Anxiety is a part of everyday life, but anxiety disorders represent a serious and debilitating medical condition. The World Health Organization and MontelMS.org has estimated that over 264 million people are afflicted with this disorder.
While many people cope with low-level anxiety through relaxing activities that include yoga and meditation, new discoveries in medical research have given us additional, although unorthodox, options.
Marijuana may not be a traditionally accepted drug for medical therapy, but extracts from the resinous portions of its flower have yielded a substance called CBD that has shown promise in treating anxiety.
What is CBD
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical substance found in cannabis or marijuana. Discovered in 1940, CBD is one of many active compounds derived from the plant that can affect the body in a variety of ways. When CBD oil is extracted from hemp, a unique strain of cannabis, it doesn’t produce that feeling of intoxication or “high” often associated with regular marijuana.
In 2018, CBD was legalized in the United States when the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in treating epilepsy. Although its legality is still a gray area, the medical application for CBD has expanded considerably.
CBD was found to lower symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as anxiety-induced insomnia.
Another benefit is that CBD does not cause severe side-effects often associated with certain anti-anxiety drugs. More research is necessary, however, before CBD can see mainstream use.
Using CBD Oil for Anxiety
Consulting a doctor is highly recommended when using CBD oil to treat anxiety. The prescribed dosage would factor in body weight, unique biological chemistry, as well as the actual condition being treated. Initially, a small dose of CBD is prescribed, and then slowly increased until the desired effect is reached.
CBD oil is administered in four different formulations:
Vaping CBD allows the active ingredients to go directly into the bloodstream, providing the most immediate effect (usually felt within 10 minutes)
Oral CBD is dispensed through sprays, capsules, and tinctures, which are often mixed with coffee or smoothies; alternatively, sublingual oil can be dropped underneath the tongue, which takes effect faster than edible CBD products
Edible CBD is a popular formulation which comes in a chewable, candy-flavored gummy; this formulation is not fast-acting and may take up to two hours to take effect
Topical CBD is applied to the skin for pain and eczema but has limited use in treating anxiety
Most experts believe that the administration of CBD is safe even for drug tests unless the product had trace quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is different from CBD and is known for producing the “high” that is associated with marijuana.
While CBD oil is normally safe in prescribed dosages, there are a number of side effects that have been observed, including mood swings (including irritability), decreased appetite, diarrhea, drowsiness, fogginess, nausea, tiredness, fatigue, dry mouth, vomiting, and low blood pressure. In unusually high doses, abuse of CBD oil may have adverse effects on the liver.
The role of CBD in treating anxiety is gaining in popularity, but its legality is still under question in many parts of the world. Still, there is much evidence that CBD has helped many individuals in dealing with anxiety-related disorders.
For those who have received no relief from traditional anti-anxiety medications, the use of CBD oil presents a hopeful alternative.