CBD Guide for Anxiety: Can CBD Help Relieve Anxiety and Other Mental Health Disorders?

By Dr. Igor Bussel

This article was originally published on CBD Seniors. To view the original article, click here.

People who struggle with generalized anxiety and other anxiety disorders need a safe form of effective relief in order to help with debilitating symptoms. For years now, many have relied on anecdotal reports on the use of CBD as a remedy for anxiety, with science now catching up to report similar findings.

Despite the fact that there are so many CBD oils on the market today, it is important to find a quality product from a reputable brand that you can trust. It is important to try different oils and products and make notes of positive and negative changes as everyone’s bodies respond to CBD oil differently.

Our guide is going to go over how CBD can be used to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression and inform you on the benefits and risks and help narrow your search for the right product that suits your needs.

CBD Oil for Anxiety

CBD oil is a product that can be purchased in the United States without a prescription and is classified by the FDA as a supplement rather than a medicine. Despite that, many around the globe swear by CBD’s capacity to bring them relief from a variety of medical problems and ailments.

More research must be done before stating that CBD has healing abilities conclusively, but it has appeared to have positive effects when it comes to symptoms of anxiety. If you are someone who deals with anxiety-related symptoms, then you may want to look towards CBD for ongoing relief of your issue.

CBD: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Many with anxiety will try just about anything in order to find relief. Some turn to pharmaceutical medications to help overcome symptoms but find themselves unsatisfied with the results. Other times patients will be overwhelmed with side effects, which makes it difficult to continue their medication.

Research is currently being done by the National Institute of Health. Thus far, the research has been an indication that CBD can help reduce anxiety in people with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or more commonly referred to as panic disorder. CBD works to help balance serotonin levels in the body, which is partially responsible for symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

A single cannabis plant contains 113 active ingredients called cannabinoids. Each chemical has its own range of effects on both the brain and the body, but two, in particular, have since become more influential than others. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD, cannabidiol, are two of the primary ingredients in cannabis and have since become associated with their own positive and desirable outcomes.

Both CBD and THC are known to have therapeutic properties, but THC is the cannabinoid that contains psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, does not. It is for this reason that CBD has become more attractive to some people as a treatment for anxiety as well as other conditions without any of the psychoactive effects of its counterpart.

CBD and THC are chemically distinct from each other and are normally not extracted from the same plant. While CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp, a plant that contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, THC normally comes from other types of marijuana. By law, a hemp plant cannot contain more than 0.3% of THC, which is what allows CBD oil that is extracted from hemp to not contain any psychoactive properties.

That being said, CBD oil is still not considered legal on a federal level in the United States. However, the use is considered legal in every state thanks to the decriminalization of cultivation on industrial hemp. CBD products can be legally purchased online, but it is important to stay informed on your individual state’s laws on CBD.

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CBD Oil Side Effects

CBD itself is non-addictive in nature, meaning that it has no potential for abuse or dependency. This claim was also confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). “…There is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Reports from the World Health Organization also stated that fairly heavy doses of CBD had been used in some clinical trials without any significant or highly disturbing side effects appearing.

However, that does not mean CBD does not have the ability to have unexpected symptoms. One of the more frequently experienced side effects that people can experience based on their dosage is moderate sedation. Some other symptoms may include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and sometimes nausea.

After longer use, these side effects tend to decrease as users become more accustomed to the CBD product. If you are someone who is currently taking prescription medication, it is also important to have a discussion with your doctor about your interest in trying CBD before taking any. There could possibly be interactions between the CBD and your medication, especially if you are taking blood thinners. With that in mind, it is not possible to overdose on CBD. It is still recommended that you start low and gradually increase dosage as you begin to understand your body’s tolerance and needs based on the potency of your CBD product.

Health Benefits of CBD

Over time, CBD has become a more legitimate option for the treatment of anxiety through slow recognition both inside and outside the professional medical community. CBD’s versatility has also been uncovered through research as a number of uses for CBD oil have been found for other ailments.

Some of the more impressive research results from a study that was done in the treatment of children with epileptic seizures with CBD oil. In a large controlled study, CBD oil reduced the frequency of seizures by 50%. If administered quickly enough, CBD oil could also help reduce the intensity of the seizure once it had already been underway. The only CBD-based pharmaceutical grade medicine that’s approved by the FDA is Epidiolex and is used to treat specific types of epileptic disorders.

It has been found that CBD has a soothing effect on our central nervous system, making it a useful treatment for anxiety and a natural remedy for insomnia. In April 2017, researchers reported that early research into the interaction between cannabis and insomnia suggested that CBD may be a helpful treatment for insomnia.

