We appear to be in the middle of an anxiety epidemic. Right now, it’s estimated that a whopping 40 million American adults suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder. Symptoms of anxiety can occur after periods of intense stress, sometimes morphing into panic attacks, social anxiety, and even PTSD. Speak to your doctor about your anxiety, and you will almost certainly find yourself on a cocktail of antidepressants or tranquilizers, all of which come with some pretty nasty side effects. That’s why many Americans are looking for a natural treatment alternative, with CBD oil quickly becoming one of the most popular botanical options for treating anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
It’s easy to think that anxiety in any shape or form is bad for us. But actually, anxiety exists as a way of protecting us from harm. Back in the days when our hunter gatherer ancestors roamed the Savannah, the fight or flight or freeze response (commonly experienced in panic attacks) was a natural reaction that protected us from predators. Even in our modern world, our ancient brains still produce this extreme physiological response to what are ultimately no longer life or death situations.
Anxiety is often associated with worrying about the future and worry in itself isn’t bad when it is used to protect us from impending danger. In fact, the worriers among us often make excellent problem solvers, as we tend to anticipate difficulties before they arise, coming up with solutions to avert them.
However, the stresses and strains of modern life like job losses, money worries, thinking we’re not as successful as our peers, or just FOMO, can create a maladaptive anxiety response, the result of which is the host of anxiety disorders that seem to abound all around us.
The symptoms of anxiety are similar to those experienced during times of intense stress:
- increased heart rate
- tightness in the chest
- shallow breathing
- muscle tension
- digestive issues
- spinning thoughts
- sleep disorders
The problem is that once an anxiety disorder develops, it only takes the mildest of stimuli to bring on some pretty intense and unpleasant sensations.
Anxiety disorders are commonly treated by antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tranquilizers like Xanax, many of which run the risk of creating harmful addiction.
Natural approaches to reducing stress and anxiety include relaxation techniques such as meditation, tai chi and yoga, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and dietary changes like refraining from coffee and alcohol.
CBD Oil For Anxiety
Nature herself also offers us some side effect-free alternatives for managing anxiety.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a special compound found in cannabis and hemp called a cannabinoid. Unlike recreational marijuana, CBD from hemp does not get you high as it doesn’t contain any THC – the chemical responsible for the intoxicating effect. Instead, according to scientific research, CBD stimulates a variety of anti-anxiety effects in the body. In fact, experience shows that one of the most common reasons people buy CBD is to reduce anxiety.
Let’s take a look at what we know about how CBD can reduce anxiety.
One of scientists’ key findings is that CBD activates the 5HT1-A serotonin receptor, which modulates mood and anxiety. Indeed, Spanish researchers found that CBD may be superior to other antidepressants like SSRIs, which interact with serotonin production. These researchers claim, “The fast onset of antidepressant action of CBD and the simultaneous anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect would solve some of the main limitations of current antidepressant therapies.”
Not only that, CBD appears to promote neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells) in the hippocampus area of the brain. Studies show that the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for memory, emotion and the autonomic nervous system – tends to shrink in subjects with long-term anxiety and depression, so creating new brain cells and new neural pathways is key to recovery. Meditation can also have a similar effect on the hippocampus – and we all know just how effective mindfulness and meditation practices are in improving mental health.
Another of CBD’s fascinating anxiety-reducing properties is its ability to reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone whose overproduction can cause everything from sleep disorders to low libido, depression, and irritability.
Finally, CBD also improves the functioning of the body’s master regulating system: the endocannabinoid system. It does this by blocking the enzyme responsible for breaking down a key neurotransmitter called Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit word for bliss). It’s thought that the more anandamide that gets to hang out in our body, the less anxious we feel.
CBD And Anxiety: What’s The Evidence?
Much of the research so far into CBD’s anti-anxiety effects has been on lab animals like mice or rats. However, a couple of small pilot studies have focused on CBD for social anxiety in humans. Subjects were given CBD prior to performing a simulated public speaking test (although frankly you don’t have to have social anxiety to hate speaking in public).
According to the pilot study, those given CBD had “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.”
It’s no surprise then that two clinical trials are currently recruiting subjects to find out definitively how effective CBD is as a treatment for anxiety.
One phase 2 trial in the US will be testing whole plant CBD oil taken under the tongue in subjects with various anxiety disorders, while another Canadian 8 week pilot study will evaluate the efficacy of CBD capsules for anxiety symptoms.
CBD Oil For Anxiety: Dosage
Many people ask us questions about the best CBD oil dosage for anxiety.
However, there are no clear answers. How much CBD is needed to alleviate anxiety really depends on the individual, but our general rule of thumb is to start with a low dosage and gradually build up until you feel your symptoms have been reduced. Remember, every woman is different and so is her required dosage. Listen to your body and you’ll figure out the dosage that’s right for you.
What is the Best Way to Take CBD Oil for Anxiety?
CBD Oil Tinctures
Anxiety, particularly panic attacks, often comes on quickly, so it’s best to choose a type of CBD that is fast acting such as CBD oil tinctures which are absorbed directly into the bloodstream under the tongue. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, CBD softgels can be a good choice because their effects are longer lasting, and they can therefore help provide a general buffer against stress and anxiety.
No matter what, choosing organic broad spectrum CBD products is key when buying the best CBD oil for anxiety. Not all CBD is SHEbd™, and our broad spectrum CBD oil extracted from 100% organically sun-grown American grown hemp is formulated for maximum bioavailability (3-5 times better absorption), providing you the relief from anxiety and stress that will let you live your best life at the lowest dosages.
Stop by our online shop to find out more, or feel free to speak to our super-friendly customer service team if you have any other questions about CBD or our products.