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Updated on January 8, 2024

CBD for Anxiety

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Key takeaways

  • Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the world affect over 3 out of every 10 adults.
  • On a global scale, about 301 million people are suffering with anxiety disorders.
  • CBD works for anxiety in two ways; by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors and activating neuronal receptors.
  • CBD possess a calming effect that can improve sleep and stress management.
  • CBD possess an anxiety-reducing property that promotes brain health and relaxation.

How bad is anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the world affection over 30% of adults globally. It is a common and natural response to stress or danger, and in many situations, it serves as a helpful mechanism to heighten awareness and facilitate problem-solving. However, when anxiety becomes persistent, overwhelming, or disproportionate to the situation, it can develop into an anxiety disorder, which is a serious mental health condition.

Experiencing anxiety disorders might lead to long-term health issues like diabetes, stomach ulcers, and heart problems. A survey in 2023 found that nearly one third of adults reported feeling anxious or depressed. This shows that a significant number of people are dealing with these feelings.

Globally, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness. Around 301 million people, which is about 4% of the world's population, have anxiety disorders.

Before we proceed, it is important to distinguish between normal anxiety and anxiety disorders. Normal anxiety is a natural reaction that helps us deal with stress or challenges. It's like a built-in alarm system in our bodies, known as "fight-or-flight." This kind of anxiety is useful because it helps us respond to real threats and handle tough situations. It's temporary, meaning it usually goes away once the stressful situation is over. The intensity of normal anxiety is proportional to the situation, and sometimes, it can even make us more focused and alert.

Anxiety disorders on the other hand, are different. They involve too much worry, fear, or anxiety that goes beyond what's normal. Unlike normal anxiety, these feelings are excessive and stick around for a long time, often six months or more. Anxiety disorders can really get in the way of our daily lives, affecting how we do things, our relationships, and our overall well-being. People with anxiety disorders might react strongly even to things that aren't really that threatening. There are different types of anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

What are the causes of anxiety disorders?

The causes of anxiety disorders are complex and can involve a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Here's a breakdown of these potential causes:

  • Genetics: Like depression, anxiety disorders can be caused by genetics. If close family members, such as parents or siblings, have an anxiety disorder, it may increase the likelihood of someone developing it. It's like inheriting certain traits from your family that might contribute to how your body and mind respond to stress.
  • Brain Chemistry: Imbalances in neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are associated with anxiety disorders. These imbalances can affect how the brain regulates mood and stress. These neurotransmitters as messengers that help your brain communicate. When there's an imbalance, it can impact how you feel.
  • Environmental Factors: Certain life experiences or traumatic events, especially during childhood, can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. These may include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as major life changes or stressors. These environmental factors shape how you respond to stress. Difficult experiences, especially in childhood, can have a lasting impact.
  • Personality and Temperament: Some individuals may have a temperament or personality traits that make them more prone to anxiety. For example, being shy, perfectionistic, or having a tendency to be easily startled.
  • Medical Conditions: Medical conditions like chronic illnesses or hormonal imbalances, can contribute to anxiety disorders. For example, thyroid disorders or heart conditions.
  • Substance Use or Withdrawal: Substance abuse or withdrawal from certain drugs and medications can trigger or worsen anxiety disorders. Using substances or suddenly stopping them can affect the way your brain functions and contribute to anxiety.

How can CBD help people with anxiety disorders?

CBD provides its therapeutic benefits by interacting with the endocannabinoid system or the ECS. The ECS is known as the universal balancing system in the body. You can read our previous article on the ECS. It plays critical roles in balancing life processes and making sure every process is working according to plan and design. CBD and the ECS works to restore our natural balance and this has proven very effective at assisting people with different conditions, not just anxiety.

The anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect of CBD can be summarized in two ways which are discussed below;

  1. Targeting endocannabinoid receptors

Our body has something called the endocannabinoid system, which is like a network that helps control important functions in our body, such as how our nerves work, our heart, and our brain. It's like the control center for things like memory, appetite, sleep, fertility, and mood. Mood is especially important, and studies show that CBD interacts with something called the 5-HT1a receptor, which is linked to serotonin.

Serotonin is a special hormone that makes us feel good. It helps keep our mood stable, makes us feel happy, and gives us a sense of well-being. When serotonin levels are low, it can lead to problems like depression and anxiety. That's why many medications for depression and anxiety work by increasing serotonin levels. So, CBD seems to have a connection with this "feel-good" hormone and might help with mood-related issues.

  1. Activating neural receptors

CBD works in the brain to help reduce anxiety. It does this by interacting with specific receptors called 5-HT1a and CB1 receptors. Think of these receptors as tiny switches in your brain. CBD turns on the CB1 receptors in a part of the brain called the amygdala. When these switches are on, it helps decrease anxiety. So, CBD looks promising as a way to help with anxiety, acting like a kind of anxiety-relief switch in the brain.

Other possible roles of CBD for anxiety disorders

  1. Anxiolytic Effects: this describes the anxiety-reducing nature of CBD via the two mechanisms discussed above. Note that CBD is a regulator. It either activates or deactivates certain receptors depending on need. In the case of anxiety, CBD will activate neuronal receptors to reduce signs of stress or other factors that can lead to anxiety.
  2. Neurotransmitter Modulation: CBD can influence the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin. These receptors are responsible for mood regulation, and stress management. By targeting these receptors our bodies will be well equipped to manage stress and reduce the possibility of mood swings.
  3. Stress Reduction: CBD can help in managing stress which is often a contributing factor to anxiety-disorders. The calming effect of CBD can help people relax and even enjoy good sleep.
  4. Sleep Improvement: your mental health is as good as your quality of sleep. A poor sleep will produce poor mental health and vice versa. Several individuals have attested to the sleep-promoting effect of CBD and other cannabinoids. This can be very useful for people who are battling anxiety or any other anxiety-related challenge.

Frequently asked Questions

Is CBD habit-forming, and can it lead to addiction?

No, CND does not lead to addiction. CBD is generally considered non-addictive, and it does not produce the "high" associated with THC, another compound in cannabis.

How long does it take for CBD to work for anxiety?

The onset of CBD effects can vary. Some people may experience a relatively quick response, while for others, it may take more time. Factors such as the form of CBD used (oil, capsules, and edibles) and individual metabolism contribute to the variability. Our CBDa Full-spectrum products can start producing effects 3 to 5 minutes after administration. This is because we focus on CBDa, a highly effective cannabinoid than CBD. CBDa is 1000 times more active than CBD. See our article on CBD vs. CBDa for differences and similarities.

Can I give CBD to children or teenagers for anxiety?

Yes, as long as you are administering pure CBD. Pure CBD like Nesas Hemp organic hemp oil comes with zero pesticides and additives which reduces the possible side effects.

Are there specific types of anxiety that CBD is more effective for?

No, CBD can be useful in all forms of anxiety disorders.

Can I use CBD for occasional anxiety or is it more suitable for chronic anxiety?

CBD is useful for all forms of anxiety. Its effects can vary based on individual needs and the specific situation. Some people use CBD as-needed for acute anxiety episodes, while others incorporate it into their routine for ongoing symptom management.

Want to Learn More?

  1. How To Recover From Burnout in 8 Ways
  2. Is CBD Oil Use While Pregnant Safe?
  3. How Does CBD Oil Make You Feel: What To Know
  4. Is CBD Legal? Here's What To Know
  5. How To Take Control of Your Mind

Sources

Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-041. PMID: 30624194; PMCID: PMC6326553.

Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct;12(4):825-36. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1. PMID: 26341731; PMCID: PMC4604171.

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