An Introduction to CBD and Some of it's many Health Benefits
The Benefits of CBD/Hemp
You’ve probably heard about CBD in recent years. It has become increasingly popular in recent years, as all 50 states legalized hemp-based CBD for public consumption in 2018. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have discovered the beneficial properties of CBD for a variety of medical issues.
One particular ailment that is all too common in America is clinical anxiety. Millions of people are diagnosed with anxiety, but there are likely millions more who suffer and are unable to obtain expensive prescriptions. Fortunately, studies show that CBD can help significantly with chronic and acute anxiety.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is a natural chemical that is found in both hemp and marijuana. Most commercially available CBD is derived from the hemp plant. Although you may associate with THC, one of the active chemicals in marijuana, it is not psychoactive in any way. In other words, it will not get you “high” like THC.
The name cannabidiol is based on the cannabinoid receptors in your body. Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which bind with these receptors. This endocannabinoid system appears to have influence over your mood, sleep, and appetite, and some evidence suggests it can affect your nervous system as well.
When you take CBD oil or another CBD compound, it can activate these receptors, as well as non-cannabinoid receptors, leading to a variety of potential health benefits.
Figure 1: The hemp plant is commonly used to derive CBD oil
CBD / Hemp and Anxiety
Those who suffer from anxiety and panic often have issues with balance in their endocannabinoid system, as well as lower serotonin levels. These chemical imbalances can cause distress in a variety of ways, as the receptors help to regulate fear and behaviors that come on as a result of anxiety.
CBD can react with some of these receptors, including the cannabinoid type 1 receptor and a specific serotonin receptor (5-HT1a). Researchers think that the reaction provides a boost in serotonin, helping to reduce nervous feelings and episodes of panic.
Group studies among those who suffer from anxiety panic have had positive results as well. In one study of almost 400 adults in New Zealand, a 3-week CBD treatment program resulted in 70% of participants reporting positive results.
Other studies not directly related to anxiety have also shown that CBD can help increase cognitive function and improve sleep. Cognitive decline and lack of sleep are both heavily linked to anxiety and depression, so treating them can have an indirect positive effect on someone’s anxiety levels.
CBD can also reduce cravings for unhealthy items such as drugs and junk food, which is one way to contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle. Physical health has immense influence on mental health, so CBD may be a viable option for those looking for a holistic approach to anxiety management.
Research about CBD and anxiety has shown promising results over a wide range of studies. However, it should be noted that CBD can likely be used to relieve symptoms of anxiety, but that it won’t necessarily address the root cause. At this point, it is probably best used in conjunction with other treatment programs.