Anxiety: CBD, a weapon against stress and depression

The pandemic in which we all live is a real source of anxiety for many people, as highlighted by many recent studies.The Covid-19 that has been raging for more than a year now has managed not only to lock us up at home, to make us wear a mask but also to destabilize even the most relaxed and solid among us by imagining every day what could happen worst to ourselves or our loved ones if we were to catch this virus.

The impact of COVID-19 on anxiety in France

Before the arrival of the coronavirus, already 12 million French people suffered from mental disorders, or one in five people. Public Health France which monitors the evolution of the mental health status of the population, conducted a survey at the end of March 2020 to assess the impact of the epidemic crisis and new living conditions on it. conducted a survey: the anxiety rate of the French doubled from 13.5% in 2017 to 26.7% at the end of March 2020 (a week after the beginning of the lockdown). The share of people in a depressive state also reached high levels at the end of March, with 19.9% compared to 9.7% in 2017.

While there is no silver bullet to permanently remove anxiety from one's life, managing anxiety symptoms is often cited as the main reason why people use medical or other cannabis, with CBD proving particularly promising in preliminary studies and on patients who use it to fight this ailment.

What is anxiety?

We all suffer from time to time from anxiety and stress. When you're stressed, you may feel restless, uncomfortable, or nervous. You may have a high heart rate, a tight chest, trembling hands, or excessive sweating. This experience is normal and, under certain circumstances, healthy. 

It is a natural reaction of the body to a real or non-real danger that is supposed to help us survive. So today, the anxiety we can experience is only – and fortunately – very rarely related to life-and-death situations. It is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what is to come and this can manifest itself in many everyday situations such as conflicts with loved ones, financial difficulties or professional problems.

But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last more than a few months, and interfere with your life then you may be suffering from anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders

It's completely normal to feel anxious about moving to a whole new place, starting a new job, or taking an exam. This type of anxiety is unpleasant but it can motivate you and push you to go further. Ordinary anxiety is a natural feeling that comes and goes and doesn't stop you from living.

In the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear may be present all the time. It is intense and sometimes debilitating.This is the most common form of emotional disorder and can affect anyone, at any age. (women would be 2 times more affected than men) This more severe type of anxiety can cause you to stop doing things you love. In extreme cases, it might even prevent you from entering places like the subway or even leaving your home. If left untreated, the anxiety will continue to worsen.

People with an anxiety disorder may experience more or less intense physical and psychological discomfort that accompanies their feeling of anxiety. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • Nausea
  • chest tightness
  • breathlessness
  • muscle tension
  • sleep disorders
  • excessive sweating
  • increased heart rate
  • Agitation
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating

Avoidance behaviors are common strategies in people with anxiety. For socially anxious people, not showing up for a party or drink after work or a friend's wedding are regularly employed tactics.However, the more anxiety-provoking situations are avoided, the more the world eventually shrinks, and that's often when an anxiety disorder is diagnosed. An estimated 264 million people worldwide suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, including about 40 million in the United States. In France, Inserm estimates that 21% of adults are affected during their lifetime, figures that have certainly increased since Covid-19 landed in our daily lives.

There are several types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), when anxiety is felt about a wide range of situations or problems
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD), which is the fear of being judged negatively or rejected in social situations
  • Panic disorder or panic attack, which is a sudden feeling of terror leading to recurrent panic attacks
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviours
  • phobias, extreme fear triggered by a situation or object
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety that includes flashbacks that develop after a traumatic event.

Due to their complex and often individualized nature, there is no single approach to treating anxiety disorders. Talk therapies are often combined with anxiety medications like antidepressants for a more immediate calming effect. However some medications although they can calm patients, taking them long-term can lead to addiction.It is therefore clear that a new class of anti-anxiety drugs, without risk of abuse or addiction and without side effects, must be developed. And the great "green" hope is that the cannabis plant can hold the key.

How does CBD help with anxiety and depression?

The exact mechanism by which CBD helps fight anxiety and depression is still being studied. Several studies explore the different ways in which the best CBD oils, derived from hemp plants, act in the body.

Based on the currently available evidence, researchers believe that CBD's anti-anxiety effects result from its action on serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. These receptors regulate the activity of serotonin in the body and therefore influence mood, mental well-being, blood pressure, heart rate and appetite, thereby reducing anxiety.

