Anxiety is an extremely common mental health disorder which affects up to 10 million adults in the UK and an increasing number of teenagers. Recent statistics show that 1 in 3 teens suffer from anxiety symptoms before they turn 18.
While the figures are somewhat unsettling, our awareness and understanding of stress, anxiety and related mental health disorders is expanding and gaining greater depth. There is no quick fix for mental health disorders, but extensive scientific research continues to provide an insight into potential treatments for anxiety and related mental health conditions.
Often, the most effective solution for lessening the effects of anxiety are a combination of therapy and medicine. Lately, an increasing number of anxiety-sufferers have turned to CBD oil in an attempt to significantly lessen their stress levels and anxious emotions.
What is Anxiety?
Stress and anxiety are felt by most of us at some point in our lives. While stress is often a reaction to an external factor and is relatively short-lived (such as during an argument or prior to a job interview or important work deadline, for instance), anxiety can persist – even chronically - for some. Anxiety is an uneasy emotion which feels like a sense of dread, even when there is no real danger of threat looming. Anxiety can be a helpful emotion – for example, it can provide plenty of nervous energy to perform well in a tense situation such as an exam – but when it persists, or is too strong, it can negatively impact an individual’s daily life. Physiological and behavioural symptoms of anxiety can include high blood pressure, sweating, nausea, difficulty breathing, intrusive thoughts, fearing the worst, tension and worry.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a natural chemical that can be extracted from the cannabis plant. Cannabis is well known as a class B drug that is illegal in the UK, which is due to the chemical compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that cannabis contains. Pure CBD, however, doesn’t have the psychoactive effects as THC, and therefore is perfectly legal in the UK.
The potential health benefits of CBD have started to emerge in recent times as scientific studies have intensified. Research continues to develop, however, the discoveries so far are undoubtedly promising. Moreover, regular users report that CBD is invaluable as natural relief and assistance to their health and wellbeing.
Consequently, an explosive development of CBD products has landed in the UK CBD market. Buyers can now choose from CBD oils, balms, capsules, sprays, gummies, bath bombs and oral drops. Furthermore, they are easy to get hold of; CBD is an over-the-counter product that can be picked up from many high street stores and pharmacies such as Boots. The most popular CBD product is CBD oil.
Can CBD Oil Reduce Anxiety?
It is likely that CBD oil can reduce anxiety. This is based on some of the evidence to date. The journal Neuropsychopharmacology, for example, found that cannabidiol reduced anxiety and nervousness in students with social anxiety who were tasked with public speaking. Furthermore, CBD has reduced stress in small mammals such as rats, according to trials by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); specifically, lowered physiological and behavioural symptoms. However, further research is required, particularly human studies.
Alternative studies indicate that CBD may positively influence symptoms of PTSD and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) also. Since CBD oil can also improve sleep, cannabidiol may alleviate insomnia linked to anxiety and stress.
How Does CBD Work?
When cannabidiol is introduced to the body, it swiftly begins to interact closely with a complex biological system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD oil is broken down by enzymes before it binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS. These receptors are found throughout the body in the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system, and influence the uptake of the “happy hormone” serotonin. Often, individuals with anxiety or depression have low levels of serotonin. The interaction of CBD with receptors in the ECS can increase serotonin levels and ultimately, boost our mood.
Are There Any Risks?
CBD, even in high doses, is generally very well managed by the human body and carries very little risk. However, some people may experience side effects, although this is rare. These may include diarrhoea, fatigue or appetite and weight-changes. CBD oil is also non-addictive.
Cannabidiol may interact with medications or supplements that you are already taking, especially blood thinning medication. Talk to your GP before taking CBD oil if you have any concerns.
Additional Benefits of CBD
CBD oil offers a range of health and wellness benefits in addition to anxiety relief. Many people take CBD for chronic pain relief and joint inflammation. Furthermore, CBD can work wonders on the skin. It is possible to apply CBD topically in the form of a CBD cream or balm, which can alleviate symptoms of eczema, psoriasis and various skin conditions by soothing itchy, dry, irritated skin.
CBD can help people to relax by promoting better sleep, reducing aches and improving mood. In turn, this can help to energise an individual. Users have reported CBD as an effective natural product to both relax and rejuvenate the body and the mind.