Anxiety is a feeling that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. When left unchecked, anxiety can severely diminish the quality of one’s life, making treatment a top priority for both patients and health care professionals. The total lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in the U.S. is as high as 33%.
Despite its elevated importance, standard treatment methods for anxiety have proved to be inadequate, with prescription medications becoming more and more common than involved therapies. Fortunately, CBD oil has shown a lot of promise as a safe and effective natural alternative to traditional anxiety treatments.
If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, keep reading to learn how CBD can be used to help ease those anxious feelings.
What is Anxiety?
Strictly speaking, anxiety can be defined as heightened fear that causes psychological and/or physical discomfort. When anxiety arises out of a naturally stressful or threatening situation, it is considered to be a normal reaction; anxiety that is disproportionate to the situation or that occurs without clear provocation is considered abnormal, also commonly defined as an anxiety disorder.
Normal anxiety reactions are useful for proper mental functioning, but abnormal anxiety can be debilitating and cause emotional distress.
Anxiety can manifest itself in several ways. The most common psychological symptoms include a sense of dread, unease, or worry, as well as difficulty concentrating. Physical symptoms of anxiety include elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, shivering, chills, sweating, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest or throat, heart palpitations, and stomach aches. Anxiety can also be seen in people’s behaviors, such as avoidance of fearful situations.
Altogether, anxiety disorders constitute some of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., and they can cause a significant impairment in daily life for many of those affected. 3 million people will seek help for an anxiety disorder each year and women are 60% more likely than men to have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders may cause an elevated risk of unemployment, diminished social life, and even suicide.
Common Anxiety Disorders
According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), there are several types of anxiety disorders, each of which are distinguishable by a unique set of symptoms and behaviors. Disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) used to be categorized as anxiety disorders by the DSM, but they now have their own categories.
Nevertheless, anxious feelings are characteristic of disorders like these, and they are often treated in ways similar to anxiety disorders. Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders recognized by the DSM.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry about a variety of topics. Whereas other anxiety disorders focus on a specific situation, object, etc., GAD is indicative of persistent feelings of anxiousness with no specific focus. People with GAD might have deficiencies in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, and could also have an overly sensitive amygdala.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by an intense fear of social situations in which the person believes they will be evaluated negatively. SAD is sometimes caused by performance-related fears, such as worrying about giving a public speech. Social anxiety disorder affects about 5% of the U.S. population.
Panic disorder is characterized by the sudden and unexpected occurrence of panic attacks. Common symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain, intense fear, dizziness, and hyperventilation. It is not uncommon for someone having a panic attack to feel as if they are dying, so people with panic disorder are more likely to call emergency services for what they believe to be an urgent health issue, such as a heart attack.
Phobias are characterized by an abnormal fear of a particular object or situation. Phobias often arise in childhood, but there is no consensus as to how they develop. Many psychologists believe that phobias develop as exaggerations of normal fears, often due to a particularly distressing or traumatic event. Others believe that phobias emerge due to an abnormal evolutionary fear response.
Anxiety and the Brain
Scientists still don’t know much about what exactly causes anxiety disorders and why, but they have identified some important neurological anomalies that could shed light on the roots of the issue. In brain scans, variations in normal and abnormal anxiety are evident in areas of the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, which is involved in the processing of emotional responses. Anxiety disorders are commonly associated with heightened activity in the amygdala.
Anxiety could also arise due to abnormalities in neurotransmitter receptors that have been shown to influence fear and anxiety-related behaviors. Hyperactive TRPV1 receptors could potentially cause increased anxiety, while abnormally low levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and dopamine could also contribute.
In people with panic disorders, abnormal metabolic activity has been recorded in the hippocampal region, an area that is also responsible for regulating emotions.
It is worth noting that chronic stress has shown to often result in anxiety, and this could be due to how prolonged stress impairs the normal functioning of both the amygdala and hippocampus.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, and the second-most abundant cannabinoid behind THC. CBD has been shown to exhibit a broad range of therapeutic properties, making it a viable treatment method for a growing list of symptoms and conditions.
In addition to its non-intoxicating nature, CBD is safe and well-tolerated by humans even at large doses. It is for these reasons that researchers have taken significant interest in CBD’s potential as a natural alternative to traditional anxiety treatment methods.
CBD For Anxiety Treatment
Anxiety disorders are often treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. However, medication has become the predominant method of treating anxiety, but medications often produce limited results while also causing a number of adverse side effects.
On the other hand, current research suggests that CBD oil can be just as effective as medications prescribed for anxiety, with much less severe side effects. CBD’s actions target multiple symptoms present across different anxiety disorders; studies have shown that CBD can reduce anxiety, lower the frequency of panic attacks, decrease conditioned fear responses, and can also act as a stress reliever. This is likely due to how CBD reduces activity in the amygdala and at overactive TRPV1 receptors, both of which have been linked to increased anxiety levels.
Currently, CBD is very promising for treating anxiety–it could potentially replace condition-specific medications with a universal treatment method; however, additional research on the subject is still necessary. Future studies need to use standardized assessment tools and address CBD’s effects across different dosage levels and routes of administration.
How to Use CBD for Anxiety
When using CBD for its anxiety relieving effects, dosage and method of ingestion are especially important. Research suggests that CBD has the most pronounced anxiolytic effects at moderate doses. Lower doses can achieve a noticeable result, but doses larger than 300 mg are usually ineffective towards relieving anxiety.
In addition, one seeking to relieve their anxiety would likely want the effects to be more immediate (for example, someone with panic disorder), so vaping might be the desired choice as it provides the fastest absorption rate. Sublingual tinctures are the next best, and most popular, format for consuming CBD with fast absorption rates and high bioavailability, while CBD ingested orally is slower to take effect. It would be wise to experiment with dosages and formats and develop an individualized plan and schedule to maximize its effectiveness.
Visit our free CBD dosage calculator to determine a good starting point.
It should also be noted that, while CBD is perfectly safe to ingest, higher doses may cause a few uncomfortable side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, and decreased appetite.
Tips for Choosing a CBD Product for Anxiety
Making sure that you choose a high-quality CBD product is always important, but this is especially true when it’s going to be used for anxiety. CBD products typically have a fixed THC:CBD ratio, but unfortunately, many products are inaccurately labeled and contain more or less of each compound than they should. Furthermore, since CBD products are not FDA-regulated, some products might contain potentially dangerous additives such as pesticides and other chemicals.
If a product has inaccurately labeled concentrations of THC and CBD, or if it contains harmful additives, using it could potentially be unhealthy, and could even make your anxiety worse! To avoid this, always ensure that the product is all-natural and made with hemp from a trusted supplier, make sure the product’s contents and dose size/strength are labeled clearly and accurately, and check if the product’s contents have been tested and confirmed by a third party.
High quality CBD products are guaranteed to be safer, more effective, and will work faster. In the wild west environment of hemp/CBD, it’s important for consumers to be educated and understand what to look for when buying CBD.
The Tessera Naturals Difference
Tessera Naturals is committed to offer the highest quality whole plant hemp CBD products on the market. All of our products are:
- Made with premium grade broad spectrum hemp oil
- Made from organically grown USA hemp
- Made in the USA from farm to bottle
- Manufactured in a GMP certified FDA registered facility
- 3rd party tested for content and safety
- Free of heavy metals, harsh chemicals, solvents or pesticides
- Legal in all 50 states, 2014/2018 Farm Bill compliant
- Free shipping in the US
- 30 day 100% money back guarantee
Lastly, every product you buy from Tessera Naturals helps protect our planet through our partnership with onepercentfortheplanet.org!