Anxiety, however extreme, affects almost all of us in small ways; before giving a speech or doing something new, we might feel unsure, unprepared or nervous. Some of those feelings may well manifest in physical symptoms like shortness of breath, clammy hands or headaches.
However, to people who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or who experience panic attacks, anxiety is so much more than simply feeling overwhelmed – It can be totally debilitating…
Typical treatments for anxiety usually centre around either therapy, medication or both. This includes talk therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy, and medications like benzodiazepines, antidepressants, beta-blockers and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors).
However, in recent years, CBD oil has been found to be the most beneficial remedy for anxiety, is both cost-effective and has minimal side effects. Here’s everything you need to know about how CBD oil can help you with your anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger and is often called the ‘flight or fight’ response. This process involves adrenalin being quickly pumped through the body enabling it to cope with whatever catastrophe may come it’s way.
The problems arise when this response is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation, or indeed is generated when there is no danger present.
The physical symptoms of anxiety are:
- Racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Dry mouth
- Butterflies in stomach
- Urge to pass urine/empty bowels
- Pins and needles
The psychological symptoms of anxiety are:
- Inner tension
- Fear of losing control
- Dread that something catastrophic is going to happen (such as blackout, seizure, heart attack or death)
- Feelings of detachment
Are anxiety disorders common?
Anxiety disorders are very common. In a survey covering Great Britain, 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of ‘neurotic health problem’ in the previous week. The most common neurotic disorders were anxiety and depressive disorders.
More than 1 in 10 people are likely to have a ‘disabling anxiety disorder’ at some stage in their life, and an estimated 13% of the adult population will develop a specific form of anxiety known as a phobia at some point in their life.
How does CBD oil ease anxiety?
CBD oil is thought to work with a brain receptor called CB1 in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond.
The ECS is involved in maintaining homeostasis in many physiological functions, including sleep, pain, memory, digestion and immune functions.
CBD exerts its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect on the ECS, and specifically the CB1 receptor, by altering serotonin signals. Serotonin is one of your body’s chemicals and plays a role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are common in depression. Not having enough serotonin can also cause anxiety in some people.
The conventional treatment for low serotonin is prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft and Prozac are both SSRIs. CBD, for many people, is now an effective and less harmful alternative to SSRIs for anxiety management
What scientific evidence is there to support CBD oil helping anxiety?
Several studies point to the potential benefits of CBD for anxiety. Here are just a few.
In 2011 a study found that when people with a generalised social anxiety disorder were given 600mg of CBD oil prior to a public speaking test, as opposed to a placebo, they experienced significantly less anxiety, difficulty and discomfort during their speech.
For generalized anxiety, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animal studies. Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioural signs of anxiety. Their physiological symptoms of anxiety, like increased heart rate, also improved. CBD may also help treat anxiety-induced insomnia.
How to use CBD oil for your anxiety
If you’re interested in using cannabis and CBD to help with anxiety, you should understand exactly what you are using and what you can expect from your CBD experience.
CBD products come with different potencies and ingredients. Cannabis and Hemp are incredibly versatile plants because you can consume them in many ways, but it’s crucial that you consume therapeutic amounts of CBD.
Taking CBD oil orally/ sublingually for anxiety
This is the easiest and most straightforward way to consume therapeutic amounts of CBD for your anxiety. It’s also the most effective way because only among edible CBD oils will you ever find ‘full-spectrum CBD oils.’
Why does this matter?
It’s proven that CBD is more effective when taken together with THC, and it’s been suggested that all cannabinoids and terpenoids found in Hemp plants influence each other’s pharmacological effects. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain all the other beneficial compounds found in the Hemp plant (like THC and different terpenoids), in addition to CBD.
If you take CBD oil orally/ sublingually, your oil will take some time to take effect (can take 15-30 minutes). But the effects will last longer than with smoking or vaping CBD-products (2-5 hours for oral consumption vs 1-2 hours for vaping).
It’s very important when you take it orally, that you keep the drops of CBD oil under your tongue for at least 60 seconds and THEN swallow it. This way the CBD oil will get directly absorbed into your bloodstream (this is called sublingual consumption), instead of having to first through the gastrointestinal tract.
How often you take CBD oil for your anxiety completely depends on how your body reacts to the chemical. As a guideline, we suggest taking CBD oil 1-2 times per day for a week to see the beneficial effects on your anxiety before increasing your dosage.
Pro tip: Take your CBD oil together with a different edible oil like olive oil. Recent research has shown that CBD has a higher bio-availability when taken together with other dietary lipids.
When using edible CBD oil, NEVER try to vape it. Edible CBD oils are not suited for vaping! Edible oils vaped over a longer period of time can cause lipid pneumonia.