The Amazing Ways That CBD Oil Affects Anxiety
The Amazing Ways That CBD Oil Affects Anxiety
Anxiety is the most common mental illness among US adults. It affects around 40 million people each year. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of those people receive treatment for their anxiety.
It's also unfortunate that many anxiety medications produced by big pharma companies have negative side effects. Some of these side effects are as bad as, or worse than, the original anxiety symptoms.
The good news is, there's another option for medicine that can help reduce anxiety and the effects of anxiety disorders: CBD oil. Understanding how CBD oil affects anxiety can lead to an effective treatment for your anxiety symptoms.
This amazing treatment method can reduce your anxiety symptoms and get you back to a happier, less stressful life. Keep reading to learn exactly how CBD oil affects anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is defined as an emotion that brings feelings of tension, stress, and worried thoughts, along with physical effects like high blood pressure.
People suffering from anxiety disorders are basically chronically anxious. "Normal" situations or events can trigger their anxiety, leading to panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and generally negative effects on their lives.
There are many different anxiety disorders people can suffer from, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder (PD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Each of these disorders can have a significant negative impact on people's lives, both mentally and physically.
Mental and Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety
The particular effects of anxiety will depend on the type of anxiety disorder someone has.
For example, people with OCD often have symptoms of repetitive movements and phrases, hypervigilance, and compulsive and ritualistic behaviors. Someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) wouldn't have these types of symptoms.
The general anxiety symptoms that can be seen in almost all anxiety disorders include:
- Uncontrollable Worry
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Feelings of Impending Disaster or Death
But as we mentioned, specific disorders will come with specific symptoms on top of these general ones. For example, people with social anxiety have intense fear being in public, fears of speaking with others and worrying about events days or weeks in advance.
People with panic disorders and phobias will have feelings of being out of control during panic attacks along with intense episodes of fear and panic that are usually triggered by an event or the object of fear for that individual.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can also take a serious physical toll on your body. These symptoms include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Muscle Tension
- Nausea/Stomach Upset
- Sweating and Trembling
These symptoms combined with the mental effects of anxiety can harm your overall health. In fact, anxiety has been linked to numerous chronic illnesses including heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and inflammation.
One of the unfortunate things about these physical symptoms of anxiety is that they can heighten or trigger more anxiety symptoms. People with certain anxiety disorders can become anxious about these physical symptoms, which results in increased anxiety and thus increased symptoms of anxiety.
It becomes a sort of vicious cycle that results in a worsening physical and emotional condition.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is shorthand for "Cannabidiol". Cannabidiol is one of the hundreds of molecules found within the cannabis plant, more commonly referred to as marijuana.
The most well-known molecule found in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is psychoactive meaning it's what gives you the "high" feeling: it causes euphoria, the munchies, red eyes, and lethargy, among other things. THC can also worsen anxiety and other mental health disorders.
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it doesn't get you high.
CBD oil is solely CBD that has been isolated from the cannabis plant. This means that you won't get the feeling of being high when taking CBD oil; you'll just be getting its positive anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.
CBD Oil Affects Your Brain
So what exactly does CBD oil do once it's in your body? In the case of THC, there are receptors in the brain that THC connects to, which causes its effects.
The CBD molecule can't interact directly with your brain like THC can; there's no receptor that CBD can connect to. But just because CBD can't directly interact with receptors in the brain doesn't mean it doesn't have an effect on your brain.
CBD oil affects the brain indirectly. It mainly interacts with two different types of brain receptors: CB1/2 and 5HT1-A receptors.
CB1/2 receptors are heavily involved in brain function and cognition. 5HT1-A is a serotonin receptor found in areas that control mood and emotions like the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala.
Because of these interactions in the brain, it means that CBD oil affects brain function, mood, and emotions, all of which are related to anxiety disorders.
CBD Oil Affects Mood and Relieves Mental Effects of Anxiety
We've already gone over the general mental and emotional symptoms of anxiety: restlessness, intense worry, stress, etc.
CBD oil can relieve every one of these symptoms. Because of the effect CBD has on serotonin receptors, it means that the brain is exposed to more serotonin and it sends more serotonin signals. There's also evidence that CBD oil can increase dopamine levels.
Both serotonin and dopamine are responsible for making you feel happy and positive. The increase in serotonin signaling and dopamine levels in the brain can cause you to feel happier and more positive while also reducing feelings of anxiety.
Studies have also shown that CBD can help spark neuron regeneration in the hippocampus, which can also lead to a reduction in anxiety and the mental symptoms it brings.
Other studies have shown a significant improvement in concentration and cognitive function when people with anxiety disorders were treated with CBD oil.
CBD Oil Affects Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
Besides aiding in the reduction of mental symptoms of anxiety, CBD oil has also been shown to help with the physical symptoms as well.
