It seems like everyone is talking about CBD these days. But what is it, and how does it work? CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, which is responsible for the marijuana high, CBD doesn’t get you high. Instead, it’s been shown to have impressive therapeutic benefits for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety. Here we take a closer look at how CBD helps with anxiety, and some of the best ways to use it.
What is CBD?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what CBD actually is. CBD is one of the many 100 cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant, and it is the second most active. A big misconception about CBD is that its non-psychoactive, which isn’t true; it’s not intoxicating, but it’s certainly psychoactive, just not in the same way that THC is.
A popular form of CBD is CBD oil, which is essentially CBD extract that has been diluted with something like coconut or olive oil, which acts as a carrier. In addition to providing a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety, CBD is also effective at reducing pain, improving sleep, providing neuroprotection, and more.
How Does it Work?
At this point, a lot of research is being conducted to uncover exactly how and if CBD is effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety, although current research is leaning more towards it being quite effective. To understand how it is able to do this, we need to move forward with the understanding that CBD is psychoactive and see how it interacts with the brain.
When a person consumes CBD, it binds with receptors in the brain, namely the CB1 receptors, and it does so rather loosely. This then causes a slight blocking or gentle stimulation of the receptors, which essentially means that it changes how well the brain can increase or decrease the ability of receptors to transmit signals.
When this happens, the body then creates more CB receptors, resulting in the increase of a natural transmitter named anandamide. Anandamide is responsible for the generation of pleasure and motivation, and with more of these transmitters and more CB receptors, the result is an improved mood without the intoxicating effects that THC provides, since the body is simply more responsive to the already existing endocannabinoids in the body.
How to Consume It
In terms of consuming CBD, there are multiple ways to do this, and it depends on personal preference. When it comes to whether there is a difference in effectiveness of the various methods, the biggest difference is how long the effects are experienced for.
Some of the more popular consumption methods include smoking hemp flower using bongs or joints, using a dry herb vaporizer such as these from Smoke Cartel’s range, or a regular vaporizer for CBD vape juice, edibles, tinctures, dab rigs, and more. For a moderate duration of effects, between 1-2 hours, vaporizers would be the best, and for the longest duration of effects, between 6-8 hours, edibles would be the best.
How Well Does It Work for Generalized Anxiety?
Now that an understanding has been formed as to how CBD is able to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, we can take a look at what exactly the research has to say when it comes to generalized anxiety. As of right now, very few tests have been conducted on humans, but those on rats show promising results.
Physiological symptoms of anxiety, or the physical reactions of the body, were improved, like increased heart rate which is typical when someone is feeling anxious. In terms of behavioural symptoms, those decreased too.
How Well Does It Work for Other Forms of Anxiety?
When it comes to other forms of anxiety, such as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic disorder), and social anxiety disorder, research indicates that CBD could be effective at treating those too, or at least effective at reducing the symptoms experienced.
One test that was conducted involved participants consuming CBD before speaking in public. Those who consumed CBD showed reduced symptoms of social anxiety compared to those who consumed a placebo. Another test involved participants who suffered from PTSD that consumed CBD for a certain period of time. Those who consumed CBD experienced less replaying of negative memories, and less nightmares.