CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it’s one of the most promising compounds in cannabis. Studies have shown that it can help with pain management and even reduce inflammation.
It may also help people with anxiety disorders like PTSD and general anxiety. So, if you are looking for a simple way to help alleviate your anxiety symptoms, CBD may be able to help.
CBD comes from hemp plants that have less than .3% THC. This is an important distinction because THC is the compound in cannabis that is psychoactive. In other words, THC is responsible for getting people “high”. CBD is not intoxicating. It is well tolerated by most people and usually has mild side effects if any.
This is why it may be worth trying if you are looking for a way to help manage anxiety.
Anxiety Across the Country
Data from 2008 to 2018 shows that anxiety is rapidly increasing in American adults under the age of 50. It is increasing the fastest for young adults. This is a serious problem as anxiety has heavy consequences. The most serious being it’s association with greater mortality.
There are many reasons why this increase in anxiety is happening. Adults throughout the county have a lot to deal with. Exposure to environmental stressors like financial strain can cause anxiety. And research shows these stressors are on the rise.
It’s not just anxiety that is keeping pace. Depression, suicide, and substance abuse disorders are keeping up, too.
If you are dealing with anxiety, you are not alone. Millions around the country are dealing with similar situations and are finding ways to try to manage them. CBD may offer some relief. Many people report that taking CBD helps them to relieve stress and anxiety.
Disclaimer: It is recommended that you talk with a licensed medical professional about options that might help you, including about adding CBD to your routine. Never stop or change prescribed medication on your own. CBD should never be taken as a replacement for anxiety medication.
What Is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many compounds found in Cannabis sativa plants. There are two groups of Cannabis sativa plants. Marijuana plants have some CBD, but they have much more THC. Hemp plants have high concentrations of CBD with low concentrations of THC.
To make CBD products like oils and gummies for sale in the United States, CBD has to be extracted from hemp plants. This regulation is to ensure that there is less than .3% of THC in any finished products.
There are three types of CBD extract: Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate.
Full spectrum extract has other compounds from the hemp plant. Compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes stay in the extract and are a part of the finished product. They can affect the flavor and effects. Researchers believe that the effects of CBD may be more pronounced from a full spectrum product because of the entourage effect. This is the idea that when kept together, all of the compounds in hemp can boost each other’s effectiveness.
Just like CBD, some of the other cannabinoids and terpenes have their own therapeutic properties and may be able to help in similar ways. For example, myrcene is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis. It is also found in many other plant species, including hops. It gets used often as a flavoring and food additive. Research has shown that it has therapeutic properties all on its own. The main ones are antioxidant effects, anti-aging effects, anxiolytic effects, and analgesic effects.
Because they all bring a little to the table, when CBD, myrcene, and the other natural compounds are left to work in harmony – as in a full spectrum product – the effects they cause may seem more pronounced.
A broad spectrum CBD extract is similar to a full spectrum as it also contains other compounds naturally found in the hemp plant. But broad spectrum extracts take care to filter out all of the THC. There is still the possibility of a mild entourage effect created by the other cannabinoids and terpenes. But there is zero THC. This may appeal to CBD consumers who do not want to consume any THC.
Lastly, CBD isolate is pure CBD. It is refined until there is nothing left but cannabinol. This means there is no entourage effect, but there is still therapeutic potential on its own. Some people like this option as it can be more affordable. It is extremely versatile as it doesn’t usually have any odor or taste. And it can be used in a variety of different consumption methods.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works by affecting the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is the system in the body that regulates many different important functions. Everything from sleep to mood and appetite is regulated by this system.
It is comprised of receptors throughout the brain and body. Cannabinoids bind to these receptors to cause different effects. For example, when THC binds to these receptors it causes the feeling of euphoria. This is what makes people feel the high associated with marijuana use.
CBD interacts with this system in a way that lets our body’s naturally-produced cannabinoids stay active for as long as they can. This may be what leads to a feeling of calmness. When our ECS can regulate itself and stay balanced, it can cause us to feel more relaxed.
More research needs to be done before anyone can say exactly how CBD works. For now, we know that it has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects on the body. Something about the way it works in the ECS helps to manage pain, reduce seizures, and inflammation, boost the immune system, and promote relaxation.
