How can CBD help with anxiety?
Studies have shown that the use of CBD has a huge number of potential health benefits, from the relief of pain and inflammation to the promotion of cardiovascular health. However, it’s not just our physical health that could benefit from CBD use, but our mental health too.
Stats from Anxiety UK reveal that around three million people in the UK are suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder. Treatment normally revolves around the prescription of anti-depressants and other drugs – but these may not work for everyone, and can have some pretty unpleasant side effects.
But could CBD be the answer to anxiety relief?
While studies of the effects of marijuana in its natural form have had mixed results – some claim that it can help anxiety, while others suggest that anxiety is a risk factor of marijuana use – a number of preliminary research studies have shown that CBD could actually offer relief from some of the symptoms that anxiety sufferers have to deal with. Results of a study conducted in 2010 [http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881110379283] suggested that CBD can reduce anxiety in generalised social anxiety disorder (SAD) sufferers, while research the following year [https://www.nature.com/articles/npp20116?foxtrotcallback=true] claimed that CBD can reduce the anxiety associated with public speaking.
In 2015, studies on animal models [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339] showed an increase in antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects when CBD was used, while in 2016, a child treated with CBD for PTSD and anxiety caused by a sleep disorder was shown to benefit from the treatment [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/].
But how does CBD actually work to treat anxiety disorders?
Research from both animal and preclinical human studies shows that CBD can have multiple effects on the brain, each working differently to resolve symptoms of anxiety. Increasing serotonin levels in the brain can boost the mood and reduce anxiety, which is how selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and other anti-anxiety drugs work. A Spanish study [https://www.cannabisreports.com/cannabis-studies/cannabidiol-induces-rapid-acting-antidepressant-like-effects-and-enhances-cortical-5-htglutamate-neurotransmission-role-of-5-ht1a-receptors] revealed that CBD can work in a similar way to these SSRIs – and, what’s more, that it may even work more quickly.
Anxiety sufferers sometimes also have a smaller hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for cognition and memory formation) than non-sufferers, with the regeneration of neurons in this area one proven treatment for anxiety. A study conducted on mice [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23298518] showed that repeat use of CBD can promote an increase in neurons in this part of the brain, giving yet another indication that CBD could well be a solution to anxiety sufferers’ woes.
With the anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by doctors leading to nasty side effects amongst many who take them, it could well be that CBD oil is an answer to many anxiety sufferers’ prayers.