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Using CBD Oil for Anxiety: Does It Work?

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Overview

Early research shows promising signs that a product made from cannabis known as cannabidiol (CBD) oil may help relieve anxiety. CBD is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t cause any feelings of intoxication or the “high” you may associate with cannabis. Learn more about the potential benefits of CBD oil for anxiety, and whether it could be a treatment option for you.

HOW IT WORKS
How CBD oil can help anxiety

CBD oil is thought to work with a brain receptor called CB1. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond.

The exact way CBD affects CB1 is not fully understood. However, it’s thought that it alters serotonin signals. Serotonin is one of your body’s chemicals and plays a role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are common in depression. Not having enough serotonin can also cause anxiety in some people.

The conventional treatment for low serotonin is prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft and Prozac are both SSRIs. CBD, for some people, may be an alternative to SSRIs for anxiety management. However, you should talk to your doctor before making changes to your treatment plan.

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Research and evidence

Several studies point to the potential benefits of CBD for anxiety. For generalized anxiety, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animal studies. Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioral signs of anxiety. Their physiological symptoms of anxiety, like increased heart rate, also improved.

Studies have also shown some benefits for other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD may also help treat anxiety-induced insomnia.

In 2011, a human study on CBD and its effects on SAD was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Participants were given either an oral dose of 400 milligrams of CBD or a placebo. The results showed that those who took the CBD dose experienced overall reduced anxiety levels.

On the other hand, a 2017 comprehensive review of CBD studies in psychiatric disorders found inconclusive results. According to the authors, there isn’t enough evidence to claim CBD as a treatment for depression. However, the authors do note positive results for anxiety disorders. Based on their review, more human tests are needed to better understand how it works, what ideal dosages should be, and if there are potential side effects or hazards.

CBD has also been studied in other neurological disorders. A 2016 study found some antipsychotic benefits of CBD in schizophrenia. The authors indicated a preference for CBD over antipsychotic drugs, which are known to cause significant debilitating side effects.

SIDE EFFECTS
CBD oil side effects

CBD is generally considered safe. However, some people who take CBD may experience side effects, including:

  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • sleeping difficulties
  • mood changes
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • fatigue

You shouldn’t stop taking any medications you’re already using without talking to your doctor first. Using CBD oil may help your anxiety, but you could also experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking your prescription medications. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • irritability
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • fogginess

7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects)

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Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments.

Better known as CBD, it is one of the 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa (1).

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.

This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.

It’s gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies confirming it may help treat a variety of ailments like chronic pain and anxiety.

This article reviews seven science-based health benefits of CBD oil and also explains the potential risks involved with using it.

1. May Relieve Pain
CBD Oil and Cannabis Leaf

Marijuana has been used to treat pain as far back as 2900 B.C. (2).

More recently, scientists have discovered that certain components of marijuana, including CBD, are responsible for its pain-relieving effects.

The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response (3).

The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system.

Studies have shown that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters (4).

For example, one study in rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision, while another rat study found that oral CBD treatment significantly reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation (56).

Several human studies have found that a combination of CBD and THC is effective in treating pain related to multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

An oral spray called Sativex, which is a combination of THC and CBD, is approved in several countries to treat pain related to multiple sclerosis.

In a study of 47 people with multiple sclerosis, those treated with Sativex for one month experienced a significant improvement in pain, walking and muscle spasms, compared to the placebo group (7).

Another study found that Sativex significantly improved pain during movement, pain at rest and sleep quality in 58 people with rheumatoid arthritis (8).

SUMMARYCBD, especially in combination with THC, may be effective in reducing pain associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis

2. Could Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are common mental health disorders that can have devastating impacts on health and well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth (9).

Anxiety and depression are usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and headache (10).

What’s more, medications like benzodiazepines can be addictive and may lead to substance abuse (11).

CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, leading many who live with these disorders to become interested in this natural approach.

In one study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 mg of CBD or a placebo before a public speaking test.

The group that received the CBD had significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, compared to the placebo group (12).

CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (13).

CBD has also shown antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies (1415).

These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.

SUMMARYUsing CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in both human and animal studies.

3. May Alleviate Cancer-Related Symptoms

CBD may help reduce symptoms related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment, like nausea, vomiting and pain.

One study looked at the effects of CBD and THC in 177 people with cancer-related pain who did not experience relief from pain medication.

Those treated with an extract containing both compounds experienced a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received only THC extract (16).

CBD may also help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side effects for those with cancer (17).

Though there are drugs that help with these distressing symptoms, they are sometimes ineffective, leading some people to seek alternatives.

A study of 16 people undergoing chemotherapy found that a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC administered via mouth spray reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment alone (18).

Some test-tube and animal studies have even shown that CBD may have anticancer properties. For example, one test-tube study found that concentrated CBD induced cell death in human breast cancer cells (19).

Another study showed that CBD inhibited the spread of aggressive breast cancer cells in mice (20).

However, these are test-tube and animal studies, so they can only suggest what might work in people. More studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made.

