Can CBD help with Panic Attacks?
Now more than ever, people are experiencing anxiety at an exponential rate. Beyond the normal day-to-day stressors, we are all dealing with more. We have had a few years of extra stressors with a world-wide pandemic affecting every aspect of our lives. Whether you currently deal with anxiety or have been dealing with it during more recent times, it can be challenging to manage.
For many, this anxiety can lead to panic attacks. Although there are several ways to try and handle symptoms, many individuals are looking to incorporate a natural approach. The good news is that CBD for panic attacks and anxiety has shown promising results as a holistic alternative to pharmaceutical intervention.
WHY DOES CBD HELP WITH ANXIETY?
The main reason that cannabis works so well for calming is due to the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS consists of endocannabinoids that bind to CB1 & CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located all over the body, including the immune system, central nervous system, and the brain. In essence, it is hard at work to make sure that the physiological systems stay balanced. This system also works as a bit of a defense mechanism. It helps our bodies regulate our stress, fear, and anxiety.
Nonetheless, chronic stress can ultimately impair the endocannabinoid system. Long-term exposure to stress can actually deregulate CB1 receptor signaling in the part of the brain that handles the processing of emotions. With depleted endocannabinoid signaling, we are more susceptible to developing depression as well as anxiety. Therefore, boosting CB1 signaling could be a potential therapeutic target for protecting against anxiety, and treating anxiety disorders.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety disorders are a compilation of mental health conditions characterized by excessive worrying about future events. This can bring on physical responses in the body, such as shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, insomnia, sweating profusely, and difficulty concentrating. In addition, avoidance behaviors are also common for those who suffer from anxiety. Worldwide, there is an estimated 264 million people that deal with some sort of anxiety on a daily basis. Approximately 40 million of these people are located in the U.S.
To break it down a bit more, it’s important to understand just how anxiety disorders are defined from a clinical standpoint. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder. This occurs when anxiety is felt in a broad range of situations. Social anxiety disorder is the fear of being rejected or judged in social situations.
Panic disorder involves sudden feelings of terror, resulting in panic attacks. OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is characterized by unwelcomed repetitive phobias, thoughts, and behaviors. An extreme fear triggered by an object or situation. Lastly, PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder – is a form of anxiety that includes flashbacks that develop after suffering through a traumatic event.
STUDIES SHOW THAT CBD HELPS WITH ANXIETY
While pharmaceutical companies continue to experiment with synthetic drugs in the hopes that they’ll come up with the next “miracle cure,” more and more patients are starting to turn to cannabidiol CBD to assist in alleviating their anxiety-related symptoms.
In one study, both socially anxious and healthy subjects were asked to participate in a simulated public speaking experiment. Those that suffered from social anxiety were given either a placebo or 600 mg of CBD. The healthy group did not receive either. Those who took CBD demonstrated a reduction in stress and significantly reduced anxiety.
In comparison, the placebo group did not do as well, and still experienced heightened levels of anxiety. There was no difference in performance or anxiety between the healthy group and those who were given CBD. This suggests that CBD before public speaking may grant the socially anxious to function just as well as those who do not suffer from social anxiety disorders.
A Healthier Alternative
Even though this is great news, unfortunately the research is moving at a slow pace. Some experts are still skeptical about taking CBD seriously when it comes to anxiety. However, a number of clinical trials are surfacing. Including one using 25 mg of full spectrum CBD capsules over a period of twelve weeks. There is also a clinical trial in its second phase of evaluating the efficacy of CBD for social anxiety. This trial will also measure changes in endocannabinoid levels. In addition, Harvard Medical School is currently working on a research project about CBD. It will compare single-plant and whole-plant extract effectiveness in combating anxiety.
Because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating anxiety disorders, it may take a while before we see CBD officially recognized as an FDA approved alternative to pharmaceutical medications. There doesn’t seem much benefit in waiting however, because there are no recognized negative side effects when it comes to CBD. (WHO – World Health Organization) Non-prescription CBD products are legal in all 50 states.
With positive results continuing to come from both human and animal studies, we are confident that the use of CBD for panic attacks, and other anxiety disorders, will become more mainstream in the months to come. Moreover, because CBD doesn’t induce withdrawal symptoms or dependence, it can be a good alternative to high-potency antidepressants and benzodiazepines for some patients. Especially for those looking for more natural, plant-based treatments.
FINDING THE RIGHT CBD PRODUCTS
Want to incorporate CBD oil into your current routine? Be sure to choose products that are tested in third-party labs. This ensures quality and potency. Do you research and due diligence. If you would like to learn more about CBD for Anxiety, listen to our podcast!