CBD & Anxiety

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CBD & Anxiety

Stress, nervousness, excessive worrying, trembling, aversion to social situations – all of these can fall under the classification of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. CBD can help.

Why CBD?

According to a study conducted by Neurotherapeutics, “preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects.”

CBD enhances and inhibits the binding action of certain receptors in the brain. (NCBI) Receptors are proteins attached to cells that receive chemical signals and cause the cells to respond.

Evidence points to CBD’s ability to alter serotonin signals. Serotonin is one of your brain’s “happy” chemicals responsible for regulating mood and emotion.

Fun fact: although it is a neurotransmitter used in the brain, 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, which is why things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome have been linked to unhealthy serotonin levels.

Much like with dopamine and norepinephrine, a sudden decrees or chronic deficiency in serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety.

This is why many of the most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs aim to increase  serotonin levels in the brain. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft, Prozac, and Lexapro essentially plug up the exit rout (the reuptake), allowing receptors more time to soak in the serotonin. The longer they soak, the more “happy” signals they send.

Let’s Get a Little Scientific.

The primary serotonin receptor is the 5-HT1a (5-hydroxytryptamine type 1a). And guess which receptor CBD is drawn to like a magnate? That’s right, the 5-HT1a. (NCBI) CBD is a known agonist  (activator) of 5-HT1a receptors, just like serotonin.  This means that it binds with the receptor, causing the receptor to produce its effect on the cell. (NCBI)

By agonizing (activating) serotonin receptors, CBD has the same effect as actual serotonin molecules! It’s believed this is one of the main reasons CBD helps to relieve anxiety and depression. (NCBI-NIH)

Furthermore, CBD also upregulates (increases) the synthesis and release of serotonin. (NCBI)

So What Does All This Mean?

Well, in layman’s terms, it means that CBD has been shown to not only help the brain more effectively use the serotonin that is already coursing through the brain’s synapsis, but to also help the body make additional serotonin.

A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that CBD could reduce the symptoms of those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.  Brain scans of participants revealed an increase in blood flow to the areas of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. In this study, cannabidiol not only made participants feel better, but also changed the way their brains responded to anxiety.

A Famous Study.

In a much talked about 2011 double-blind study, researchers examined the effects of CBD on generalized social anxiety disorder and performance anxiety by using public speaking as a catalyst. Ninety minutes prior to the presentation, one third of the group were given CBD, another third was given a placebo, and one third were given nothing at all. The results?

Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.

I love this study because it is straightforward and its results are undeniable and obvious – CBD helped lessen the anxiety of the participants.

As laws continue to catch up with public opinion, more and more research will be done on CBD and the myriad ways it can help the human body.

And all of this is encouraging on so many levels, not least of which being that dependence on anti-anxiety medications continues to increase. According to a report published in 2016 by the JAMA Internal Medicine, nearly one-in-six American adults took at least one psychiatric drug over the course of 2016. Unfortunately, many of these drugs are extremely addictive and have a high probability of abuse.

CBD can help.

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