CBD As a Future Alternative to Anxiety Medications
Written by the team at CBD Education Online
Anxiety is by far one of the most common psychiatric disorders experienced today, affecting nearly 40 million adults in the United States. Though much of the medical world believes anxiety is easily treatable compared to other mental disorders, there is obviously much evidence to suggest that anxiety is not effectively being treated, and a more permanent solution has yet to be found.
That is, until the world was introduced to CBD (cannabidiol).
Groundbreaking studies, though limited in number, have not only shown that CBD is highly effective in treating a variety of disorders related to anxiety, but its effectiveness is also experienced following small dosages. Whether it be used for the management of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even PTSD, CBD is emerging as a very promising alternative to harmful anxiety medications that are so commonly prescribed.
CBD’s Attributes – How it Works
CBD has not only begun to revolutionize the manner in which anxiety is treated but has provided the medical world with greater insight on the cause of anxiety as well. Through the study of CBD and other compounds found in cannabis, researchers have gained a greater understanding of the endocannabinoid system and how it relates to mental disorders such as anxiety.
In fact, pitfalls within this biological system are now believed to be the cause of such disorders. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of microscopic nerves within the body, which acts like a conduit of communication with the brain. Through the ECS, we are able to adapt to and react to the world around us, whether it be through:
- Motor functions,
- Mental adaptiveness,
- Internal temperature regulation, and/or
- Regulation of the circulatory, immune, and nervous systems.
CBD, as an all-natural plant compound, has been found to stimulate certain receptors within the ECS, thus providing an enormous variety of health benefits – including the ability to manage the symptoms of anxiety.
CBD and the 5‐HT1A Receptor
In exciting new studies surrounding CBD’s effect on anxiety, researchers have found that CBD carries an affinity for the 5‐HT1A serotonin receptor, a microscopic nerve that is believed to be the root of anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms. CBD is attracted to and positively affects this receptor, thus giving CBD a huge advantage in the treatment of symptoms.
CBD not only possesses the ability to quell symptoms of anxiety associated with the 5HT1A receptor, it is now believed to carry the ability to soothe withdraw symptoms brought on by common anxiety medications as well. According to a study published by the British Pharmacological Society:
“Understanding how cannabidiol regulates emotion and emotional memory processing may eventually lead to its use as a treatment for anxiety‐related and substance abuse disorders.”
The Pitfalls of Anxiety Medications
As many are aware, common anxiety medications such as Xanax are highly addictive. In fact, Xanax is so addictive that CBS News once called the drug and the addiction problems associated with it an outright “epidemic” – one that is still very much a reality in the United States today.
Xanax withdraw can be severe and painful, and the general side effects of the drug can be equally intense. CBD, on the other hand, carries no sedative effects, and carries an excellent safety profile as an all-natural, plant-based compound.
Beta Blockers: A Short-Term Solution
Beta blockers, or benzodiazepines, are notorious for addressing only part of the problem in their treatment of anxiety. As beta blockers (i.e. Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax) only tend to stop the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as accelerated heartrate. Beta blockers are also known to be ineffective as a long-term treatment.
What’s even more concerning is that many medical professionals believe such medications actually increase the negative psychological symptoms of anxiety, all the while upholding a strong reputation for addictiveness.
In contrast, one interesting study published by Neuropsychopharmacology revealed that CBD was highly effective in reducing feelings of stress and anxiety in human test subjects, and even reduced feelings of fear that were associated with a public speaking test. What’s more, test subjects who had received CBD in the test showed no sedative side effects that are common with beta medications.
A Final Word
So far, CBD has been scientifically proven to hold exceptional abilities to both effectively and efficiently combat anxiety. As more studies emerge on the subject, CBD has been found time and time again to hold anxiolytic properties – which far surpass those of many prescription drugs currently being prescribed to combat the disorder.
Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before CBD revolutionizes anxiety treatment, in turn harboring a more permanent solution for anxiety sufferers worldwide.