Does CBD oil help anxiety?
Millions of people suffer from anxiety in the UK; it’s one of the most common conditions in adults around the world. Treatment usually includes medication combined with therapies, such as counselling, but increasingly people are looking for alternatives.
Many are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) for help treating their anxiety and depression, but does it work and how effective is it? In this blog, we ask – ‘does CBD help with anxiety?’
How does CBD work?
CBD – or cannabidiol – is one of hundreds of organic compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s extracted and added to a carrier agent, like coconut or hemp oil, which is used to make CBD products, such as CBD capsules, CBD gummies, CBD vaping liquid, and CBD muscle rubs.
Cannabidiol works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for regulating key functions, like sleep and mood. It does this by influencing receptors that are found in different parts of the nervous system.
- CB1 receptors are located in the brain and spinal chord
- CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral system, usually immune cells
Some experts think that CB1 receptors affect the levels of serotonin in the body, and that cannabidiol can influence this. Serotonin is a hormone that looks after your mood and general feelings of happiness.
Is CBD oil effective?
Medical marijuana is already used to treat rare forms of severe epilepsy, spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, and some cancer-related symptoms. Its anti-inflammatory properties are well researched, but this isn’t the only health benefit of CBD.
Early research and clinical trials into the effects of CBD show promising signs that cannabidiol could be used to reduce anxiety.
In 2020, a study in New Zealand looked at 397 adults who were given CBD prescriptions for a variety of problems, including:
- Non-cancer related pain
- Cancer related symptoms
- Neurological symptoms
- Mental health issues
After three weeks of treatment, all groups reported an improvement in their overall quality of life, and almost three quarters felt some level of satisfaction with CBD, ranging from good to excellent.
Some experts suggest that CBD oil may be able to help with different types of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. In 2018, researchers found that CBD could significantly affect anxiety associated with public speaking.
Male subjects given 300 mg of CBD, 90 minutes before a simulated public speaking test, showed signs of reduced anxiety. Participants in the placebo group and those given a different amount of CBD saw little benefit.
More research needs to be done, but there can be no doubt that some people do benefit from using cannabidiol to treat various forms of anxiety.
How do you take CBD oil?
Your choice of CBD products will dictate how much you take and when. CBD oil can be taken in three different ways:
- Orally – gummies, mints, chocolate, tea, capsules, and sublingual sprays and drops
- Vaping – e-liquid and vape juice
- Topical – muscle rubs, joint gel, salves, balms, and skincare products
It can take between 30 minutes to two hours to feel the effects of CBD when it’s taken orally, but each product has its own individual uses and benefits.
CBD gummies, for example, are easy to take on-the-go and they are discreet enough that no one will notice. Vaping, however, gets to work quickly for immediate results, which makes it ideal for taking as and when you need it.
If you’re just starting out on your CBD journey, we recommend using a tincture – this is a concentrated form of cannabidiol that you place under your tongue with a pipette.
It’s easier to control your CBD doses with a tincture, and you can build up the amount you take every few days, until you find what’s right for you. This is known as micro-dosing and it’s based on the principle of starting low and going slow.
We suggest starting with one droplet under your tongue in the morning and one at night. Do this for three days then increase your dose to two drops twice a day, then three, and so on, until you find your ‘sweet spot’ – the dose that’s most effective.
Is CBD oil safe to use?
CBD oil is well tolerated by most people with few reported side effects.
Some patients prefer it to conventional medication, which can have unpleasant side effects. Particularly, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are often prescribed to treat anxiety and depression.
Cannabidiol doesn’t contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the psychoactive chemical that creates the ‘high’ sensation associated with cannabis.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions then talk to your doctor before taking CBD oil. In some cases cannabidiol can interfere with the absorption of prescription medications, particularly those that carry a ‘grapefruit warning’ on the label.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on how to combine CBD oil with other treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling.
How do I buy CBD oil?
