Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18.1% of the population? As a response, pharmaceutical companies have developed drugs, such as SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft) and tranquilizers (Xanax, Valium) to treat anxiety. These drugs can do wonders for some patients, but others have less tolerance and low levels of effectiveness. Sometimes they won’t see an improvement in their condition, or the side effects can be too much to handle. Sedatives can even be highly addictive. This leaves those suffering from anxiety wanting an alternative treatment method. Could CBD oil products be the answer?
CBD products for anxiety have recently garnered a lot of attention from doctors, scientists, and patients alike. It is non intoxicating, meaning it won’t make you high, and recent studies have suggested that it has strong anti-anxiety properties. When it is used correctly, it appears to be safe and easy to tolerate. It may help with a number of different anxiety disorders, including;
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic Disorder
- Social Phobias
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Mild Depression
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
HOW DOES CBD WORK AGAINST ANXIETY?
CBD hemp oil products exert different actions in the brain, which could explain why it can be useful for treating anxiety. Keep in mind, most studies that have been done on CBD so far were on animals. This doesn’t mean the results are not true for us as well, but it is important to keep in mind that we are not exactly the same.
CBD may be able to boost signaling through the 5-HT1A agonist. 5-HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor. SSRIs currently prescribed for anxiety disorders work by blocking reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. This increases the availability of serotonin in the synaptic space, helping the brain transmit more serotonin signals. Increased transmission of serotonin signals is what helps boost the mood of patients.
CBD may be able to increase signaling through serotonin receptors. This animal study conducted by Spanish researchers found that CBD can enhance 5-HT1A transmission, even more than SSRIs.
Another area in the brain that CBD might affect is the hippocampus. The hippocampus plays a huge role in memory formation and cognition. When a brain scan is done on an anxiety patient, it often shows a smaller hippocampus. Successful treatment of both anxiety and depression is often associated with the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus.
This study used mice to find that repeated administration of CBD oil could help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could help fight anxiety. Current research has shown that both SSRIs and CBD can cause neurogenesis, the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus.
Human studies also show that CBD could be used to treat anxiety. This double-blind study conducted by Brazilian researchers on patients with generalized social anxiety showed just that. The patients observed in the study that consumed CBD reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Their reports were validated by brain scans showing that their cerebral blood flow patterns were consistent with an anti-anxiety effect.
Animal studies have provided enough evidence to begin characterizing the details of how CBD acts in the brain. The human studies, conducted both on patients with and without anxiety, are just beginning to actually validate the effectiveness of CBD as an anti-anxiety medication. Over time, CBD consumables have the potential to become a common anti-anxiety medication used to treat all different kinds of anxiety disorders. The Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2019 reports in one study that among those people using benzodiazepines, who took CBD, slightly over 45% of them were able to stop taking the benzodiazepines.
In order for CBD to become an anti-anxiety drug, more research needs to be done. The long-term effects and potential of CBD, it’s effectiveness, and its safety make it an ideal alternative or supplement to other anti-anxiety medications such as SSRIs.
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