Worrying about and being scared of certain things is normal. Like worrying about an intruder or burglar entering your home at night. Or about a stranger taking your kid while he is playing at the park. Or maybe about a school shooting incident. These are fears that are not exactly unfounded, especially with such incidents being reported in the news all too often.
However, if what you do all day long is worry and be afraid of these things, there may be a problem. Especially if your fear or worry does not go away regardless of what you do just to keep your mind busy, or if it worsens as time goes by. And if your fears and worries start to cripple you, hinder you from performing your normal daily routine, and interfere with your relationships, that is a cause for alarm. You may be suffering from a anxiety-related disorder.
Different types of anxiety disorders
There are various types of anxiety disorders. There’s generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, substance-medication-induced anxiety disorder, acute stress disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder, among others.
There are accepted treatment methods for these diagnosed anxiety disorders, including prescription medication, psychotherapy, evidence-based therapy, and complementary and alternative therapies. Or a combination of any of these. A lot of Americans who had been diagnosed with anxiety disorders are given benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin, and Xanax.
However, recently, a growing number of people with anxiety is looking into CBD as a natural treatment option.
How does CBD help?
This alternative treatment uses cannabidiol or CBD, which is an active chemical compound found in cannabis that is non-psychoactive and non-psychotropic. This means that CBD alone does not create a high.
CBD products come in a variety of forms. CBD oil or hemp oil is the most common. CBD oil contains either pure CBD or a combination of high CBD and low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the ingredient in cannabis that produces a high and has mind-altering effects. The thing with high-CBD and low-THC products is that CBD is more able to cancel out the intoxicating and ‘high’ sensation created by THC.
CBD oil is now being used to help in the treatment of anxiety, as well as in the treatment of a wide range of other symptoms and medical conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain, nausea, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, and even withdrawal symptoms.
CBD and its anti-anxiety properties
CBD interacts with our natural endocannabinoid system, which is in charge of regulating certain processes and functions of our body, including those that relate to our appetite, mood, sleep, memory, and pain perception.
Another main function of this endocannabinoid system pertains to stress recovery. CBD, more specifically, interacts with a neurotransmitter in the endocannabinoid system called GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA is responsible for transmitting messages from one neuron to another and prompts the body to slow down when it is time to.
CBD sometimes also functions as a “GABA uptake inhibitor.” This means that it produces a surplus of GABA in our brains. And since millions of brain cells respond to GABA, CBD becomes effective in reducing anxiety, as well as in relaxing the muscles, calming the nervous system, and improving sleep.
Moreover, CBD interacts with 5HT1-A, which is a serotonin receptor in the endocannabinoid system. This receptor is associated with mood and brain function. Majority of 5HT1-A are found in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and amygdala, which are regions of the brain that control mood and anxiety disorders.
In fact, CBD has been found to be a 5HT1-A partial agonist, binding to the receptor site yet only partially stimulating the receptor. But the good news is that CBD stimulates the 5HT1-A just enough so as to trigger an anti-anxiety effect.
Studies also suggest that CBD can promote neurogenesis in the brain’s hippocampus, which is the reason why this cannabinoid reduces anxiety.
Furthermore, there is a feel-good endocannabinoid that is known as “Anandamide,” and CBD helps ensure that your body has abundant levels of this. More specifically, CBD inhibits the production of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase, the enzyme that breaks down Anandamide. In effect, CBD ensures that there is an abundant supply of Anandamide to go around to regulate your mood.
A good alternative
If you are suffering from anxiety, CBD is worth considering as it has lots of potential to treat this condition. In the U.S., where millions of people are estimated to have anxiety disorders and also addicted to prescription drugs like Xanax and Valium, CBD is becoming a more popular choice — one that is natural and not addictive.