How CBD Helps Relieve Your Anxiety
We live in a stressful world. While our ancestors may have struggled for simple survival, in today’s world we struggle for all sorts of different things: positions at work, social status, and simply keeping up with our own busy schedules. And yet, our bodies still use the exact same mechanisms of stress and survival as they did thousands of years ago. Evolution didn’t seem to get the message: it’s not grizzly bears we’re worried about, it’s our home mortgages.
With so many people experiencing stress and anxiety today (nearly 1 in every 13 people worldwide!) it’s no wonder we’re looking for relief.1 CBD happens to be one such possible treatment. But can CBD really help manage your stress? Can it actually treat your anxiety? We’ll cover that in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the science of stress.
The Science of Stress
Our bodies are meant to feel stress. Stress is, in many ways, a survival mechanism. While we may not need it to avoid lions and tigers these days, it is still useful in helping us recognize when we need something to change. It just so happens that when you’re not using stress to outrun a large predator, it may come across more like an illness than as an evolutionary advantage.
Stress and the fight-or-flight response associated with it tends to trigger when you – consciously or not – become aware of a dangerous situation. That danger may be physical – like a lion ready to pounce, or the school bully nearing you. It may also be more metaphysical, like the impending doom of a final exam, or the terrible weight of a CBD article on anxiety you’ve been procrastinating. Whenever our brains pick up that we are in such a “dangerous’ situation, the stress signaling begins.
There are several major chemicals associated with stress, such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. In general, these chemicals will trigger changes in your body meant to help you run or fight – you know, “fight-or-flight” – in exchange for reducing your ability to do other things.2 Adrenaline and norepinephrine will increase blood flow to major muscles, while lowering the amount of blood the fingers get, or even your brain gets. This can lead to paleness and even some slight fatigue.2 3 4 Cortisol will postpone digestion, lower immune responses, and even reduce sex drive in order to focus on the more immediate task at hand: surviving.4 5 The problem arises when we fail to recognize these things as part of a stress response, or when they persist over long periods of time.
The stress response – surprise, surprise – cannot kill you. It was evolved for the very opposite purpose, so it wouldn’t make much sense if it could get too out of control. Chemicals like adrenaline – and the similar noradrenaline – act both to start the stress response, and to eventually end it. You can’t get “too stressed” without the body automatically putting on the breaks.2 With that said, there are possible issues with stress hormones remaining at high levels. And let’s not just gloss over the issue of panic attacks.
Panic attacks may begin for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve just remembered some big school project you need to work on. Maybe you’ve realized your in-laws are coming over. Maybe you just remembered that you have fifty-million things to do today and you haven’t even gotten started! Whatever it may be, the problem arises when you react to the initial stress. Remember, your body will automatically begin pumping out the stress chemicals when the brain picks up on some kind of stress-related situation. If you aren’t fully aware of your situation, the sudden symptoms – like dizziness and fatigue, sweating, and even paleness – may come across to you as some horrible illness. And that’s when the stress response really kicks into high gear.
All-in-all, panic attacks tend to be the result of misinterpreting your signs of stress, and reacting to them with even more stress. That isn’t to say that a panic attack can be easily avoided: usually, are reactions are very automatic, and it can be a real challenge to stop that.
So, with all of that said, can CBD help? Let’s find out.
CBD and Anxiety:
CBD is touted for many things, although some of what its salesmen boast is… a little bit less than honest. No doubt you’ve heard rumblings that CBD can help anxiety. So, can it? Yes, it can! Not only is there plenty of anecdotal evidence for this, but plenty of scientific papers have documented CBD’s anxiolytic (meaning anti-anxiety) effect quite well. 6 7 8 So the question remains: how does CBD help anxiety?
CBD is still being studied – there is a lot we don’t know yet. However, there is a good amount of information we do have, specifically in its interactions with the endocannabinoid system. The >endocannabinoid system (or ECS) is a system of the body, akin to the nervous system or endocrine system. It involves two specific cell receptors – called CB1 and CB2 – as well as the cells and enzymes that interact with cannabinoids in general. What is a cannabinoid? The definition is loose, but it is effectively anything that interacts with CB1 or CB2 receptors.
CBD doesn’t like to interact with CB1 or CB2 much directly.9 However, it does boost the body’s natural amount of anandamide, a cannabinoid the human body makes for itself.10 Anandamide is ordinarily produced in spades when exercising, running, or performing yoga. 11 12 In fact, anandamide is now known to be a major contributor to the “runner’s high” that follows a serious bout of running or jogging.12
Anandamide ordinarily is degraded by enzymes in the body before it can reach the brain and interact with CB1 receptors there. However, CBD locks this enzyme (FAAH) down, and allows anandamide to naturally go up. Once in the brain, anandamide will proceed by suppressing the action of two neurotransmitters (brain messengers): GABA and glutamate.13
GABA in an inhibitory molecule, one that naturally lowers stress and relaxes you. Glutamate, on the other hand, is excitatory and can help keep you feeling antsy and full of energy. The balance of both is implicated in conditions of anxiety and depression.14 15 When CBD pushes the levels of both down, it causes the opposite effect for each. Less GABA means you feel more energized, while less glutamate means you feel more relaxed.13
One element of anxiety can stem from the imbalance of these two molecules, and thus the suppression of them can lead to a natural suppression of that anxiety. You may wonder if that means CBD could lead to worse anxiety, but it does not.8 In fact, CBD’s anxiolytic properties are perhaps its most well-known attributes.
