Battle Anxiety with CBD: A Comprehensive Guide

Key Takeaways

  • CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, potentially alleviating anxiety and depression symptoms

  • CBD and sertraline work differently for mental health disorders; individualised treatment is crucial

  • Use of CBD for anxiety relief should always involve consultation with a healthcare provider

Table of Contents

Discovering the Battle with Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are a prevalent issue, affecting millions of individuals globally. As per the World Health Organization, one in thirteen people experiences some form of anxiety disorder, making it the most common mental health disorder worldwide. But what is an anxiety disorder? It refers to excessive worry, panic attacks or fear that disrupts a person’s daily life. Anxiety disorders are not monolithic; they come in various forms such as generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual recognizes these and other anxiety disorders, each with its unique set of anxiety symptoms. Over time, these mental disorders have prompted numerous studies and clinical trials aimed at finding effective treatment for anxiety disorders, including potential anxiolytic treatment and adjunctive therapy. Despite the numerous treatment options, many individuals still struggle with these disorders. However, CBD for anxiety presents promising potential.

Understanding Cannabidiol (CBD)

Before delving into how CBD helps with anxiety anxiety related disorders, it’s essential to understand what CBD (Cannabidiol) is. CBD is a compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, along with Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that cause the “high” sensation. It has, instead, been recognized for its potential health benefits, including its therapeutic effects on neurological disorders and mental health conditions.


Unravelling the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

To understand how CBD works in the body, we must first explore the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This complex cell-signalling system plays a crucial role in maintaining physiological homeostasis, affecting various functions such as mood, sleep, appetite, and more importantly, the body’s response to stress.

The ECS primarily consists of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors (CB1 and CB2). CB1 receptors, mainly located in the central nervous system, play a significant role in brain functions such as mood and emotions. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are predominantly found in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells.

The Role of CBD in ECS

CBD doesn’t bind directly to these receptors but instead influences them to utilise more of the body’s endocannabinoids. By enhancing the ECS’s efficiency, CBD may help maintain balance in the body and regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviours. As such, CBD’s interaction with the ECS forms the neural basis for its potential in treating anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Our top picks for best CBD-products in the battle against Anxiety Disorders

Renova CBD oil 10%

  • Highly Potent: Exceptionally strong, concentrated formula for maximum benefits.
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Renova CBD capsules

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Renova CBD oil 5%

  • Same Quality, Less Intense: All the quality of Renova's 10% oil, but half the potency
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Exploring the Neurotransmitters Involved

One overlooked yet integral aspect of understanding how CBD can help with anxiety disorders lies in its interaction with the brain’s neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow nerve cells, or neurons, to communicate with each other. They play a crucial role in governing feelings, emotions, and mood, including the sensations of anxiety.

One such neurotransmitter is serotonin, often referred to as the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter due to its central role in regulating mood, happiness, and anxiety. It has been observed that people with anxiety disorders often exhibit lower levels of serotonin. CBD is believed to interact with the serotonin receptors in the brain, which may help reduce anxiety and boost mood.

In addition, CBD’s interaction with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) should also be considered. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal excitability and induces relaxation and calmness. By enhancing GABA signalling, CBD may help to reduce the overactivity in the brain that leads to feelings of excessive anxiety.

CBD for Anxiety: The Evidence

Several studies suggest some clinical evidence for CBD’s potential treatment for anxiety disorders. One notable study involved a simulated public speaking test on individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD). The results showed that participants who used CBD oil before the test had significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance compared to the placebo group.

Moreover, CBD’s effects on PTSD symptoms have also been studied. In a preliminary report, ten out of eleven patients showed a decrease in PTSD symptoms when given CBD as an adjunctive therapy, demonstrating CBD’s potential as a complementary treatment for anxiety disorders.

Understanding the Anxiolytic Effects of CBD

There is a mounting body of clinical data and relevant animal studies that support the anxiolytic effects of CBD. In various studies, CBD demonstrated acute anxiolytic effects and potential long-term advantages in reducing anxiety symptoms, such as those found in social anxiety, panic disorder, and generalised anxiety.

