There is widespread interest in the effects of CBD on anxiety. Many studies, although inconclusive, show that CBDs have anxiolytic properties- the ability to inhibit stress and anxiety- without inducing any psychoactive effects. Thus, many doctors as well as medical organizations, are endorsing CBD as a low-risk treatment for problems such as anxiety. Doctors are exploring the possibility of using CBD for more serious mood disorders such as depression.
An article published by a group of Brazilian researchers in the Journal of Psychopharmacology investigating the relationship between CBD and a condition known as Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) indicates that CBD could offer people suffering from SAD a way to manage their symptoms.
SAD, a condition that we also know as social phobia, affects about 12% of Americans at least once in their lifetime. Intense fear, which often causes distress to the point of impairing daily functioning, characterizes this condition. Interestingly, those who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder experience anxiety that is triggered by a perceived or actual scrutiny from other people.
To discover the nexus between CBD and anxiety, the Brazilian researchers recruited 10 volunteers who had earlier been diagnosed with SAD. Through a series of complex processes, they measured the amount of blood flow in different parts of the brain while noting the effects of CBD.
In the first session of the experiment, they orally administered a 400g dose of CBD to half of the subjects while the other half received placebos. To ensure all the 10 participants in the experiment were treated with placebo, their places were reversed in the 2nd session.
The study found out that CBD significantly decreases subjective anxiety due to its effect on the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain. At higher concentrations, the CBD activates the hydroxytryptamine serotonin receptor, thus, conferring anti-depressant effects. The hydroxytryptamine serotonin receptor handles many neurological and biological processes that include addiction, anxiety, pain perception, sleep, appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
Another study found out that much of CBD’s prodigious powers in relieving anxiety is attributable to its effects on the endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoid receptors are more concentrated in some parts of the brain responsible for anxiety- the parts include the hypothalamus and the amygdala. These studies reveal that patients experience more anxiety if these receptors are blocked by drugs. Similarly, regular cannabis users claim that marijuana aids them to reduce their level of anxiety.
This body of research shows that it is the endocannabinoid system that is responsible for the erasure of bad memories. That is why it is instrumental during the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. The area, the endocannabinoid system, is also implicated in the proliferation of new brain cells, a process known as neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is thought to ameliorate anxiety levels.
It is good to note that the effects of CBDs are antipodal to the effects of THC, another ingredient of cannabis. While THC is psychoactive, CBD is non-psychoactive. THC is responsible for making marijuana users high. Simply, THC and CBD work along diametrically opposite spectrums and CBD for anxiety is being proven as more studies show its efficacy.
Lastly, the use of marijuana to treat anxiety was first noted as far back as 1563 by an ancient Indian medical writer known as Da Orta. He said: (cannabis can help its users to be ) delivered from all care and worry.