Many people presently use CBD – or would like to start using CBD – for a whole variety of conditions, from the relatively trivial to the life-threatening. But purely in terms of numbers, the most widely sought treatment area must be anxiety. In the internet age, with libraries of scientific journals and patient testimonials, as well as thousands of different products readily available at the click of a mouse – millions of anxiety sufferers self-medicate themselves every day.
There are, unfortunately, no guaranteed fixes. Many medications will leave the user feeling sedated and foggy in the head. And while a relatively small minority of users will find an anxiety medication that offers long-term results, for the vast majority there will be only a temporary improvement, followed by a gradual reduction in effectiveness until they’re back where they started.
Most of these anti-anxiety products are plant-derived supplements, which can be bought without prescription and in nearly all cases without risk of serious side effects. Anxiety supplements are usually made from extracts of plants such as kanna, valerian and passion flower. These tend to offer mild relief at best, and many users find they’re not worth the money, and certainly not worthy of the claims made by the companies producing them.
The other obvious recourse for the anxiety sufferer is to consult with their doctor. Drugs like Xanax are phenomenally popular, but unlike herbal supplements they come with a number of potentially serious side effects, and the promise of long-term addiction.
And that’s the bind the anxiety sufferer finds himself. Either pay for ineffective herbal medicines or pay for effective but addictive and dangerous pharmaceutical medicines. It is a cruel situation for a person already suffering to endure.
CBD For Anxiety
Before I go any further, I am not saying that CBD is a magic bullet solution for anxiety. The harsh and painful truth is this: there is no magic bullet.
That said, the early scientific data and patient testimonials bring real encouragement. While many of the early CBD products popping up online these days are too low in CBD to offer maximum assistance, even in these small (and expensive) doses, benefit is being seen.
And of more encouragement still, the scientific studies on mice, rats and humans have shown substantial results. Crucially, these studies have been conducted with relatively larger doses of CBD than the current line of tinctures recommend. It is unfortunate that these CBD companies are not currently willing or financially able to offer sensible doses of CBD that will have the dramatic effects seen by scientists.
One hopes that by 2015 the price of these items will have dropped significantly, and the recommended dosing will have at least doubled. This huge gap between the amount of CBD administered by scientists and the amount of CBD within these products needs to be bridged. With mass production needs to come huge reductions in cost and huge increase in effectiveness.
Additionally, there must also be sensible regulation governing the cannabinoid market – meaning companies must state exactly how much CBD is in their product.
Imagine if you bought a product from a pharmacy and when you got it home there were no instructions for use, and no information on dosing. You would be pretty irritated – and rightly so.
CBD For Anxiety: The Science
Let’t take a look at what the science is telling us about cannabidiol’s potential as an anxiolytic medication.
This 2012 report into the anti-anxiety effects of cannabidiol in animal studies concluded that, “Studies using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. Moreover, CBD was shown to reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder.” Due to the encouraging nature of the findings the authors suggest further research be done into the various forms of anxiety, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder.
Speaking of Social Anxiety Disorder, this 2011 report considered the role of CBD to treat SAD. Scientists analysed blood flow and brain activity within the hippocampus of ten patients who suffer from the condition. The conclusion drawn was that, “CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”
In 2013 this study with mice began from the assumption that CBD is anxiolytic, and attempted to make an understanding breakthrough into the mechanism that causes it. The role of the CB1 receptor was cited as critical. The report adds, “This anxiolytic effect of CBD involved the participation of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, as CBD administration increased hippocampal anandamide levels and administration of the CB1-selective antagonist AM251 prevented CBD actions.”
Other published reports, including: this study and this study also reach the same conclusion: CBD is anxiolytic, and it calms the brain. This calming of the brain is likely why CBD is having such extraordinary results with childhood epilepsy.
CBD & THC: Very Different Compounds
One thing is crystal clear about CBD, in relation to anxiety: it acts in a very different way to THC. In fact it could be described as the exact polar opposite. THC can cause severe anxiety, CBD can take it away. This is an important truth that the general public must learn. And those who continue to make blanket statements like “cannabis is bad for mental health” need to be re-educated.
The reality is much more complicated than this knee-jerk and entrenched stance would indicate.
The huge disparity between CBD and THC also serves to reinforce the necessity for more CBD-rich strains of cannabis and hemp. This is particularly true for medical cannabis, for which CBD is pivotal, but also for recreational use. The teenage brain should not be exposed to large quantities of THC, and if the young person insists on using THC they must understand the need for CBD. For CBD not only counteracts the damaging effects of THC, it protect the brain from harm.
And while CBD is protecting the brain, it’s simultaneously making the young person less anxious and more relaxed – and the value of that for human health shouldn’t be underestimated.
Share this article with your friends: