Between 2005 and 2015 alone the number of people living with anxiety increased almost 15%, with around 300 million suffering from the condition. Then came Covid, which has hit the mental health of every generation even harder worldwide.
Results of a recent study in the UK alone showed 64% of participants reporting symptoms of depression and 57% reporting symptoms of anxiety, figures significantly higher than in previous years.
Though scientists have researched CBD for almost half of a century, it’s only in the past decade the benefits of CBD for anxiety have truly begun to be recognised and help fund even more studies.
Did you know that less than 50% of those who have anxiety seek help? As awareness begins to grow, more are turning to CBD for helping anxiety. In this article, you’ll find out all about anxiety as we outline the different types, the current research, and answer the question ‘is CBD good for anxiety?’.
What is CBD
CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural compound that can be extracted from hemp and cannabis plants which is being tested as an alternative to often dangerous anxiety medication.
Our bodies have natural receptors that interact with a number of these chemicals through our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, and it works with the body to bring a bounty of beneficial effects. It is most commonly taken by CBD oils, pastes, vapes, creams, and edibles.
What is anxiety?
A lot falls under anxiety, but it generally relates to feelings of unease and fear that can range from mild to severe. It can be brought on by many things, from an anxiety hangover to anxiety in relationships, but it especially relates to fear about future events.
Experts say it’s a primitive fight or flight response that releases stress hormones that can have many knock-on of effects.
Anxiety is related to panic attacks, chest pain, depression, night sweats, and many more symptoms which you’ll soon see below.
The mental health debate has taken off in recent years, especially among younger people, and more look at mental and physical health as both equal and related.
We now understand that anxiety is in many cases accompanied by physical symptoms such as muscular tension, restlessness, and fatigue. Today, CBD is being used for helping anxiety by treating both the physical and mental symptoms.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Everyone can experience different symptoms of anxiety, but our body shows clear signs even if we want to try and hide them. For one person it might be an anxiety headache that makes it hard to focus, for another anxiety can cause nausea so strong they can’t leave the house.
Symptoms can be experienced daily, and in longer periods, which can lead to chronic anxiety affecting your quality of life.
Shorter periods of these symptoms, that aren’t necessarily experienced daily, can be defined as acute anxiety or as many people rather call it, little panic attacks (though it isn’t quite the same).
Though you should never self-diagnose, having an idea of the symptoms will help you better understand your own levels of anxiety and guide you to seek further help if needed.
List of the symptoms of anxiety:
- Rapid/increased heart rate
- Difficulty focusing
- Avoiding things that may trigger anxiety
- Obsessions about certain ideas
- Repetitive behaviour
- Muscle twitching
- Irrational fear
- Chest pain
- Suicidal thoughts
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent urination
- Itchy skin
Is anxiety the same as anxiety disorder?
We know “only one” anxiety, but many anxiety disorders. As mentioned, anxiety is a worry about future events. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders (involving anxiety) that are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Possible risk factors and mental disorders that can cause anxiety disorders include:
- Child abuse
- Family history of mental disorders
- Depressive disorder
- Personality disorder
- Substance use disorder
- THC abuse
- Heart disease
List of anxiety disorders:
The world of mental health is a huge one, and anxiety disorders make up just one part of it. Here are some of the most common:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any one object or situation.
- Phobias: excessive fear of activity (flying, driving), objects (tunnels, spiders), and situations (swimming, visiting dentist).
- OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Irrational repeating behaviour
- Situational anxiety disorder: fear of unpredictable and unfamiliar situations/events.
- Social anxiety disorder: fear of social interaction.
- Separation anxiety disorder: excessive anxiety over being separated from a person or place.
- Agoraphobia: difficult or embarrassing situation to escape where help may sometimes be unavailable.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): result of a traumatic experience – exposure to a “disaster”.
- Illness anxiety disorder (hypochondria): excessive worry about health issues.
- Selective mutism: not speaking in specific situations or to specific people.
As we see, there are many anxiety disorders, and the more we talk about them and carry out new research the closer we get to preventing, treating, and maybe even one day finding the anxiety cure.
How can CBD help anxiety?
As the conversation continues on mental health and anxiety, it’s clear there is so much we already know out there. So how does CBD help anxiety?
As mentioned, our body was built to work with chemicals such as CBD thanks to our endocannabinoid system. This system links to important functions of the body such as mood, memory, stress, behaviour, appetite, pain, and immune function.
The ECS has receptors that work naturally with CBD products, but CBD also binds to other receptors in the brain such as serotonin (5HT)1a, and it’s thought the positive effects on mood after taking CBD are linked to the regulation of chemicals at these many receptors.
The authors of a 2015 review found that preclinical and clinical evidence shows CBD as an effective treatment for many types of anxiety such as:
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
For generalised anxiety, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found early evidence in animal trials that CBD helps reduce stress with subjects showing fewer physical symptoms and lower heart rate.
Benefits of CBD for those suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be seen in this 2011 study, where participants given an oral dose of 400 milligrams of CBD experienced reduced anxiety levels compared with the placebo group.
This study also shows promising results for those suffering from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as CBD could help with reducing nightmares and the replaying of negative memories.
Research about CBD and anxiety
In terms of research, with mental health in such drastic decline, CBD is at the forefront of studies in this field. As mental health is usually treated with heavy drugs that can be addictive, CBD opens the door to a more natural alternative that’s now being explored.