A study had people with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) use CBD oil so they could examine the effects. What they found is that not only did the CBD oil result in a reduction of their anxiety, the participants also had a reduction in their blood pressure and heart rate.
Inflammation is another common physical effect of anxiety, which can be extremely harmful to the body long-term. It can lead to digestive issues, chronic pain, heart disease, joint pain, and even an increased cancer risk.
CBD oil affects the inflammation in your body. Multiple studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil. This can prevent diseases caused by long-term inflammation, as well as reduce any pain caused by inflammation.
Another physical symptom of anxiety and anxiety disorders is disturbed or unsatisfactory sleep, restlessness, and insomnia. Lack of sleep can then, in turn, lead to decreased cognitive function, fatigue, and it can trigger even more anxiety symptoms.
CBD oil affects and reduces feelings of anxiety, which can lead to improved sleep quality and duration. It's also been shown to have direct effects on sleep by reducing insomnia and increasing the amount of time people sleep each night.
Anxiety disorders can cause a myriad of digestive issues from nausea to stomach upset. The inflammation triggered by chronic anxiety can also lead to digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
CBD oil affects both inflammation and sleep, both of which have direct effects on the digestive system. The reduction in inflammation and anxiety symptoms along with the increase in sleep quality can improve digestive symptoms like nausea and stomach upset that might have arisen because of the anxiety.
Anxiety makes you feel tense both emotionally and physically. Physically, it can cause your muscles to tense up, which can leave you sore and in pain.
CBD oil affects your muscles by causing them to relax. This will loosen any stiff or sore muscles you have, but it can also help reduce pain and headaches caused by being tense 24/7.
CBD Oil Can Prevent and Reduce Panic Attacks
One symptom of anxiety disorders is having anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks. These episodes are characterized by the sudden onset of intense fear and worry along with at least four of the following symptoms:
- Increased Heart Rate
- Nausea/Stomach Upset
- Fear of Dying/Disaster
- Uncontrollable Worry
- Shortness of Breath
- Feeling Faint, Dizzy or Lightheaded
- Chills/Hot Flash
- Tensed Body/Muscles
- Chest Pain
You might notice that many of the symptoms of an anxiety attack are ones we went over in previous sections (worry, anxiety, muscle tension, nausea, etc) that CBD oil has been shown to help.
So it's not surprising that studies have shown that when CBD oil is administered before or during a triggering, traumatic event, it can prevent a panic attack from occurring. If it doesn't prevent the event entirely, it can greatly reduce the symptoms of a panic attack.
CBD Oil Can Reduce Fears and Phobias
A 2017 study run by the British Pharmacological Society has provided compelling evidence to support that CBD oil affects learned fears and can help people suffering from phobias, panic disorders, and PTSD.
They were able to show that when given CBD oil, the brain had a decreased fear response in patients with anxiety. It's also been shown that CBD oil reduces memory reconsolidation, which means it stops your brain from acting on your specific learned fears that you actually don't need to be afraid of.
This has great implications for people with phobias and for people with anxiety disorders triggered by certain events or innocuous things.
For example, a soldier with PTSD might be afraid of and have anxiety that is triggered by loud noises. CBD oil is able to both reduce their fear and anxiety while also helping their brain disconnect their previous fearful experience with loud noises (in battle during war, for example) with their current, safe situation that happens to include a loud noise.
In simple terms, CBD oil helps people feel less afraid of things while also helping them understand that there isn't anything to be afraid of in the current moment.
CBD Oil Can Help Every Anxiety Disorder
A drawback to some more classic anti-anxiety medications is that they don't all work exactly the same for every anxiety disorder. Someone who has OCD might not be on the same medication as someone with a phobia and someone with PTSD might have an entirely different treatment than either of the other two.
But what about people who have multiple anxiety disorders? They might have to take multiple medications until they find a combination that works for them.
That's not how CBD oil works, though. CBD oil affects anxiety symptoms for every type of anxiety disorder. You could have a phobia of spiders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a panic disorder all at once, and CBD oil would help each issue.
Because CBD oil affects a variety of pathways as well as both physical and emotional symptoms, it will work for all anxiety disorders.
Bottom Line: CBD Oil Can Help Reduce Your Anxiety
Not everyone wants to take the risk of taking classic anti-anxiety drugs. They have a myriad of negative side effects (drowsiness, nausea, and nightmares to name a few) and some can be extremely addictive. Not only that, but these medications don't work the same for every anxiety disorder.
That's why CBD oil is such a great alternative. It is able to have significant effects on anxiety including the reduction of both mental and physical symptoms. CBD oil affects every anxiety disorder, can reduce your fears, and it can stop panic attacks.
It's no wonder that some people call it a miracle solution!
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