CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound with numerous health benefits found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Most CBD products are derived from the hemp plant. Many states in the US now allow for CBD-derived products for medicinal use. According to the statistical data published by the Marijuana Policy Project, it is estimated that more than 3 million US consumers are using cannabis or marijuana as medicine. A 2015 national survey shows that recreational use of CBD products is even higher in the United States – with more than 22.2 million users.
People are gaining more and more knowledge about the endocannabinoid system, herbal cannabis, and cannabinoid pharmacology. A recent systematic review of cannabis and mental health reveals that the scientific literature on the medicinal or therapeutic use of CBD is underdeveloped compared to the study on non-medical cannabis use. As more states are legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, many people, health experts, and psychiatrists are turning to CBD products to treat and manage mental health disorders, such as stress, depression, anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
CBD For Anxiety
The body’s response to stress characterizes anxiety. Often, people mix anxiety and depression, but they are two different conditions. Statistical data by the CDC show that anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent emotional disorders. While everyone is prone to experience stress and anxiety in day to day life, people with anxiety disorders will often experience magnified symptoms such as feeling tense, nervous, restlessness, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, and having a sense of impending danger. These symptoms can trigger your flight or fight stress response and dramatically impact their quality of life.
If you have an anxiety disorder, you’ve probably tried many therapies and come across many claims about using CBD products to relieve anxiety symptoms. Cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system and is shown to have a potentially strong impact on parts of the brain that regulate hormones responsible for causing anxiety. CBD activates and stimulates the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and has been clinically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
According to a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, scientists have found that smoking cannabis can reduce depression, stress, and anxiety in the short term. However, the same study explained that repeated use doesn’t cause any long-term symptomatic relief and, in some individuals, may lead to increased anxiety symptoms over time.
Benzodiazepines and similar groups of drugs are some of the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs. The active ingredient in these prescription medications regulates GABA levels – a neurotransmitter in the brain that balances your anxiety levels. The problem with benzodiazepines is that patients tend to build a tolerance against them quickly. Plus, they also cause side effects, health complications, and thousands of overdose deaths.
Cannabidiol (CBD) also acts on the brain by affecting GABA levels. Early studies and clinical trials discovered that the active ingredients in CBD products, especially cannabidiol, play a significant role in regulating GABA in your brain. It has also been shown to lower the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is also called the stress hormone, and it regulates the stress levels in the body. The lowered cortisol decreases the fight and flight response during anxiety attacks and thus help reduce symptoms.
Cannabis for Stress
If you have been feeling low or experiencing a lack of interest in tasks or activities you once enjoyed, you may be suffering from stress. You are not alone, as statistical data show that more than 350 million people worldwide are living under mild to severe anxiety. It can be of many types, and it is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Despite such alarming numbers, many people with the condition do not get the medical help they need.
The use of CBD products as a possible treatment option for stress and its types is increasing – owing to its safety and effectiveness proved by recent medical studies. Early clinical trials show that CBD does help with mood stabilization and help restore normal endocannabinoid function.
Regularly taking a CBD product is shown to help stimulate GABA and cortisol action – two primary hormones whose imbalance is linked to stress. It also helps restore normal levels of endocannabinoids in the brain.
A study by Greer and colleagues reported that 80 patients with clinically diagnosed stress and anxiety were approved to use CBD products through a unique program. The authors measured current versus baseline scores, with and without the use of cannabidiol, respectively, and reported a significant decrease in 3 major stress symptoms, including low mood, mental fatigue, and sleep disturbances.
Talking about its side effects, 71 percent of people in a survey about CBD usage for chronic stress and anxiety didn’t report any significant adverse effects. 6% reported mild side effects such as throat irritation and cough. The potential health benefits and side effects of CBD products depend on the dose and the way you take it. It can be taken as a pill, spray, smoking, vaporizing, or patches. Recreational use, such as vaporizing and smoking, are more prone to cause potential side effects.
The use of CBD products for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions is increasing day by day. The increased usage is partly secondary to the recent studies and clinical trials that have proven its safety and effectiveness. Doctors and other health experts are now prescribing CBD products to their patients for several health conditions – including stress and anxiety. Furthermore, the low side effect profile in many studies and clinical trials is also a major boosting factor in the medicinal use of CBD products.