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Managing Anxiety and Stress Disorders with CBD

Is CBD Recommended for Anxiety

Although we do not typically think of anxiety as a desirable state of being, it is actually the critical response to adaptation that can help us deal with threats to our safety (or that of a loved one) and our wellbeing. 

Scientists are still investigating cannabidiol's (CBD) role in treating various disorders, but more evidence suggests that some sufferers can be alleviated from their anxiety by using CBD as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

In this article, we look at what CBD oil is and how CBD can help reduce your anxiety symptoms...

Our anxieties help us recognize and avoid potential threats, while also encouraging us to take steps to improve our situation (work more, pay bills, improve relationships, etc.).

However, when we fail to manage these natural responses effectively, they can become unsuitable and affect our work and relationships, even more, creating a spiraling effect that leads to anxiety attacks and eventually panic attacks. 

This spiral of symptoms leads to clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders. We've all heard the saying, "stress kills," but anxiety is one of the most common forms of stress, so maybe the saying should be "anxiety kills."

Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults (18%) in the United States age 18 and above. In response, Big Pharma has developed many drugs for treating anxiety disorders, from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft to tranquilizing medications.

Much of the cannabis-based research on has determined the efficacy of CBD oil as its own independent product exclusive of THC, the psychoactive compound most recognized for giving the euphoric high in marijuana.

Some studies have shown that cannabis can help alleviate anxiety, while others suggest that anxiety is a risk factor for recreational use of marijuana, or that pot can make a person more vulnerable to stress due to the psychoactive effects of THC.

If you are interested in mitigating your anxiety symptoms with CBD oil; however, you are in the right place. Cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause any psychoactive side effects or a "high" feeling at all. 

In fact, according to research in 2010, CBD actually counters the effects of THC while also serving as a tool to reduce symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Brain test participants discovered changes in blood flow in brain regions associated with anxiety.

In this research, cannabidiol not only helped the participants feel better but also physiologically changed the state of their brains, from being in an anxious state to a biologically stable state where heightened senses and worry were no longer present.

A 2011 study also showed that cannabidiol can reduce social anxiety, where people become anxious in large crowds and fight symptoms of agoraphobia (the fear of large groups).

Additional research published in 2014 shows how CBD exhibits anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal model test subjects, while analysis of other studies in 2015 concluded that the CBD is a promising treatment for multiple forms of anxiety, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


What is Anxiety

The American Psychological Association (APA) submits that anxiety is an emotion characterized by a sense of tension, anxiety, and physical changes such as increased blood pressure.

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. But when a person experiences an unreasonable level of anxiety regularly, it can turn into a medical disorder deserving treatment.

Anxiety disorders are a category of a mental health diagnosis that leads to excessive nervousness, fear, and worries.

When an individual faces potentially damaging or worrying triggers, the anxiety feelings are not only reasonable but necessary for survival.

NOTE: Anxiety prepares us to face the danger physically or to avoid any potential threat to safety.

From the very first days of humanity, living close to predators and immediate danger provoked alerts in the body that caused a reaction to the imminent threat, resulting in what is called "fight or flight mode."

These reactions, caused by waves of adrenaline, hormones, and chemical messengers in the brain result in higher heart rate, sweating, increased awareness, and cognitive alertness beyond normal function.


What Causes Anxiety?

Causes of anxiety disorders are a bit complicated. Many symptoms may appear at the same time, others may lead to while others may not lead to enhanced anxiety symptoms if another sign is also present.

Symptoms are mostly environmental, but there are more than a few possible causes for this condition.

  • Environmental stressors, such as working difficulties, 
  • Multiple stressors stacked at the same time,
  • Difficult to overcome personal issues or family problems
  • Genetics
  • Medical factors such as symptoms of other illness
  • Drug effects
  • Stress-related to a surgical procedure
  • Stress-related to prolonged recovery post-surgery
  • Brain chemistry, like a psychologist, defines many anxiety disorders such as hormonal imbalances and electrical signals in the brain
  • Drug withdrawal

Treatment Options for Anxiety

As with any condition you might face, it is vital to talk to your doctor before using CBD for treating any disease you may have, as it may prevent other medications from working or may cause other drugs to work adversely to their expected results.

