Anxiety is the most common mental issue in America today according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Approximately 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population are affected by some form of anxiety - adaa.org. If you’re reading this then you’re probably suffering from anxiety or know somebody who is and are looking for possible solutions.
What is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorder involves an extreme fear or disproportionate worry which may include excessive, irrational dread about everyday living activities. Anxiety disorders result from a combination of factors working within a person’s mind and body which involve brain chemistry, genetics, life experiences, and personality. Anxiety disorders are treatable but only about one-third of those suffering from a form of anxiety choose to seek help. Therapy can help with anxiety but some people feel it comes with a stigma.
“The term "anxiety disorder" refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry, and includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias.” AADA.org, Understanding Anxiety
CBD and Anxiety
So, where does CBD come into all of this? In the 1990’s scientists discovered the human body produces endocannabinoids, natural cannabis-like molecules. Endocannabinoids are in skin, muscle, fat cells, liver, skeletal muscles, heart, and other tissues in the body. The body produces cannabinoids on its own and has two cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. Everyone has CB1 receptors in their body, but many receptors are found mainly in the central nervous system. Our CB1 receptors pertain to functions like coordination, movement, pain, mood and so forth. CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system. They affect pain as well as inflammation. It appears that CBD works not by attaching to these receptors, but by telling the body to use more of the cannabinoids it already has. It looks like the main function of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain body and mind equilibrium. It was discovered that cannabis works in part by mimicking our endocannabinoids and therefore producing a calming effect.
What does CBD Do for Anxiety and Stress?
- CBD reduces anxiety because of the way it affects limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain.
- Concerning treatment of anxiety, CBD is found to have a wide range of therapeutic properties which relieve psychotic symptoms.
- Evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system.
“We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder…” The Journal of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics, Esther M. Blessing, 9/2015
Early research appears to indicate that CBD might be beneficial for treating anxiety-related disorders, but more study is needed before definitive conclusions can be made. Be aware that CBD (cannabidiols) may interfere with some prescription medications, and it can have side effects. Please talk with your doctor or health care provider before you take any form of CBD.