Organic compounds, including CBD, with small amounts of THC (under 0.3%) can be legally sold in the UK, and are widely available on the high street and online. In the UK the sale of cannabidiol is overseen by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
When you’re choosing a CBD oil for anxiety, check to make sure that the hemp plants used have been farmed organically and are of a high standard. Just like anything you ingest, you don’t want it to contain pesticides or other chemical fertilisers.
Most reputable retailers, like Origin40, can prove the authenticity of their products.
What are the next steps?
We understand that you may still have questions about CBD, but our staff are on hand to help. Studies into the effects of CBD oil on anxiety are still underway, but we are working with the country’s top neurologists to stay at the forefront of this research.
Get in touch with one of our friendly team for help choosing the right products and establishing a CBD routine that works for you. We offer free, impartial consultations in store and online via Zoom with a CBD-expert at Origin40.
How CBD Can Help with Anxiety
Considering the prevalence of anxiety disorders, it isn’t surprising that countless individuals are seeking ways to better manage their conditions. However, before you adopt anything new to help treat or manage your anxiety, it’s important to make sure you know enough to make an informed decision.
If you’ve been thinking about trying CBD to help treat your anxiety, keep reading.
Does CBD Help Anxiety?
If you have been considering CBD oil for anxiety and panic attacks, you’re certainly not alone. Many individuals with anxiety are interested in hearing about the potential benefits of CBD products. You may wonder, however, how true are these claims? Is it possible for CBD products, such as CBD oil, to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety?
As it stands, the scientific world is in the early stages of researching the true benefits of CBD. There’s more research that needs to be done before any concrete claims can be made. However, based on what we know thus far, the results are already beginning to look promising. In particular, research seems to indicate that CBD might aid in the production of serotonin; this can be an especially beneficial achievement for those experiencing anxiety or depression.
Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter produced within the brain. This hormone plays a huge role in the regulation of emotions. Much of the time, those affected by depression or anxiety disorders don’t produce an adequate amount of serotonin. This leads to imbalanced emotions or low moods.
Many common antidepressants aid in serotonin production. This group of antidepressants is known as SSRIs. The serotonin receptor that SSRI medications target is called 5-HT1A—a tried and true method to boost mood in those with depression or anxiety.
Although our understanding is still fairly limited, it seems to be the case that CBD could lead to similar effects as SSRIs. As indicated by the study above, our current research into CBD is mainly limited to rats. Nonetheless, from what we’ve gathered so far, the results look extremely promising, and they certainly seem to warrant the need for additional research in the future.
What is CBD?
CBD has been rapidly gaining popularity over the past several years, especially in helping manage mental health disorders. CBD shows impressive promise in this area, so it’s certainly worth considering for those seeking an accessible means to balancing moods. Here’s what you need to know, before getting started with CBD.
CBD is a type of chemical known as cannabidiol. Almost 200 cannabidiols can be found in the cannabis plant – including THC, the psychoactive compound that leads to feelings of euphoria. However, CBD does not have the same effect.
Both THC and CBD bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the user’s brain. Most CBD products (including CBD oil) are extracted from hemp, rather than a more THC-hearty part of the cannabis plant. Hemp contains just a small amount of THC. Even without psychoactive properties, CBD is still more than capable of making a significant impact on the human body, just in different ways. As the years go by, it seems more benefits of CBD are uncovered.
Is CBD Safe to Consume?
Yes, CBD is a safe chemical compound to consume, and the risk of side effects is quite low. However, if you’re planning to begin taking CBD, discuss further with your doctor. Of course, this is a standard practice, and there are many reasons it should be done before you start any new supplement regime. For instance, it is possible that CBD could react poorly with medications that you’re currently taking. Without your physician’s input, this could easily be overlooked by the user, and that can come with consequences.
Furthermore, if CBD and a medication need the same enzymes to be absorbed by the body, then it’s possible that CBD use will speed up the pace at which the body metabolizes certain medications. Whenever this occurs, the user could end up with a concentration of the medication that’s too high—or, at least, higher than was intended by their prescription. However, only a minority of medications fall into this category. In reality, most common medications are compatible with CBD, with little to no risk of issues.