In addition to talking about CBD as a part of medical treatment for anxiety, be sure to explore other possible anxiety treatment options as well. 

In many cases, a combination of psychotherapy, self-treatment, and medications can significantly reduce your symptoms. However, before trying anything that may affect your health, please consult with your physician to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

While CBD is not a cure for any disease, it has been shown to help with symptoms you may be experiencing. If you want relief and think CBD may be a solution for you, be sure to check out Mana Artisan Botanics™

Medical Treatment

Medically prescribed antidepressants, benzodiazepines, tricyclics, and beta-blockers are drugs designed to control a portion of your anxiety symptoms. Let's see what each does...

Antidepressants 

These drugs are designed to alleviate anxiety as people often use serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) that have fewer side effects than other antidepressants but can cause nervousness, nausea, and sexual dysfunction at the start of treatment.

Benzodiazepines

Your doctor may prescribe this to you, but are highly addictive and can lead to severe forms of drug dependence. While they can suppress symptoms in an emergency situation, these medications usually have several side effects, apart from lethargy and cravings. Diazepam, or valium, is an example of a prescribed benzodiazepine.

Tricyclics

This is a class of medications other than SSRIs that offer benefits to most anxiety disorders except for OCD. These medicines have known side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and weight gain. Imipramine and clomipramine are two examples of tricyclics.

Additional medications that you can use to treat anxiety include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Buspirone

Regardless of your medication regimen, be sure to consult your doctor if the side effects of a prescription medication become serious.


Alternative Treatment

Self-Treatment: In some cases, you can treat anxiety disorders at home without clinical supervision. However, this is not as useful for severe or long-lasting anxiety disorders.

Several exercises and actions help a person to cope with mild, targeted, or shorter anxiety disorders, including:

Stress Management: Learning stress management can help limit potential triggers. Organize the pressures and deadlines, create lists to make the toughest tasks more comfortable to handle and commit time to study or work.

Relaxation Techniques: Simple activities can help ease the psychological and physical signs of anxiety. Some of these techniques include meditation, deep breathing exercises, long baths, rest in the dark, and yoga.

Support Network: Talk to well-known people who support you, such as a family member or friend.

Exercise: Physical effort can improve your self-image and release chemicals into the brain that cause positive emotions.

CBD Treatment

Research has shown how CBD works with receptors in the brain called CB1 receptors. These receptors are small proteins tied to your cells that communicate with and receive chemical signals from various stimuli from around your body.

Their primary function is to help your cells respond to stimuli correctly and react appropriately.


How CBD Can Treat Anxiety Symptoms

Although many anxiety disorders are diagnosed, the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are often the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Uncontrolled feelings of concern
  • Increased irritability
  • Concentration problems
  • Sleeping difficulties

Although these symptoms may be typical in everyday life, people suffering from GAD will experience them at extreme levels, and often persistently.

The exact way CBD affects CB1 is not fully understood, but scientists do know that it can change serotonin signals in the brain.

Serotonin is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body and plays a role in your mental health. It is sometimes called the "happy chemical," because it contributes to your overall well-being and happiness.

Low serotonin levels are typical of depression but can also cause anxiety. Since CBD is proven to regulate serotonin signals, it may be an effective treatment for anxiety.

Some brands like Mana Artisan Botanics™ offer CBD tinctures that are actually palatable.

It's hard to feel good when your CBD tastes bad.

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What's the CBD Dosage for Anxiety?

Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight. 

We've built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below: 

The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Anxiety itself is not a health condition, but a natural emotion vital to survival when you are facing danger. However, when you experience anxiety for no apparent reason or to an unreasonable extreme, you may need to seek treatment, primarily if the condition affects essential parts of your life.

The great news is that CBD may be an excellent option for treating your anxiety!

If you'd like to learn about how this cannabinoid treats other conditions and symptoms, be sure to check out the resources on this site.

References

About the Author Jessica Jones

Jesse has spent most of her adult life struggling with anxiety. After studying neuroscience at University, she has since dedicated her life into researching the effects of CBD on the human body. The content on this website reflects her research.

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