CBD has been the buzz lately. It is suddenly being stocked on the shelves of every health store and it seems like manufacturers and producers have no shortage of creative and innovative ways to mix CBD into drinks and foods.
Well, according to them, it can treat a long list of health problems. And that’s to include anxiety and stress. Read Here: The Best CBD Oil for Anxiety Relief
So, are they right?
In this article, we will take a look at the evidence on CBD for stress and anxiety relief.
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Anxiety VS. Stress: Are There Any Difference?
“I’m feeling stressed out”.
We all say it once in a while– before a practical exam or an important, nerve-wracking event. Sometimes, however, family demands, a hectic day at work, or just barely surviving an unexpected event in life may feel like a constant test.
If this imminent sense of adversity seems like never-ending, then it might be an indication of a chronic anxiety. Thus, you will need professional medical intervention to reboot your stress response.
From the outside, it can be difficult to spot the difference between anxiety and stress. Both can cause sleepless nights, lack of focus, excessive worrying, and irritability,
Even their physical symptoms such as muscle tension, rapid heart rate, and headaches can impact both individuals experiencing stress or anxiety disorder. However, for a short and simple definition:
Meanwhile, anxiety is a sustained mental health disorder that can be triggered by extreme stress. Anxiety does not fade into the distance once the threatening situation or event is mediated. It will hang around for the long haul and cause significant impairment in occupational, social, and other important areas of daily functioning.
How Anxiety Becomes Chronic
In general, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from anxiety disorder in their lifetime. The feelings of unpreparedness, dread, and impending danger and threat happens more frequently, which leads to racing physical reactions and thoughts.
But, where do such unstable feelings actually come from?
Well, the primary contributor to this is genetics. The small variances in our neurotransmitters and hormones can have a huge impact on how we react to the stress. Other factors include lifestyle and environmental toxins which can affect your neurochemistry.
However, the biggest probable cause of chronic anxiety is, in fact, stress itself. Stress will train your brain to always feel anxious. In short, it wants you to always remember or recall so that you can expect (and hopefully avoid or prevent) more stress.
Chronic Stress and Anxiety Damage To The Body
The small spurts of stress hormones are telling the body to be prepared for a certain “fight or flight” event. However, the body is not intended to handle the constant state of panic.
Thus, the persistent high levels of your stress hormones, especially cortisol, can wreak havoc in the whole body that can cause:
Stress And How It Messes With The Brain Chemistry
Other than damaging the body, stress can also rewires the brain, telling it to “always focus, don’t feel too much, and always get ready”. When such message is not turned off, the brain will have to make significant modifications in order to turn it off.
Although researchers are still learning about the numerous layers of variations taking place because of the constant stress, they found out that it includes both the brain’s chemistry and structure.
There are certain areas of the brain becoming hyperactive, while some areas atrophy and shrink. In addition, the neurotransmitter levels as well as their receptors change.
And even if you succeed in de-stressing, these changes will continue along with the negative impacts they have on the rest of the body. Fortunately, there are available treatments that could help improve your symptoms and relieve the feelings of constant stress.
Cannabis and Its Secret Anxiety-Blocking Ingredient
If there’s one thing that people know about Cannabis, it is the “high” feeling that it offers. Remember those movies where character smokes weeds and they will either sit back and feel euphoria or turn into a twitchy and paranoid mess?
Meanwhile, the non-intoxicating sibling of THC, CBD or cannabidiol has been found to indirectly and directly neutralize the anxiety disorder that individuals experience from getting too much THC.
Marijuana or Hemp?
Marijuana is what most people think of when talking about cannabis. However, it is actually just one of the many varieties of the cannabis plant. And yes, Marijuana is the cannabis plant variety with high THC content, causing the high feeling.
Hemp, on the other hand, is another variety of the cannabis plant, grown and produced for industrial use such as making clothing and paper. Unlike marijuana, hemp has not been specifically bred to produce high levels of THC.
Most of the CBD oil sold today for both recreational and medicinal use is extracted from the hemp plant to ensure a trace amount of less than 0.3% of THC.
So, does hemp oil help with anxiety?
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CBD Research on Relieving Stress and Anxiety
Outside the rich testimonials of people who successfully cured their anxiety with hemp oil or CBD oil, there’s also ever-increasing science-backed evidence that CBD actually works in soothing stress and anxiety.