So what about for a panic attack? And does CBD have anything to do with the chemicals mentioned before? Given that a panic attack is like a runaway stress response, CBD’s ability to lower stress can naturally help with panic. And CBD doesn’t just boost anandamide levels: it also has been shown to actively lower cortisol levels.16
The exact nature of how CBD pushes down cortisol amounts is not fully known. More research is ongoing, and as we learn more the picture will become more clear. With that said, what we do know is that CBD is excellent for anxiety. So, let’s move onto how you should be taking CBD.
How to Take CBD for Anxiety
The best kind of CBD product for depression, anxiety, stress, and generally any other mood disorders is going to be a CBD oil tincture. “Tincture” basically means “drops.” Keep an eye out for products that are water-soluble: those products have the highest absorption rates and tend to come at a much nicer cost. You won’t need a high dose with a water-soluble CBD tincture: just 250 mg should do it for most people, with just 1 to 2 ml per day, morning or night (or half dose during both). To test whether your product is water-soluble, just put some in water. If it mixes in, you’ve got a water-soluble product. If it sits on the top like a blob of oil, your product is not water-soluble and is probably not absorbing into your body very well at all.
People commonly ask about CBD gummies for anxiety, but there are some major issues with those. First, gummies can only be absorbed in the intestinal tract, meaning you’ll have to wait a while to get many benefits. The amount of CBD that can absorb through gummies is limited, and even when it does absorb, the liver will metabolize most of it. The end result is that a CBD gummy ends up being little more than a placebo: it doesn’t absorb well at all. Unfortunately, CBD oil tinctures tend to taste gnarly, and hence why people look to gummies. Don’t worry: Yes.Life has you covered.
Yes.Life CBD comes in two flavors – Mixed Berry and Cinnamon – and also have a thirty-day money-back guarantee. CBD doesn’t seem to work for everyone, so knowing you will get your hard-earned cashback, if it doesn’t help, is a must. CBD also tends to take two to four weeks to exert its full effect. While some people may start to feel better in just 20 minutes, everyone’s body is different, hence the need for a 30-day guarantee. Yes.Life CBD is water-soluble, can be bought THC-free (so government workers and soldiers can potentially use it), and is loaded with the whole entourage of the hemp plant, regardless of THC or not. Just make sure to speak with your doctor before using it: while CBD has an incredibly small side-effect profile, and tends to mix well with many prescription drugs, your doctor will know best if any medications you are on will be a problem. With that done, head on over to http://Yes.Life right now and try CBD today!
1 “Facts & Statistics.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics.
2 UNC Anxiety and Stress Lab. "Physiology of Anxiety." Clinical Connections on Panic/Agoraphobia at Durham JCC. http://jonabram.web.unc.edu/files/2013/04/physiology-of-anxiety.pdf
3 “Norepinephrine - ADHD, Depression & Low Blood Pressure: Everyday Health.” EverydayHealth.com, 11 Dec. 2015, www.everydayhealth.com/norepinephrine/guide/.
4 Klein, Sarah. “The 3 Major Stress Hormones, Explained.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 19 Apr. 2013, www.huffpost.com/entry/adrenaline-cortisol-stress-hormones_n_3112800.
5 “Cortisol: What It Does & How To Regulate Cortisol Levels.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol#1.
6 Iffland, Kerstin, and Franjo Grotenhermen. “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2, no. 1 (2017): 139–54. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034.
7 Schier, Alexandre, et al. “Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Cannabidiol: A Chemical Compound of Cannabis Sativa.” CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets 13, no. 6 (December 2014): 953–60. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871527313666140612114838.
8 Blessing, Esther M., et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics 12, no. 4 (April 2015): 825–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1.
9 Thomas, A, et al. “Cannabidiol Displays Unexpectedly High Potency as an Antagonist of CB1 and CB2 Receptor Agonists in Vitro.” British Journal of Pharmacology 150, no. 5 (2009): 613–23. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0707133.
10 Leweke, F M, et al. “Cannabidiol Enhances Anandamide Signaling and Alleviates Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia.” Translational Psychiatry 2, no. 3 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2012.15.
11 Mcpartland, John M., et al. “Care and Feeding of the Endocannabinoid System: A Systematic Review of Potential Clinical Interventions That Upregulate the Endocannabinoid System.” PLoS ONE 9, no. 3 (December 2014). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0089566.
12 Fuss, Johannes, et al. “A Runner’s High Depends on Cannabinoid Receptors in Mice.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 42 (2015): 13105–13108., doi:10.1073/pnas.1514996112.
13 Castillo, Pablo E., et al. “Endocannabinoid Signaling and Synaptic Function.” Neuron 76, no. 1 (2012): 70–81., doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.020.
14 Jun, Chansoo, et al. “Disturbance of the Glutamatergic System in Mood Disorders.” Experimental Neurobiology 23, no. 1 (2014): 28., doi:10.5607/en.2014.23.1.28.
15 Luscher, B, et al. “The GABAergic Deficit Hypothesis of Major Depressive Disorder.” Molecular Psychiatry 16, no. 4 (2010): 383–406., doi:10.1038/mp.2010.120.
16 Shannon, Scott. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente Journal (2019). doi:10.7812/tpp/18-041.