What Does CBD Do For Anxiety?
It’s not a shocker that the curiosity of CBD and anxiety is spiking. It’s estimated that 40 million people between the ages of 18-54 have anxiety in the USA. Being a firefighter/paramedic, I respond to calls for anxiety attacks almost every shift. Most of these calls get dispatched as chest pain, heart attacks, difficulty breathing or even the feeling of impending death.
To really fix anxiety, the root cause must be understood. The medical and scientific communities do not understand how or why Anxiety or “panic” attacks can come on for no reason at all and can manifest in people who have never had issues with them in the past.
CBD has some interesting research behind it in patients with anxiety.
Let’s talk about what CBD does when it’s taken:
- Increases levels of anandamide
- Reduces levels of cortisol
- Increases levels of serotonin and glutamate
Not sure what any of that means? Perfect. I’ll explain below, it’s very simple:
CBD increases a hormone called Anandamide, also called “the bliss hormone” because of it’s effects on the body. Anandamide causes one to feel relaxed or “blissful”.
This hormone was discovered in 1992- so, this is all relatively “new” stuff.
The reason this was called “the bliss hormone” is because it stimulates serotonin and glutamate. These hormones are crucial in how depression and anxiety affect the human brain. Most prescription medications regulate imbalances in serotonin and glutamate. An imbalance in these hormones cause feelings of depression and anxiety. Prescription medications seek to correct these imbalances to stabilize your mood.
This study showed that CBD corrected the imbalances of these hormones in subjects, leading to a reduction in symptoms associated with their schizophrenia.
In another study out of Brazil, patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) were given CBD orally and their brains were studied using functional neuroimaging. Basically, scans were looking at things like bloodflow and reactions in the brains of patients taking CBD to see if their levels of anxiety were improved vs patients that received a placebo.
Results: “These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”
When the body is stressed from physical exertion, anxiety, lack of sleep or emotional distress, it releases cortisol. This is known as the inflammatory or stress hormone. Cortisol is necessary for normal bodily functions but like anything, it can get overproduced. CBD potentially reduces levels of cortisol. If so, this means that your stress won’t cause as much physical harm when CBD is taken.
Does this mean CBD can replace pharmaceutical medications? Not at the moment, you should always consult with your physician when taking CBD with medication.
However, there is a lot of promise for the future of CBD with regards to depression and anxiety. And, there is a strong possibility with all of the evidence pointing to benefits of CBD on the brain, that it will work for you too.
A common complaint for CBD not being effective for anxiety happens when someone doesn’t take CBD consistently and/or someone is taking it improperly. We’ve looked at studies on how CBD works in the human body (there are almost 800 of them) and created a guide here for you to look at and ensure you’re getting the most out of your CBD.
The Bottom Line on CBD and Anxiety
With the amount of research on CBD, anandamide and the case studies piling up, we do know that CBD does have a strong effect for many people out there. We know that it would fix the feelings of anxiety in everyone but there is potential that it can help many people out there.
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CBD can last up to 6 hours if taken sublingual (under the tongue). So, most people with consistent anxiety take it once in the morning and once later in the afternoon. If you know you’ll become anxious at a certain time, take it one hour before that event.
It absolutely can, it depends on which medications you’re taking. It isn’t necessarily dangerous, however. Physicians are worried about drugs that require very specific doses like blood thinners or chemo. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you’re thinking about taking CBD in addition to your other medications
You should never stop taking your prescribed medication until you consult with your physician. Whether you replace your prescription medication with CBD or not is a decision that has to include your physician.
In studies, research has shown that in animal models CBD reduces anxiety. A 2011 study out of the University of Sao Paulo showed that CBD worked on humans suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder