Not so long ago, cannabidiol (CBD) oil was something most of us had never even heard of before. However, in the past few years, it’s exploded in popularity, rising to become one of the most favored treatments of anxiety.
Of course, there are different levels of anxiety, and different causes of it. CBD oil has been shown to provide those with any level of anxiety a better quality of life, in a natural way with less worries of side effects. Anxiety isn’t the only condition it’s been proven to aid, either.
Slowing the growth of cancer cells, reducing pain, and an array of mental health benefits are only some of the pluses to be gained by CBD oil’s use.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is essentially removed from the cannabis plant, creating a very concentrated product. You’ll find the oil comes in three forms:
Pure (Unadulterated): This oil contains very high concentrates of CBD.
CBD Oil with TCH: This form is not legal in all US states, and can actually give you a kind of high, which may not be ideal for some consumers. However, THC can aid in fighting certain restorative conditions. When used together, they can boost the benefits, but the perfect dosing of each is essential for this to happen.
CBD Hemp Oil: This type is made with hemp, as you probably guessed from the name. It features high amounts of CBD, and low measures of THC. It’s taken from 100% legal hemp plants, which have less than 0.3% THC.
As it is a compound found in the marijuana plant, there are plenty out there nervous about the use of the oil. Another marijuana-found compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), produces a kind of “high”, or intoxication, when consumed.
However, CBD does not. Despite this, it is not legal in every state of the US, so make sure your state allows for legal use of it before you continue reading.
The History of Treating Anxiety and Pain with CBD Oil
Anxiety affects a huge amount of our population, and there are so many types. Social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and many more common types of anxiety affect us. You may be experiencing insomnia, “irrational” fear, tension, tunnel vision, and more because of this.
You may have been prescribed Benzodiazepines, Valium, Xanax, or other potentially-addictive medications. If they work for you, that’s great! However, for many, the side effects are not worth it.
They can even be worse than the anxiety, itself! Insomnia, dizziness, weakness while driving, and hypersensitive responses are only a few examples.
This is where CBD comes in.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, CBD actually aids patients with the side effects of anxiety, without high risk of making them worse. The oil is believed to work in conjunction with a brain receptor, called “CB1”. These are essentially small proteins attached to your cells, receiving chemical signals from various stimuli, aiding in cellular response.
We know that it changes our serotonin signals. Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter which is often known as the “happy chemical”, playing a huge role in regulating our moods. Those with low levels of serotonin often have depression, with low levels often causing anxiety, too.
Aside from are levels of happiness, it helps regulate pain, sleep, memory, appetite, as well as other cognitive and physical processes.
There are a few studies (which we’ll talk more about later) that have shown CBD oil to be a plausible remedy for anxiety, headaches, and other pains. In fact, one has linked topical application of the oil to a drop in arthritis-related pain and inflammation.
There’s even evidence it can reduce psychotic symptoms in those with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders.
Typically, you’ll find CBD to be sold as an oil with a dropper, or a balm. However, sometimes you’ll find it in the form of caps, under-the-tongue tabs, lotions, serums, and more. As you can see, you have quite a few options to choose from!
There is some speculation, though, if all methods are as effective as others. Some methods seem to provide a more immediate effect, while others may have a more cumulative effect.
One of the quickest ways to feel the effects, are through vaping. The rate of effectiveness is particularly important when it has to do with acute anxiety or pain. It is important to note, though, that there are some other concerns with vaping in itself.
Chemicals in vaping liquid and heating coils inside the vape pens may produce negative consequences. The research still needs to be done.
Quite possibly the most effective and “healthy” method, is by use of sublingual oils – dropping the oil under the tongue. You can even choose to place the drops in your drink of choice. This way, it’s absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, and the routine doesn’t consume much time or effort.
The only real downside here, is that the oils can taste a bit like marijuana. There are some oils out there that are infused with other ingredients, such as peppermint, which can improve the taste if that’s of concern to you.
If none of those sound appealing to you, we have one that probably will: through candy. That’s right, CBD gummies are available in a wide variety of flavors and you’re not going to need reminding to take them. The upside to this method, is the obvious taste, texture, convenience, and consistent dosing.
You can take a few with you without worrying about spilling, like you may with oils. Eating a few gummies are also much less likely to draw attention, as opposed to pulling out a spray or dropper.
Keep in mind that with any form, CBD concentrations in products are only approximate. There are plenty of companies who are strict with the quality of their products, and you can trust will be right on the money. However, it’s always a good idea to start out slow with a new manufacturer or product.
Prescriptions and Cost
As previously mentioned, CBD oil isn’t legal everywhere in the US. There are some that allow only for specific medical purposes, while some do not.
You may require a prescription from your physician in order to obtain CBD. However, if it’s not available for medical use where you live, there’s the possibility of obtaining it from special clinics or online.
“Regular” prescriptions can cost quite a chunk of change. While oftentimes CBD may be less expensive, there is a vast disparity in price with the products. Some products offer CBD at 5 cents/milligram, while others go all the way up to a whopping 20 cents/mg.
It doesn’t stop there, either! Some are charging up to 60 cents per milligram! There is no real upside to spending this kind of money on CBD oil. In fact, it seems that the best-performing products ring in at 5 cents/mg on average.
This is certainly going to be less expensive than most prescription medications for anxiety, such as Benzos. It is of course, important to research the CBD you’re getting. There are some oils processed in countries that have rather negligent laws regarding pesticide use, which can cause more problems than aid in treating them.
Research and Efficacy
As with anything, we want to know what the real efficacy is of whatever we’re putting into our bodies. If you’re dealing with something as potentially-debilitating as anxiety or pain, you want something that’s actually been scientifically proven to work.
There have been several animal studies and human studies done to prove the benefits of taking CBD. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that CBD has been proven to reduce stress in animal studies, while others have shown benefits in social anxiety disorder, PTSD, and even anxiety-induced insomnia.
Despite the lack of large-scale clinical trials, a small study which was published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2011, came to the conclusion that CBD can even help reduce social anxiety. Some even deduce that CBD can potentially have a positive affect on cell health, fertility, as well as the metabolism of drugs in the liver.
While this is definitely good news, there is undoubtedly a long way to go in proving that without-a-doubt, CBD oil can treat these conditions. This isn’t necessarily because of the lack of results, but rather the lack of studies being performed and data on long-term use.
In the studies that have been conducted, CBD has shown to be an excellent treatment for the conditions addressed previously in this article.
As with anything you take, safety is important. No two people are the same, and our bodies can react to products quite differently. Research on the use of cannabis suggests that when smoked, cannabis may cause negative health effects.
However, CBD is generally considered safe. What’s more, is that those who may not be able to handle side effects from other anxiety medication. There are possible side effects as with anything, but they aren’t all that common with CBD oil. You may experience:
- Changes in mood
- Changes in appetite
- Low blood pressure
It isn’t recommended to cease taking any medications you’re already using without speaking to your physician first. As dosages aren’t very clear, unless your doctor prescribes one, make sure to keep a close eye on how much and how frequently you’re using it.
We also recommend only taking genuine CBD oil. There have been reports of acute poisoning from synthetic cannabinoids, and there’s no confirming the safety of products like these anyway.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, pain, restlessness, or other symptoms, you don’t have to just deal with it. You don’t have to worry about expensive or addictive pharmaceuticals, either. Speak with your physician to see if you are curious about taking CBD to treat your anxiety.
Give yourself the chance at a higher quality of life, in a natural way that won’t break the bank. If CBD oil is legal in your area, then there’s really no reason to not give it a chance! There’s plenty of reason why it’s easily become one of the hottest topics in treating anxiety in the past couple of years.
Health & Wellness 365 has recently published a comprehensive review article on the top-rated CBD oils products on the market for treating anxiety.