The Journal of Psychopharmacology study looking at SAD summarised results suggest that CBD reduces this type of anxiety and that it’s related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.
This CBD anxiety study, posted in Neurotherapeutics, found that “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 when administered acutely”.
Looking at PTSD, a neuropharmacology study highlights the need for further research in humans as in promising preclinical trials it found CBD can eradicate aversive memories and block them from coming back.
Another study looking at the effects of CBD treatment in 72 adults with anxiety or sleep problems found that after the first 2 months 78.1 – 79.2% reported improvements in anxiety symptoms. As many symptoms of anxiety relate to sleep, this is a key way you could use CBD for helping anxiety.
As all of the early-stage trials show promising results, future studies are needed to better understand how CBD can help anxiety, and there could be more ways out there just waiting to be discovered.
How to use CBD for anxiety
What’s the best type of CBD for anxiety, and what dose of CBD should I take for anxiety? With a lot of technical-sounding lingo, it’s hard to know how to use CBD for anxiety if you haven’t used the products before.
What dose of CBD should I take for anxiety?
With CBD it’s recommended that you start with a lower dose and build-up, as each person will have their own levels which are not the same for everyone.
An example dose could be 5mg twice a day, building up to something around 50mg twice a day over time. One person might need 10mg a day and another 100mg, so it’s best to start small.
There are 6 main factors you need to consider when dosing your CBD, which will be different for everyone:
- Metabolism speed
- Unique body chemistry
- Severity of symptoms
- Concentration of CBD in the product
Which CBD products will help my anxiety?
For anxiety, a big factor will be how quickly the CBD enters your body. Depending on where you are and what you’re doing, you might look to different products if you need help faster, or take products in preparation for a planned event.
Here is a brief outline of some options, and how they can help:
CBD oils (also known as tinctures, extracts, and drops) are one of the most common products on the market.
This product usually has a dropper that provides a dose which you place under your tongue, and you need to wait up to a minute for the oil to absorb before swallowing.
CBD drops are great for quick absorption into the body, so could be taken before an event that brings on your anxiety, or when you feel certain symptoms beginning to build up.
CBD Vape Products
Vaping offers a speedy solution for those wanting to quickly get some CBD in their system. Simply place a CBD vape oil into your vape of choice and get puffing.
CBD vapes are one of the ways those with acute anxiety get a quick dosage of CBD when they’re feeling anxious or in a situation where they need some help to relax and calm themselves.
CBD Topical Products
Using topical CBD products for anxiety could aid physical symptoms of anxiety such as tight muscles. You just take your CBD balm and apply it to the uncomfortable area.
CBD Capsules/CBD Edibles/Beverages
If you don’t like the taste of CBD oil these products are for you. However, as they must be digested they take longer to enter the body, so they may not be the best if you need CBD to quickly help your anxiety.
Why use Hempika CBD products for anxiety
With a saturated market, why should I use Hempika?
The biggest problem that consumers now face is the influx of untrustworthy products that aren’t what they say they are. From added chemicals to poor testing, consumers must be on their toes.
We take away this worry, guaranteeing natural products that have no added chemicals, are high quality, and are effective at giving you the benefits we talk about.
We can do this thanks to our laboratory testing, which follows all of the good laboratory practice guidelines using high-performance liquid chromatography to determine 12 separate cannabinoids.
You don’t need any more stress, so put your trust in us, and our products will do the rest.
It’s clear that now more than ever people are desperate to reduce their levels of stress and improve general mental health. As our understanding of CBD products grows along with the scientific literature, the future for helping mental health could be a more natural one.
Thanks to our endocannabinoid system, from SAD to PTSD CBD products can help us better regulate anxiety and the symptoms that come with it. The science has begun, but more studies must be done to help bring the benefits of this mental health care to everyone.
A key step is trusting the products you buy, so head over to our shop to see which product is right for you.
Does CBD really work for anxiety?
The early studies on CBD show that it does have the potential to reduce anxiety and the symptoms that come with it. From SAD to PTSD, the natural chemicals of CBD react with our own body’s systems to give positive effects.
What is the best CBD oil for anxiety?
The best CBD oil for anxiety is one that can be tested and trusted to contain what it says on the packaging. CBD oil drops and sprays, as well as CBD vapes, would be particularly great for those suffering from anxiety as they are fast-acting.
Does CBD Oil calm you down?
CBD has been shown in studies to help people calm down with specific forms of anxiety, with promising results in reducing heart rates and other symptoms, especially before something like public speaking or a social event.
Can CBD cause anxiety attacks?
The evidence shows that THC can cause anxiety attacks, but no evidence of this has been found for CBD. Although many CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, if you really wanted to avoid it then you can buy CBD isolate that is pure CBD.
How CBD helps with anxiety and depression?
CBD helps with anxiety in terms of stress levels and cognitive impairment, helping with stress-related depression. Also with depression, it’s speculated CBD can positively affect how our body interacts with serotonin (although this is in the early stages of research).
Can CBD stop anxiety attacks?
Many who suffer from anxiety attacks use CBD products such as oils when they feel an attack could be coming. You can place a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue or use a CBD vape to try and control the attack when you notice symptoms.
Author: T. F.