A lot of the research that has been conducted on cannabis products has focused on the use of marijuana as a standalone product, rather than CBD. Some studies have found that anxiety might be helped by cannabis, while others have indicated that having anxiety is actually a risk factor for the recreational use of marijuana. Some even suggest that marijuana can cause anxiety in a person.
What is CBD?
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and is rich in chemicals called cannabinoids, which bind to certain receptors within the brain. CBD, unlike marijuana, does not produce a high, and advocates of its use argue that CBD has numerous health benefits that range from slowing cancer growth to improving mental health. CBD is edible and can be added to food as an oil, or it can be consumed in other ways.
Studies on CBD and anxiety
Anyone considering using CBD to manage anxiety should look only at the research on cannabidiol, rather than more general studies that include medical marijuana. There are fewer studies on this area, but preliminary research shows great promise. For example, a small study in 2010 found that CBD may reduce the symptoms of social anxiety for people who suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD). Scans of the brains of participants indicated that there were changes in blood flow to the areas of the brain that are linked to feelings of anxiety. The findings were that CBD made participants feel better and changed how their brains responded to anxiety.
Another study in 2011 produced similar findings about CBD and social anxiety, aimed specifically at treating feelings of anxiety associated with speaking publicly. A research paper in 2014 utilised an animal model to demonstrate that CBD had both anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects, while a 2015 analysis of studiesfound that there was evidence that CBD shows promise as a treatment for a range of anxiety disorders. However, this analysis cautioned that there is limited data on the long-term use of CBD, and any evidence of it being helpful with anxiety can only be attributed to the short-term at this point.
The role CBD plays in treating anxiety disorders remains an area for further research, and more long-term studies are needed to assess the risks and benefits. The existing research does suggest that anyone who has been unable to get any relief from other treatments could try CBD as a potential alternative solution. Anyone considering CBD to treat anxiety should consult a doctor to help determine what will be best for them, and research their local laws regarding the use of cannabis products.