CBD stimulates the activity of specific receptors in the brain and central nervous system (CB1 receptors) that control the release of neurotransmitters. As a result, the body feels calmer and more comfortable and can for example better withstand menstrual pain. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana that can bind directly to CB1, causing a feeling of euphoria, CBD does not have such a binding affinity on CB1.The result is therefore a healing without psychoactive effect. 

The positive effect of CBD on anxiety can also be explained by its impact on the endocannabinoid system. This is because a weakened endocannabinoid system makes us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. By taking CBD supplements, users can then contribute to the proper functioning of their ECS by stimulating the production of endocannabinoids.

Conclusive but limited research findings on CBD and anxiety

In 2010, a first study of its kind, patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) were treated with 400 mg of CBD or a placebo in several sessions. The researchers then measured feelings of subjective anxiety and took and examined the patients' brain images.Compared to those who received placebo, a decrease in subjective anxiety was observed on patients who received CBD. Differences were observed in brain images especially in areas related to anxiety, suggesting that CBD had an impact on how the brain reacted to anxiety and helped patients feel better.

In 2011, a study sought to determine the impact of CBD on patients with generalized social phobia during a simulated stressful event: public speaking. There were three groups: a group of people with social anxiety disorder who received 600 mg of CBD before the test, a group of PATIENTS with SAD who received a placebo before the test, and a group of healthy people who received no medication before the test.Each of these groups was subjected to a public speaking simulation test. during which the researchers were able to record subjective and physiological measurements.Compared to the control group, patients in the CBD group had fewer cognitive impairments, less discomfort when performing speech, less alertness during early speech, and less anxiety. In fact, the results of patients in the CBD group were similar to those of healthy control subjects.These findings suggest that a single dose of CBD could help inhibit the fear of public speaking.In 2015, a study looked at evidence from clinical, pre-clinical and experimental studies in humans to assess the potential of CBD for people with anxiety disorders.The researchers concluded that the pre-clinical evidence "strongly supports" CBD as an acute treatment for different anxiety disorders.There has been no research on the clinical or long-term use of CBD, however, which has led the researchers to stress the importance of further research on CBD for anxiety.In 2019; THE EFFECT OF CBD ON SLEEP AND ANXIETY has been studied in a clinical population. Adult patients at an outpatient psychiatric clinic were given CBD either for sleep or anxiety, in addition to their current treatments.The dosage varied according to the patient's needs, ranging from 25 mg/day of CBD to 175 mg/day of CBD.57 of the 72 patients experienced a decrease in anxiety scores after the first month of CBD treatment. These scores continued to decline throughout the duration of the study.These findings led the researchers to conclude that CBD was beneficial for people with anxiety disorders and that research should once again continue. 

How to use CBD oil for anxiety?

Most people like to use CBD oil or CBD candy for their anxiety.For oils, it is always recommended to start with a low dose and increase slowly. Listen to your body and notice any signs it can tell you, keeping a journal can also help. 

Some prefer to start with an initial dose of 5 mg of CBD, while other adults are on daily doses of 20 to 25 mg of CBD to start noticing benefits on their situation. Everyone obviously reacts differently to CBD treatment, it has been observed that an adult requires between 10 and 30mg of CBD for it to work well. Severe and persistent forms of anxiety may require higher doses, but always start with small doses before increasing them.

CBD capsules are also well used. The first time, it is important to check on the bottle the MG CBD content of each capsule before consumption. If you have any health problems or other concerns, it is obviously recommended that you consult your doctor before adopting CBD oil as a natural solution to anxiety.

Are there any side effects to CBD?

CBD is not without risk. It can interact with other medications and some patients in these situations have suffered from digestive disorders and fatigue.The higher the dosage, the greater the risk of adverse effects, which is why it is always recommended to start with low doses and increase them slowly.

Always talk to your doctor before adding CBD to your intake especially if you are currently taking several prescription medications.To minimize drug interactions, consider spacing out when you take CBD and when you take your other medications. One, two or three hours between CBD and prescription drugs can help reduce the likelihood of interactions between them. Want to know more about lexomil vs cbd ?