For example, in a study focused on the effects of CBD on patients with generalised social anxiety disorder, the patients reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Neuroimaging data revealed changes in blood flow patterns in the brain regions associated with anxiety, supporting the anxiolytic effects of CBD.

Influence of CBD on Neurogenesis

Anxiety and mood disorders have also been linked to changes in certain areas of the brain, including the hippocampus. The hippocampus plays a critical role in various brain functions, such as learning and memory. Research indicates that anxiety disorders and depression are often associated with hippocampal atrophy.

Interestingly, CBD has been shown to promote neurogenesis, especially in the hippocampus. This process, which involves the birth of new neurons, can contribute to the alleviation of anxiety symptoms. By promoting the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus, CBD may help to counteract the brain changes associated with anxiety disorders.

CBD Dosage for Anxiety Disorders

When using CBD for anxiety, dosage plays a pivotal role. Dosage considerations include factors such as body weight, the severity of symptoms, and the specific product used to relieve anxiety. A systematic review suggested that low to moderate doses of CBD could provide therapeutic effects without safety and side effects concerns typically associated with psychotropic medication.

However, it’s essential to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until you experience relief from your anxiety symptoms. It’s also vital to consult a healthcare professional before starting CBD treatment to avoid potential interactions with other medications.

Table: CBD Dosage Guideline for Anxiety Symptom

Symptom Mild Anxiety Moderate Anxiety Severe Anxiety
General Anxiety 10-20 mg daily 😌 20-40 mg daily 😥 40-60 mg daily 😰
Panic Attacks 20-40 mg at onset 😨 40-60 mg at onset 😱 60-100 mg at onset 🚨
Social Anxiety 10-20 mg before social event 🤗 20-40 mg before social event 😣 40-60 mg before social event 😫
Insomnia due to Anxiety 10-20 mg before bed 🛏️ 20-40 mg before bed 😴 40-60 mg before bed 🌙

🔔 Disclaimer: There is no universal dosage for CBD. This table provides a rough guideline. Please adjust the dosage according to your personal needs, listen to your body, and consult with a healthcare professional if in doubt.

The Safety and Side Effects of CBD

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, it can cause adverse effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and, in some cases, liver damage. Moreover, CBD can interact with other medications, causing potential harm. Hence, the need for medical consultation before starting CBD treatment. A randomised controlled trial conducted on healthy volunteers showed that while CBD is safe, it should be used with caution, especially for individuals on other medications or with underlying health conditions.

Potential Challenges and Considerations in Using CBD for Anxiety

Despite the potential benefits of using CBD for anxiety, there are also several challenges and considerations. One major challenge is the lack of standardisation in the production and labelling of CBD products. Given the relatively new and rapidly growing nature of the industry, there is a considerable inconsistency in the concentration of CBD in different products. This variability can make it difficult for users to determine an appropriate dosage.

Moreover, while CBD is generally considered safe, some people may experience side effects. These can include fatigue, diarrhoea, changes in appetite, and potential interaction with other medications. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss the use of CBD with a healthcare provider before starting or changing any treatment regimen.

Finally, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body and brain chemistry are unique. Therefore, what works for one person to treat anxiety, might not work for another. More research is needed to better understand the individual factors that influence the effectiveness and safety of CBD for treating anxiety disorders.

Legal Implications of Using CBD

Another critical aspect to consider when using CBD for anxiety is the legal status of CBD. As of the knowledge cutoff in September 2021, in many parts of the world, the legality of CBD is a complex issue. Although it’s generally legal in places where medicinal cannabis is legal, laws vary by country, state, and even local jurisdictions. Some areas have specific laws regarding CBD products’ concentration and composition, while others may prohibit them altogether.

Also, note that the lack of regulation can affect the quality and safety of CBD products. As such, it’s crucial to purchase CBD products from reputable suppliers who are transparent about their testing protocols and provide a certificate of analysis.

Integrating CBD into Daily Life

One of the key aspects that may contribute to the growing interest in CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders is its compatibility with daily life. CBD is available in various forms such as oils, tinctures, edibles, and vapes, providing versatility in its administration. This flexibility allows individuals to choose a method that best suits their preferences and lifestyle.