Do your research. Due to the increasing popularity of CBD products in the health and wellness world, not all products are up to par. Some CBD products are of a lower quality – it’s best to stay clear of those. Stay educated on CBD products you’re consuming, ensuring that you are sticking with those of a higher quality—this will decrease your risk of experiencing side effects or other problems.
How to Use CBD Oil for Anxiety
First, as we’ve mentioned, make sure you’ve spoken to your doctor. This is the first (and possibly the most important) step you’ll need to take, if you’re interested in beginning a CBD regime to treat anxiety. In particular, if you take anti-seizure medication or blood thinners, there is a fair chance that CBD might not be the best treatment for you.
Once you know that CBD is a safe treatment option for you, it’s time to begin establishing your regime and figuring out how CBD fits into your life. A good place to start would be by trying out a CBD tincture. Due to the high bioavailability of CBD tinctures, they are easily absorbed into the body.
Unfamiliar with tinctures, and uncertain how to begin using them? All you’ll need to do is take the dropper and place the liquid beneath your tongue. Whenever you do this, you are taking CBD sublingually. Make sure to wait a few seconds before swallowing, however — this will give the CBD adequate time to absorb into your bloodstream. This is how you will begin to experience the positive effects of this substance.
How Much CBD Should I Use for Stress and Anxiety?
Another potentially confusing component of beginning CBD use can be determining the dose that’s best for you. If you have no prior experience consuming CBD, it might be difficult figuring out what a reasonable dose size looks like. Even then, there are no official dosing guidelines for CBD consumption at this point in time. Naturally, this is going to lead to a fair deal of confusion, especially among new CBD users.
Much of the time, you are going to need to undergo some initial trial and error. It can be difficult determining the ideal CBD dosage for you. Understandably, you’ll probably need to make some adjustments before reaching the dose best suited to you.
At the start, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and begin with a lower dose. For instance, it’s wise to select a lower strength CBD product. Then, you can start out with a small, one milliliter dose of CBD every evening, ideally taken around an hour before going to sleep.
The effects of CBD often aren’t immediate, so you’ll need to maintain your routine for several weeks, before coming to any hard conclusions about modifying your dosage. If time goes by, and you’re still not experiencing the anti-anxiety effects of CBD, then try increasing your dosage. Try to stay patient during this process, as you work to determine your ideal CBD dosage. In the end, you’ll often find that this patience will be worth it.
How Do I Determine the Quality of CBD Products for Anxiety?
So, we’ve already stressed the importance of opting for high quality CBD products, rather than the variety of lower quality products.
A good place to start would be by checking that the CBD product discloses third-party testing results. This is a solid, often objective way to better understand the CBD product you’re thinking about consuming. It can help you get a clearer idea of how much CBD is actually contained within the product. Additionally, you’ll be able to confirm that no harmful chemicals or additives are being incorporated.
When companies are more transparent about CBD products, you can feel more confident in knowing that you’re consuming a high quality product. You can also look to see if the company discloses how their hemp was grown and processed. This is generally a good way to determine whether or not a company is willing to be upfront and transparent about their CBD products. If the company seems secretive, then it’s probably best to play it safe and move on to another option—there’s plenty of CBD on the market, after all. Only put the best products into your body.
Sage Neuroscience Center Treats the Whole Person
Whether you’re facing an anxiety issue, or if you’ve been experiencing another disorder entirely, Sage Neuroscience wants to help support your journey. We believe clinicians should treat a whole person. Illnesses rarely exist in a vacuum, and this is a fact that should be accounted for during care.
Interested in learning more about the services we offer? Find more about our integrated health services here or call us to speak with a member of our caring staff.
Bryan Krumm is a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner whose goal is to provide evidence-based treatment, according to the best standards of practice, utilizing the most current research to maximize therapeutic outcomes and incorporating the patient as an active part of their care. Bryan is particularly interested in PTSD and medical cannabis. Outside of work, Bryan is into music, politics, and philosophy.