What makes CBD so effective against anxiety?
By a featured author from cbdvapejuice.net
Anxiety is an intensely irritating mental disorder that, if allowed to manifest, can have a debilitating effect on quality of life. Pernicious self-doubt creeps in and the stomach begins to turn, making the simplest of tasks a mighty ordeal as fears of embarrassment and humiliation kick in for no good reason. Anxiety can be a vicious circle – ceding to irrational worry often reinforces these doubts and, coupled with low self-esteem, we can end up becoming our own worst enemy. How can we go about life when we are constantly battling against ourselves?
Thankfully, non-psychoactive cannabis, namely cannabidiol (CBD), is coming to the rescue of many anxiety patients around the world, many of whom consume the compound as part of a CBD vape oil. This compound, which researchers have paid increasing interest to since the turn of the century, boasts anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, which have been scientifically proven in both animal models and humans.
CBD is a non-aggressive form of treatment, – the absence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) means there’s no psychotropic side effects (i.e. getting high), and nor will CBD e-liquid have a numbing effect on your personality, as some medication is known to do.
But what makes CBD so effective against anxiety? To understand this, we must first get to grips with the mechanism that CBD – along with other cannabinoids – functions in: the endocannabinoid system.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
In the early 1990s, researchers stumbled across a previously unknown network of neurotransmitters and receptors, which were found to hold influence over many physical and mental variables. The system typically works with endogenously-produced chemicals known as endocannabinoids, however, cannabinoids from cannabis are effective substitutes.
For example, psychoactive THC bears many molecular similarities to anandamide, an important endocannabinoid which is a natural anti-depressant. Anandamide is called the ‘human THC’ or ‘bliss molecule’ by some and connects to CB1 receptors – these are highly-concentrated in the brain, which provides an explanation for THC’s mind-altering effects.
CBD also has an impact on anandamide, albeit a slightly more nuanced one. Instead of replacing the endocannabinoid, CBD helps to boost anandamide in the body by stopping the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme from breaking it down. Increased levels of anandamide in the body is likely to improve mood.
However, CBD’s benefits do not stop there – for anxiety, specifically, the interactions the compound has with gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons appear key. GABA is a neurotransmitter that, when operating correctly, has a calming effect on neuronal activity – an over-excited brain can cause all kinds of problems, including insomnia, schizophrenia, epilepsy and anxiety.
CBD has a modulating effect on GABA, but curiously does not bind directly to CB1 or CB2 receptors. However, scientists have a good idea on how CBD interacts with GABA – and therefore reduces anxiety – from the effects endocannabinoids have on the neurotransmitter. When required, neurons can synthesize anandamide and 2-AG – research has shown that these endocannabinoids can directly influence GABA receptors.
Public speaking study shows CBD outperforms placebo
There is always a concern with mental health medication that much of the supposed benefits come from a placebo effect – for instance, SSRIs, which are used to treat depression, were much more effective when they first came out in the 1980s than they are today.
However, a public speaking study from 2011 concluded that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety. Annoyingly, the research was largely forgotten at the time, when awareness surrounding CBD and medical cannabis in general was pretty poor. But this high-quality study, which was featured in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal, is worth exploring in more depth.
All of the participants had social anxiety, but none had tried treatment for condition – this made them more open and objective toward CBD than those who had experimented with anxiety medication. The study involved administering either a dose of CBD or a placebo to the volunteers and putting them through a simulated public speaking test.
The results were staggering. The CBD helped participants to feel more confident in their speech, while reducing cognitive impairment and anticipatory speech alert. Anticipatory anxiety can have a detrimental impact on public speaking, causing nervousness before a speech which then spills over to effect performance. That CBD reduces anxiety in multiple areas is testament to how promising a treatment it is.
Indeed, the research team concluded that CBD could be used to treat “anxiety behaviors” in another disorders, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Moreover, there were no side effects from CBD treatment that exacerbated anxious symptoms.
Anxiety affects people of all ages, and since many existing drugs such as benzodiazepines can be addictive and cause side effects such as insomnia, finding a non-aggressive form of treatment for the disorder in CBD is a massive breakthrough. The next step for researchers should be to study other non-psychoactive cannabinoids in-depth to see whether they can help too.
Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. All opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the company or product I am reviewing. Disclaimer: Sweet Honeybee Health and its owners are not medical professionals. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only. I research and write on numerous health topics and companies. Do not use the information you find on this site as medical advice. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a medical professional prior to trying any health remedy, no matter how safe or risk-free it may claim to be. This blog may contain posts by guest bloggers. These posts may not reflect the opinion of sweethoneybeehealth.com or any affiliates that are posted or mentioned on this page. CBD Disclaimer: While some CBD products contain THC, there are many that do not. If you have question about the content of CBD in a product, contact the CBD company for these questions. Reputable companies should have no more than 0.3% or less THC in their product and this should not produce any psychoactive effects.
Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. All opinions are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the company or product that they are mentioning.
Disclaimer: Sweet Honeybee Health, it’s owners and it’s featured authors are not medical professionals. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only. Do not use the information you find on this site as medical advice. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a medical professional prior to trying any health remedy, no matter how safe or risk-free it may claim to be.