SUMMARYThough CBD has been shown to help reduce symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment, and may even have cancer-fighting properties, more research is needed to assess its efficacy and safety.

WHAT IS CBD (CANNABIDIOL) HEMP OIL?

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Within the swiftly growing cannabis oil industry is a new category of products seeing its own equally rapid rise in popularity: cannabidiol hemp oil, or CBD hemp oil.

These highly demanded hemp derived products are available for purchase online and delivery straight to your door, or at retailers in all 50 states and over 40 countries around the world.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD hemp oil is made from high-CBD, low-THC hemp, unlike medical marijuana products, which are usually made from plants with high concentrations of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Because hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, these hemp oil products are non-psychoactive.

CBD Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 85 cannabinoids presently identified in the cannabis plant and is the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana after THC. In hemp, however, THC is only present in trace amounts, while CBD dominates the

plant’s makeup. CBD interacts with our naturally occurring systems, but is non-psychotropic, it doesn’t cause a high. This makes it a safer, less controversial alternative, while still offering significant health benefits.

All you need to know about CBD oils

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What is CBD oil?

CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis plant. Researchers have been looking at the potential therapeutic uses of CBD.

Oils that contain concentrations of CBD are known as CBD oils. The concentration and uses of different oils vary.

Is CBD marijuana?

Cannabis plant

CBD oil is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant.

Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the most active ingredient in marijuana.

Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, but the compounds have different effects.

THC is well-known for the mind-altering “high” it produces when broken down by heat and introduced into the body, such as when smoking the plant or cooking it into foods.

Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it. However, it does appear to produce significant changes in the body and has been found to have medical benefits.

Most of the CBD used medicinally is found in the least processed form of the cannabis plant, known as hemp.

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, but they are very different.

Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to be very high in THC and other compounds that interested them, either for a smell or an effect they had on the plant’s flowers.

On the other hand, hemp farmers have not tended to modify the plant. It is these hemp plants that are used to create CBD oil.

How CBD works

All cannabinoids, including CBD, attach themselves to certain receptors in the body to produce their effects.

The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It has two receptors for cannabinoids, called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors are found all around the body, but many of them are in the brain.

The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, among others. THC attaches to these receptors.

CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.

It used to be thought that CBD acts on these CB2 receptors, but it appears now that CBD does not act on either receptor directly. Instead, it seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

Benefits

Because of the way that CBD acts in the body, it has many potential benefits.

Natural pain relief or anti-inflammatory properties

People commonly use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain and stiffness, including chronic pain.

Some people feel that CBD offers a more natural way to lower pain. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats.

The researchers suggest that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, could be a new treatment for chronic pain.

Quitting smoking and drug withdrawals

There is some promising evidence that CBD use may help people to quit smoking. A pilot studyposted to Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who used an inhaler containing the compound CBD smoked fewer cigarettes but did not have any additional craving for nicotine.

Another similar study posted to Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may be a promising substance for people who abuse opioids.

Researchers noted that some symptoms experienced by patients with substance use disorders might be reduced by CBD. These include anxiety, mood symptoms, pain, and insomnia.

These are early findings, but they suggest that CBD may be used to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Epilepsy and other mental health disorders

CBD is also being studied for its possible role in treating epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders.

review posted to Epilepsia noted that CBD has anti-seizure properties and a low risk of side effects for people with epilepsy.

Studies into CBD’s effect on neurological disorders suggest that it may help to treat many of the disorders that are linked to epilepsy, such as neurodegeneration, neuronal injury, and psychiatric diseases.

Another study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design found that CBD may have similar effects to certain antipsychotic drugs and that it may be safe and effective in treating patients with schizophrenia.

More research is needed to understand how this works, however.

Helps fight cancer

CBD has been studied for its use as an anti-cancer agent.

review posted to the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology notes that CBD appears to block cancer cells from spreading around the body and invading an area entirely.

The review indicates that this compound tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote the death of these cells.

Researchers note that CBD may help in cancer treatment because of its low toxicity levels. They call for it to be studied along with standard treatments, to check for synergistic effects.

Anxiety disorders

Patients with chronic anxiety are often advised to avoid cannabis, as THC can trigger or amplify anxiety and paranoia in some people.

However, a review from Neurotherapeutics suggests that CBD may help to reduce the anxiety felt by people with certain anxiety disorders.

The researchers point to studies showing that CBD may reduce anxiety behaviors in disorders such as:

The review notes that current medications for these disorders can lead to additional symptoms and side effects and that people may stop taking the drugs because of these unwanted effects.

CBD has not shown any adverse effects in these cases to date, and the researchers call for CBD to be studied as a potential treatment method.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by inflammation when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas.

Recent research posted to Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that CBD may ease the inflammation in the pancreas in type 1 diabetes. This may be the first step in finding a CBD-based treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Acne

Acne treatment is another promising use for CBD. The condition is caused, in part, by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands in the body.

A recent study posted to the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD helps to lower the production of sebum that leads to acne, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

CBD could be a future treatment for acne vulgaris, the most common form of acne.