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    News — therapeutic

    40 Million US Adults Have an Anxiety Disorder. Can CBD Help?

    40 Million US Adults Have an Anxiety Disorder. Can CBD Help?

    As laws and social stigmas change, the cannabis plant, namely its chemical compounds of cannabinoids, is gaining more notability for having effective anti-anxiety effects on people across the globe. In a recent study on cannabidiol (CBD) and neuropsychiatric, or anxiety, disorders, it was shown that preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for the following disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. There is a need for studies to investigate chronic CBD dosing and clinical populations, but this study used acute doses of CBD to explore the effects of cannabidiol to calm the fear response in the body.

    Fear and anxiety, as adaptive responses that are necessary for coping with threats to survival, can easily get excessive or persistent and can lead to disability when systems are imbalanced. When this happens, people typically show a diminished sense of well-being, have a hard time in healthy relationships, are more prone to unemployment, and also exhibit an elevated suicide risk. So it’s no wonder that we are exploring CBD as a natural and healthy alternative to help combat these disruptive responses. In the United States, twenty-nine percent of the population has a lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders, the highest of any mental disorder. This in turn creates massive social and economic burdens as this large of a population struggles with day to day structures such as relationships and jobs. Currently, pharmaceuticals such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors are prescribed to treat these conditions, but sometimes, at a high cost. CBD, with further study, is showing excellent safety ratings for high doses, which is unlike many of the pharmaceutical options out there with high overdose and abuse rates. This study showed that CBD was well-tolerated across a wide dose range, up to 1500mg/day (orally), without any reported psychomotor slowing, negative mood effects, or abnormalities in vital signs. 

    The way CBD interacts with the brain’s chemistry has to do with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for the body’s way of maintaining homeostasis, or balance, as well as other diverse physiological functions such as caloric energy balance and immune function. Several of these receptors found throughout the endocannabinoid system are known to regulate fear and anxiety-related behaviors, specifically the CB1 receptor and the serotonin 5-HT receptor (joyfulness), among several other receptors throughout the body’s nervous system. A system that is healthy has a natural and balanced response to fear-triggering events, whereas one that is experiencing disorder, does not have that regulated response and creates a malfunction.

    The way CBD can work on regulating this response has to do with the CB1 receptor - its activation has the ability to minimize conditioned fear responses and can prevent it from coming back unnecessarily, by releasing a hormone corticotropin, which has anti-anxiety effects. That said, when these receptors are activated on a consistent basis, it can help prevent the negative effects that fear has on the body, such as aging and stress. Chronic stress impairs the endocannabinoid system’s signaling to various parts of the brain (the hippocampus and amygdala), which leads to anxiety. Basically, cannabinoids have been shown to be activators for this balanced and natural response of the system to regulate fear, not block it.

    Although this study had its limitations, as only experimentally-induced anxiety or fear was studied, it was shown that CBD reduced anxiety with a simulated public speaking test in healthy subjects and also those suffering from social anxiety disorder, and proved to be comparable to pharmaceutical medications in their efficiency. Taken at high doses ranging from 300 to 600mg, CBD was shown to reduce anxiety in healthy people without affecting baseline anxiety levels, or a balanced anxiety response, and also significantly reduced anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder. This means that this evidence may support the use of CBD for aiding potential treatment for PTSD or enhancing cognitive behavioral therapy, which could change this problem in the United States. 

    Medical Research on the Effects of CBD for Anxiety

    Medical Research on the Effects of CBD for Anxiety

    You know the feeling. You’re on a deadline at work, or you just received an unexpected bill in the mail, or perhaps your child just went to her first day of school…ever. Your palms are sweaty, you’re short of breath, your chest feels tight and it’s hard to concentrate. This is anxiety, and you’ve felt it before. Sometimes you feel it every day of the week.

     

    Anxiety gets a bad rap, but it’s actually an evolutionary response designed to help us react to threats to our safety, welfare, or environment. Anxiety can motivate us to avoid danger, to perform better, or to approach a difficult situation and resolve it.  It’s when anxiety starts to interfere with our daily activities that it can become problematic. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), characterized by persistent and excessive worry about things such as money, health, family, or work, is just one of many anxiety disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

     

    Anxiety and anxiety-related disorders affect a huge segment of our population. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 19% of US adults 18 and older experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year, and 31% of adults 18 and older have experienced an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. That’s a lot of folks like you and me! With such a prevalence of anxiety disorders, researchers are constantly looking for the best treatment.

     

    These days, anxiety disorders are often treated with a combination of cognitive therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This treatment can be effective, but not everyone responds well to the latter. Side effects of SSRIs include drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, insomnia, diarrhea, nervousness and dizziness. 

     

    Fortunately, early research shows promising signs that CBD may be an effective alternative treatment for many anxiety disorders. While researchers are not yet certain how CBD works to alleviate anxiety-related symptoms - some theorize that CBD oil may influence receptors in the brain involved in the modulation of serotonin, while others believe that CBD may interact with various ion channels in the brain to produce a therapeutic effect – the studies conducted so far certainly demonstrate a level of effectiveness.

     

    Further research is currently being conducted. In the meantime, CBD has been used for years as a self-treatment for anxiety, from everyday worries to the more worrisome disorders. According to a 2018 survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, almost 62 percent of cannabidiol users reported that they used CBD to treat a medical condition, with the top three conditions being pain, anxiety, and depression. The internet is filled with success stories from users of CBD that have not only alleviated anxiety itself, but also other symptoms such as insomnia and pain.

     

    Humans are not the only ones that may benefit from CBD’s potential ability to alleviate anxiety. Dogs also have the receptors that aforementioned research suggests are positively affected by CBD treatments. According to PetMD, a survey published in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association found that 72% of the people surveyed reported using a hemp product for their pet, with 64% reporting that they were certain it helped their pets. Our furry friends are family, and if CBD oil might help alleviate their fear of thunder, why not?

     

    Here at Fully Activated CBD, we’ll continue watching the research as it continues to expound the many beneficial effects of CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety. In 2018, the research really started to pick up, and we are excited to see what 2019 will bring!