What is Anxiety?
The world today has become a scary place with the fears of COVID-19, bills, and everything life can throw at us. Our team knows that these things have probably given you anxiety at some point or will give you some type of anxiety. But what really is anxiety and why do we even experience it?
Anxiety is a result of our ancestors having to worry about surviving every day from the fears of nature. Our brains would go into our fight or flight mode to protect us and allow us to get through another day. This resulted in our body releasing a large amount of the fight or flight hormone, norepinephrine. This hormone then causes our body to experience anxiety, and results in more of the hormone being released which is why you can experience your anxiety getting worse when it occurs. The only problem with this is that we no longer must survive in the wilderness, but our brains still experience this process because it allowed our ancestors to survive for so long.
Now we have these other worries in our lives, meaning we are almost constantly in our fight or flight mode. And the more anxiety we experience, the more norepinephrine we release. This is also why we become very exhausted after we are anxious because we run out of norepinephrine resulting in exhaustion. So, the question now is, how do we turn this brain function off?
How does CBD work for Anxiety?
The answer may be CBD. CBD has a broad spectrum of uses because of its ability to hit many receptors that are spread across our bodies and brains. One of these receptors is in what we call the endocannabinoid system which has numerous functions including pain, sleep, and anxiety. CBD hits a specific body receptor in this system called CB1. This receptor is heavily present on certain proteins in certain nerves in our nervous system. These nerve cells regulate the amount of calcium (Ca2+) that enters our nerves and causes a relaxing effect. CBD attaches to these nerves and then causes more Ca2+ to enter our nerves causing a relaxed effect and reduced anxiety.
But what about our brain? Well CBD also works on serotonin receptors called 5HT1A. These receptors are in our brain and our stomach. This is also why you can feel nauseous when you are anxious in some instances because these receptors are not being used. 5HT1A is an established anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) target in some drugs like buspirone. Studies suggest that CBD works directly on 5HT1A which allows more serotonin to enter in our brain and stomach blocking norepinephrine?s anxiety effect.
But is there any proof that it works for Anxiety and at what doses?
We are sure by now you?re curious whether CBD works for anxiety and what kind of doses you must use. Well the answer is that numerous studies have been done on patients showing the positive effects of CBD. Trials have compared patients taking CBD compared to a placebo and found much improved brain function and decreased anxiety in its patients. This same study looked at MRIs of patient?s brains who took CBD and those taking the placebos. They saw that the area that regulates fear was activated far less in those taking CBD.
Another study looked at the dosing needed for patients who have anxiety. This study looked at patients who had anxiety or sleep disturbances (we will talk about sleep as another topic). The patients who participated had various levels of CBD given. 72 patients were enrolled with 47 having anxiety, and the other 25 having poor sleep. After one month of using CBD, 79.2% of all 72 patients had a reduction in the anxiety scores. Their scores continued to drop for the next 2 months and leveled off around the end of month 3. This study found that lower daily doses of CBD worked better for anxiety. Giving to high of a dose wouldn?t have any effect on the patient?s anxiety. What they found is that the optimal dose for anxiety was 25mg/day. This is great news for anyone wanting anxiety relief because that means your bottle of CBD oil will last a long time. Talk to our team for more information and whether or not CBD would be appropriate for your anxiety.
Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
Davies C, Wilson R, Appiah-Kusi E, et al. A single dose of cannabidiol modulates medial temporal and striatal function during fear processing in people at clinical high risk for psychosis. Translational Psychiatry. 2020;10(1). doi:10.1038/s41398-020-0862-2
Shannon S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal. 2019;23(18). doi:10.7812/tpp/18-041