How common is anxiety?
In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety disorder. Women in the UK are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
Research suggests that 13.2% of people have experienced a panic attack at some point in their lives.
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common of the disorders relating to anxiety, affecting around 1 in 10 people in the UK
Another common anxiety disorder, is obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD. It affects more than 1 in 50 people, which is over 2% of the population.
Can CBD help? Different patient experiences and research results from clinical trials show that CBD could help.
How does CBD work for anxiety and panic?
Medical cannabis is said to have an anxiolytic effect (i.e. reduces anxiety). This emerges from studies that have already been carried out.
Anxiety disorders are controlled by the amygdala, a core area of the brain. In situations of fear, messenger substances are released, which make the body tremble and sweat.
CBD can connect to receptors of the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) and inhibit the release of anxiety messengers. The ECS in particular is suspected to be able to regulate fear through special signals.
Researchers have also found that CBD can increase serotonin and glutamate signaling. This is be done by activating the 5-HT1A receptor. So it seems possible that CBD could act faster than the SSRI antidepressant.
An anti-anxiety property of the CBD was also demonstrated in a study by the University of Sao Paulo (Bergamaschi study). The studies looked at subjects who suffer from anxiety when public speaking. With CBD, they showed far less anxiety and discomfort in such situations.
Another study, which administered 400 mg of CBD and one placebo to the participants, concluded that CBD can reduce patient anxiety and appears to work in the limbic brain area.
A case report on a 10-year-old girl who was abused at the age of 5 showed cannabis oil resulting in a persistent decline in her anxiety.
The patient's sleep quality also increased. In contrast, pharmaceutical drugs only temporarily improved the condition and also called for serious side effects.
There is also evidence that CBD can access anxiety memories and reduce fear learned in paradigms. This could also be relevant for phobias or post-traumatic stress disorders. The anxieties are reduced to a certain extent.
The proven interaction of cannabidiol with the endocannabinoid system also reinforces the assumption that CBD could have a calming effect on the body.
Post traumatic stress disorder and CBD
Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder which is usually triggered by a distressing and traumatic event.
5 commons symptoms of PTSD
1. Flashbacks, memories and thoughts.
These are among the most common PTSD symptoms. PTSD sufferers often relive their traumatic experience, continually remember their experience and are often constantly thinking about it. This constant thinking can often include feelings of shame and/or guilt.
Research shows that 71% to 96% of PTSD suffers may have nightmares, this compares to about 5% of the general population who have nightmare complaints.
3. Physical reactions
These can include pain, sweating, feeling sick, trembling, headaches, nausea and chest pains.
This is the body's reaction to thinking about its distressing experience. The body reacts as if there was danger, even when there isn't any. This can lead people to have difficulty relaxing, experience nervousness, including being 'jumpy' and anxiety.
These reactions can often lead to other unwanted issues, such as anger and insomnia. PTSD is also linked to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, self-harming or destructive behaviour, such as substance misuse.
5. Difficulty with life and relationships
People who suffer with PTSD often describe a feeling of 'numbess', of being unable to find enjoyment in life and having feeling of hopelessness. It is common for people to detach theirselves from those around them and often struggle to maintaining healthy and positive relationships.
How can CBD help with PTSD?
CBD cannot claim to completely irradicate PTSD, but there is very promising evidence to suggest it can alleviate many of the symptoms that are typically assosciated with this condition. Although, as we know, research from human studies is still limited.
We already know that CBD can help with the following issues:
Studies in CBD and PTSD
In a 2019 study it was found that CBD had a positive effect on PTSD symptoms. In this study, 91% of patients experienced a decrease in PTSD symptoms. The study included 11 patients at an outpatient psychiatry clinic who were also receiving routine psychiatric care. The study took place over 8 weeks. It was also found that CBD appears to offer relief for patients who suffered with nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD. It is also worth mentioning that no patients stopped taking CBD due to side effects.
In 2016, another study found that CBD was able to help a 10 year old girl who suffered with PTSD following traumatic abuse that took place 5 years earlier. Whilst conventional medicine had offered relief, it was found that the results were not long lasting and that there were some significant side effects. The study states that CBD offered the patient a 'decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of sleep.'
The patient demonstrated low self-esteem, anxiety and difficulties in sleeping. Both at home and school, the patient displayed aggression, disobedience and impulsiveness, as well as inappropriate behaviours.
Over a period of 5 months, a steady improvement in relation to sleep and anxiety was consistent and clear. In addition to this, her behaviours at school improved and she appeared less anxious. Her caregiver reported that her behaviors were "definitely better being on the CBD. Her anxiety is not gone, but it is not as intense and she is much easier to be around. She now sleeps in her own room most of the time, which has never happened before.”
In conclusion, whilst CBD cannot be offered as a panacea, it clearly has some significant benefits to offer. This is being clearly reported in the few studies that are taking place. As the stigma of CBD continues to reduce and as more studies are being conducted, we look look forward to watching this space as more and more people being to realise the benefits of CBD.
Does CBD make you high?
Many people still believe that because CBD comes from the marijuana plant (or cannabis plant) that is it illegal and unsafe. There is still much stigma about Cannabidiol (CBD) use due to the link with its psychoactive counterpart, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, CBD greatly differs to THC as it does not get you high.
Opponents of CBD repeatedly throw up the assumption that cannabis is always the same and is ultimately only good for getting high. But that is a common misconception.
Fortunately, in recent years, the negative attitude towards the hemp plant does appear to be changing. Because people are starting to realise the health benefits of CBD, and the idea that sometimes, it can be an alternative to prescription medications. Which can often produce unwanted side effects.
CBD in particular does not make you high and does not have a psychoactive effect. It's different with THC, which does have an intoxicating effect if taken in large enough doses.
In the UK, legal CBD products should not contain THC. In Europe and elsewhere, CBD products may have a small proportion of THC (max. 0.2%).
CBD oil for anxiety - How to dose?
Dosing is always a grey area. There is of course no universally correct dosage for everyone. The effectiveness of CBD oil can vary from person to person.
In addition to the appearance of the actual anxiety disorder or the intensity of the panic attacks, it also depends on the individual's body weight.
Normally, you should start with an oil with a lower CBD content in order to get used to the product. In the event of severe panic attacks, 20 percent oil can also be used.
As a dosage, 3 x 5-10 drops (with 5% or 10% oil) daily is often a suggested starting point, but you could start with low doses at first. You can always adjust the dosage if there is no or little effect. CBD oil normally comes in a tincture with a pipette, which makes it easier to administer.
There is no universally correct dosage for everyone.
There are many ways to take CBD. For example, some people like to vape. Vaping is often used when one is trying to quit smoking. Therefore if someone is interested in using CBD as an alternative to smoking marijuana, this may be a good option.
Success stories with anxiety and CBD
Our success stories come from social media, other CBD websites or through people we know personally. Some people are comfortable sharing their names and products, others prefer to remain anonymous. We feel hearing other people's positive experiences are a vital part of learning about how CBD can help, although it is important to remember that not all CBD products work the same for everyone. Don't be disheartened if one product/dosage doesn't work for you... keep trying!
We'd love to hear your success stories! If you would like to share yours, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org