What is CBD and How Does it Help With Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
What is CBD?CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD is non-intoxicating, which means it does not produce the “high” typically associated with cannabis use. CBD oil has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential health benefits and therapeutic effects. It is commonly extracted from hemp, a type of cannabis plant that contains low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana. Thus, the effects of CBD tend to be less intense than the effects of THC. Like THC products, hemp derived CBD products come in various forms, including oils, capsules, edibles, topicals, and more.
Does CBD Help with Anxiety?While research is ongoing and the full extent of its benefits is not yet fully understood, there is evidence to suggest that CBD has several potential health benefits and therapeutic properties. Some commonly studied areas of CBD research include pain relief, depression management, sleep improvement, anti-inflammatory safety and side effects, neuroprotective properties, and more. Recent studies also suggest that CBD may be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. While the exact mechanisms through which CBD may exert its effects are not fully understood, research suggests that CBD may interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, stress, and anxiety, which may improve overall health and wellbeing.
Here are some potential ways CBD may help with anxiety and panic attacks:
- Anti-anxiety Effects: CBD has shown potential anti-anxiety properties in both animal and human studies. It may interact with receptors in the ECS, including CB1 receptors in the brain, which are involved in regulating anxiety-related behaviors. CBD may also influence the release of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which is known to play a role in mood regulation.
- Stress Reduction: CBD can help reduce stress, which is a common trigger for anxiety and panic attacks. CBD has been shown to have potential stress-reducing effects by influencing the release of stress hormones and reducing the physiological response to stress.
- Relaxation and Calming Effects: CBD may have relaxation and calming effects on the body and mind, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. Some people report feeling more relaxed and less anxious after using CBD.
- Sleep Improvement: Poor sleep is often associated with increased anxiety and stress. CBD has been studied for its potential benefits in improving sleep quality and quantity, which may indirectly help reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
- Reduced Hyperarousal: CBD may help regulate fear and reduce hyperarousal, which is a heightened state of alertness and physiological arousal often experienced during anxiety and panic attacks. By promoting relaxation and reducing hyperarousal, CBD has the potential to help manage symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
Common Anxiety Symptoms
Common symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person, but they often include:
- Excessive worry or fear: Feeling excessively worried or fearful about everyday situations, even when there is no apparent reason for the anxiety.
- Restlessness or feeling on edge: Feeling restless, irritable, or constantly on edge, with a heightened state of alertness and readiness for potential danger.
- Difficulty concentrating: Having trouble concentrating or feeling easily distracted, which can affect work, school, or daily activities.
- Physical symptoms: Experiencing physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest tightness, or stomach discomfort.
- Sleep disturbances: Having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless sleep due to racing thoughts or worries.
- Muscle tension: Experiencing muscle tension, soreness, or discomfort due to the body’s physical response to anxiety.
- Avoidance behaviors: Avoiding situations or places that trigger anxiety, which can lead to social isolation or disruptions in daily life.
- Irrational fears or phobias: Developing irrational fears or phobias, such as fear of specific objects, situations, or activities that can interfere with normal functioning.
- Changes in appetite or digestion: Experiencing changes in appetite, such as loss of appetite or comfort eating, and digestive issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation.
- Emotional symptoms: Feeling irritable, moody, or experiencing mood swings, along with a heightened sense of anxiety, agitation, or panic.
It’s important to remember that anxiety symptoms can manifest in different ways for different people, and not everyone who experiences anxiety has an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a normal emotion that most people experience in response to stress, while anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive and persistent anxiety that significantly impacts a person’s daily life. While anxiety is a natural response to stress and can be managed with healthy coping strategies, anxiety disorder usually requires professional help for diagnosis and treatment.
If you experience persistent or severe symptoms of anxiety, it’s important to seek professional help from a qualified mental health professional for evaluation, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of anxiety disorders. However, for those looking for a therapeutic alternative to prescription drugs or other treatments to manage anxiety, CBD could be worth exploring further.
Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Anxiety Symptoms
CBD, or cannabidiol, has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties, including its potential use in managing anxiety and mood disorders.
Some potential benefits of using CBD to treat anxiety symptoms may include:
- Promotes relaxation and stress relief: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including stress and mood. Some studies suggest that CBD may have anxiolytic effects, helping to promote relaxation and calmness. Studies have shown that CBD tends to interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, which are involved in mood regulation. By modulating serotonin levels, CBD helps promote a sense of calmness and relaxation, potentially reducing stress-related symptoms.
- Non-psychoactive: Unlike THC, the primary compound found in cannabis that is known for its psychoactive effects, CBD does not cause a “high” or alter consciousness. This makes CBD an attractive option for those who are looking for anxiety relief without the psychoactive effects associated with conventional marijuana.
- Few side effects: Consumers generally tolerate CBD well, and most reported side effects are mild, such as drowsiness, dry mouth, or changes in appetite. Compared to some other medications used for anxiety, CBD has a lower risk of causing significant adverse effects.
- Potential for different forms of administration: CBD is available in various forms, including oils, capsules, edibles, topicals, and more, providing options for different preferences and needs. This allows for flexibility in dosing and administration, depending on individual preferences and lifestyles.
- May improve sleep quality: Poor sleep is often associated with anxiety. Some studies suggest that CBD may help improve sleep quality by reducing insomnia, promoting deeper sleep, and alleviating nightmares, which can in turn help reduce anxiety symptoms.
