Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in hemp, marijuana, and other cannabis plants. CBD oil for anxiety and stress is still in its infancy, but there is some strong evidence that claims to help people suffering from anxiety and/or stress.
According to statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are considered the most common form of mental illness in the United States. It affects around 40 million adults age 18 and older, which equates to 18.1 percent of the population each year1)https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics.
While anxiety is a highly treatable illness, only around 36.9 percent of those suffering from anxiety get treatment.
Stress affects everyone but in different ways. Sometimes it can make you more productive and sometimes it can be detrimental enough to cause illness. In other words, there are good and bad stress responses.
The American Institute of Stress features the statistics on stress and the negative effects it can cause. For instance, job pressure, health issues, money problems, relationships, poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, and even media overload2)https://www.stress.org/daily-life.
It is important to understand the differences between anxiety and stress, how they can be related, and how CBD oil for anxiety and stress may help.
How are stress and anxiety related?
The ADAA says the primary difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a response to situational while anxiety is a reaction to the said stressful situation. Therefore, while the two are separate and different, they are still related3)https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/stress.
Stress is usually no more than a moderate interference in your life in good or bad times respectively. However, chronic stress is likely to affect your physical health, causing symptoms such as high blood pressure, headaches, heart palpitations, chest pains, insomnia/loss of sleep that may lead to sleep deprivation, and/or skin rashes.
Stress can often be reduced through activities like exercise, breathing, practicing mindfulness, hobbies, yoga, rest and relaxation, massage, and anything that works to reduce stress for you. Stress reduction is a personalized solution for each person. CBD oil for stress and anxiety is being studied as one of these solutions.
Anxiety, the reaction to stress, can range from mild to severe and may even become life-threatening, which is why finding treatments is so important to those suffering from anxiety and stress.
When should you seek help? When you cannot manage your stress to the point you can no longer handle daily tasks such as getting up and going to work on time. Stress left unaddressed can lead to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or other anxiety disorders. The differences between the two are vast with a wide range of symptoms that you can read on PSYCOM4)https://www.psycom.net/stress-vs-anxiety-difference.
What are the causes of stress and anxiety?
Good and bad things cause a stress response of some kind every day. When stress feels like it is piling on at home or at work, it becomes a detriment to you.
Some things that trigger stress include, unhappiness at your job, overwhelming workload, working long hours, harassment at work, insecurities, dangerous work situations, relationship issues, an overwhelming home life, loss of a loved one, loss of job, getting married, having a baby, new financial obligations, taking care a sickly or elderly loved one, traumatic events, and other factors that can result in a high, negative stress response5)https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/causes-of-stress#1.
Things that may trigger anxiety often come from internal stressors where feelings of dread or apprehension in a given situation where there is no threat occur. The situations may not be life-threatening, but anxiety can escalate to a life-threatening level if it is not controlled. Anxiety often continues even after the concern has passed6)https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/external/2018/06/stress-vs-anxiety/.
What are the effects of stress and anxiety?
If stress and anxiety are not kept at bay, chronic stress or anxiety disorders may ensue. Chronic stress may result in anxiety when it becomes unmanageable7)https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987.
The Effects of Stress
- Physiological: Headaches, muscle pain or tension, chest pain, fatigue, stomach issues, sleep problems, loss of libido
- Mood: Anxiety, sadness, depression, irritability, feeling overwhelming, lack of focus or motivation, restlessness
- Behavioral: Over or under-eating, tobacco use, social withdrawal, angry outbursts
The Effects of Anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Feeling of doom
- Breathing problems
- Heart palpitations
- Upset stomach or other digestive issues
- Loss of libido
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle aches and pains
- Extreme fatigue
While some of the effects appear to be similar, anxiety is long-lasting and often comes with anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), fears/phobias, and panic disorder.
Over time, anxiety can adversely affect your immune, digestive, excretory, cardiovascular, central nervous, and/or respiratory systems8)https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body#1.
Who is at risk for stress and anxiety?
Since everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some level, everyone is at risk for stress and anxiety.
Stress is normal and part of your daily life. How you reduce it is up to you. People under undue stress at work, home, or school are at risk for the symptoms and chronic conditions mentioned in the effects of stress and anxiety. A good list of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms of stress can be found at9)https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm.
On the other hand, the very nature of anxiety and how individuals react to stressors more often come with succinct and recognizable symptoms.
