CBD and Anxiety: Can CBD Help Control Anxiety?
Nearly 300 million people around the world suffer from anxiety. Current treatments for anxiety are effective but come with a plethora of side effects and downsides. Here’s a look at how CBD is being considered for a potential treatment for anxiety and how CBD products may improve the quality of life for those that suffer.
Types of Anxiety
People may experience anxiety occasionally, intermittently, or constantly as the result of a disorder. Anxiety comes in many forms and is the result of many different factors, environmental or physical. Regardless, it can interfere with the daily functions of a person’s life, such as work, school, and relationships.
- Panic disorders are classified by unexpected panic attacks and/or a sudden period of intense fear that comes on quickly and reaches its peak within minutes. It may occur unexpectedly or be triggered by an object or situation. Worry associated with when the next attack will occur often leads to agoraphobia, or a fear of the outside world or being in a specific situation. Symptoms of this condition are sweating, trembling, shaking, shortness of breath or feelings of smothering or choking, feelings of impending doom, and feelings of being out of control.
- Generalized anxiety disorder occurs when someone experiences relevant symptoms for most days within a 6-month period. These may include feeling restless, wound up, or on edge, fatigue, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty controlling worry, and sleep issues.
- Phobia disorders include an intense fear of or aversion to objects or situations. Although the fears can be realistic, those with disorders feel their reactions are not proportionate to the danger. It can lead to irrational or excessive worry about encountering the object or situation, taking active steps to avoid it, and unavoidable and immediate intense anxiety upon encountering it. Fears may include flying, heights, animals, injections or needles, or blood.
Other disorders or conditions are social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and selective mutism.
Current treatment of anxiety varies widely. Some people may be able to attend therapy or counselling and work out their anxiety on their own. Others may find solace in mediation, yoga, or breathing exercises. However, others may suffer from more severe types that require more rigorous treatment, like medications.
Those that suffer chronically are regularly prescribed serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which have been known to cause nausea and sexual dysfunction. Those with obsessive compulsive disorder are often treated with tricyclics, which tend to cause drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain. Benzodiazepines have also been used to treat anxiety, but have become notorious for being highly addictive.
Antidepressants and other current treatments for anxiety have been known to cause withdrawal symptoms and painful jolts in the head called brain zaps. As a result, coming off of the medications can cause more anxiety and physical symptoms that create a cyclic treatment that is hard to escape from.
CBD hemp products have shown potential to treat anything from general aches and pains to insomnia and even chemo-related nausea and has been widely recognized as a possible treatment for anxiety. Cannabis use for anxiety was first documented in India in the year 1500.
Some patients are concerned that using CBD oil may increase their anxiety or make it worse as they have had bad experiences with marijuana before. However, THC is one of the only active cannabinoids that produces a high. CBD, no matter how much your intake, cannot produce any euphoric feelings associated with marijuana. Therefore, CBD may be a great way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis, without the side effects of THC.
Most anxiety disorders affect the serotonin levels inside the brain. CBD may be able to help the body process this chemical and, in turn, regulate emotions. CBD tinctures have high bioavailability and taking the substance sublingually, that is under the tongue, may be the best CBD-based medicinal treatment for those with anxiety.
According to one study, 62% of CBD users were treating a medical condition and anxiety was the second most common condition treated.
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