Can CBD Really Help Relieve Anxiety? Here’s What Science Says
By Lisa Egan
By now, you have surely heard about CBD, and you might be wondering if all the hype is justified. Exactly what is this hugely popular product? Does it actually work? What does it work for? Will it get me high?
The truth is that cannabidiol – commonly known as “CBD” – really is a unique substance. Success stories (anecdotal evidence) and a growing body of research prove the skyrocketing popularity of CBD is indeed well-deserved.
While people (and their animal companions) are finding CBD provides them with relief for a wide range of ailments including arthritis, chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, and sleep troubles, one area in which CBD shows incredible promise is in the management of anxiety.
What is CBD and how does it work?
Before we talk about how CBD can provide anxiety relief, here’s a brief overview of what CBD is and how it works:
- CBD is a fascinating compound that has tremendous therapeutic value. It is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis sativa plants that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids.
- Cannabinoids are a diverse set of chemical compounds that bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.
- The endocannabinoid system is a biological system which plays many important roles in the human body. It is responsible for the physical and psychological effects of cannabis.
We recommend Organica Naturals CBD products for their consistently high quality.
CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. It is your body’s natural response to stress. Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously disrupt the sufferer’s daily life. Frequent intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear may be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Research on CBD for anxiety is still in the early stages, but so far, findings are promising. Numerous animal studies and accumulating evidence from experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies in humans suggest CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties.
According to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018, almost 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat a medical condition. The top three medical conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression. Participants most frequently reported feeling that CBD treated their medical condition(s) “very well by itself” or “moderately well by itself” for the following three conditions: chronic pain, arthritis/joint pain, and anxiety.
CBD is a neurotransmitter modulator that inhibits reuptake of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA neurotransmitters. This increases neurotransmitter availability within post-synaptic neurons to enhance serotonergic activity, nerve-impulse transmission, and cell-to-cell communication. Neurotransmitter balance plays a key role in the regulation of normal body functions, including mood balance, emotional outlook, sleep/wake cycle, and memory function.
In other words, CBD is thought to ease anxiety by helping the body process serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating emotions. The process by which this occurs is thought to be similar to that of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), a class of anxiety and depression medications – but without the risks associated with those prescription drugs.
Here’s what research on CBD for anxiety has revealed.
CBD appears to reduce anxiety in social anxiety disorder, which seems to be related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas, according to a study published in 2010.
Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and King’s College in London have conducted pioneering research into CBD and the neural correlates of anxiety. At high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-anxiety effect. This G-coupled protein receptor is implicated in a range of biological and neurological processes, including (but not limited to) anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.
5-HT1A is a member of the family of 5-HT receptors, which are activated by the neurotransmitter serotonin. Found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, 5-HT receptors trigger various intracellular cascades of chemical messages to produce either an excitatory or inhibitory response, depending on the chemical context of the message. (source)
Existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, found a research review published in 2015.
A 2016 case study found that CBD could reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety-provoked sleep disorder in a child with a history of trauma. Researchers found that cannabidiol reduced the child’s anxiety and helped her sleep.
A 2019 study found that CBD enhanced 5-HT1A transmission in rats and reduced “anxiety-like behavior.”
In a case series of 72 psychiatric outpatients, CBD (with most patients taking 25 mg per day) improved anxiety scores rapidly in 79.2% of patients, with the effect typically lasting over the course of three months. In addition, sleep scores improved within the first month in 66.7% of patients but fluctuated over time.
To view a list of links to studies on CBD and anxiety, please click here: Anxiety
We recommend Organica Naturals CBD.
CBD is a very safe substance and is well-tolerated. However, it can interfere with certain medications. Please consult with your healthcare provider if you are taking prescription drugs and would like to take CBD.
The only CBD products we use are from Organica Naturals. You can get all different types of CBD there in many different strengths.
To learn more about the latest in CBD research, go here to read our articles.
If you can’t stomach the taste of CBD oil, give this a read: How to Use CBD Oil When You Absolutely HATE the Taste.
Do you use CBD products?
Do you use CBD products on a regular basis for a condition? Have you found it helpful? Share your suggestions and experiences in the comments below.
Lisa Egan has been passionate about nutrition and fitness for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a minor in Nutrition. She is the owner of the website All About Habits.