1) Generalized Anxiety
For GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the NIDA or National Institute on Drug Abuse says that CBD has been shown in reducing stress in animals like rats.
The subjects of the study were observed as having lower behavioral signs of anxiety. Also, their physiological anxiety symptoms like increased heart rate are also improved. Still, more research needs to be done, especially on humans and GAD.
2) Other Forms of Anxiety
CBD can also benefit people with other kinds of anxiety such as PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder and SAD or social anxiety disorder. It can even help treat anxiety-induced insomnia according to some research.
A study conducted in 2011 found conclusive evidence on the positive effects of CBD on people suffering from SAD. The participants were given an oral dose of 400mg CBD or a placebo. Those who received a CBD dosage experienced an overall decrease in anxiety levels.
Meanwhile, several recent studies revealed that CBD can help in easing PTSD symptoms including replaying negative memories and nightmares. These studies have looked like CBD as both a supplement to traditional anxiety treatments like CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy and medication or as a standalone PTSD treatment.
3) Other Neurological Disorders
The effects of CBD has also been studied in relieving other neurological disorders. A literature review on the effectiveness of CBD in alleviating psychiatric disorders published in 2017 has concluded that there is not enough evidence to tout CBD as a reliable and effective treatment for depression.
However, the authors did find some hard evidence suggesting that CBD can actually help with anxiety disorders. These studies, however, were uncontrolled. Meaning, the participants were not compared to a separate group that might not have received any treatment or received a different treatment.
CBD in the Fight Against Stress and Anxiety
So, how exactly does CBD fights anxiety and stress? CBD has over 65 goals on the body, making it challenging to accurately locate the actual sources of its different healing properties. However, studies suggest that CBD oil can counter anxiety through the stimulation of the neural regeneration and neurotransmitter systems.
Here are some of the evidence:
While most people think of serotonin as synonymous with happiness, the role of this particular neurotransmitter is highly complex. Also, its effects can depend on what it actually binds to and its location.
And more serotonin does not equate to better functioning. Dysfunction can come from high or low serotonin levels and from malfunctioning with its receptors.
This neurotransmitter has up to 14 receptors. However, CBD, in particular, binds to the 5-HT1A that’s believed to have the biggest role in stress and anxiety disorder.
Buspirone, an anti-anxiety medicine, also binds to and works with this specific receptor. This can explain the CBD oil’s anti-anxiety effects on rats that were exposed to a stressful situation.
2) Neural Regeneration
Constant stress can also damage your neurons or even shrink the brain. However, there are particular areas of your brain that can still regenerate. Throughout our lives the brain continues to grow, constantly forming new neurons and making new connections. And apparently, CBD can boost this process.
CBD can help counterbalance brain damage that is caused by stress. Several studies have already proved that CBD oil encourages neural regeneration, especially in the hippocampus. As a matter of fact, the ability to decrease anxiety in mice that are chronically stressed comes from the CBD’s attribute to stimulate the neuron growth.
Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids to be used throughout the brain and body in our endocannabinoid system or ECS.
However, this system can be dysfunctional under chronic stress. CBD is proven to restore the balance to the ECS, by preventing the over-stimulation of the CB1 receptors and boosting the endocannabinoids production.
Experiments on rodents have shown that CBD eases OCD as well as other anxious behaviors and tendencies by acting on the ECS that is a part in forgetting and processing our fears– a crucial component of extinction learning.
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CBD Dosage For Anxiety and Stress Relief
In terms of the right CBD dosage for stress and anxiety relief, it is most recommended that you talk to your doctor since they are the ones who can help you figure out the right starting dosage for you. But, for this guide, we can also recommend the dosage used in CBD studies for anxiety.
In a 2018 research, CBD was given to make subjects before undergoing a simulated public speaking test. The results reveal that an oral dosage of 300mg administered one and a half hours (90 minutes) before the simulated test, was enough to reduce anxiety.
Meanwhile, members of the placebo group and subjects who received only 150mg saw little to no benefit. The same was true for the subjects which received 600mg of CBD.
The study, however, is small and only looked at 57 subjects. More research is still needed, including the studies in female subjects, in order to properly determine the right dosage for people with anxiety.