This aligns with evidence that suggests CBD reacts with cannabinoid receptors in our body, some of which help us regulate our circadian rhythm.

In a more recent study done in colorado, patients with insomnia sought treatment from a psychiatric clinic and found that two-thirds of the patients who consumed CBD for one month experienced notable improvements in sleep

CBD is also being looked at as a treatment for those who suffer from auto-immune disorders that can cause inflammation. A small study was done on people with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, and found that participants had reported significant improvements in symptoms after they had begun taking CBD oil.

Research is now being performed on a variety of conditions that cannabidiol may have a use in treating, including Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, diabetes, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis. Results from studies thus far seem promising, but more research must be performed in order to ensure that CBD oil can be a viable solution in the long-term treatment of these conditions.

How CBD Oil Helps Anxiety

Human bodies contain a wide network of receptors that are designated as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are ones that are specifically designed to be able to bind with cannabinoids. Every human has an inborn endocannabinoid system that is made of these receptors alongside naturally produced cannabinoid neurochemicals that have the ability to link with them. THC is a cannabinoid that can bind with these receptors as well, despite the fact that it is obtained from an outside source (cannabis plant.) When THC binds to the CB1 receptor, our bodies produce a euphoric effect.

You can find endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body and central nervous system. These receptors are a vital element to the body’s natural self-healing and recovery process. Our endocannabinoid receptors can help in the management of pain, emotions, thinking, movement, immune system responses, and appetite.

Similar to natural cannabinoids, THC can help assist our body’s natural healing process by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, CBD does something a little different. Instead of binding directly to the receptors, CBD helps to enhance our endocannabinoid system. The result is a more potent and active, naturally produced cannabinoid. It is for this reason that CBD can help contribute to healing in a variety of ways.

When taking CBD oil for anxiety or other conditions, you help increase both your body’s and brain’s capacity to induce a state of calm and relaxation and allow it to restore emotional equilibrium.

Anecdotal evidence of CBD as a treatment for anxiety is commonplace. However, the science surrounding CBD as an anxiety treatment is quickly evolving, and backing people’s lived experiences. Recently, mental health researchers back a comprehensive study of anxiety patients at a clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado. Of the 72 patients that were struggling with chronic anxiety, 79% saw notable improvements within the first month. Each patient was given a daily dose of CBD oil. By the second month, 78% said they had seen a further improvement in anxiety symptoms. This study showed that CBD oil could have the potential for continuous long-term positive effects in regards to the treatment of anxiety.

In 2015, a team of scientists sought out to verify the truth behind CBD and anxiety by performing an in-depth review of the existing research during that time. Through the evaluation of the experimental evidence, researchers found that acute doses of CBD were very effective in reducing both the intensity and incidence of anxiety. The research focused on its effectiveness on patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD.

Both of these studies suggest that the effects of CBD, when administered over an extended period of time, can help in the treatment of anxiety.

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Best Form of CBD and How Much Should I Take?

There are several ways of consuming CBD oils or concentrates:

  • Sublingual: under the tongue
  • Ingestion of edibles
  • Inhalation through smoking or vaping
  • Topical applications

Vaping and Smoking CBD

By inhaling a CBD concentrate, you ensure that you receive a quick and powerful dosage of CBD. If you are seeking relief from symptoms of anxiety quickly, then smoking or vaping in a private setting where you won’t be disturbed may be an option for you. No long-term studies have been done on the performance of vaping CBD rather than other forms, and whether or not doing so can be harmful to the lungs. In order to ensure you receive the best product, always make sure you know what goes into your CBD vape juice or cartridge. Pure extracts of CBD may be a better choice, while more research is being done.

CBD Topicals

If you are looking to treat joint pain, muscle aches, skin conditions like eczema, neck and back pain, headaches, or sinus congestion, then a CBD-infused topical may be for you. These ailments can also be side-effects of chronic anxiety. Although relief can be felt relatively quickly with a CBD topical, they offer the lowest dosage of CBD products and are not ideal for acute anxiety relief.

Sublingual Consumption of CBD

One of the fastest and least obtrusive ways of consuming CBD is sublingually with a CBD oil or tincture. With a dropper, place a few drops underneath your tongue before swallowing and feel the full effects of the CBD quickly. However, it is important to be aware that effects will not be as quickly noticeable as if you had been smoking or vaping. It is, however, easier to keep track of the exact dosage that you consume and adjust the amount based on your individual needs.