- People with an overly-sensitive nature who perceive the world as a whole threatening
- Those who abuse alcohol
- A history of childhood or adolescent anxiety
- Individuals who have experienced a traumatic event
These risks are increased by having a difficult childhood, family history of anxiety disorders, divorce, poverty, and alcoholic parents. Likewise, there are some medical conditions that increase your risk of anxiety disorders such as medical conditions, medication side effects, and intoxication from sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, cocaine, or alcohol10)https://www.communityreachcenter.org/blog/risk-factors-anxiety-disorders/.
What is CBD oil for stress and anxiety?
CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant, usually hemp since it has a lower THC content. This oil is rich in cannabinoids that attach to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). These receptors play a primary role in motor control, emotion, cognition, pain response, and appetite stimulation11)https://www.farmapdx.com/the-ecs-at-a-glance/.
Because of the nature of cannabidiol, it is believed to be an effective treatment for stress and anxiety.
Does CBD oil for anxiety and stress make you high?
For people looking for a high out of hemp-extracted CBD oil, there will be a disappointment. THC is the compound that produces the “high”, or psychoactive effect. CBD is not high in THC, therefore, it does not make you high.
The hemp plant is used in the industrial arena to make clothing and paper. However, when CBD oil is extracted from hemp, it is capable of providing relief of stress, anxiety, and pain without the high. At least, that is the belief.
Hemp CBD oil for anxiety and stress does have trace amounts of THC, but not nearly enough to be psychoactive. It will not alter your mental state. Additionally, CBD has not been found to be addictive12)https://www.depressionalliance.org/cbd-oil-for-anxiety/.
Is CBD oil for anxiety and stress safe to use?
While more studies are needed to discover whether CBD oil for anxiety and stress is effective, there have been ample studies for it to be considered safe13)https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/cbd.
There have been no serious side effects reported from the studies that have been performed over the past few years. However, drug and food interactions are possible.
You need to learn more about that if you are taking blood thinners, antianxiety and antidepressants, acetaminophen, hydrocodone, tramadol, ibuprofen, Benadryl, and others as found on drugs.com14)https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/cannabis.html. Each type of medication has varying levels of severity from Minor to Major.
Vitamins B12, D3, and C are also on the list. Grapefruit is a food you should avoid if you take CBD oil for anxiety and stress.
Otherwise, CBD oil itself has minimal side effects reported so far. These include fatigue, irritability, and nausea15)https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
Other factors to consider before using CBD oil include the purity and THC content percentage. Check the label on the package for the location where the hemp is grown and the percentage of THC in it. Without this information on the label, you cannot be sure of its safety, purity, or legality (where it is legal).
Because CBD oil is categorized as a supplement, there are no specific regulations for accountability on such products. Whether you take the tincture, oral, or topical versions of CBD oil, always read the labels.
Is CBD Oil for anxiety and stress legal?
According to LA Progressive16)https://www.laprogressive.com/is-cbd-oil-legal/, CBD oil extracted from the hemp plant is legal at the federal level. However, it is not FDA approved and the legality of CBD oil varies from state to state. It also varies from country to country. You do need to know whether it is legal or not before you choose to use it.
What are some studies related to CBD oil for anxiety and stress?
In 2010, a study17)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881110379283 was performed on animals and humans to prove it has anxiolytic properties. It found that cannabidiol could relieve the symptoms of social anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). The brain scans they did showed changes in the participants’ blood flow to the areas of the brain that are linked to anxiety.
Another study in 2011 uncovered that CBD oil reduces social anxiety. This study targeted using CBD oil to treat anxiety as it is related to public speaking18)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881110379283.
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published a research study from the Institute of Psychiatry in 2014 that CBD oil had antidepressant and antianxiety effects in their animal model19)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339.
In 2016 a case study evaluated the efficacy of cannabidiol for reducing PTSD symptoms and sleep disorders related to anxiety in children with a history of trauma. This was performed on one child and it shows that it helped her to sleep20)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/.
There are no studies that have learned how the long-term use of CBD oil for anxiety and stress affects users. The studies only cover short-term solutions. It is still unsure whether CBD oil can be used as a long-term treatment.
Overall, more human studies are required to determine the efficacy of CBD oil for treating anxiety and stress.
The prognosis regarding the outcome of CBD oil for anxiety and stress is still unclear, but there is potential. Long-term studies are needed to accurately assess the advantages and risks of using this as a treatment.
However, for people suffering from anxiety who have yet to find relief using other treatments may find some relief from using CBD oil.
Before you make changes to your supplemental program, consult with your doctor to ensure that there are no allergies or drug interactions from taking CBD oil for anxiety and stress.
Make sure that CBD oil is legal in your country and regional area before partaking in this treatment.
References [ + ]