As a general rule, it is recommended that you use CBD in small amounts for a few weeks and gradually increase the dosage until desired effects are achieved.
The Side Effects of CBD
In general, CBD is considered safe. Some people, however, may experience some side effects such as:
In addition, CBD can also interact with other dietary supplements and medications that you are taking. In particular, you need to take extra precautions if you are taking medications like blood thinners which come with the grapefruit warning.
Grapefruit and CBD both interact with enzymes that are crucial to drug metabolism. In one mice study, researchers found that being force-fed CBD-rich cannabis extract can increase the risk of liver toxicity.
When it comes to choosing your current medication and CBD, never stop your medication without talking to your doctor. Using CBD oil can help your anxiety, however, suddenly stopping your prescription medications can also cause withdrawal symptoms including fogginess, nausea, irritability, and dizziness.
Is CBD Legal?
Hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances by the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act. Meaning, hemp and all its derivatives including CBD are not illegal substances under federal law. However, it can still be illegal under some state laws. Meanwhile, Marijuana-derived CBD products are still illegal on a federal level, however, are legal under some state laws. Make sure that you check the laws on your state and those anywhere you travel.
The FDA has the complete authority to regulate CBD oil and other hemp-derived products and firmly said that they will be vigilant regarding the therapeutic claims of CBD manufacturers and products which haven’t been approved by them.
The FDA approved a new drug named Epidiolex in 2018. This medicine contains CBD compound and is able to treat seizures effectively caused by 2 serious and rare forms of epilepsy. At this moment, this is the only FDA-approved medicinal use of CBD.
In addition, the CBD in the said drug is of pharmaceutical grade with each dose closely controlled.
Take note that most CBD products currently available today are not actually regulated in such a controlled manner and there have been lots of reports that the CBD amount in the products and doses may vary.
Buying CBD Oil
In some parts of the US, CBD products are only allowed for particular medical purposes including the treatment of epilepsy. You may need to get a prescription from your doctor in order to buy CBD oil.
Now, if cannabis is approved for medical use in your state, then you might be able to purchase CBD oil in special cannabis dispensaries and clinics or online.
How To Ingest CBD?
CBD comes in different products and forms so you have a variety of ways to take it. These include:
You can even get a shot of CBD in your latte. Unfortunately, since these products are not regulated and monitored by the FDA, there is no uniform labeling system, or the seal of approval to make sure that these products are actually safe.
Will It Show Up On A Drug Test?
This will depend on the amount of THC in the CBD oil you take.
The usual drug test will check for THC. IF the amount of THC in your system exceeds the test threshold, then you will have a positive result. Even CBD products with less than 0.3% of THC can show up in drug tests, especially if you’ve taken a higher dosage than usual.
CBD Oil For Anxiety: Should You Try It?
CBD burst onto the scenes as the supposed miracle cure for a broad range of health conditions including stress and anxiety relief.
The research on CBD for stress and anxiety does look promising, however, the limited sample size and the lack of information questions its effectiveness for the long-term. Thus, we need more research to know for certain whether it’s actually effective and safe.
In addition, due to its sudden popularity, CBD became so easy to find and buy, with more sellers and manufacturers only producing low-quality CBD products for money. Also, be aware that most CBD products available are not well-regulated, so the amount of CBD and ingredients on the label may not match what is in the bottle or that gummy bear.
Plus, the legality of CBD is also fuzzy, so you might want to do serious research on the laws in your state about its use and possession.
CBD as an Integrative Treatment For Anxiety and Stress
With so endless sources and causes of stress, more and more people are looking for a more rounded approach to healing anxiety. As a matter of fact, even doctors have also started recommending to combine pharmaceutical treatments and traditional psychotherapy with relaxation and calming techniques such as meditation and yoga.
And if you want to try out CBD oil to cure your anxiety, then it will work best as part of comprehensive stress and anxiety treatment plan.
Once again, we like to encourage you to talk with an experienced medical professional first. Particularly, if you are currently taking prescription medications.
A doctor can also help in ruling out any deficiencies as well as other troublesome health issues for a smooth and overall successful healing.
So, there you have it!
We hope that this article has provided the answers you are looking for. We wish you only success on your long journey to your body and mind’s deep healing.