Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the chemicals often found in cannabis sativa plants, which is a strain that includes marijuana and hemp. Also found in these plants is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the “high” sensation that one usually associates with cannabis.
CBD has been marketed as a treatment for specific medical conditions, such as anxiety, cancer, depression, and chronic pain, although the FDA has yet to approve more CBD medications. A lot of CBD products are extracted from hemp plants. Hemp plants have low amounts of THC, while marijuana plants have higher THC amounts.
Regarding anxiety, it’s not crystal clear yet how CBD can help relieve symptoms. However, studies point to its’ effect on serotonin (the chemical associated with one’s mood, digestion, sleep, and behaviour) levels in the body.
Certain medications, such as antidepressants, function by regulating the levels of serotonin in the body. Some studies suggest that CBD works like antianxiety and antidepressant medicines.
Since it hasn’t been cleared legally by the FDA as an anti-anxiety relief and anxiolytic medication, you will have to exercise your best judgment when using CBD oil for this purpose. Also, some doctors specialize in cannabis administration, which can help you determine whether CBD is the proper treatment for your anxiety problems.
How CBD Works For Anxiety Problems
CBD is thought to interact with specific receptors in our body which are protein-based chemical structures attached to your body’s cells. These receptors receive signals from various stimuli.
In this case, the receptors are CB1 and CB2, usually found in the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems. It’s unclear exactly how CBD affects the brain’s CB1 receptors, but it may affect serotonin signals.
Now serotonin is a neurotransmitter that significantly influences one’s mental health. People with depression often have low serotonin levels. In some instances, a person who doesn’t have enough serotonin in the body may develop anxiety.
Low serotonin is usually treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which are found in prescription drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or sertraline (Zoloft). CBD is being used as an alternative to SSRI to relieve anxiety symptoms.
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Benefits of Using CBD For Anxiety
CBD could be an option for patients who are unsatisfied with the results of traditional medication or have experienced side effects from them. It’s also an option for those looking to try anything else other than prescription medications. So what are the benefits that CBD brings to those with anxiety symptoms?
CBD For Generalized Anxiety
Further studies are needed to establish the potential of CBD for the long-term treatment of multiple anxiety disorders. Still, when it comes to the short-term, there’s already current evidence that points out CBD’s possible benefits. When used with THC, CBD was discovered to reverse the anxiety side effects that the former brings.
Taken at higher dosages, CBD is said to reduce anxiety in healthy adults who were made to take a simulated public speaking test. The same results go for adults with social anxiety disorder too.
CBD was also shown to lessen patients’ anxiety undergoing a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging procedure. The result applies to both healthy adults and adults with social anxiety disorder.
When combined with other psychotherapies and pharmacological treatment, CBD was also shown to effectively reduce anxiety symptoms in patients with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders.
CBD For Anxiety and Depression
Research shows that CBD can improve patients’ overall quality of life after three weeks of treatment for different conditions. Patients who took CBD for anxiety and depression improved their ability to perform their day-to-day tasks, aside from reducing their pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms.
CBD For Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Phobia Therapy
Studies also suggest that CBD can make the patients’ post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms less severe when taken while on routine psychiatric care or taken with THC. CBD with THC results in the entourage effect, in which CBD counters the intoxicating effects of THC- while THC enhances the effects of CBD.
Another study also shows the ability of CBD to enhance the effects of exposure therapy, which is a kind of therapy for phobia patients to help them separate specific cues with a fear response.
CBD can be considered a good alternative if other medicines are not working. Many research data back its anxiolytic effects; and it’s well-tolerated by the body, with minimal side effects.
How to Take CBD For Anxiety
There are several ways to take CBD for anxiety and other medical reasons.
You can take it orally or sublingually by spraying the CBD into your mouth or under the tongue. You can take it via oil, tablet, or liquid capsule. You can also consume CBD via vaping, either the CBD flower (inhaling the vapour from a heated flower using a vaporizer device) or the CBD extract cartridges through a metered dosage device.
