Got anxiety? Don’t stress out… help might be at hand, with CBD.
- THC seems to decrease anxiety when taken at lower doses, and increases anxiety at high doses
- In multiple studies, CBD oil anxiety has been shown to significantly lower anxiety
- Terpenes in cannabis may help to relieve anxiety too
What is Anxiety?
We all get anxious and stressed at times. Our modern lives are filled with reasons for stress and anxiety, which usually comes and goes. We might feel scared, helpless, or a sense of dread due to a situation in your life. Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress, and it’s healthy; it triggers the fight or flight response, releasing the stress hormone cortisol which keeps us alert to danger and alert. We might feel stressed about a test, and the cortisol helps us stay awake to study more.
But some people have levelled up, and their anxiety is considered to be a mental health condition. Unrelenting anxiety and stress are tough on the brain and body. When anxiety goes from normal to crippling, it may look like:
- Excessive anxiety most of the time, over a range of events or activities
- Long lasting, for more than six months
- Being unable to control worries
- Symptoms manifesting as:
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind blanks
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
- Causing significant distress or impairment in life quality
There’s no specific known cause of anxiety. We know that neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine are important in braining functioning and well-being, and when their levels are disrupted, anxiety can result. This could be due to a genetic predisposition to anxiety, and when combined with an environmental stressor, it results in anxiety which simply can’t be turned off.
Does Cannabis Help Reduce Anxiety?
There’s a lot of noise about cannabis use for anxiety sufferers, do they take cannabis for their anxiety, or is the anxiety caused by cannabis use? Aside from this causation confusion, there is a lot of evidence that suggests cannabidiol (CBD) could be helpful in treating anxiety.
- A 2020 Canadian study of 2306 people showed that 95.51% of users experienced a decrease in anxiety symptoms. 66% of users reported feeling chill, happy, optimistic, and relaxed.
- A 2011 study showed that pretreatment with CBD reduced the anxiety experienced before giving a speech
- A 2020 meta-study suggests that CBD may have anti anxiety effects, although most research has only been carried out in males
- There is often overlap between anxiety and pain. Evidence that CBD can reduce pain is strong, which can in turn, reduce anxiety
Terpenes are part of cannabis too, and these can have some mitigating effects on anxiety. Limonene (lemon), pinene (pine), linalool (Lavender) and myrcene potentially have therapeutic benefits, although studies into this are really only just beginning.
What Does CDB Do?
CBD appears to decrease anxiety at both low and high doses. There are number of theories explaining why CBD may work to relieve anxiety:
- Inhibiting the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme. This increases anandamide levels, the ‘runners high’ chemical. Some studies have shown people with anxiety have low levels of anandamide.
- Changes how dopamine, serotonin, and GABA neurotransmitters are received and reabsorbed
A Note About THC and Anxiety
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) seems to decrease anxiety when taken at lower doses, and increases anxiety at high doses.
THC stimulates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system. Our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) works to maintain homeostasis. As the ECS is involved with maintaining a balance, this is about providing just the right amount; too little does nothing, too much swings the other way and can cause more anxiety.
This is why consumption of THC must be managed to ensure the right amount is consumed. Smoking cannabis may result in heightened anxiety.
Want to Take Cannabis For Anxiety?
It’s important to note that adolescents should avoid cannabis use. It has been associated with a ‘significant’ increased risk of developing anxiety and depression in adulthood.
This is a reminder that cannabis is a personalised medicine, and as yet, there are no preset effective dosages. A good prescription should be one arrived at using known best practices, and adding little by little to find a dose that works for you. It may be a mix of THC and CBD, or it could be CBD on its own.
It’s also wise to view cannabis as part of a holistic solution. It can help you to implement other healthy practices, such as great sleep, good nutrition, an exercise routine, and other positive lifestyle habits than can help to reduce anxiety.
Contact us to talk about CBD and anxiety, and if it’s the right solution for you. Whether you have chronic anxiety or you’re going through a tough time and are finding it hard to switch off your anxious brain, CBD could help.