Anxiety is one of those mental conditions that can’t be wished away or forcefully put under control; and it seems to affect people from a different range of backgrounds with no unifying factors. It starts the same way every time; a change in breathing, clenching of the stomach, perspiration, and the mind running out of control.
For most people, anxiety works as a necessary evolutionary process that helps us identify threats and avoid them. And when this process comes and goes as it should, it doesn’t interfere with quality of life. But for some people, anxiety is a constant state that never goes away – except maybe a lowering of adrenaline and other stress hormones that allows a person to interact with the world around them. However, even then, such a person can always feel the underlying feelings in the form of vibrations, and a form of nervousness that never really goes away.
Understanding Chronic Stress and Anxiety
Close to 40 percent of Americans struggle with anxiety at some point in their life. For these people, the intensity of their anxiety episodes are such that medication is needed to function normally; and even then, in many cases, pharmaceutical drugs don’t provide a lasting solution.
To better understand anxiety as it affects Americans today, here is a list of five forms of anxiety that are most commonly reported to therapists:
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder (PD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
So What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is essentially a reaction to stress, and can be triggered by common stressors that affect most people. However, some section of the population have a more challenging time establishing coping mechanisms to help reduce the impact of stress and the type of stressors that cause problems for them.
In its more severe form, anxiety can cause people to experience conditions such as:
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- A drop in mental focus
- Loss of productivity
- Heart disease
CBD and Anxiety: The Science
If you have any experience with cannabis, then you may be aware of the two seemingly opposite effects that come from taking weed: complete calmness, or extreme anxiety.
But what causes these effects – and more importantly, what is it that determines which effect you get? This is where cannabidiol comes in. The CBD content in cannabis is responsible for the general feeling of calmness, while THC, one of the main active ingredients in marijuana, stimulates the stress hormones to cause paranoia.
Bear in mind that THC causes anxiety in about half of users, while the other half seem to experience only the calming effects of CBD.
A number of studies have been published with regard to CBD and its use in managing anxiety. If you find it challenging to manage the effects of THC, the best option for you is to consume CBD as an individual compound.
How CBD Combats Anxiety
When consumed, or inhaled in vape form, cannabidiol reduces the presence of stress hormones in the bloodstream, and triggers the release of hormones such as serotonin, which increase feelings of calmness.
Furthermore, cannabidiol creates more balance in the endocrine system by causing an anxiolytic effect and moderating neurotransmitters that are responsible for processes such as mood, hunger, sleep, and general cognitive function.
Keep in mind that CBD is also neuroprotective, and may be instrumental in keeping the hippocampus healthy by preventing cellular decay. This is what keeps the neurons firing as they should.
We should point out that CBD research is still in its early stages, and many long-term studies are still ongoing. For most ordinary people, the interest around CBD seems to come from years of personal experience with cannabis, which most people trust as being safe and effective at manipulating hormones.
But CBD’s effect in the neural networks make it excellent for targeting multiple processes in the body, and that’s just one of the reasons it’s so popular.
How Should I Consume CBD for Anxiety?
There are various kinds of CBD products available today, and they can be used for medicinal purposes, such as treating anxiety.
Your main options are:
- CBD oil tinctures
- CBD vaping devices
- CBD edibles
- Smoking (may be harmful to lungs)
Dosing CBD for Anxiety
Dosages in the range of 100-300 mg per day are quite common, but higher doses may be okay and won’t cause any major side effects.
The only problem in taking too much is that you won’t feel calmer by increasing dosage. That’s not how cannabinoids work. Also, there’s an added chance of feeling drowsy with higher dosages, so this should be considered when operating machinery.
It takes about an hour to feel the effects of CBD, and effects may last up to six hours depending on your biology, or diet.