Does CBD Help with Anxiety? Must Know CBD Effects on Anxiety

cbd effects on anxiety

Posted on December 23rd, 2021

Does CBD help with anxiety? One of the most common reasons people turn to CBD is to ease their anxiety. So, in this article, we’ll examine the research behind CBD effects on anxiety, to see if, why and how it may work. Before getting into the details, though, you need to understand a few fundamental things. 

What Are Cannabinoids?

Simply put, cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds in cannabis. They usually interact with cannabinoid receptors within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoids trigger CBD receptors in your brain and body, paving the way for potential benefits. After they activate CB1 and CB2 receptors, they can boost how your body’s systems and organs function.

Cannabinoids and terpenes come from the resin glands (trichomes) on the cannabis plant’s leaves and flowers. Other plants may produce cannabinoids, but they’re predominantly expressed in cannabis. Cannabinoids and terpenes usually work together to produce a strain’s specific flavor and scent. Additionally, cannabinoids and terpenes often interact to improve the overall benefits of the plant’s components— the entourage effect. Farmers are now breeding strains comprising with higher cannabinoid and terpene content, because of their reported therapeutic effects & benefits.

What Is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid that naturally exists in the cannabis plant. For years now, researchers have been looking into the possible therapeutic CBD applications. CBD and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the most common compounds in marijuana. With that said, you will experience different effects with these cannabinoids.

As you guessed, THC is the most popular cannabinoid in cannabis. Apart from being the most active ingredient, it causes the most noticeable psychological effect. If you smoke or decide to use it in cooking, you will experience a mind-altering “high”.

CBD is quite different in that it isn’t noticeably psychoactive. Simply put, it doesn’t affect a user’s state of mind. With that said, it might lead to significant body changes. Generally, it’s showing some incredible potential medical advantages.

Where Does CBD Come From?

There are two main types of cannabis: marijuana and hemp. Marijuana has more than 0.3% THC and hemp has less than that. The FDA accepts that hemp plants are legal only if they have no more than 0.3% THC. Conversely, marijuana is still federally illegal in the US.

Marijuana farmers often keenly breed their plants to contain high THC levels, as well as other compounds they’re interested in. However, the legal hemp plants serve as CBD oil’s main source.

anxietyCBD Effects on Anxiety

One of the reasons for CBD’s popularity is that it claims to be “non-psychoactive”. That means that users may reap advantages from the plant without experiencing the “high” (or the midnight pizza munchies). Additionally, clinical and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD effects on anxiety are real and very helpful. There are other potential benefits as well.

These might include applications for epilepsy, substance abuse and dependence, Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder, sleep problems, and social phobias. CBD may also possess antipsychotic, anxiolytic, antidepressive, and neuroprotective properties. 

Will CBD Get You High?

The short answer is no. That’s THC’s thing. These two cannabinoids share lots of similarities since they both work with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This is a network of receptors existing throughout the human body. They help to regulate vital body functions. Since both THC & CBD are chemically similar to the cannabinoids the body already makes, they easily interact with the ECS. The brain’s neurotransmitters relay messages between cells to relieve anxiety, pain, sleep, and immune functioning. 

Although similar, these two compounds are more different than many people might assume and vary dramatically in their effect. While THC might make a person more anxious, CBD effects on anxiety are the opposite. 

Does CBD Help with Anxiety? How the Process Works

The short answer here is it may, thanks to your ECS. This system keeps your bodily and chemical processes balanced (in homeostasis). What’s more, recent studies prove that phytocannabinoids behave similarly to endocannabinoids. That explains why using CBD may leave you feeling balanced. And it could answer your question, does CBD help with anxiety. 

Your CB1 and CB2 receptors act as neural pathways through which your ECS regulates and maintains bodily responses such as pain, movement, emotion, coordination, and mood. However, CBD doesn’t adhere directly to the receptors.

It actually prevents the breakdown of your body’s natural endocannabinoids, which allows it to optimize the utilization of the naturally existing ones. More so, other factors such as stress can lead to a disruption of the ECS and a decrease of the body’s natural endocannabinoids. CBD can actually augment this shortage and ultimately restore the balance. This is by promoting the release of more cannabinoids and inhibiting the overstimulation of the CB1 receptor. 

As of now, it’s not yet fully clear what the exact mechanism is that causes CBD effects on anxiety. Nonetheless, it seems that CBD’s anxiolytic effects come from its associations with the CB1 receptors, as well as the 5-HT1ARs found in the brain. 

Specifically, CBD interacts with the 5-HT1As or the serotonin receptors. This a compound that controls mood and feelings of happiness. In general, these 5-HT1A receptors have a significant role in anxiety disorders. Anxiety drugs such as buspirone adhere to this receptor to alleviate the effects of anxiety behaviors. That explains why CBD might have a positive impact on anxiety patients. 

What’s more, further studies have also shown that CBD might have a positive impact on anxiety since they interact with the brain’s GABA receptors. Once they slow down the brain’s activities, the soothing effect could lower anxiety in stressful situations.

Endocannabinoids’ Role

Endocannabinoids are compounds that the body produces on its own. They work with the ECS to maintain homeostasis. Phytocannabinoids come from outside the body (specifically from plants). They work with the ECS just like the ones we already make ourselves. 

Researchers have been looking into two endocannabinoids – 2-AG and anandamide (AEA) to a great extent. 

Why Is Anandamide Important?

It can sound simple to say “CBD will make you less stressed.” However, several studies have shown that the accumulation of endocannabinoids in your body is what makes the real difference. Chronic stress can happen because of an “endocannabinoid deficiency”. This happens when something causes your body to produce fewer chemicals like anandamide.

This ultimately leads to an unbalanced body, which might lead to other complications such as illness, fatigue, and skin conditions. If your body has a low anandamide supply, it may equate to increased cortisol. This can cause an unnecessary fight or flight response which results in anxiety.

In general, this is an essential part of a balanced body’s survival instinct. Nonetheless, there can be enhanced endocannabinoid levels during times of acute stress. This increased stress might eventually lead to physical and mental complications, e.g. adrenal burnout. Ultimately, this leads to a further reduction of endocannabinoids. And this cycle keeps going.

Breakdown of CBD Effects on Anxiety

When you ingest CBD, several things occur. One of the vital measures when it comes to stress management is the inhibition of the enzyme FAAH. It’s responsible for breaking down anandamide. As a result, significant anandamide levels can flow freely all over the system. In turn, it may impact the HPA axis – this is the central stress response system. 

Recent studies suggest that the accumulation of CBD allows substantially higher anandamide levels. In turn, this can prevent unnecessary levels of cortisol. Simply put, anandamide can act as your stress gatekeeper.

Conclusion: Does CBD Help with Anxiety?

Research shows that CBD inhibits the efficiency of enzymes like MAGL and FAAH. With these enzymes limited, levels of 2-AG and anandamide increase in your body. The result is simply that users feel more relaxed. This study showed that people felt less anxiety from public speaking when they took CBD. This study showed that people with anxiety disorders found relief by taking CBD. If you are interested in benefiting from CBD effects on anxiety, be thorough in your research. Find quality products that label everything clearly and allow third party testing. And always ask your doctor if they think it is a good idea. 

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