Anxiety Triggers and The Case for CBD’s Anti-Anxiety Properties
We’re mostly familiar with recognizing stress in our lives, but anxiety can take us by surprise. With stress, once you’ve identified its cause, you can often take steps to ensure you’ve optimized healthful living practices to promote calm and balance. Even if it takes a while, you have some sense of control. Anxiety, however, can be suddenly triggered by an event or activity that makes you nervous or worried. It can be a reaction to your stress, but anxiety can also occur in people who have no obvious stressors.
What causes anxiety and anxiety disorders can be complicated. It’s likely that a combination of factors, including genetics and environmental reasons, play a role. However, it’s clear that some events, emotions, or experiences may cause symptoms of anxiety to begin or may make them worse. These elements are called triggers. Triggers can range from health issues, to negative thinking, to stress, to financial concerns, to personal triggers associated with PTSD.
Symptoms of anxiety can be sudden—for instance, in the form of a panic attack with chest pain, sweating, and heart palpitations. Other examples include an obsessive-compulsive activity; or a phobia, for example a fear of a crowded room or a spider. Once triggered, these attacks can return repeatedly, and can become chronic and extremely hard to control. Furthermore, they may limit one’s ability to socialize, interact at work, and even walk down a crowded sidewalk.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect about 18% of the population—some 40 million Americans—and they are the most common form of mental health disorder.
Studies Showing CBD Has Anti-Anxiety Properties
Numerous animal studies and a growing body of patient evidence supports that CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties. CBD may be beneficial to treat a number of anxiety-related disorders, including:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Social phobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Mild to moderate depression
CBD works to help the 5-HT1A receptor release calming serotonin and dopamine. For instance, results of a Dutch study published in 2017 in the Cannabis and Cannabidiol Research Journal indicated that human subjects had lower levels of anxiety and confusion and increased alertness, calmness, and confidence after using CBD.
In one animal study, Spanish researchers found CBD may affect serotonin levels in the brain faster than serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), reducing anxiety and boosting one’s mood.
Additionally, another study found consistent use of CBD may help the hippocampus regenerate neurons. In fact, research shows that both SSRIs and CBD may promote neurogenesis. An example of why this is important is because evidence suggests that severely impaired neurogenesis may influence suicidal behavior. Future research comparing CBD and SSRIs could open up our understanding of depression and how to treat it.
Brazilian researchers did a small double-blind study of patients suffering from generalized social anxiety. After consuming CBD, the participants reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Researchers validated the patient reports by doing brain scans, and the scans showed cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with an anti-anxiety effect.
Read more about how CBD works on serotonin and other receptors in the brain: https://www.yournaturalhealthcare.com/how-cbd-works
1) CBD Handbook by Barbara Brownell Grogan
2) Healing and CBD by Eileen Konieczny, RN
3) Esther M. Blessing et al., “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders” 2015
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