How Effective is CBD For Anxiety?
By: John Levy
Millions of people across the United States suffer varying degrees of anxiety. In the worst cases, it can be so debilitating that it greatly reduces quality of life. Although nobody enjoys feeling anxious, it is a crucial, adaptive response to help people handle threats to their welfare and safety, whether real or perceived. It helps us recognize and avoid danger, and it motivates us to better our circumstances.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 million adults live with anxiety in the United States, which translated to 18 percent of the entire population. In response to this epidemic, Big Pharma provides a variety of prescription drugs specifically developed for treating anxiety-related disorders. These pills range from heavy tranquilizers, such as Xanax and Valium, to selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft and Prozac.
Although these drugs provide relief for many patients, a vast number do not respond favorably to them. Some see little improvement, or they find the side effects intolerable. Additionally, benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium have a long history of being highly addictive. This begs the question: where is the alternative, non-addictive treatment for anxiety?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is currently the most researched non-psychoactive compound found in nature. CBD provides anxiety-sufferers with a viable alternative to taking prescription drugs. Over the last few years, scientists, clinicians, and consumers have shown enormous interest in CBD. There are several very good explanations for this growing interest.
According to researchers at the Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands, CBD counteracts many of the adverse side effects of THC. Various studies indicate that CBD has real value as a treatment for anxiety-related disorders. When taken as needed, it is safe, easily tolerated, and beneficial for an array of mental health issues, including but not limited to: Social phobia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression & generalized anxiety disorder
CBD and Anxiety
CBD causes several reactions in the brain, which is what makes the cannabinoid an effective treatment for anxiety.. Before we explain how CBD works for anxiety, it is important to realize that most of the research into it is preclinical, which means that it is not tested on humans. While animals and humans have similar physiology, the results of animal studies do not always transfer neatly to human subjects. However, it still provides valuable insight:
5-HT1A is a serotonin receptor subtype. When medications for depression and anxiety affect the serotonin system specifically, they are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Zoloft and Prozac are two examples of SSRIs, and they work by preventing the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, making it available for use in synaptic spaces instead. As with SSRIs, CBD boosts transmission between serotonin receptors. In fact, research exists to show that CBD enhances 5-HT1A communication faster than SSRIs do.
With more serotonin between synapses, the brain is able to send more serotonin messages which can improve mood and lower anxiety in many cases.
The hippocampus plays a crucial role in various functions of the brain, including cognitive and memory function. In a study conducted on mice, researchers found that repeated doses of CBD helps the brain regenerate its own tissues in the hippocampus significantly. In scanning the brains of people with anxiety and depression, researchers can see the noticeably smaller hippocampi than in subjects that do not suffer from these disorders. It is important to note that while not everyone suffers from anxiety and depression on a clinical level, it is normal for people to experience these symptoms in daily life.
Studies show how both CBD and SSRIs can stimulate the growth of new neurons in the brain. This is a significant finding, as evidence indicates that impaired neuronal function may be at the root of suicidal behavior.
Scientists are now discovering the secrets of CBD, and growing evidence allows them to characterize exactly how CBD affects the brain. In human studies, participants with and without anxiety problems are verifying the efficacy of CBD as an anti-anxiety treatment. Because anxiety has financial and social implications for suffers, CBD can potentially play a critical role in helping patients live normal lives.
John Levy is a professional health and wellness blogger covering news and other topics related to health benefits of cannabis and related products. Currently, working for Pot Valet, a leading company to provide online marijuana in Beverly Hills, John loves to share research oriented work with others. Follow Pot Valet on Google Plus and Facebook.