With the rising popularity of (and increasing medical interest in) CBD, it’s likely that you’ve heard about CBD as an effective pain and nausea relief treatment—these are certainly some of its most popular perks. However, CBD offers an even wider variety of benefits, ranging anywhere from better sleep to anxiety relief. Its effectiveness with anxiety relief is precisely what we’ll be talking about in this article. Before understanding how CBD treats anxiety, however, we first need to understand:
What really is anxiety?
Your brain is a complex system of neurons that fire electrical signals at each other and work together to control everything you do, from walking and talking to creating the voice in your head that you’re hearing right now while reading this. Clearly, there’s a lot that these neurons do, and you need a lot of them to be doing all of those things! So, naturally, they can sometimes get a little too busy and become overloaded—this is called anxiety.
Anxiety is the natural feeling you get when your neurons are working too hard, and unfortunately, it’s a lot more frequent and debilitating for some people than for others.
Now, at its base, anxiety isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the body’s natural ways of letting us know there’s some danger or threat nearby, and even helps us perform better to avoid falling into these dangers (hence the idea of working better under pressure). However, not dealing with your anxiety (which can happen if it’s provoked subconsciously or by a chronic condition) can lead to serious social and neurological disorders. This is actually quite common, with 18% of the U.S. adult population suffering from anxiety disorders—that’s almost a fifth of the country!
As if that isn’t bad enough, the drugs that are normally prescribed often have less-than-ideal responses, from dangerous side effects to intense addictions (as with Xanax or Valium). Since conventional treatment can offer even more risks, you might be wondering…
What do I do?
As you might have expected, CBD can make all the difference!
First off, CBD isn’t addictive, so you don’t run into the risk that plagues the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, CBD is a natural anxiety treatment and can offer plenty of other residual benefits if applied properly. Specifically, CBD has been shown to be able to treat OCD, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and even mild to moderate depression.
It should be noted that a good chunk of CBD research has come from animal trials, and these results don’t always transfer directly to people, but it is valuable information nonetheless. Recently, as more human studies have been done, we’re seeing that a lot of these benefits we believe CBD offers are actually very real and very effective.
Okay, so…CBD treats anxiety. You can take that at face value and just trust us—but how would that be any different from the infomercials that sell you on other treatments before you have time to second guess yourself? Always be skeptical about what you’re putting in your body and make sure you know all of the facts.
Without further ado, then, here are the facts:
How does CBD actually treat anxiety?
There are two cannabinoid receptors in our bodies—CB1 is the receptor that is most affected by CBD intake. CB1 is located in the brain and controls neurotransmission, which normally prevents the over-stimulated brain activity. CB1 also helps with pain and inflammation reduction, movement and posture regulation, sensory perception, and other important body functions.
All of this is made possible when anandamide (a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies) binds with the CB1 receptor. However, anandamide is naturally broken down enzymatically (try to say that five times fast), and once it’s broken down, it can’t be used to give us these benefits.
What CBD actually does is block this enzymatic breakdown for a longer period of time, allowing the brain to take advantage of the longer-lasting anandamide levels and to supercharge its anxiety relief, pain relief, etc.
Additionally, CBD has been shown to help regenerate neurons in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the brain most famous for its role in memory formation, and studies have shown that people suffering with depression and anxiety have a smaller hippocampus. These neurological and anxiety disorders have the ability to damage the hippocampus and effectively damage our social and mental composure, but CBD’s ability to regenerate these damaged neurons promises a “way back” from these conditions.
Human studies have actually found that this “way back” is completely legitimate. A specific study from Brazil found that patients taking CBD self-reported a noticeably and significantly lowered level of anxiety, which was measurable through blood pressure and other mediums. The same study showed that the placebo group actually ended up having increased levels of anxiety, which leads us to believe that CBD very much lives up to the benefits we expected.
Is CBD the Holy Grail to anxiety?
We’ll refer that one to patients on an individual basis. CBD has an extensive history as a medically beneficial substance, but because it’s been widely unavailable until recently, modern medical research has only recently begun to spike. For that reason, strong conclusions are difficult to draw, but that said, evidence strongly favors CBD as a medical powerhouse and is becoming more and more convincing every single day.
More studies are showing that CBD does in fact deliver on its vast benefits list. Studies specifically on anxiety have shown that not only does CBD legitimately fight anxiety, but it also allows us to better understand how anxiety works, and many medical professionals consider it simply “irresponsible” to ignore the potential of CBD in modern and future medicine.
More and more research is coming out on CBD every day, but the facts we already have are plain and simple: not only does CBD help treat anxiety, it does so in a completely natural way that your body already knows how to handle—there’s no risk of addiction or of those side effects from pharmaceutical pills. That, plus the automatic and natural pain and inflammation reduction, a better night’s sleep, and the rest of CBD’s benefits, and it’s becoming more clear that CBD may very well be the best approach to treating anxiety for many patients today.