Information about Anxiety:
Anxiety is a debilitating disorder that affects more than 3 million Americans. While there are many different types, the treatment options are quite limited. Those with serious anxiety often rely on dangerous medications and lengthy therapy sessions.
Research has proven that CBD may be a safer option for treating anxiety. As a result, patients can experience relief from anxiety symptoms without the additional nervousness marijuana sometimes causes. This article explains the basics of anxiety and how CBD helps to cure it.
What is Anxiety
At its most basic definition, anxiety is the feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry. Anxiety usually forms around impending events or nervousness over something that has an uncertain outcome. Probably almost everyone feels some sort of anxiety at some point. It is a normal human emotion, just like happiness, sadness, anger, and so on. When it becomes extremely severe or frequent, however, then it is a bigger problem. It is probably an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders will cause enough distress that your normal daily life becomes difficult. Your ability to lead a normal life will become very tricky, and for many, this is a serious mental illness that can lead to overwhelming worry and fear. For many with anxiety disorders, the suffering is constant, with little to no relief for the patient.
What are the symptoms of Anxiety
The symptoms of anxiety disorders vary according to the type anxiety a person is suffering from. Here are the most often found symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Palpitations (irregular or unusually strong heartbeats)
- Feeling of choking (panic disorder)
- Fear of judgment by others; Overwhelming worry about social situations; Overwhelming self-consciousness (social anxiety disorder)
- Excessive, prolonged worry and tension (GAD)
- Unrealistic view of problems
- Feeling edgy or restless
- Tension in the muscles
- Trouble focusing
- Hands or feet numb or tingling
- Inability to calm down or stay still
- Cold or sweaty hands or feet
- Needing to use the bathroom often
- Difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep
- Startling easily
What causes of Anxiety
Scientists do not know what exactly causes anxiety disoreders. Currently, because of a stigma against this and other mental illnesses, many people believe their anxiety is a result of personal weakness, poor upbringing, or a flaw in character. However, there is usually a combination of factors, including environmental changes combined with brain changes.
In the case of GAD, the cause is likely a variety of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses. In other words, GAD may be passed along in a family. Abnormal functioning of the brain can also cause a person to develop GAD. Environmental factors, especially if they were traumas or a stressful event, can also contribute to the development of GAD.
Conventional Treatment for Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are treated in a variety of ways. There are plenty of drug options available on the market, including antidepressants, anticonvulsant medicines, low-dose antipsychotics, and more. These drugs treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders, and each of them comes with its own set of risks and negative side effects.
Psychotherapy is another way of treating various types. It is a kind of counseling that targets the emotional response of anxiety disorders. For this therapy, trained health professionals develop strategies that help their patients deal with the disorder and understand what is going on.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another kind of psychotherapy that helps the patient change their thought patterns through the recognition of them, and change their behaviors that can lead to their difficult feelings.
While therapy is always a good option for people with anxiety disorders, drugs can lead to risky, unpleasant side effects. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, doesn’t have these side effects and has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of these disorders just as effectively.
Types of Anxiety
There are a number of types, and they all come with their specific elements. Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders.
This disorder causes people to feel sudden terror numerous times, each time coming as a surprise without warning. People with panic disorder will undergo symptoms such as sweating, the feeling of choking, and an overall kind of “heart attack” feeling or the feeling like they’re losing their mind.
Social anxiety disorder
This is also known as social phobia. It causes a person to feel massive amounts of self-consciousness and worry about seemingly normal social interactions and situations. The fear often revolves around worrying about being judged by other people, or doing something embarrassing that could lead to being made fun of or ridiculed.
There are a wide variety of phobias that exist, usually causing a person to feel intense fear of a situation or object. For example, people might have a phobia for flying or for heights. Generally speaking, the amount of fear that person does not match with how dangerous the situation is in reality. For that reason, people with specific phobias are often led to avoid normal, everyday situations.
Generalized anxiety disorder
This is an unrealistic worry or tension that is excessive and unprovoked. It’s sometimes referred to as “GAD” and is a disorder that causes people to always worry about various aspects of their life. This includes money, family, health, school, work, and so on. The level of concern is usually inappropriate for the situation the person is worrying about.
A person with GAD must endure an everyday life that is filled with fear, dread, and worry constantly. After a while, the anxiety will take over the person’s life completely, and their normal functioning will be impaired.
