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CBD for Stress and Anxiety - Does it help?

Written by: Dr. Diana Rangaves, Google Scholar, holds a Doctorate from the University of California, specializes in pharmacotherapy management, and founded ClinicalConsultantServices.com and DianaRangaves.com. 

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Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Most people know cannabis for THC, a psychoactive and intoxicating compound, but CBD is non-intoxicating. There are actually over 100 natural compounds in the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids. Preliminary research has now indicated that there are many potential therapeutic benefits of CBD in particular, including its ability to relieve stress and anxiety.

How does CBD help to alleviate stress and anxiety? 

The human body has what is called the endocannabinoid system with two known receptors: CB1 and CB2. CBD interacts with these receptors, as well as other biological systems, in ways that are not yet fully understood. 

What does seem clear from scientific research and anxiety blogs alike is that the endocannabinoid system has a crucial role in regulating emotional behavior, including stress and anxiety. One way it might be doing this is by altering serotonin signals. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to control mood, and low levels of serotonin have been linked to anxiety. In addition, chronic stress decreases endocannabinoid signaling in the brain, which also leads to anxiety. As such, the use of CBD to affect these systems can potentially alleviate anxiety and improve mental health overall with its calming effects. 

CBD oil for anxiety 

CBD, extracted from the cannabis plant, is manufactured into the oil. One of the best ways to consume CBD is orally, as you know exactly how much CBD you are getting, making the effects more predictable.

When using CBD oil for anxiety, it can be added to food or swallowed directly. Because consuming CBD oral orally requires it to be digested, it will take longer to feel its effects. However, the effects will be felt for much longer than other methods of CBD oil consumption.

For this reason, CBD oil can provide sustained stress and anxiety relief over the course of a long stretch of time. Consuming CBD oil for daily stress relief is an ideal method of administration. 

An all-natural way to relieve anxiety

The most common and widely prescribed forms of medication to treat anxiety are a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. While they can provide significant anxiety relief, benzodiazepines can be physically addictive and hazardous when combined with alcohol and other depressants. 

CBD can provide all natural anxiety relief. Preclinical and clinical studies show that CBD is safe to use both in the short and long-term. Not only does it lack psychoactive effects, reported side effects of CBD have typically been mild and not serious, with no indication that it can lead to addiction. 

As with any substance, CBD could potentially interact with other medications, so it is best to consult with a medical professional before using CBD. 

CBD dosing information for anxiety 

To date, there is no uniform information regarding the proper CBD dose for anxiety. CBD dosage can vary based on factors like weight, metabolism, and severity of symptoms. Each person has a different metabolic make-up, so use the start low, go slow method for initial dosing. Most professionals agree that starting with a low dosage of CBD and increasing it until the minimum effective dosage is the ideal method for figuring out the appropriate individual dose for you. 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) indicates that most commercially available products do not have enough CBD in them to mirror the medicinal effects noted in clinical CBD trials. 

One clinical trial from 2018 investigated the effects of CBD on anxiety in adult males before undergoing a public speaking test. The results showed that CBD taken orally was able to provide a significant decrease the study participants’ anxiety. This was a small study of only 57 participants, so this information is only a rough guide rather than a rule. 

The future of CBD as an anxiety treatment

More long-term clinical human studies are needed fully to understand the effectiveness and safety profile of CBD in treating stress and anxiety. As cannabis moves to legalization in more states, long term research largely underway.

In the meantime, for those experiencing stress and anxiety looking for an alternative to the potentially dangerous pharmaceutical treatments currently available, CBD oil may be an effective route to take.

Before using CBD oil for daily stress relief and anxiety, consult with your doctor and look into the laws in your area regarding CBD usage.

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