Smoking CBD oil or flower is not recommended for those with existing medical conditions since it can increase the risks of severe health problems such as cancer and heart disease. Taking CBD orally is a better solution since you can quickly get the exact dose right.
The effects of CBD that is taken orally can begin to produce an impact on your body within 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you want more immediate results, then vaping CBD is your best recourse.
The most effective time to take CBD is in the morning (to make the rest of your day anxiety-free) or right before a stressful event, like when you are about to give a speech in public.
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How to Take The Right Dose of CBD for Anxiety
Different studies have shown that no single universal dosage of CBD oil applies to everyone when used as a treatment for anxiety disorders. Research highlights that other people respond to different doses of CBD oil. It’s important to note that the studies used dosages between 20 to 1,500mg per day.
A 2018 study revealed that CBD could reduce speakers’ anxiety significantly when CBD oil is taken 90 minutes before a simulated public speaking test. Those who were given a higher dose (600mg) and a lower dose (150mg) both experienced little benefit; a higher dosage does not guarantee greater effectivity, and dosages can be variable.
Another study found that CBD oil in lower doses (25mg to 75mg daily) resulted in patients having decreased anxiety within the first month, and most patients could remain at those low levels.
There is a range of factors to consider regarding the CBD oil dosage you should take. These factors include your weight, the concentration of your CBD product, and the condition you are looking to treat.
The best thing to do is speak to your doctor about any possible risks of taking CBD oil and the appropriate dosage for your needs. As with most medications or treatments, it’s best to start CBD oil in smaller doses initially and increase gradually until you get your desired effect.
Taking 10mg to 20mg a day for a week is a safe range unless your doctor says otherwise. Take this dosage and observe if your body can tolerate it and that you do not have any harmful effects. If you find this dosage lacking, increase incrementally with 5g per week until you get the desired results.
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How to Calculate CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety
The dropper bottle of your CBD oil may indicate how much of the CBD is a single drop of the product; this will help you gauge how many drops of the oil you need for your particular usage. Things can get tricky if the label says the total amount of CBD in the entire bottle but not how much per drop. A safe measurement is one drop of oil containing around 0.05ml.
When Should You Take CBD Oil
CBD oil is just fine to consume whether your stomach is full or not. But taking the oil with food it is said to make the CBD more effective, especially if you are eating a high-calorie, high-fat meal. The compound increases the level of CBD in your blood, thus making the effects more pronounced.
Due to these divergences, consistency is needed when taking CBD oil since consistent dosing will lessen the variability in how the medicine works.
Safety of Taking CBD Oil for Anxiety
CBD oil can have side effects, just like all medicines. How extensive these effects are will vary between individuals and the type of product being used. Using CBD oil continuously is safe, even at high dosages (up to 5000mg).
Generally, the side effects are less with CBD products than with THC products. Some of the byproducts of CBD oil occasionally include:
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness (vertigo)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and sedation
- Decreased or increased appetite
Also, consider that CBD can affect the functioning of other medications or supplements you may be taking. Speak to your doctor if you happen to be taking certain pharmaceuticals, such as the following:
- Blood thinners
- Calcium channel blockers
CBD produces different outcomes from the effects of THC, which is associated with the high, euphoric feeling that you get from smoking marijuana. As long as your CBD oil is pure, you will not be experiencing any altered states. However, watch out for CBD products containing THC since considerable amounts of THC can give you a buzz, even if you mainly took CBD oil.
If you’re worried about the CBD showing up in your drug test, remember that if what you’re using is pure, it wouldn’t appear on the results. If there are traces of THC in your CBD oil, it’s more likely that there’s not enough THC that will cause you to fail your drug test.
CBD oil shows no potential for dependence or abuse, and discontinuing it will not result in withdrawal symptoms. You don’t have to reduce your dose gradually if you plan to stop usage.
Safe use starts with buying only high-quality CBD products. Look for full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates tested by a third-party laboratory; which will verify the contents of cannabis products in stores.
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