How CBD help in anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural reaction to any stressful or dangerous situation. It comes from the time when humans were not at the top of the food chain, and needed to be constantly aware of predators. When we are presented with dangerous or harmful triggers, the human brain releases adrenaline, thus initiating the fight or flight reaction. As the adrenaline travels through the brain it causes feelings of anxiety and nervousness, thus increasing the heart rate and sensitivity to our environment, ultimately helping us to get out of the situation of danger.

Today the fear of being eaten by a bear is not common, however these concerns have been replaced by modern "predators", better known as work stress, family relationships, money problems and more. These situations may not trigger a fight or flight reaction as such, however the anxiety and nervousness felt about making big decisions or changing lives is related to such a common human reaction. 

When do healthy concerns become an anxiety disorder?

Anxiety is a healthy emotion and an important aspect of life as it keeps us concerned about our own safety and the safety of those around us. However, for some people these feelings are experienced on a regular basis and are disproportionate to their original trigger. The difference comes from the severity of the reaction and symptoms both physical (sweating, shaking and nausea) and psychological over a prolonged period of time greater than 6 months. At this point one could say that the person is suffering from an anxiety disorder. When anxiety reaches the point of affecting you in your daily life this can be enormously debilitating.

Causes of anxiety

The causes of anxiety disorders are complex and varied. They can stem from many things, such as withdrawal from illicit substances, trauma, genetics, and environmental factors such as work or relationships. They can also be experienced as a symptom of other mental health disorders such as PTSD. Because the root of these disorders can be very complicated, treating them is also complicated and requires accompaniment and patience.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is diagnosed when the affected person often experiences severe feelings of anxiety and nervousness that are out of proportion to their trigger, which are usually everyday things like work, family, and money. Feeling constantly nervous about normal life routines and experiences can be debilitating on many levels and will eventually affect a person's work, social, and personal life.

The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Being easily irritable
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep problems
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. These attacks can be caused by triggers, but they can also come out of nowhere.

Some symptoms of a panic attack are:

  •  Sweating
  •  Trembling or shaking
  •  Heart palpitations
  •  Shortness of breath or the feeling of being suffocated.
  •  Feelings of impending doom
  •  Feeling like you're out of control

Because panic attacks can be triggered by certain people, places, or feelings, people with panic disorder will do everything they can to avoid certain situations for fear of starting an attack. This becomes incredibly debilitating to normal life and can lead to other, more serious disorders, such as agoraphobia.

Phobia-related disorders

A phobia is described as an intense fear of a specific thing or object. The fear of some objects is justified, however, those with phobias will feel this fear so intensely, that it will be disproportionate to the actual threat of the object. One can have a phobia of anything, whether it is rational or not, however certain phobias are more debilitating than others. For example, a person affected by Agoraphobia will be afraid to go out of the house alone, afraid to be in small spaces as well as large spaces, they might even be afraid to stand in line. As you can imagine, this would dramatically affect their daily life.

Specific phobiasFear of heights can be quite common, but there is a big difference between someone who goes to the top of a tower to look for that butterfly feeling in his stomach, and someone who doesn't go to the second floor of a house for fear of being too high. 

Another type of anxiety occurs in the form of Social Anxiety Disorder (formerly known as social phobia) A person with social anxiety disorder will feel intense fear and anxiety about social interactions and situations. He or she will experience constant worry and fear that his or her actions and actions will be judged negatively by peers, and will avoid all situations in which he or she might be placed in that position. It can manifest itself from anywhere, but is common in school and the workplace. 

Finally, there is Separation Anxiety Disorder. Originally intended to be experienced only by children, however, it can be a very real problem for adults as well. It is described as someone who has an intense fear of being separated from a specific person, also known as an attachment figure, mixed with the fear that something bad will happen to him or her while separated. The affected person may experience nightmares and even physical symptoms when separated or in anticipation of separation.

Treatment options for anxiety

Currently, the most conventional treatment options for all anxiety related disorders involve a mixture of psychotherapy and medication. Talking to a therapist helps determine the route and cause of the anxiety disorder, while pharmaceutical medication focuses on the symptoms. Finding the right balance of medication involves tedious and time-consuming testing of different prescription drugs, such as beta-blockers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, to see which treatment is most appropriate for the patient, while the patient experiences a multitude of negative side effects. Medication is not a cure for anxiety, simply a solution to the symptoms, and since it comes with its own problems and negative side effects, it is in the interest of the millions of people who suffer daily from anxiety disorders to find a safe and non-toxic medical treatment option.

CBD, a natural way to treat anxiety

Just as beta-blockers are not a cure for anxiety disorders, neither is CBD. Again, similar to beta-blockers, CBD is a chemical treatment option for improving the symptoms of various anxiety disorders rather than addressing the root cause of the problem. One big difference between CBD and conventional anxiety medications, however, is that CBD is natural, safe, nontoxic, and nonaddictive. It has almost no negative side effects, and even those that do occur are pale in comparison to the suicidal thoughts and depression that pharmaceutical medication can cause. 

CBD is relatively new in the medical world, which means that long-term trials proving its effectiveness are scarce. The work that has been done so far is very promising and sheds light on the future of treatment options for anxiety disorders. 

In a review of clinical findings on the efficacy of CBD in treating symptoms associated with anxiety disorders, we concluded that CBD has potential for treating anxiety symptoms, but more research is needed. CBD is known to interact with multiple receptors in the brain known as regulators of anxiety related behaviors, meaning that regulation of these receptors produces feelings of relaxation, in addition to actually strengthening the interaction between serotonin receptors. 

It was noted that in addition to improving symptoms in test subjects, it had no anxiety-inducing properties, was not sedative and had a high safety profile. In a study CBD was found to effectively reduce feelings of anxiety in patients with Social Anxiety Disorder, while in another, CBD was found to effectively reduce anxiety in approximately 80% test subjects after only 1 month of treatment, and remained low throughout the duration of the study. 

Regardless of the amount of research on this topic, it is clear that there is great potential for CBD in the treatment of various anxiety disorders.

How to use CBD for anxiety

If you currently suffer from any type of anxiety disorder or even if you experience anxiety at some point, taking CBD could be very beneficial to your mental health. Because CBD comes in so many different forms and doses, you'll most likely find the right dosing technique and strength that works for you.

Ask the CBD Sensitive team what they would recommend for your case.

Bibliography:

Felman, A. and Browne, PhD, D. (2018). Anxiety: Overview, symptoms, causes, and treatments. [online] Medical News Today. Available at:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323454.php [Accessed 23 Aug. 2019].

NIMH (2018). NIMH » Anxiety Disorders. [online] Nimh.nih.gov. Available at:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml [Accessed 23 Aug. 2019].

Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H. and Hughes, s. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.. [online] NCBI PudMed. Available at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30624194 [Accessed 23 Aug. 2019].

Blessing, E., Steenkamp, M., Manzanares, J. and Marmar, C. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. [online] NCBI PubMed. Available at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/ [Accessed 23 Aug. 2019].

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