is turning to more natural remedies. Activities such as yoga and meditation long have been touted as ways to ease certain forms of stress.
But in recent years the scientific community has turned to studying CBD oil extracts and other CBD-infused products. Why? Research is suggesting that such products have powerful anti-anxiety properties.
How Can CBD Help Anxiety?
That’s a quick primer on CBD and anxiety on their own. Now let’s dive into the reason you’re reading this article: How can CBD help anxiety.
At its core, CBD helps to soothe the nervous system and diminish the “fight or flight” response. It instructs your body to calm down and relax. Sometimes we welcome a butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling or a rush of adrenaline (anticipating a steep drop on a roller coaster, for instance).
But when we want to fall asleep, we’d prefer neither a fight nor a flight reaction.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) often treat anxiety medically. Serotonin transmits messages between nerve cells. SSRI drugs block reabsorption of serotonin in the brain and increase it in synaptic areas. The process helps brain cells transmit more serotonin signals and potentially reduce anxiety.
Researchers have found that CBD also targets serotonin receptors.
Similarly, a Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics article evaluated current preclinical, clinical, and epidemiological studies assessing CBD as an answer for anxiety disorders. The authors found preclinical evidence to strongly support CBD as a treatment for a variety of ailments, including general anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
The majority of CBD research is preclinical. Yet the results scientists have seen are promising.
Notably, two human studies summarized on Leafly.com show how CBD could be an ally in combating anxiety.
- Patients suffering from generalized social anxiety reported a significant decrease in anxiety after consuming CBD.
- Social Anxiety Disorder patients performed a simulated public speaking exercise. “Participants reported significantly less anxiety, findings supported by objective anxiety indicators like heart rate and blood pressure,” Leafly.com reported.
What to Expect After Taking CBD
Our body’s endocannabinoid system (with two types of cannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2) takes a lead role in processes that keep us balanced. It helps to manage our appetite, pain sensation, mood, memory, and more. The body creates its own cannabinoids to help support this system. CBD supplements these naturally created endocannabinoids and serves as a “kick-starter” for the body’s central regulatory system.
As you might guess, every human body is different. How your body responds to certain supplementation—including CBD—might not be how someone else’s reacts. It could take some time and experimentation to completely understand how to achieve optimum results for you.
It’s important to acknowledge two common misconceptions surrounding CBD:
- CBD alleviates certain conditions immediately
- Universal dosages are appropriate for all
As with any supplementation regimen, consistency is key. Taking the product regularly will give you a clearer understanding of how it’s affecting your body and if it’s helping you achieve your desired results.
In terms of dosages, this is where you should listen carefully to what your body is telling you. Starting with a low dosage over a 24-hour period and gradually increasing (if necessary) is recommended.
One note on dosages: It’s important to buy CBD from a credible source that employs independent potency testing. That way you know what’s listed on the label is actually in the bottle.
Now comes the all-important question: How do I know if I’m choosing the CBD supplement that is right for me?
How to Choose Top Quality CBD
With so much buzz accompanying CBD-rich oils and other CBD-infused products, it’s important for you as a consumer to do your homework when evaluating which CBD supplement is right for you.
Unfortunately, it’s often “buyer beware” when it comes to purchasing CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, a recent study showed that more than 25% of 84 CBD products bought online contained less CBD than the label claimed. Also, 18 of the products contained THC.
Nevertheless, reputable companies such as Go Pure CBD—with teams of scientists focused on scientific research and development—are manufacturing and selling CBD dietary supplements.
But how do you know which ones are credible? Consider the following when shopping for CBD:
- Request third-party lab results: Reputable CBD companies will make readily available their lab results. This allows you to verify potency and other attributes related to the raw ingredients. If a company doesn’t conduct independent testing or if it isn’t willing to share the results with you, consider that a red flag.
- Examine product labeling: Is the dosage listed on the bottle the active CBD of the product? This will help you better evaluate the potency of the product.
- Observe the marketing: A company should not make or support any medical claims related to CBD. Companies who claim their products diagnose, treat, or cure any disease are at best unclear of the rules and at worst unconcerned about breaking them.
- Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to contact the company to ask for more information about its products (if you can’t find what you’re seeking on the website). Does the company adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)? Are the products manufactured at an FDA-approved facility? Do the products contain fillers, binders, or additives? This sort of questioning also helps you get a better feel for the credibility and professionalism of the organization.
So can CBD help anxiety? As researchers note: “current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.” Preclinical trials are promising, though further study in relevant clinical populations is needed.
A growing library of preclinical evidence and success in select human studies show CBD’s potential in treating anxiety-related disorders. And with more Americans seeking to decrease dependence on pharmaceutical drugs, they’re turning to natural remedies such as CBD.
Remember: Do your homework. Ensure the CBD you buy is from a credible manufacturer such as Go Pure CBD that conducts third-party testing on its products. And listen to your body. Recognize that while CBD can potentially help anxiety over time, you shouldn’t expect a quick fix.