Cannabinoids and Anxiety: A Natural Alternative

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Igor Bussel

Do you feel stressed? Worried about something in the future or about the repercussions of the past? Have no fear. Anxiety is a natural, automatic response to stressful stimuli, and it is a perfectly normal condition. There are varying intensities of anxiety and sometimes it can be debilitating. There are systems in the human body that relay messages to the brain when feeling endangered. This transmission is critical for human survival, causing our bodies to temporarily boost their adrenaline levels to respond with fight-or-flight behavior depending on the circumstances. Symptoms of anxiety can include an elevated heart rate, heightened sensitivity to the physical environment, and sweating.

Many with anxiety will try just about anything to find relief from their stress. Some turn to pharmaceutical medications to help overcome symptoms but find themselves unsatisfied with the results. Other times patients will be overwhelmed with side effects, which makes it difficult to continue their medication. This is where CBDand cannabinoids enter the building. 

What Are Cannabinoids and How Are They Used? 

Early stage research indicates that CBD can help reduce anxiety in people with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or more commonly referred to as panic disorder. CBD works to help balance serotonin levels in the body, which is partially responsible for symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Human bodies contain a wide network of receptors that are designated as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are ones that are specifically designed to be able to bind with cannabinoids.

CBD is one of the many naturally occurring compounds in cannabis and hemp plants. A single cannabis plant contains 113 active ingredients called cannabinoids. Each compounds has its own range of effects on the brain and the body, but two in particular have gained more traction over the rest. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD or cannabidiol, are two of the primary ingredients in cannabis plants and have since become associated with their own positive and desirable outcomes. Both CBD and THC are known to have therapeutic properties, but THC is the cannabinoid that contains psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, does not. For this reason, CBD has become more attractive to some people as a treatment for anxiety as well as other conditions without any of the psychoactive effects of its counterpart.

Recently there is talk of another cannabinoid creating a middle ground between CBD and traditional THC, called Delta-8 THC. This is a minor cannabinoid found in all hemp and cannabis plants, that is thought to have similar therapeutic benefits to that of THC, but with a decreased psychoactive component, more like CBD. Though delta-8 is still very new in the field of cannabinoid research, consumers have reported a milder “high” accompanied by the relaxation and relief many feel when using CBD. The decreased intensity of delta-8 THC is due to a difference in structure on a molecular level, and though there is only small difference in structure, there is a detectable difference in how each effects the body’s endocannabinoid system. The CB1 receptor within the ECS is largely responsible for moderating the psychoactive effects of THC, so the difference in bonding could be the reason for the reported reduction in psychoactive properties. If you have tried CBD and didn’t experience relief, delta-8 could be another option to try. 

CBD for Anxiety

Over time, CBD has become a more legitimate option for the treatment of anxiety through slow recognition both inside and outside the professional medical community. CBD’s versatility has also been uncovered through research as a number of uses for CBD oil have been found for other ailments. When taking CBD oil for anxiety or other conditions, you help increase both your body’s and brain’s capacity to induce a state of calm and relaxation and allow it to restore emotional equilibrium.

Because of its calming effects and its widespread availability, CBD is now commonly used as a countermeasure for anxiety. CBD can be used to treat different types of anxiety, such as social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and generalized anxiety disorder. While clinical trials on humans are expensive—and, therefore, have been limited—evidence has shown that people experience less stress with CBD in their systems, enabling them to make less-panicked decisions. Additionally, CBD does not have a psychoactive component, which makes it a less-risky alternative to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other common anti-anxiety prescription medications.

Best Form of CBD for Anxiety:

  • Sublingual: under the tongue
  • Ingestion of edibles
  • Topical applications

Sublingual Consumption of CBD

One of the fastest and least obtrusive ways of consuming CBD is sublingually with a CBD oil or tincture. With a dropper, place a few drops underneath your tongue before swallowing and feel the full effects of the CBD quickly. However, it is important to be aware that effects will not be as quickly noticeable as if you had been smoking or vaping. It is, however, easier to keep track of the exact dosage that you consume and adjust the amount based on your individual needs.

CBD Edibles

CBD oil is sometimes infused into candies and various other treats in the form of edibles. You can also use CBD oil in your own recipes at home and combat symptoms of anxiety without veering away from your normal dietary choices. There are certain downsides to ingesting CBD that way, determine whether or not this method of consumption is for you. It can take up to four hours for CBD to be completely absorbed into the body when consumed through an edible. This makes edibles less effective in the treatment of acute anxiety attacks but can be appropriate for long-term anxiety reduction throughout the day.

CBD Topicals

If you are looking to treat joint pain, muscle aches, skin conditions like eczema, neck and back pain, headaches, or sinus congestion, then a CBD-infused topical may be for you. These ailments can also be side-effects of chronic anxiety. Although relief can be felt relatively quickly with a CBD topical, they offer the lowest dosage of CBD products and are not ideal for acute anxiety relief.

Cannabinoids for Anxiety Takeaways

Because the popularity of CBD is one the rise, there are a multitude of CBD products and companies today. When purchasing CBD or any cannabinoid based products always be sure to double check label claims and rely on companies backed by third-party tested lab results. Turn to Real Tested CBD for all the reliable sources and products. Click here to learn more.

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