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Can CBD oil help combat anxiety?

In this blog, we’ll discuss what anxiety is and how CBD oil might be able to help.

What is anxiety?

At its core, anxiety is a healthy sense of fear, stress or nervousness that serves an evolutionary purpose for humans: feelings of nervousness or apprehension about making certain decisions would have historically helped be wiser about our decision-making processes. For example:

  • Our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have heard thunder rumbling in the distance, felt anxiety about an approaching storm and sought shelter to protect themselves from the elements
  • Our ancestors may have felt stressed from dehydration and sought out water to relieve the negative physical feelings that were, in fact, detrimental to their health
  • Our ancestors may have wandered into a new territory and, not knowing what packs of other animals—or other tribes of humans—roamed the land, and kept a sharper lookout so they would be able to spot and avoid possible attacks

As our brains evolved, we learned to listen to these sorts of physical warning signals in order to better take care of ourselves and our offspring—and it eventually paid off. 

Our brains managed to hardwire themselves to solve short-term, acute problems and figure out solutions to these problems. 

Today, however, we experience a different set of stressors that manifest in the longer term:

  • Will we be able to pay our rent this month? 
  • If we work hard, will we get a promotion? 
  • If we’re partnered, will we be able to avoid having problems in our relationship? 
  • Will we be able to afford retirement?

Whereas our historical sense of anxiety helped us solve immediate issues, the new brand of stressors that manifest in the long-term. And for some, it can feel overwhelming. 

What are anxiety disorders?

Since it has been hardwired into our brains by evolution, everyone has felt anxiety before. 

But for those with anxiety disorders, the evolutionary response of anxiety can overtake their ability to perform normal executive functions, like managing time or making basic decisions. 

And for those with the worst anxiety disorders, they can dissociate or even become self-destructive. For those with acute anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Phobias, among others, the negative feelings associated with anxiety don’t go away, and they can become crippling.

This is more common than you might think. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Health reports that as many as 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorders.

That’s almost 20% of the entire population!

How is anxiety treated?

Common medical treatments for anxiety disorders include:

  • Pharmaceutical medication such as Xanax or Buspirone, or even medications intended to treat depression
  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Other complementary health approaches, such as stress-relieving practices 

Given the U.S.’s culture of limited access to healthcare, as well as the growing movement that looks toward traditional and holistic therapies instead of those propagated by modern medicine and pharmaceuticals, the third category is the most accessible for the greatest amount of people. 

Many people cope with their anxiety disorders through natural, not pharmaceutical, methods including: 

  • Getting plenty of sleep: increased levels of sleep have been shown to stabilize moods and prevent undue amounts of physical stress 
  • Exercising: it has been proven that exercising releases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as endorphins 
  • Eating well: our diets are intrinsically linked to our mental and physical well-being, and improving our diets can help us regulate our cognition and mood
  • Natural supplements: adaptogens, probiotics, vitamins and CBD oil have been shown to have beneficial effects in managing anxiety

By doing so, these people are finding relief for the symptoms of anxiety they feel.

What is CBD?

CBD’s proper name is cannabidiol, and it is found naturally in the cannabis plant, the same plant that produces THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound that causes marijuana’s psychoactive properties. 

But unlike THC, CBD does not cause users to feel “high.” 

Instead, according to much recent research conducted in the last handful of decades, CBD and other phytocannabinoids found in cannabis appear to be partly responsible for many of the therapeutic benefits attributed to marijuana—including its ability to curb anxiety. 

Even better, due to the increased legality and availability of the cannabis plant, extracts from cannabis are now legal in all 50 states, as long as the THC content in the extracts is 0.3% or less.

In turn, the market has become full of CBD hemp oil, a cannabis extract that can benefit the health of its users without causing them to feel any kind of “high” or other side effects that might impair cognitive function.

It’s no secret that marijuana can cause some users to feel an increased sense of anxiety. However, other users report feeling calmed by smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana. 

Since the 70s, scientists have known that, while these two contradictory effects of marijuana do still depend on individual users’ individual genetics and biology, weed’s ability to either calm or cause anxiety can be attributed to how much CBD is in the product.

As one study from 1974 showed, CBD can even reverse some of the negative side effects—like paranoia, increased pulse and / or breathing patterns or feelings of anxiety—associated with THC consumption.

These anti-anxiety effects led scientists to wonder if CBD can help with people who experience anxiety disorders. 

Scientists ultimately hypothesized that CBD demonstrated therapeutic promise for those suffering from:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • And more

Can CBD help reduce anxiety?

Early studies have supported such hypotheses. 

In 2011, a study involving public speakers with generalized anxiety disorder—some of whom were given a 400mg dose of CBD 1.5 hours before their speaking engagement, and others who were given a placebo—found that those who took CBD before their speaking engagement experienced less anxiety and better cognitive function than the control group given the placebo. 

Additionally, in 2019, another study demonstrated that CBD decreased anxiety in a majority of its participants, as well as helping a majority of its participants fall to sleep better. 

Scientists still agree more studies are needed to better understand how and why CBD helps reduce anxiety; however, the data consistently shows that CBD is indeed effective for reducing anxiety for a majority of its users.

In conclusion…

While the science behind the effectiveness of CBD in helping to reducing anxiety is still in need of further study, the studies to-date demonstrate that CBD can be depended upon to reduce the effects of anxiety for a majority of its users. 

With further studies, science may soon be able to recommend exactly what kinds of dosages should be taken to treat specific types of anxiety. Until then, users should use wise caution in experimenting with what dosage works best for them. 

It is 1800-Pure-CBD’s official stance that new users should start with a small dose of CBD, such as 25mg / day and increase their dosage by 25mg / day each week until they find their optimal dosage. 

The point is not to build up a tolerance to CBD, just to find out what dosage is most effective for you. If 50mg / day relieved your feelings of anxiety and tension in week 2, but 75 mg / day in week 3 felt overwhelming or off-kilter, go back down to 50mg / day or wherever you felt most comfortable and the greatest sense of relief.

With further studies, science may soon be able to recommend exactly what kinds of dosages should be taken to treat specific types of anxiety. Until then, users should use wise caution in experimenting with what dosage works best for them.

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