A 4-Part Guide On The Effects Of CBD On Anxiety

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Peter Sanders By Peter Sanders | Author

Lessening Anxiety Symptoms

CBD and its many therapeutic uses is fast garnering interest around the world from both inside and outside the medical profession. And yet, evidence of its efficacy remains largely anecdotal. It is also used for the treatment of anxiety where a number of small clinical trials have found it lessens anxiety symptoms.

That could be exciting news for the 60 million people in Europe and 20% of the population of the United States suffering from anxiety disorders. If you suffer from anxiety your life is probably a constant stomach churning cycle ranging from panic attacks, constant worry and sleepless nights to extreme phobias and depression. But whatever form it takes, life becomes severely limited as anxiety provoking situations are avoided. Enter CBD and anxiety.

1The Mood Enhancer

CBD elicits an anti-anxiety effect. Studies also suggest CBD's ability to promote hippocampal neurogenesis (the part of the brain responsible for memory, emotion and the autonomic nervous system) could also explain why anxiety is reduced. And remember the feel good endocannabinoid, anandamide? Well, taking CBD can also play its part in ensuring that you have bountiful levels in your bodies. Anandamide is broken down naturally in the body by an enzyme called FAAH (Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase), but CBD inhibits the production of FAAH, meaning that there's more anandamide doing its mood enhancing work.

CBD, as you know, is a natural cannabinoid found in cannabis. However, in most countries, cannabis is illegal because it contains THC (the bit that gets you stoned). However, CBD can also be found in hemp which is effectively the same plant, it just has next to no levels of THC and is therefore legal almost everywhere in the world.

2CBD And Anxiety

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 natural compounds also known as cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. Most people have heard of THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. It's the substance that gets you high, although for many people THC can bring on feelings of paranoia and anxiety.

However CBD is considered non-psychoactive, and an increasing number of studies point towards its anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antiepileptic qualities. So far, most research hasn't made it beyond the science lab, with very few human trials taking place. However, in the case of CBD and its anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects, a number of trials on real, live people have been documented showing that taking CBD does, in fact, reduce feelings of anxiety.

3The Vital Role Of Endocannabinoid System

To understand why CBD might help anxiety, we first have to understand a bit more about how cannabis interacts with our bodies. It's largely due to a physiological system called the Endocannabinoid System or ECS, which is a vast network of chemical compounds and receptors throughout the body. The primary function of the ECS is to regulate all the multitude of functions from inflammation and pain regulation, immune response, mood, neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity.

The body produces its own chemicals called endocannabinoids, which when fitting into receptors such as the CB1 and CB2, cause various modulating responses throughout the body. One endocannabinoid is called Anandamide and is similar to THC in cannabis. When the body produces anandamide, you tend to feel at ease and relaxed, just how many people feel after smoking a joint. Both Anandamide and THC fit snuggly into the CB1 receptor, found mostly in the central nervous system, thus affecting cognition and brain function.

4Trial Testing Of CBD

In one test published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2011, 24 people diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder were given either CBD or a placebo after which they were asked to perform a simulation public speaking test. According to the trial, pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.

Another test published the same year in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, used neuroimaging on ten people also with social anxiety who had taken CBD to find out what parts of the brain are affected. Administering CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety and through the neuroimaging, they could see that this was due to CBD's effect on the activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas. The limbic system is largely responsible for your emotional life and formation of memories. So far the trials have been few and carried out on a limited number of subjects, but the results are certainly promising.

As scientific and anecdotal evidence begins to mount, so does the interest in CBD and anxiety, both from consumers and those selling the product and there are some unscrupulous companies taking advantage of the CBD gold rush. So it is vitally important to find a clean, ethically produced source of CBD oil that comes with Organic and GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) certification.