Effects of CBD on Anxiety
CBD has been shown to have some very strong anti-anxiety properties. It is a safe choice that is tolerated well, and it can help with a number of disorders relating to anxiety. These disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and mild to moderate depression. Luckily, CBD has been found to potentially stimulate neurogenesis, and in addition helps with acute stress and anxiety.
Medical Research on CBD for Anxiety
In the last few years, several countries including Canada and the United States have been passing laws and making way for the use of marijuana in the medical industry. A study from Neuropsychopharmacology in 2018 states that marijuana has both THC and CBD, however, it appears only THC is responsible for the hallucinatory effects users’ experience. Therefore studies were done to determine whether CBD increases or debilitates the psychological effects of THC. Researchers have been focusing on the way CBD potentially influences THC related to anxiety.
Cannabis Cannabinoid Res released a study was done administering CBD to 38 drug-free healthy people to evaluate emotional stimuli from both negative and positive arousal. Their results concluded that CBD does not have psychedelic effects; therefore, medical researchers can use this to manage anxiety in pre-clinical and human laboratory research. The results of this study concluded that a perfectly healthy person will experience only small changes in anxiety from the use of CBD.
Another study reveals CBD is beneficial during medical research for anxiety. CBD can effectively assist in lessening the hippocampal neurogenesis and dendrite spines density caused by high levels of stress, and as for medical simulations of schizophrenia, it helps to avoid microglia activation and the reduction of parvalbumin-positive GABA neurons.
These are in addition to other studies such as one Spanish study, which revealed that CBD has the potential to be extremely fast-acting in its alleviation of anxiety and depression. This study was done on animals, but it showed that CBD enhances the transmission of 5-HT1A and therefore has a faster effect on serotonin than other drugs that are available. Serotonin is associated with balancing mood.
Of course, this was done on animals, and therefore more studies need to be done, but it certainly is extremely promising -- and shows that the anti-anxiety effects of medical marijuana could even be better than any pharmaceutical options out there.
Another study, involving mice, discovered that CBD encourages the hippocampus (a major brain area responsible for a vast number of brain functions) to regenerate neurons. These neurons are helpful in treating depression and anxiety. In other words, CBD could be an extremely effective treatment for anxiety disorders and depression.
There have also been some smaller human studies done as well to help support the above findings. One study looked at human patients who had generalized social anxiety. They consumed CBD and then reported the effects -- and there was a significant decrease in the feelings of anxiety. Brain scans confirmed these reports -- there was undoubtedly an anti-anxiety result.
CBD oil to treat Anxiety
Because of the amazing anti-anxiety properties of CBD, CBD oil can be an extremely useful way to consume the cannabinoid. Add CBD oil to goods, or purchase products that are infused with CBD oil already.
People most often take CBD oil as needed rather than on a regular basis. This works extremely quickly and effectively for many people suffering from anxiety disorders. Also, CBD oil is versatile enough that it can be consumed in just about any way that suits your lifestyle and needs.
Medical Marijuana vs. CBD
Medical marijuana refers to any strain of marijuana that has medicinal benefits. Since CBD has many health benefits, including reducing the symptoms of anxiety, many medical strains of marijuana include it. CBD is one of many cannabinoids - naturally occurring chemicals in marijuana and hemp plants that our bodies absorb through the endocannabinoid system. THC and CBD are the best-known cannabinoids, but they are not the only ones.
Generally speaking, CBD is ideal for reducing inflammation, balancing moods, improving the gastrointestinal system, and relaxing neurological ailments. CBD also has pain-relieving properties and may also kill cancer cells. THC does many of the same things, and additionally helps with fatigue, improves appetite, and can even treat asthma. THC sometimes increases anxiety, however, and is not recommended from those with anxiety disorders.
How to take medical marijuana for Anxiety
The quickest way to receive relief for it with marijuana is by smoking or vaporizing. Many medical users prefer vaporizers because it has fewer side effects as compared to smoking.
People consume medical marijuana in other ways as well. Pills made from CBD oil, marijuana-infused edibles, and tinctures or transdermal applications can all provide relief.
When treating anxiety with medical marijuana, look for CBD-heavy strains with low to no THC.
Grow your own marijuana to treat anxiety
CBD can do wonders for people who live with this disease. Growing strains of marijuana that are especially geared toward its treatment (Cannabis sativa, for example) can be the most practical to have a constant supply of medicine for the acute treatment (taken as needed) of anxiety.
Anxiety often occurs when you least expect it or when it is the least convenient, and that means getting a prescription isn’t always possible or doable in time. If you grow your own marijuana, you can have relief whenever you want it -- and you have the added benefit of knowing exactly what you’re taking.
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