CBD Edibles

CBD oil is sometimes infused into candies and various other treats in the form of edibles. You can also use CBD oil in your own recipes at home and combat symptoms of anxiety without veering away from your normal dietary choices. There are certain downsides to ingesting CBD that way, determine whether or not this method of consumption is for you. It can take up to four hours for CBD to be completely absorbed into the body when consumed through an edible. This makes edibles less effective in the treatment of acute anxiety attacks but can be appropriate for long-term anxiety reduction throughout the day.

CBD Dosage

When it comes to dosing, taking 1-20 mg of CBD twice daily can help bring noticeable anxiety relief to many people. Dosing can vary between individuals based on body type and weight and may need to be adjusted. The best way to find the correct dose is to start with a low dose and slowly increase over time as you pay careful attention to the subtle effects on your body.

It is also very important to recognize that most CBD products are not regulated by the FDA and that you should keep yourself educated and proceed with caution before purchasing a product. Although research into CBD oil is still ongoing, classification still states that it is only a natural supplement.

In order to ensure safety, consult with a doctor or physician before you begin taking CBD oil in any more. Sometimes you will be allowed to take CBD oil alongside anti-anxiety medications but should not seek to replace medication with CBD oils if your medication is currently working for you, or your doctor says no.

Tips for Buying CBD Products

Many companies that are looking to sell CBD are popping up across the country, and unfortunately, many of their products are not even worth the price. Thanks to lack of regulation, quality control, and assurance are something that every consumer should seek out and demand from their CBD retailers. Never compromise on these two things just to save a few bucks upfront.

Compare quality CBD products with third-party tested lab results here!

It’s also important that you spend both wisely and safely. Here are some things to look out for when you’re first purchasing CBD products from any retailer:

Purity of Product

There are three forms that CBD is usually sold in, which are CBD isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum hemp extract. CBD isolate means that the extract contains 99.9% Pure CBD. Full-spectrum means that it is a CBD extract that contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, and parts of the industrial hemp. Broad-spectrum means that the traces of THC have been removed from the extract, but other cannabinoids are still present alongside the CBD.

Depending on your condition or ailment, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products will be a better choice as studies have suggested that the presence of other cannabinoids can help enhance the healing effects of CBD through the “entourage” effect.

Pure CBD isolate is still a good choice for those who are more sensitive to THC or certain tastes. It is important to read up on your specific ailment and see whether or not a broad-spectrum or isolate may be a better choice.

Make sure to do further research into the pros and cons of each formula of CBD product before making a final decision. That being said, your own experience will always tell you which product works best in the treatment of your anxiety symptoms.

Cleanliness

Make sure that the company you are buying your product from sells organic CBD extract with non-GMO hemp sources. By doing so, you ensure that the plants are clean and healthy for consumption without any hidden contaminants and ingredients that detract from your product’s safety and quality. If you can find a company that shows they test for potency as well as heavy metals and other contaminants, then it is an ideal choice.

It is also worth it so find out the company’s method of extraction. Sometimes when CBD is extracted through a heated process, the end product results in a more contaminated or degraded product. Using food-grade ethanol or CO2 extraction is more ideal and delivers a more pure product.

Third-Party Testing

The only way to tell whether or not you’re getting a high-quality product is by making sure that your retailer provides third-party testing. Lack of regulation by the FDA makes CBD a lawless land, which is why third-party testing is so important. Third-party testing means that an outside agency tests a CBD seller’s product, and the seller then shows the results of the testing somewhere on their site or packaging. Tests can be done for microbes, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants in both the plants and soil of the hemp farm. Testing will also show levels of cannabinoid concentrations for CBD, THC, and others.

If testing is not shared by a company or retailer, then that may mean they have either failed to obtain third-party certification or that they are hiding the purity and cleanliness of their end product. Transparency is king in the world of CBD, so make sure that you are well-informed before purchasing.

Good Reputation, Reliable Business Practices

Most companies that are worth doing business with will have good online reviews. Not only that, but they should also over money-back guarantee and have an easy to reach customer service department that is available to answer questions. It is also important to check whether or not they have a history of being reported to the Better Business Bureau. You can check the BBB website and see the results there. Always make sure that your CBD oil source uses third-party testing to ensure that they are doing proper quality control during this period of non-regulation from the FDA.

Your Own Experience

You should never ignore your own instincts. If you feel that a company, its representatives, or its website seem off or shady, then you should trust your intuition and go somewhere else.

Many honest and reliable CBD companies exist that sell high-quality products at a reasonable price. We provide you with reliable CBD reviews in order to help you choose quality products every time and help you find a company that you can trust. This is your health you are taking care of, make sure that you have all the facts.

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