Cannabidiol (CBD), in particular, CBD taken sublingually and CBD suppositories, has been widely used in treating anxiety and stress disorders in recent years. Although anxiety and stress are undesirable to most people, it is a typical physiological response that helps our body detect and avoid any potential threats. It only becomes a clinically diagnosable disorder when it is too much that it impacts our work and relationships.
Anxiety and stress-related disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affects 40 million adults (18%) in the United States every year. Although the mainstay treatment of anxiety and stress is the use of medication and psychotherapy, the majority have chosen to self-treat themselves with some form of CBD. Approximately more than 60% of people have used cannabidiol to treat anxiety and stress and other chronic conditions, according to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the most prominent non-intoxicating constituent extracted from the cannabis plant, is a viable alternative for currently available anxiety and stress medications. Some research suggests that cannabidiol plays a role in the endocannabinoid system and influence receptors involved in the modulation of serotonin, a chemical messenger that is associated with anxiety and stress regulation.
People interested in relieving symptoms of anxiety and stress with CBD products should look at the available research on CBD. Although there are fewer studies on cannabidiol specifically, the preliminary research is promising.
In 2010, a small study found that CBD could alleviate symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD) which occur when a person is exposed to scrutiny. Brain scans of people who were involved in the study showed improved blood flow to areas associated with feelings of anxiety and stress. The study also reports the effects of CBD on the brain and how the participants responded to fear and made them feel better.
Another study done in 2011 showed that cannabidiol could reduce social anxiety and stress. Researchers, for that study, focused only on cannabidiol in treating anxiety and stress that occur with public speaking.
Animal studies have been carried as well. According to Research published in 2014 CBD had anti-anxiety and stress and antidepressant effects in an animal model.
A report published in the journal Neurotherapeutics in 2015 analyzed the above studies and showed that CBD oil can be used in treating generalized anxiety and stress disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety and stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The report cautioned, however, that prolonged information use of CBD is limited. Little is known about the side effects associated with long term use despite there being substantial evidence in the use of CBD for short term treatment of anxiety and stress.
A 2016 case study explored whether cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety and stress-provoked sleep disorder in a child with a history of trauma. Researchers found that cannabidiol reduced the child's anxiety and stress and helped the child sleep.
Research on the use of cannabis suggests that it may have adverse health effects, mainly when smoked. Research specifically on cannabidiol, however, has found few or no adverse side effects. This means CBD sublingually or vaginally/rectally may be a good option for people who do not tolerate the side effects of other medications for anxiety and stress, including addiction.
People with anxiety and stress should know that CBD sublinguals or CBD suppositories are not regulated as a medical treatment for anxiety and stress. A person should, therefore, seek medical advice on the dosage and optimal dosage form of CBD from a doctor who has experience with CBD.