- May complement other treatments: CBD may be used as a complementary or adjunctive treatment for anxiety, meaning it can be used in conjunction with other treatments such as therapy, lifestyle changes, or other medications. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before combining CBD with other treatments to ensure safety and efficacy.
The effectiveness of using CBD for treating anxiety can vary depending on individual factors. The optimal dosage, safety, and efficacy of CBD for anxiety are still being researched, and it’s crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting or modifying any CBD regimen to relieve anxiety.
Types of CBD Products That Can Help With AnxietyThere are several types of CBD products that may potentially help with anxiety and panic attacks. These include:
CBD Oil/TincturesCBD oil or tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of CBD that are typically taken orally by placing a few drops under the tongue. They are one of the most popular forms of CBD products and provide a quick and convenient way to consume CBD. CBD oil/tinctures are available in various concentrations and can be easily customized to suit individual needs. They can be used for both acute symptoms of anxiety and as part of a daily wellness routine.
CBD CapsulesCBD capsules or soft gels are oral capsules that contain CBD oil or CBD isolate. They are pre-measured and provide a consistent dosage of CBD, making them easy to incorporate into a daily routine. Capsules are convenient and discreet, and they can be a good option for those who prefer a standardized dosage of CBD.
CBD EdiblesCBD edibles are food products that are infused with CBD, such as gummies, chocolates, and other snacks. They offer a tasty and convenient way to consume CBD, and come in various flavors, shapes, and dosages. Edibles can be a discreet option for those who prefer to consume CBD in a familiar and enjoyable format.
CBD VapesCBD vapes are products that are inhaled as a vapor, typically using a vape pen or vaporizer. They provide a fast-acting method of delivery, as the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. This can be a great method of consumption for those looking for a quick way to relieve anxiety. However, it’s important to note that vaping can have potential risks and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s essential to understand the potential health concerns associated with vaping and make an informed decision.
CBD TopicalsCBD topicals are products applied externally to the skin, such as creams, lotions, and balms. They are often used for localized relief and may be helpful for targeting specific areas of discomfort, such as muscle tension or joint pain. While topicals may not have the same systemic effects as other forms of CBD products, they can be used as a complementary option for managing symptoms related to anxiety and stress.
FULL SPECTRUM VERSUS BROAD SPECTRUM VS ISOLATE: which is right for you?CBD comes in a few different forms: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. The effects of CBD can vary depending on which type of product you choose.
FULL SPECTRUMFull spectrum CBD is extracted from the whole hemp plant, which contains various cannabinoids as well as terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds. These cannabinoids and other compounds work synergistically together in what is known as the “entourage effect,” meaning that they may enhance each other’s effects and provide potential therapeutic benefits. It’s important to note that the THC content in full spectrum CBD is typically very low, usually below the legal limit of 0.3% in the United States. However, it can still potentially cause a positive result in a drug test, and may also have psychoactive effects in some individuals. Full spectrum products are often preferred by those seeking a comprehensive hemp extract that preserves the natural diversity of cannabinoids and terpenes. It may also be beneficial for those looking for a more holistic approach to their CBD use.
BROAD SPECTRUMIf you are concerned about THC or drug testing, consider using broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate products, which are THC-free or contain only trace amounts of THC. Broad spectrum CBD products contain a range of cannabinoids and other compounds, but the THC has been removed. It is similar to full spectrum CBD in that it contains multiple cannabinoids and other compounds, but the difference is that broad spectrum CBD does not contain THC.
CBD ISOLATECBD isolate refers to a form of cannabidiol (CBD) that has been isolated from all other compounds found in the cannabis plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant materials. This is typically produced through a process of extraction and purification, resulting in a crystalline or powdered form of CBD that is 99% or more pure. CBD isolate is THC-free, meaning it does not contain any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This makes CBD isolate a popular choice for individuals who want to avoid any potential THC-related effects, such as those who are sensitive to THC or undergo regular drug testing. However, these products may not offer the same potential benefits as full spectrum CBD due to the lack of the entourage effect. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of CBD for managing anxiety related disorders can vary depending on individual factors, such as the severity of psychiatric disorders, general anxiety symptoms, dosage, and overall health status. It’s also crucial to choose a high-quality CBD product from a reputable source and to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you are currently taking any medications or have underlying health conditions.
Taking CBD to Manage Anxiety SymptomsThe optimal dosage of CBD can vary depending on factors such as the severity of symptoms, individual body chemistry, and the specific product being used. It’s always best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until the desired effects are achieved. Here are some general dosage guidelines for taking CBD for anxiety:
Start low and slow
Consider product potencyCBD products come in various concentrations, and the potency often affects the appropriate dosage. For example, a 10 mg dose of CBD from a low-potency CBD oil may provide a different effect than a 10 mg dose from a high-potency CBD oil. Read and follow the product’s instructions and consider consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized dosage recommendations.
Pay attention to your bodyEveryone’s body reacts differently to CBD, so it’s essential to pay attention to how you feel after taking it. If you experience relief from anxiety symptoms with a particular dosage, stick with it. If you notice any adverse effects, consider reducing the dosage.
Consider the method of administration:The method of taking CBD can also affect the dosage. For example, CBD taken orally (such as with CBD oil, capsules, or edibles) may have different bioavailability and onset of effects compared to CBD taken topically or inhaled. Adjust the dosage accordingly based on the method of administration.
Consult with a healthcare professional
If you are new to CBD or have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, it’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, including CBD. They can provide personalized dosage recommendations and help ensure CBD is safe and appropriate for you.