There is much abuzz about using CBD for anxiety, but is it really as effective as people imply? If so, then why is it effective, and how can you use CBD to treat anxiety-related symptoms? Let’s take a look.
Anxiety and the Endocannabinoid System
All mammals have an Endocannabinoid System (EC System), which helps regulate cellular signals to maintain homeostasis, or balance, within the body. The EC System includes many specialized receptors (the most common are called CB1 and CB2 receptors) located throughout much of the brain and body.
When someone experiences stress – whether from injury or psychological discomfort – the body releases special chemicals called endogenous (endo) cannabinoids. These internally-produced cannabinoids help regulate things like mood, pain, sleep, memory, and more. There are two common endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). The former regulates things like appetite, sleep patterns, and pain relief, while the latter governs things like cognition, emotion, pain perception, and energy levels.
Unfortunately, sometimes the EC System struggles to function correctly. When the ECS malfunctions, the body may not produce sufficient endocannabinoid levels or may have difficulty metabolizing them efficiently. Consequently, those with an endocannabinoid deficiency may suffer from things like chronic migraines, gastrointestinal problems, fibromyalgia, and persistent anxiety.
How CBD Affects Anxiety
CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which means that it develops in plants, particularly hemp-type cannabis. Like other cannabinoids, CBD interacts with the EC System to impact things like memory, hunger, sleep, pain, and inflammation. However, unlike other cannabinoids that directly influence CB receptors, CBD acts as a CB receptor antagonist by partially blocking these areas. In doing, CBD can regulate which information passes within and between cells, including which cannabinoids interact with which receptor sites.
The implications of this activity are vast, but essentially, it suggests that CBD may help “jump-start” a faulty endocannabinoid system. When it comes to explaining CBD for anxiety, theory suggests that CBD may help trigger endocannabinoid production and metabolism while helping the body regain its natural EC System functionality. As outlined in this 2019 research review, CBD may help “elevate levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, for the treatment of anxiety-related disorders in the future.”
How to Use CBD for Anxiety
Research continually suggests that CBD may positively impact depression and anxiety in most people. For example, this retrospective case study found that almost 80 percent of people who consumed CBD for anxiety witnessed symptom improvement after the first month. Sleep scores also improved for around 66 percent of participants within a month, with one clear requirement: CBD works best when consumed regularly. Conversely, those who consume CBD sporadically experience sporadic results.
As such, those who wish to consume CBD for anxiety should include the supplement in their daily diet. Regular once- or twice-daily doses of CBD can help strengthen the body’s EC System over time by triggering endocannabinoid production and metabolism.
However, adding anything to your daily diet can profoundly impact other areas of your health. As such, all CBD oils and ingestibles must be safe to ingest. According to the UK Food Standards Agency, CBD is a novel food and must meet appropriate food guidelines. Moreover, products must be safe to consume with its ingredients clearly labeled. Unfortunately, these regulations are not strictly enforced throughout the UK. It is up to the consumer to ensure that the products they purchase are compliant with local laws. As such, European consumers must always source their CBD products carefully before purchase.
Other Ways to Calm Anxiety
It’s true, CBD may help calm anxiety, but it’s most effective when consumed over long periods. As such, those who experience sudden anxiety attacks may need additional resources to combat the discomfort. In addition to fast-acting sublingual CBD oils, use the following tips to help reduce anxiety.
Breathing exercises are a great way to calm anxiety in a hurry for a few reasons. First, they help distract the mind from anxious thoughts, and second, they increase oxygen levels in the blood and brain. Elevated oxygen levels help stimulate healing responses and trigger a calming effect in the brain. One easy breathing exercise for anxiety involves inhaling for eight seconds, holding for four seconds, then exhaling for seven seconds. Repeat this process until sufficiently calmed.
Sometimes, the brain races too much to silence it with simple patterned breathing. Should this happen, then the next best thing might be to meditate. Guided meditations can help distract the brain from anxiety and refocus thoughts on positive situations and outcomes. YouTube features many guided meditations, though simple “I am” affirmations can work just as well. Examples include sentences like “I am safe, I am loved, I am healthy, I am prosperous.”
Reframe the Situation
Anxiety is the body’s reaction to stress, but sometimes it can lie by convincing us that the situation is much worse than it is. As such, sometimes the best thing to do during an anxiety attack is to simply reframe the experience into a more positive one. Instead of accepting the notion that you might fail, reframe the situation to focus on potential positive outcomes.
Shake it Off (Literally)
Exercise is always healthy, which is certainly true for those suffering from panic attacks. That’s because exercise helps dull our “fight or flight” response to slow a rapid heart rate and calm breathing patterns. As such, those in the midst of an anxiety attack may have great luck by simply “shaking it off.”
In extreme cases, anxiety medication may be necessary. Please note that CBD can alter the effectiveness of certain medications, so always speak with a doctor before taking CBD supplements. Those who experience persistent anxiety should discuss this with their doctor to plan the best course of action with the highest probable success.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD for Anxiety
CBD is great for many things, not the least of which is to dull sudden or persistent anxiety symptoms. Those who wish to use CBD for anxiety should always buy pure products from reliable distributors.
Hemplix is proud to be a top choice for CBD in the UK. Our custom formulas combine the best ingredients and the purest CBD extracts.
To learn more about how to use CBD for anxiety, contact us or share your questions below.