Can CBD Help with Anxiety?
The compound CBD (cannabidiol) has burst into the wellness scene over the last ten years or so. Its fans and dealers claim it to be a miracle cure for all common ailments such as appetite, anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Millions of Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder; which has only worsened in response to a fluctuating economy and raging pandemic that is only starting to ebb away. But long before the pandemic edibles CBD has been advertised as quick, easy, and safe things to take to curb anxiety and help calm the nervous system. The question is, do they work? Whenever products hit the market, especially in the wellness industry, one must educate oneself on all aspects of the product before trying it. Many products sold on the market don’t have FDA approval and aren’t regulated as stringent as pharmaceutical medications are. Edibles CBD can be safe for certain groups to take in small amounts, but it’s essential to evaluate whether or not it will add something to one’s life or cause unnecessary problems. Let’s explore CBD and whether it helps with anxiety.
What is It?
First, let’s start by defining what CBD is. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound extracted from the hemp plant. Most will be familiar with its sister compound, THC, the infamous ingredient in the marijuana flower. CBD and THC are both found in flowering buds, but there are some key differences between them and how they affect the body and mind. THC and CBD both bind with cannabinoid receptors in our brain and are observed to have specific effects on a person's state of mind. THC can change a person's perception, increase appetite and cause feelings of euphoria when ingested. These are a few feelings associated with being ‘high’ on marijuana. CBD does not cause these feelings, but users report feelings of calm, easier time sleeping and overall mood improvement when using CBD.
What the Research Says
As far as the research goes, there is still much to learn about CBD and edibles CBD before we can say for sure that it treats anxiety. Only a few medications containing CBD have been FDA-approved and some researchers think CBD can affect serotonin levels in the brain. Increased serotonin is linked to decreased anxiety and mood improvements, but we are still unsure exactly how CBD treats anxiety. Currently, these claims are entirely user-based and buyers should be wary of products that make exuberant claims about CBD products curing anxiety. In many ways, it is likely due to consumers believing that it will help. And sometimes, that can be enough for the brain to reframe some of those feelings of anxiety.
Forms of CBD
CBD can be found in numerous forms. Edibles CBD, CBD-only flower, tinctures and topical ointments are popular ways to ingest the compound. Regardless of the kind of product you might be interested in, there are some keywords you should look for when looking for products. The first thing to look for is the words ‘full spectrum.’ This means that the CBD was extracted from the plant rather than synthesized in a lab. It is thought that CBD extracted from the plant itself is more effective and of higher quality due to the presence of trace amounts of THC. In this case, the amount of THC is so tiny that it won’t cause the user to get high or feel impaired.
The legality of CBD exists in somewhat of a gray area. Because it is a compound extracted from the hemp plant, some provinces and states may have laws that support its legality while others don’t. And on the federal level, it’s still illegal. Although even the national perspective on marijuana is starting to change. In states where recreational cannabis is legal, CBD edibles of high quality will be easy to find. In states where it is not legal, there may be some sketchy products to watch out for. Never buy CBD products unless they are from authorized sellers, either online or in person. And watch out for added chemicals!
It seems that CBD can have some effect on supporting a better mood and more relaxed attitude, but scientists still don’t know for sure how or if it treats anxiety. Part of the problem is a lack of funding for research because of its pending legal status in the US. We know that THC and CBD working together can do some amazing things, but the jury is still out on whether or not CBD actively contributes to decreased anxiety or whether this is a perception of the users. If you decide to try CBD, research any reactions to medication you may already be taking!