The dark cloud of anxiety has loomed over mankind for centuries.
Prominent and well-respected historical figures such as Vincent Van Gogh, Jack Kerouac, Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, and Abraham Lincoln have all been known to have some form of anxiety disorder – though, at the time, specific medical diagnosis of which disorder each of them had would have been relatively unknown.
This is due to anxiety disorders only being officially recognized as legitimate psychiatric conditions by the American Psychiatric Association in 1982.
Now we see physicians and psychologists placing patients into specific anxiety disorder diagnostic subcategories such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
As a consequence of this, modernized treatment plans and professional therapeutic practices are able to pinpoint precise ways to alleviate and potentially cure the psychological ailment – this, in turn, provides a more personalized care regimen that’s better suited to an individual’s needs.
Alongside these professional treatments, more and more emphasis is being put on less conventional methods of aiding anxiety and depression – cannabidiol (CBD) oil being one of them.
With approximately 1 in 7 adults in the US currently using CBD products, which includes CBD oil, the hype surrounding this cannabinoid is starting to hit fever pitch – let’s continue and find out more about CBD and CBD oil for anxiety and depression.
What is Anxiety?
First, let’s look at what anxiety actually looks like.
To put it simply, anxiety is a normal and common brain function that has served us since the dawning of humankind – it’s often referred to as an “internal alarm system” that protectively alerts us of present or perceived dangers and forces us to act on them.
Oftentimes, anxious thoughts and feelings can be controlled and rationalized; we see what’s in front of us, we process it with the logical side of our brains, and we solve it practically and efficiently.
However, anxiety can also become uncontrollable, causing deeper and prolonged negative feelings and thoughts that endlessly cycle throughout the mind. This usually happens when a traumatic event has taken place or there are residual and unresolved childhood issues at play.
When this happens, the double-punch of depression sinks in, which not only affects the sufferer psychologically but also physically and physiologically as well.
Below are some of the tell-tale signs of anxiety or an affiliated anxiety disorder:
- Excessive concern or worry
- Negative or suicidal thoughts
- Avoidance of social situations and events
- Sleep disturbances/insomnia
- Rapid heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Loss of concentration
And here are some of the triggers associated with anxiety and anxiety disorders:
- Relationship issues
- Looming work deadlines/general work related issues
- Social events
- Health issues
- Certain medications
- Caffeinated beverages
- Public speaking
- General stress
What is CBD and How Does it Affect Our Bodies?
In order for us to get a handle on how CBD can potentially aid the symptoms of anxiety disorders, it’s worth exploring what this clever cannabinoid is and how it fundamentally interacts with the human body.
To save time, we’ll keep this as succinct as possible.
CBD is one of the 113 separate naturally occurring phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant and is the second most abundant phytocannabinoid behind tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
When ingested or inhaled (whichever you prefer), CBD will interact with what’s known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a naturally-occurring biological system found in all vertebrate animals (including humans).
The primary consequence of CBD’s interaction with your ECS is to bring your body to a state of homeostasis by regulating the important and vital functions within your body, which includes, but is not limited to: mood regulation, stress regulation, sleep, body temperature, appetite, and memory.
This is why CBD oil for anxiety, anxiety disorders, and depression has been such a hot topic recently with media outlets, YouTube videos, blog posts, and Reddit threads all attesting to its effectiveness.
There has also been many important studies conducted on the potential CBD oil has for anxiety, which we’ll find out later on down below.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is one of the most popular methods of consuming CBD.
It’s created using CBD extracted from the leaves and flower from a specially-grown high-CBD, low-THC cannabis plants and placed into a chosen carrier oil, which turns it into an easy to swallow liquid-like substance. Some of the most common carrier oils are medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oil.
There are various methods of extracting CBD, some of which we’ve kindly outlined here for you.
Please note: the lack of overall regulation has made some CBD oils unsafe for human consumption, especially online products that have been proven to contain synthetic cannabinoids, solvents, and other harmful contaminants. Also be aware that some products have also been proven to have no CBD in them at all, despite claims that they have.
Can CBD Oil Help Combat Anxiety?
It’s been suggested through numerous studies over the past three decades that CBD can help combat signs and symptoms of anxiety, anxiety disorders, and depression.
In fact, one of the earliest studies was done was by the University of Sao Paulo in 1982 with the objective to “verify whether cannabidiol reduces anxiety provoked by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]” – the results were positive and the research volunteers claimed that their anxiety symptoms brought on by THC were combated by CBD after administration.
In 2011, researchers looked into CBD as a way to reduce public speaking fear in 24 social phobia patients, each assigned to two separate groups – one group received 600 mg of CBD and the other received a placebo. It was noted that “the increase of negative self-evaluation during public speaking was almost abolished by CBD” for those who didn’t take the placebo.
Furthermore, a study conducted by the University of Buffalo indicated a cannabinoid much like CBD has the potential to regulate stress. Evidence from behavioural studies “suggests that endocannabinoids (eCBs) are important regulators of stress responses and a deficit in eCB signalling contributes to stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression”.
With this in mind, the evidence for the therapeutic and medicinal use of CBD to tackle the hardships of anxiety related disorders is exceptionally strong, though there’s still some way to go before its power if fully realised by ardent naysayers and irrational skeptics.
Currently, clinical trials based on an eight week randomized study on CBD’s potential to treat anxiety disorders is now underway for adults aged between 21 and 65 – this should, hopefully, shed some new light on its medicinal and therapeutic effects and uses.
Myths, Misinformation & Fiction
One common thought is CBD oil having the ability to cure anxiety by itself is one of the most misguided pieces of information out there today.
It must be stressed that CBD cannot and should not be replaced with conventional methods of therapy, be it cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, or behavior therapy – these are tried and tested professional practices and should not be overlooked.
It also has to be stressed that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the pursuit of interests and hobbies should also coincide with your treatment.
By extension of this, CBD and its respective oil products are also not a cure-all solution for every ailment under the sun, nor will it be effective for everyone who uses it, regardless of any stories you read online.
Always look at scientifically-backed research, formulate your own opinions, and find what ultimately works for you.
Risks & Side Effects
Thankfully, no detrimental health risks have been linked to long-term CBD oil consumption in humans; however, side effects do occur.
The most common and talked about side effects of CBD usage is fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, and changes in appetite.
CBD oil isn’t a miracle cure, but from the thousands of short-term and long-term research papers and studies conducted over the last three or four decades, as well as anecdotal stories found all over the internet, it’s difficult to chalk it down as a modern day snake oil.
Though we can’t legally promise positive medicinal or therapeutic outcomes for those looking to purchase CBD oil, we do advise you to dive deep into the world of this amazing cannabinoid and compile your own research to determine what it can ultimately do for you.