One in four people struggles with anxiety
Every one of us knows someone who is or has in the past experienced panic attacks or is struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety. Never before have these problems been as common as they are in modern society. Anxiety can affect people of all ages, occupations and life habits. Some people can experience a panic attack during public appearances, while others cannot bear the idea of losing their job or can even have an anxiety attack for no apparent reason.
“Every fourth person we encounter suffers an anxiety disorder or will experience one at least once in their lifetime”, wrote Dr. Charles H. Elliott and Dr. Laura L. Smith in their book Anxiety and Depression for Dummies.
The many causes that can trigger feelings of anxiety
Anxiety is a state of exaggerated fear and worrying that can overwhelm a person completely and cripple them to such an extent that performing daily tasks can become a challenge. The feeling of fear is actually beneficial to our existence – it protects us from dangers in our environment, so people feeling fear is actually a positive reaction. The problem arises when fear overwhelms our thoughts and feelings, preventing us from going through with our everyday activities. There are many reasons to feel fear in modern society. Frequent triggers of anxiety are the fear of losing your job, workplace-related stress, feeling overwhelmed, and loss of control in everyday activities, while decreasing social contact, less socializing with friends and family also play a vital role.
When do such feelings become an anxiety disorder?
Occasional feelings of fear and stress are normal and should not be confused with anxiety. We can start talking about anxiety when normal feelings of fear and panic are accompanied by thoughts of inability to control a situation, coupled with other physical symptoms. The latter usually show themselves in the form of an accelerated heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating, nausea, trembling, dry mouth and a feeling of vertigo. Prolonged anxiety disorder makes us abandon activities that had previously made us happy, has us avoiding social contact, can display problems with insomnia and manifests itself in a number of other changes in the way we spend our everyday.
How can CBD oil help us fight anxiety?
The most researched cannabinoid in cannabis – CBD has generated great interest among scientists, the medical profession, and patients suffering from anxiety in recent years. Why? Clinical studies (carried out through animal and human experiments) have confirmed that CBD resin has a strong antianxiety effect. The sporadic use of CBD oil has proven to be a safe, body-friendly way to relieve various states of anxiety, such as:
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Social phobia
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- General feelings of anxiety
- Mild to moderate depression
How does CBD work?
CBD cannabinoid stimulates a number of neural connections in the brain, prompting the scientists to believe that ingesting CBD oil can also influence and provide relief from anxiety. It should be noted that most of the studies in this field have so far been carried out in animal research, so direct conclusions about CBD having the same effect on humans presently cannot be confirmed. Nevertheless, preclinical studies have so far shown promising results about using CBD oil to relieve anxiety and depression.
1. Brain activity
The brain has three neurotransmitter systems that can influence the development of depression and anxiety disorder: the serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine systems. With the disorders we already mentioned, the transmission of signals between the nerve cells within these three neurotransmitter systems is less effective. Antidepressants increase the levels of these neurotransmitters and cure depression and anxiety. The most commonly used antidepressant in medicine is SSRI. It increases the presence of serotonin in the synaptic space, which in turn increases the transmission of serotonin signals between cells, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Similar to SSRI, CBD cannabinoid can also increase signaling via serotonin receptors. In Spain, a study was conducted on animals that showed that CBD cannabinoid improves the transmission of the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor and may affect serotonin even faster than SSRI does.
2. Neuron regeneration
The hippocampus is the part of the brain that plays a vital role in various brain functions. It is best known for its role in memory formation and the ability of cognitive thinking. Brain images of patients suffering from anxiety or depression often show a smaller hippocampus, and the treatment of such disorders is frequently associated with stimulation of neuron regeneration in this part of the brain.
A scientific study on mice has shown that regular ingestion of CBD oil can help regenerate neurons in the hippocampus, having a positive effect in the treatment of anxiety and depression. A comparison of the activity of SSRI medicine and CBD oil has shown that both substances can stimulate neuron regeneration.
3. CBD oil effects on anxiety and depression in humans
Based on studies with animal research, scientists began experimenting with CBD oil in connection with anxiety and depression in humans. The results show that CBD oil can improve numerous symptoms of the disorders we mentioned.
Brazilian scientists conducted a double blind study in patients with social anxiety and the results showed a significant reduction in feelings of anxiety with patients who used CBD oil. The possibility of subjective patient reports was double checked with simultaneous brain scans that showed patterns of blood flow in the brain consistent with antianxiety activity.
Another scientific study has shown decreased feelings of anxiety in patients during public appearances. Researchers concluded that CBD cannabinoid significantly decreases anxiety, cognitive disorders and discomfort in public appearances. Such changes were not recorded in the group of patients that received the placebo instead.
CBD holds great potential in the treatment of anxiety disorders
The results of scientific research with animals show an even more detailed CBD oil effect on the brain functions. Among other effects, it has been shown that the consumption of CBD oil positively affects:
- transmission of the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor
- regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus
Both activities are directly related to the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in humans. Experimental studies in people with anxiety disorders have subsequently shown a significant improvement in the condition after the use of CBD cannabinoid. CBD cannabinoid is currently considered as holding great potential in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders however, it is still strongly advised that when facing such problems, a person should consult a competent doctor for possible treatments.