There has been a noticeable shift in recent years towards the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil for the treatment of anxiety. In the United States alone, nearly 30% of adults and about 25% of teenagers and preteens grapple with this mental health concern. Unfortunately, most prescribed medications for anxiety come with a range of side effects and may take several weeks before the positive effects are felt at all. Considering all that, it’s no wonder that so many people have begun using CBD for anxiety to manage their symptoms.
In this blog, we’ll be breaking down the science behind CBD oil, and examining why so many people with an anxiety disorder, including some teens and pre-teens, have turned to CBD in search of more immediate and holistic relief.
How Does CBD Help Anxiety?
Everyone’s heard the anecdotes, but how does CBD help anxiety scientifically? Well, for starters, CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant and is known to be an immunomodulator. This means it helps regulate the immune response system, maintain a balance or homeostasis in the body, and potentially regulate or moderate certain factors linked with anxiety.
Here are six ways that CBD may help with anxiety:
- Interaction with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS): The human body has a complex system known as the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating a variety of functions, including mood, appetite, and pain sensation. CBD interacts with this system, though not directly binding to cannabinoid receptors (like THC does). Its interaction helps in modulating the ECS, which can contribute to a more balanced mood and reduced stress response.
- Serotonin Receptor Modulation: CBD has been found to interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT1A receptor, which is implicated in the regulation of mood and anxiety. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter often known as the "feel-good" chemical because of its role in happiness and well-being. By influencing these receptors, CBD may help to enhance serotonin signaling, which can have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.
- Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus: Some studies suggest that CBD may promote neurogenesis, particularly in the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with cognition and memory. People with anxiety and depression often have a smaller hippocampus, and treatments that support neurogenesis (the growth and development of neurons) in this area are linked to decreased anxiety.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Chronic inflammation is believed to play a role in the development of anxiety and other mood disorders. CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, and by reducing inflammation, it could potentially help alleviate some anxiety symptoms.
- Regulation of Stress Response: CBD may affect the body's stress response by reducing the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, and studies indicate that CBD may help in decreasing activity in the amygdala (a part of the brain associated with fear responses) while increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex (linked with higher level cognitive functions). Both of these actions are believed to contribute to reduced anxiety levels.
- Indirect Effects on GABA: GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a key role in relaxation and stress management. While CBD does not directly interact with GABA receptors, it may influence the system indirectly, contributing to a calming effect.
It's important to note that while these mechanisms offer insight into how CBD might help with anxiety, individual responses can vary. Additionally, the quality and concentration of CBD in various products can affect outcomes. As with any supplement or treatment, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to use CBD, especially for individuals with pre-existing health conditions or those taking other medications.
CBD and Children
Given the rising incidence of anxiety among teens and pre-teens, the question “Is CBD safe for children?” has been asked by parents with much more frequency. While research indicates a general safety profile for teens and pre-teens, it is vital for parents to be informed about the specific CBD products they consider. It's important to check the sourcing of the CBD (it should be hemp-derived) and be aware of state laws regarding its use.
Where to Find CBD for Anxiety
While the use of CBD for anxiety relief is gaining traction, it's important to approach it with caution and informed judgment. Always consult healthcare professionals before starting any new treatment, especially for children. That said, the potential of CBD in managing anxiety symptoms offers a ray of hope for many, and it's crucial to stay informed while exploring this natural alternative.
For those considering CBD oil for social anxiety or other forms of anxiety, it's essential to choose products from reputable sources. At My Health Etc., we only source high-quality, lab-tested CBD oils, tinctures, and edibles from the most reputable brands in the industry.
Browse our extensive selection of CBD products today to find the right fit for you!