Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in thirteen people around the world live with an anxiety disorder. Sweaty hands, elevated heart palpitations, non-stop thinking, and insomnia are some of the unwelcome symptoms that can make everyday life-debilitating – So, finding a safe method to manage symptoms is a critical concern for many.
Anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium may offer quick-acting relief but are also addictive and have many serious side effects. CBD has proliferated in recent years, capturing the spotlight as an alternative natural treatment for anxiety with no side effects. Plenty of convincing research has proven that the anti-anxiety properties of CBD are effective, reducing symptoms derived from this disorder. Let’s dive in a little more into how anxiety affects your body and brain.
What does it do to your body?
The biggest source of anxiety is stress – stress trains your body to feel anxious. Small burst of stress hormones tell your body to prepare for a “Fight,” and our bodies weren’t designed to handle a perpetual state of panic. High levels of stress hormones, particularly cortisol, cause negative consequences. But how? Anxiety causes depression, heart disease, digestive problems, weakened immune system, fatigue, weight gain, headaches, muscular tensions, and endocannabinoid imbalance.
How it messes with your brain?
Stress can rewire your brain by hormones telling your brain to “Focus, feel less and get ready.” If this message is never turned off, your brain will make changes to tune out the message. There is still research being done to discover the many changes that take place in response to stress – But they include both the brain’s structure and chemistry. Certain regions of the brain become hyperactive, while others atrophy and even shrink, and levels of neurotransmitters (like serotonin, dopamine, and endocannabinoids) and their receptors also change.
But hold on the good news? CBD can directly counteract and help improve anxiety symptoms!
How does CBD combat anxiety?
Cannabidiol has more than 65 targets throughout the body, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the sources of its many therapeutic properties. Studies suggest that CBD counters anxiety by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Here’s the evidence:
Serotonin: the role of this neurotransmitter has at least 14 different receptors, but CBD specifically binds to 5-HT1A which is thought to have the strongest role in anxiety disorders. The anti-anxiety drug buspirone also binds to this particular receptor, which explains the anti-anxiety effects of CBD to stressful situations.
Endocannabinoids: which your body naturally produces, and which is used throughout your body and brain in the endocannabinoid system. This system can become dysregulated under chronic stress. CBD could help restore balance to the endocannabinoid system by preventing the overstimulation of your CB 1 receptors and by boosting your body’s production of endocannabinoids.
Neural regeneration: stress can damage neurons and even shrink brain cells. Throughout our lives we continue to form new neurons, make new connections, and grow brain cells – CBD helps to counterbalance the brain damage caused by chronic stress, by encouraging neural regeneration and stimulating the growth of new neurons.