CBD Gummies for Anxiety
There are many different ways to take CBD. Does the delivery method even matter? It turns out there are differences between taking CBD oil and CBD gummies. Edibles and oils are absorbed by the body differently, so there will be slightly differing effects.
A couple of reasons people enjoy taking gummies are because they’re easy to use. You don’t have to worry about measuring out the right dose because each gummy is premeasured with the exact same amount of CBD.
They are also really easy to take with you. They don’t require any preparations to take and they don’t come with a smell. This means they are discreet when you want them to be. And if you choose a good brand, they can be pretty yummy too.
Edibles like gummies work via the digestive tract. To take effect they have to travel through the digestive tract and pass through the liver before effects start to set in. The amount of time it takes to feel effects can vary from person to person. It depends on things like body weight, tolerance, how much you took, and more.
If you take a large dose, the effects will last longer. Taking CBD frequently can cause it to build up in your system, so effects can last longer when you try it. Biology will also play a part in how CBD affects you. Water content, body mass index, and metabolism are just a few things that will lead to how your body processes CBD.
Lastly, what you eat and how much you eat will have an impact on how CBD acts in your body. After eating it takes longer for CBD to reach its peak in the bloodstream. And the body seems to get rid of CBD slower on a full stomach.
All things aside, the general rule of thumb is that edibles seem to take about an hour to really kick in. Once the effects do come on, they usually last for hours. Studies show that it can last 6 hours or more.
CBD Oil for Anxiety
When you take CBD oil, there are different ways it enters the bloodstream. Therefore, its effects and onset time will differ.
Oils and tinctures placed under the tongue are absorbed sublingually. Sublingual application leads to faster effects and ones that last longer than that of edibles.
The tissues under the tongue are thin and the CBD is able to permeate into your bloodstream right there. This allows the body to absorb more of the CBD and feel the effects faster rather than having to wait to digest the oil first.
After letting the oil absorb under the tongue for about 30 seconds, it can be swallowed. So the CBD that wasn’t absorbed in the mouth can still be felt later on.
Does CBD Really Work for Anxiety?
There are many studies showing that CBD is effective at reducing anxiety levels in humans as well as animals. Although more research needs to be done as there are still many questions about how CBD helps.
Researchers think the way CBD reduces cortisol levels may have something to do with its ability to help people feel calmer. Some of the benefits may come from its ability to increase serotonin levels. Medications like antidepressants work by regulating serotonin levels. Current research suggests that increasing serotonin levels is one way to help treat anxiety. Some research suggests that CBD does this, and in a similar way to anti-anxiety medications.
A study in 2011 showed that CBD helped people with social anxiety feel less anxious during public speaking. And another study from 2011 found similar evidence that CBD was able to help reduce anxiety in people with social anxiety disorders.
In 2015, a review of 49 studies found evidence that CBD may help with a variety of things. They included generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder
A 2019 study was conducted on 11 patients with PTSD. 91% of them experienced reduced symptoms while taking CBD.
And another 2019 study was conducted on people struggling with anxiety and sleep. Almost 80% of the people in the study had their anxiety improve after beginning taking CBD. Almost 70% of the participants reported better sleep within the first month.
What Are the Risks of Taking CBD?
The results of studies regarding CBD are generally positive. But there are still a few outliers that should be considered.
One study in 2017 failed to find any evidence that CBD improved anxiety or paranoia. On the contrary, they found that it may have increased anxiety in some of the study participants.
It is important to remember that these studies do not look at the long-term effects of taking CBD. So we cannot be sure if long-term use of CBD can help manage anxiety or not.
It is most likely safe to try. The most common side effects of CBD are diarrhea, fatigue, and drowsiness. Although, it can interact with certain medications, like blood thinners, which is why it is a good idea to speak with your doctor prior to taking anything new.
To minimize your risk, don’t take any products that are not backed by a recent Certificate of Analysis. This is the report that is issued when companies get their products tested by third-party labs.
You should be able to find this on the product page or through a quick search on the company website. If one is not available, you can’t verify how much CBD is in the product or that it is free of health hazards like heavy metals.
Take CBD That Works for You
Whether it is a CBD gummy or CBD oil that you choose to take, chances are it can help you relax a bit. Oils are a great option for anyone that wants to feel fast effects. Whereas, gummies are a fantastic option for those that want to take their CBD on a go and have slower but long-lasting effects. You may just need to try both to decide which one is right for you.