However, it’s important to remember that while CBD may offer potential benefits, it should not be viewed as a standalone solution for anxiety disorders. Instead, it should be integrated as part of a holistic approach, incorporating other elements such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness practices, and a balanced diet and exercise regimen.

Table: Comparing CBD and Sertraline in Treating Anxiety

CBD Sertraline
Ease of Access Available OTC in many regions 💊 Prescription Required 📄
Side Effects Few, generally mild 😌 May include nausea, fatigue, weight changes 😓
Addiction Potential Minimal 👍 Low, but withdrawal can be an issue 🔄
Interactions with other Medications Potential interactions, always consult with a doctor 🚨 Can interact with many medications, consult your doctor 🏥

The Social and Cultural Impact of CBD

As CBD continues to gain popularity for its potential therapeutic uses, it’s also having a significant social and cultural impact. CBD’s shift from a mostly unknown compound to a widely used supplement has challenged traditional views on cannabis and its derivatives. This has led to a cultural shift where cannabis and its compounds are increasingly seen as potential sources of treatment, rather than substances of abuse.

Simultaneously, CBD’s rise has fueled a booming industry and inspired a wave of entrepreneurship. The growing CBD market has also led to increased agricultural demand for hemp, a variant of the cannabis plant that is high in CBD and low in THC.

Despite these positive trends, stigma around cannabis use persists in many societies, and this can influence people’s willingness to try CBD. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how the cultural perception of CBD evolves and how this influences its use for anxiety and other conditions.

Looking Ahead: Future Research and Use of CBD

While existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders, further clinical studies involving human trials are necessary. Such studies should focus on the potential long-term effects of CBD, optimal dosage, and the influence of varying doses on different anxiety disorders.

It’s also worth noting that while CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits are promising, it should not replace conventional treatments unless under medical supervision. It can, however, be used as an adjunctive therapy to supplement other treatments for anxiety disorders.

In conclusion, while CBD is not a cure-all, its anxiolytic effects and potential in treating anxiety disorders make it a promising supplement. With more comprehensive and systematic reviews of CBD and its effects on psychiatric disorders, the future of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders looks promising.6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ;


Frequently Asked Questions

   Yes, CBD has potential benefits for people with anxiety. Research suggests that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and certain neurotransmitters, which may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. However, individual responses can vary, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting CBD treatment.

   CBD might not stop anxiety and depression completely but can potentially alleviate their symptoms. Studies suggest that CBD may interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, which can help regulate mood and anxiety. However, it should not replace conventional treatments unless advised by a medical professional.

   CBD may help with panic disorder by enhancing the body’s endocannabinoid system and regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA. These can influence fear response and induce a state of calm, potentially reducing panic attacks. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects on panic disorder.

   It’s not appropriate to claim CBD is better than sertraline. Both have been found to help with anxiety and depression, but their mechanisms of action are different. Sertraline is a clinically approved selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, while CBD is a natural compound with potential anxiolytic effects. The choice between them should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.

   Generally, CBD is not known to cause anxiety. In fact, it’s often used to reduce anxiety symptoms. However, everyone’s reaction to CBD can be different, and in some rare instances, individuals may experience increased anxiety. It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting CBD.

   The time it takes for CBD to work can vary based on several factors, including the method of consumption, dosage, and individual metabolism. Some people may feel the effects within 20-30 minutes, while others may take a few hours or more. Consistent usage over time is often necessary for long-term benefits.

   No, CBD is not considered addictive. It doesn’t produce the “high” that other cannabinoids like THC do, and it has been recognized for its potential therapeutic benefits, including its use for anxiety and depression. However, as with any substance, it’s recommended to use CBD responsibly.

   There’s no one-size-fits-all CBD product for anxiety. The choice largely depends on personal preference, the severity of symptoms, and individual body chemistry. Some people prefer CBD oil, while others may opt for edibles or capsules. It’s advisable to choose a product from a reputable supplier who provides third-party testing.

About the Authors

Richard Cole is a renowned CBD and cannabis expert who has dedicated his life to researching, advocating for, and educating others about the benefits of these plants. Jacob Haddad is a highly-regarded biosciences expert with a specialization in cannabis research. Both have made significant contributions to their respective fields and continue to inspire others with their expertise and passion. Read more