What is anxiety?
We have all experienced going to a job interview, taking an exam, giving an important presentation at work, or meeting new people; all of which can produce a natural feeling of fear or negative anticipation. These feelings are your body’s natural response to stress factors, as listed above. Your heart rate and breathing may increase, you might sweat profusely, your palms may turn clammy or you may experience a number of other symptoms. It is likely you have been affected by anxiety or known someone who has. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental illness in America. Approximately 40 million adult Americans are affected by anxiety every year, which is about 1 in 5 people. Anxiety is highly treatable, yet less than 40% of people suffering from anxiety actually seek treatment.
How CBD may help
In the early 1990’s, the endocannabinoid system was discovered within the human body. If you are unfamiliar with the endocannabinoid system, it is defined by neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) that bind with receptors (cannabinoids) throughout the human body. The primary responsibility of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate and balance the body’s functions. In other words, the endocannabinoid system regulates functions such as immune response, breathing, pain, hormonal balance, blood pressure, sleep cycle and many more.
It has been determined that cannabis plants have over 100 different naturally occurring cannabinoids as well. In particular, hemp-derived products are widely used to relieve a number of ailments, including anxiety, because of these cannabinoids. Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are the most well-known and researched found within cannabis plants.The cannabinoids found within cannabis essentially mimic the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids when consumed. Presumably, consuming CBD could provide balance to a function(s) if there were a deficiency within the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD naturally increases endocannabinoid levels while also protecting receptors from overactivation. There is plenty of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of CBD and how it supports the endocannabinoid system, though we still have a ways to go. Most scientific research on CBD has been done on rodents, but human trials are definitely underway. There is a large community of individuals who use CBD to relieve anxiety that would also attest to its benefits.
Beyond the endocannabinoid system, CBD is also known to have positive impacts on the serotonin system. You probably already know that serotonin affects mood and emotion within the brain, but it also works throughout the body to assist in things like cardiovascular function and digestion. It is thought that CBD works as an anti-anxiety mechanism by binding and activating the body’s 5-HT1A serotonin receptors.
For regular anxiety relief, it is best to consume daily doses of CBD, either sublingually or by ingesting it. Sublingual methods include daily drops or tincture sprays under the tongue. Ingestible alternatives include consuming daily pills, isolate powder (mixed in drinks or food) and gummies. Topical CBD products are not well suited for anxiety, as they provide relief to targeted areas rather than throughout the entire body.
Holistic alternatives to modern pharmaceuticals are increasingly in demand, and CBD products are a viable option for many people. Please note every individual may have different experiences and may require different dosing amounts. As always consult your primary doctor before trying any CBD products, especially if you are already taking prescriptions for your anxiety.