From the Beginning
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD is a compound from the resin in the buds and flowers and stalks of the cannabis and hemp plants. It does not produce a high, but has many affects in the brain none-the-less. Between animal studies and personal stories from those who have tried it, CBD has a positive effect on symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Why People Have Anxiety
Cells in the brain send messages to each other called neurotransmitters that keep the body functioning. Those who have anxiety lack a proper amount of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Either their brain doesn’t have enough serotonin or it is not able to sit in the synapse long enough to have an effect. The synapse is the little information highway between brain cells and neurotransmitters have to be there for a certain period of time. Many anxiety and depression medications like Prozac and Lexapro work to keep serotonin in the synapse, but tend to have several unpleasant side effects.
What CBD Does in the Brain
CBD acts as a neurotransmitter that affects the serotonin 1A receptor, which keeps serotonin in the synapse and changes how it reacts in the brain. Higher serotonin levels and prolonged stays in the synapse lead to less anxiety symptoms and less anxiety overall.
What This Means for Anxiety
CBD has been shown to affect all kinds of depression and anxiety. In a testimony to congress about CBD, the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that when CBD is administered to animals, they experience less symptoms of generalized anxiety and less stress. The animals that also experienced physical symptoms of anxiety like heightened heart rate also improved after CBD administration. Other studies have shown that CBD positively affects social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep disorders related to anxiety.
Fortunately, there have been successful human studies as well; in 2011 scientists conducted a study on people with social anxiety disorder. Half the group was given a small dose of CBD and the other half was given a placebo. Those who took the CBD reported less anxiety symptoms. Not only does CBD help treat anxiety, but the side effects are either generally mild and less dangerous than prescribed medications, or no side effect at all.