Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has largely become the preferred remedy for anxiety over the past several years. With its ability to naturally enhance many aspects of health without dangerous or unpleasant side effects, many people are choosing it in lieu of prescription medications. Whether choosing CBD supplements, oil, or vaporizers, the use of CBD to combat anxiety is backed by scientific research.
How Chronic Anxiety Develops
According to statistics, one out of every four people living in the United States suffers from anxiety. While genetics and hormone imbalances are both contributing factors, other components that affect one's neurochemistry include lifestyle, environment, and ongoing stress.
When we repeatedly endure stress, the brain and body are eventually trained to be in "alert" mode all the time. And as feelings of dread, nervousness, headaches, and unease become more and more prominent, the body’s response will lead to a weakened immune system, weight gain, lack of sleep, heart disease, and fatigue.
However, CBD has been shown to create a chemical reaction within the body that reinstates balance, a sense of calm and overall improved well-being.
While the mainstream medical community offers various therapies and medications designed to alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety, they rarely address the root cause, or offer long-term, safe effects.
The Science Behind CBD
CBD has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in multiple cultural settings. Fortunately, science paid attention to this longstanding history of CBD use and has been studying it. For instance, in 2010, the Journal of Psychopharmacology stated that the unpleasant side effects caused by prescription anxiolytics are difficult for patients and their families to tolerate, and went on to say that cannabidiol would be a safer alternative. Another study published by Neuropsychopharmacology in 2011 revealed that CBD could help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s, and bring relief for individuals suffering from sleep disorders, depression, and other issues associated with anxiety.
Neurochemistry and the Body’s Response to CBD
Additionally, research focusing on the body’s response to cannabinoids helped scientists discover the body’s own built-in system, known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The primary role of this internal system is to help maintain a healthy balance emotionally, mentally, and physically, while ensuring the proper functioning of the nervous system and all major organs.
Interestingly, the ECS produces cannabinoids that closely resemble the same compounds found in CBD. Because of this similarity, when CBD is consumed, it supports the functions of the endocannabinioid system and has a major positive impact.
In fact, when CBD is used regularly, it helps restore serotonin to healthy levels, which helps reduce issues caused by anxiety.
CBD Products for Anxiety
Dosage may vary based on age, weight, and the severity of symptoms, which means you may need to tweak the amount until you determine your best dosage. Too much CBD may result in dizziness or nausea, but fortunately, CBD has no known dangerous side effects, and should you experience these symptoms, simply lower the dose. To put your mind at ease in regards to dosage, clinical trials routinely prescribed 1200 mg of CBD daily without participants experiencing any undesired side effects.
However, there are general usage recommendations based on the various CBD products and their applications. For instance, topical products are better suited for arthritis or joint pain because they are quickly absorbed through the skin. On the other hand, an oral supplement, vaporizer or oil solution is best suited for addressing stress and anxiety because these formats will reach the bloodstream, brain, and immune system more quickly.
Overall, oral products have longer lasting effects, whereas a vaporizer will produce short-term, more immediate results. Since anxiety sufferers typically endure symptoms throughout the day, gummies, tinctures, or concentrates would be the optimal choice.
A common daily regimen for using CBD to reduce anxiety includes taking an oral product one to three times throughout the day and adding a vape pen for more immediate relief, as necessary. Due to the potential side effects of nausea or dizziness, begin with smaller doses when first starting to use CBD. Remember, your body’s endocannabinoid system is unique to you; therefore, your CBD dosage will be specific to you as well. Track your results daily for several weeks until you find the dosage and times that work best for you.
Full Spectrum CBD versus Isolate CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains hundreds of compounds derived from the cannabis plant, whereas the isolate CBD contains specific properties found in a single molecule.
While isolate CBD is considered the most pure, and does offer relief from inflammation and pain, because it has been stripped of so many essential properties, the benefits are minimal.
CBD products derived from the whole plant, i.e. full or broad spectrum, include terpenes, phenolics, and cannabinoids. These various properties work together to enhance the effects and provide greater relief and longer lasting results for individuals suffering from anxiety.
When choosing your CBD products, opt for high quality versions that will help you avoid subpar purity, synthetic additives, or dangerous fertilizers. You may pay a little more, but your body and health are worth it!