Stressful situations can trigger anxiety. Occasional feelings of anxiety are quite natural, and even healthy. Unfortunately, nearly 20 percent of our population suffers from levels of anxiety that interfere with their health, happiness, and their relationship with the world around them.
Anxiety does not discriminate by age, ethnicity or gender. If you are living with anxiety, you may have found that prescription medications are not always effective. The list of potential health concerns and side effects are often difficult to tolerate.
When prescription medications are not the answer, people just like you often turn to natural, non-pharmaceutical measures to combat their anxiety symptoms. Many people have found relief from their anxiety with CBD supplements.
A Brief Explanation of CBD Supplements
CBD (cannabidiol) is an extract from the cannabis plant. It can be sourced from marijuana or from hemp which are both derived from the cannabis plant species. Both CBD sources provide many of the same benefits, but CBD sourced from marijuana also contains high levels of THC, the compound responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effects.
CBD extracted from hemp does not produce any form of intoxication, yet still supplements the neurotransmitters throughout your body. Hemp sourced CBD can also be shipped to all 50 states.
Living with Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety can be genetic. It can also be a result of personal trauma or a chemical imbalance in your brain. It is possible to have more than one type of anxiety. While there are many types of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety or panic, they have similar symptoms. If you have anxiety, you may recognize some of the following:
- Feeling tense, restless or nervous
- Feelings of impending danger or doom
- Increased heart rate and breathlessness
- Feeling tense, jittery or nervous
- Sweating or trembling
- Sleep disturbances or insomnia
- Digestive disturbances
- The urge to avoid the cause of your anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
Medications to Reduce the Symptoms of Anxiety
The anti-anxiety medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety work by slowing down your excited nervous system. Many doctors resist prescribing anti-anxiety meds for long-term use because these medications are known to carry a high risk of side effects, physical dependence, and abuse. Some of the common anti-anxiety medications, and their potential side effects, include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax) – drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, lack of coordination
- Lorazepam (Ativan) – skin rashes, amnesia, drowsiness, blurred vision, muscle weakness
- Clonazepam (Klonopin) – suicidal thoughts, slow response times, depression, dizziness
For long-term anxiety treatment, doctors often prescribe antidepressants. These medications can take several weeks before having any effect on symptoms. They are also known to have an extensive list of potential side effects including nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth and suicidal thoughts.
How Anti-anxiety and Antidepressant Medications Alleviate Symptoms
The medications used to treat anxiety influence the chemicals, the neurotransmitters, that initiate a response from your brain. Anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your system, the neurotransmitter responsible for calming down excited nerves.
Antidepressants typically increase the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain. Decreased serotonin levels can cause panic attacks, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and depression.
These Medications are Interacting with Your Endocannabinoid System
Now you know that the medications that are typically prescribed for anxiety interact with the neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain. That means that prescription medications interact with your endocannabinoid system.
Your endocannabinoid system is a fascinating network of neurotransmitters and receptors that allow your body and brain to communicate and interact. The receptors are like the locks, and the neurotransmitters are the keys. Your endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating every vital system in your body.
You may notice that your endocannabinoid system regulates many of the functions in your body that are also affected by anxiety, including:
- Your moods, thoughts and emotions
- Your sleep cycles, memory and learning
- The function of your immune system
- Your heart rate
- Digestive functions
- Pain perception
- Neurodevelopment and movement
Unfortunately, many of the interactions caused by prescription medication seem to have a negative effect on your endocannabinoid system. Prescription medications commonly prescribed for anxiety can cause digestive disturbances, suicidal thoughts, weight gain, decreased libido and more, suggesting they are sending inappropriate signals or prompting an undesirable response.
Supplementing Your Endocannabinoid System with CBD
Your endocannabinoid system responds to two types of messengers, those created by your body (endocannabinoids) and cannabinoids from sources outside of your body (exogenous cannabinoids), like the cannabinoids found in CBD supplements.
The Endocannabinoids made as needed in your body are quickly broken down by enzymes. Under the strain of injury, illness or stress, your body may need more cannabinoids than it can produce. Without a sufficient amount of cannabinoids, communications fail.
Exogenous cannabinoids mimic the effects of the cannabinoids made by your body and supplement your endocannabinoid system. They bind to the receptors to facilitate communication with your brain. Research suggests that many chronic health conditions may be the result of endocannabinoid deficiencies. In fact, an anandamide deficiency, one of the messengers supplemented by CBD, can cause anxiety symptoms.
The Potential Effects of CBD for Anxiety Symptoms
Science now shows that supplementing endocannabinoid signals with CBD can have an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant effect, just like some prescription medications, without the extensive list of potential side effects.
While the studies related to the effects of CBD are relatively new, the preliminary results are quite encouraging. Here are a few examples.
- A 2010 study found that cannabidiol from hemp sources reduced social anxiety symptoms. Brain scans of study participants showed that CBD caused changes in blood flow to the brain regions linked to feelings of anxiety.
- A ten-year-old girl with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was experiencing side effects from her prescription, with only partial symptom relief. During a hemp CBD trial, her anxiety symptoms decreased and her sleep quality improved over time.
- A 2011 study investigated the effects of CBD in a double-blind test. During a public speaking event, 12 healthy subjects were given a placebo, and 12 healthy subjects were given CBD from hemp prior to their performance. The subjects given CBD supplements had significantly fewer physiological indications of anxiety, less cognitive impairment, and less physical discomfort than the control group.
CBD is a Natural Dietary Supplement
While CBD shows a lot of potential to alleviate anxiety symptoms, CBD is not a medication. CBD is not a cure or a medical treatment. CBD is a natural product that shows potential benefits for endocannabinoid system support. The evidence for the potential health benefits of CBD is based on preliminary laboratory findings, animal studies, and the testimony of people who claim that CBD helps alleviate their anxiety symptoms.
If you take any medications, please discuss the potential benefits of CBD supplements with your healthcare provider. CBD has the potential of interacting with some medications, including several anti-depressants.
For the highest quality CBD products, visit The CBDistillery. While you’re there, feel free to download The Ultimate CBD User Guide, to learn more about CBD and the potential benefits of CBD supplements.