You see it in capsules, vape juices, gummies, and even hand creams, and you are wondering what CBD is all about. Many people easily associate this with marijuana. But that’s exactly not the case.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a compound found in marijuana and hemp plants, which are both a part of the cannabis plant. Of the more 100 cannabinoids, CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most well-known ones. THC is for the potheads as it gives people psychoactive effects.
While THC and CBD are cousins, CBD is non-psychoactive and is derived from either hemp or marijuana plant. CBD oil is the concentrated version of the cannabidiol compound and is available on the market in different concentration levels.
So if CBD is not your munchies, what is the fuss all about?
In recent years, several studies have found that CBD has a wide range of medical benefits that can help alleviate even chronic conditions. What is interesting is its healing properties go beyond physical ailments as CBD is also known to treat mental health disorders like anxiety.
In the United States, anxiety disorders are the leading mental health concern, with approximately 30% of adults and 25% of teenagers affected. What’s bothering is that this number continues to rise, which means it should not be taken for granted.
How can CBD help your anxiety?
CBD is capable of activating several brain actions. For instance, one study suggests that there is a connection between inflammation and anxiety. In fact, a whole field of research has been dedicated to studying its association.
The study called the cytokine model of cognitive function noted that inflammation disrupts your brain processes and causes anxiety disorders. Based on one of its findings, there is a direct relationship between the protein NF kappa B (NFkB) level and anxiety. People with high NFkB level tend to have higher rates of anxiety, and vice versa.
Now, CBD has both anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. It helps alleviate inflammation, thereby reducing anxiety by directly affecting the brain. CBD is known to work in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Both areas play a role in anxiety.
CBD is also said to initiate hippocampus neurogenesis (regenerating new neurons). The hippocampus plays a very critical role in memory formation and cognition. Brain scans revealed that people suffering from anxiety and depression have a small hippocampus.
A study on mice found that repeatedly administrating CBD can help the hippocampus regenerate neurons. It noted that both SSRIs and CBD can promote neurogenesis. Future studies are recommended to determine and compare the roles of these two in treating anxiety.
There are only a few human clinical trials tackling CBD and anxiety. But most have found a positive correlation. For instance, researchers found that people with a social anxiety disorder who were asked to take CBD and to perform on a simulate public speaking test reported feeling less anxious. The results were supported with objective indicators such as blood pressure and heart rate.
Another study on people with generalized social anxiety also found a significant decrease in the anxiety level of those who were taking CBD. The findings were validated via subjective and objective data. Brain scans showed consistency between cerebral blood flow and anti-anxiety effect.
It appears that many people are resorting to CBD’s efficacy as an anti-anxiety treatment. Although in-depth and larger clinical trials are needed to establish CBD’s reputation, current studies demonstrate that CBD has an effective and highly favorable safety profile. Nevertheless, consult your physicians before taking CBD. CBD tends to interact with other drugs, supplements, and herbal products.