Here we look at the benefits of CBD oil for anxiety management.
Increasing numbers of people are using CBD products to help manage symptoms of anxiety. CBD is a safe and legal extract of the hemp plant that is free from any controlled substances, and there is a growing body of evidence to support the hypothesis that CBD could help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Let’s take a closer look at how people could benefit from using CBD oil for anxiety.
Anxiety is often treated with medications such as SSRIs, SNRIs, and benzodiazepines. Although these treatments can be very effective, these drugs do not come without side effects. They can cause sleep problems, drowsiness, mood changes, headaches, appetite changes and various other issues.
Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, are also a common treatment for anxiety, but they are by no means a rapid cure for acute anxiety. It can take weeks or months of therapy to get anxiety under control, and everybody is different in terms of how well they respond to it.
CBD oil could be an effective way to manage acute anxiety as and when it flares up. It could be used in addition to therapy to help people manage their symptoms of anxiety as they work on improving their condition over a longer term period.
CBD oil contains cannabidiol, a chemical that occurs naturally in hemp plants. Cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause any intoxication and is a safe way to enjoy the health and wellbeing effects of cannabinoids without the ‘high’ that occurs with the consumption of cannabis.
It appears that CBD interacts with receptors in the body’s central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. It isn’t clear exactly what impact CBD has on these receptors, but it is thought that it could affect serotonin levels.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical that transmits nerve impulses. It is an important neurotransmitter when it comes to our mood, and low serotonin levels are believed to be a cause of anxiety. One of the conventional medications for anxiety, SSRIs (or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), works to alter serotonin levels to relieve anxiety. It is thought that CBD oil could be a good natural alternative to SSRIs.
CBD could help to treat generalised anxiety disorder, according to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The report assessed research from both animal and human studies, and determined that CBD has demonstrated “therapeutic efficacy” in managing stress and anxiety.
According to a 2011 study, it seems that CBD could also improve social anxiety disorder. Participants were given CBD orally in one treatment session and given a placebo in another session. The study found that participants experienced a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms after being treated with CBD compared to treatment with the placebo.
A study on anxiety and sleep published in 2019 found that CBD could improve anxiety-related insomnia. The research found that within the first month of treatment with CBD 79.2% of subjects experienced a reduction in anxiety, and 66.7% experienced improved sleep.
Sometimes anxiety can cause insomnia, and in other instances, insomnia can make anxiety worse. The data is currently inconclusive as to whether CBD helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety to improve sleep, or if improved sleep relieves anxiety. However, the study found that while anxiety levels stayed lower after the initial month, sleep quality fluctuated over time after the first month. It was concluded that CBD appears to benefit anxiety first and foremost, and that better sleep may be a benefit and helpful side effect of reduced anxiety.
An article published in 2018 reviewed multiple studies conducted on the effects of CBD on those with PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD causes patients to experience anxiety and panic as a result of a past traumatic experience. The article determined that CBD appeared to help manage symptoms of PTSD, both when used alone and when in conjunction with conventional treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and medications.
It’s important to consult a doctor before taking CBD if you’re taking any prescribed medications, particularly those designed to treat anxiety. It may be possible to take CBD oil alongside conventional medications, but be sure to consult your doctor first.
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