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What Exactly is CBD Oil, and How Can it Fight Anxiety?

CBD Stress AnxietyStress and anxiety can seriously impact your life. If you suffer from stress and anxiety, it's important for you to know you're not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults are dealing with anxiety disorders right now.  Anxiety isn't always easy to treat. You may have tried prescription medications, but may be looking for a potential alternative way to deal with your anxiety. CBD oil is an attractive alternative for many. If you're considering using CBD oil to treat your anxiety and stress, you probably have a lot of questions. Here's what you need to know about CBD oil and its potential effects on anxiety and stress. 

How Does CBD Work in Your Body?

A plant-based supplement that can help with anxiety may sound too good to be true. But learning a bit about the science of CBD oil can help you understand what it does for your body, and how it can alleviate anxiety. 

What CBD Oil is (and What it Isn't)

Many people confuse CBD oil with marijuana. While it's true that the two are related terms, they are actually very different things. Marijuana is a type of plant, while CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found within cannabis plants, such as marijuana and hemp. Cannabis plants contain more than 400 types of compounds. Aside from CBD, the most well-known of these compounds is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound that contains psychoactive properties, making marijuana users feel a sense of euphoria. Marijuana plants contain both THC and CBD oil, with THC in high amounts. The hemp plant, which is related to marijuana, contains both compounds as well. The difference is that hemp contains very low amounts of THC (less than .3 percent) and high amounts of CBD. For this reason, CBD oil is usually (although not always) sourced from hemp.

What Does CBD Oil Actually Do?

Unlike marijuana and THC, CBD oil does not make you feel high. So how does it work? It all starts with your body's endocannabinoid system: a system of neurotransmitters, many of which are located in your brain. There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. CBD products do not bind with these cannabinoid receptors, but scientists think CBD oil does interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. This interaction causes your own endocannabinoid system to become more effective, causing your body to use more of the cannabinoids it already has. 

How do these receptors affect your body? One way is through pain relief. According to an article in Psychology Today, "Some CB2 receptors have been shown preliminarily to reduce pain on a level equal to the effects of morphine without narcotics and without a high, and that mechanism could open the door to a new non-narcotic pain treatment." This could be a game-changer for people suffering from chronic pain. CB1 and CB2 receptors also influence your immune system, inflammation, mood, memories, and emotions. So, in a way, CBD oil helps your body more efficiently use its endocannabinoid system to positively influence your physical and mental well-being. Scientists are still researching the effects of CBD oil in the body. 

How Does CBD Help Reduce Anxiety?

In addition to stimulating your cannabinoid receptors, there is also evidence that CBD oil activates your serotonin receptor. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps you feel happy. Taking CBD oil has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of well-being. 

Though CBD oil research is still quite new, there have been several important clinical trials demonstrating its effectiveness. Here's a rundown on the current research.

What the Research Says

2011 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology studied the effects of CBD oil on people with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder. Study participants were given either a placebo or a single dose of CBD oil before taking a public speaking test. Those who took the CBD oil were shown to have significantly lower anxiety levels than those who took the placebo. Researchers summarized that "Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech."

Another study on social anxiety disorder was done in 2010 by the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. The study found that, after taking 400 mg of CBD oil, subjects had significantly lower anxiety levels, as measured by brain scans. 

Several animal research studies have shown CBD oil to work against anxiety in mice

A 2015 review called "Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders" summarized the current research on CBD oil and anxiety. The review states, "We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely."

Is CBD Safe for Anxiety?

CBD oil is very safe. It usually produces very few side effects, unlike many prescription medications for anxiety. If side effects do occur, they may include nausea and tiredness. However, if you take prescription medications, it's important to keep taking your medicine unless advised to do so by a doctor. It's also important to make sure CBD oil doesn't negatively interact with any prescriptions you may be taking. 

Does CBD Oil Help with Other Mental Health Problems?

Yes! CBD has been studied to help with anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Many people with specific conditions related to anxiety have benefited from CBD oil, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

How to Take CBD

Now that you've learned how CBD works in your body and how it could help your anxiety, you're probably wondering how to take it. We've got the answers to your most common questions about taking CBD hemp oil. 

Do you take CBD orally?

There are many ways to take CBD oil. Taking an oral tincture sublingually (under the tongue) is one of the most common. Other methods include vaping, edibles, lozenges, or topical applications. There is no "right way" to take CBD oil; it all comes down to personal preference. 

How Long Does it Take CBD Products to Work?

The method you use to take CBD oil will influence how soon and how long you feel its effects. According to Project CBD, a non-profit organization that educates the public about CBD oil, you'll feel the effects sooner with vaping, but for a longer duration when CBD is taken orally. They estimate that you will start to feel CBD oil's effects within a few minutes with vaping. For oral CBD oil, they estimate it taking 30 to 90 minutes to feel the effects. 

How Many mg of CBD Should You Take Daily for Anxiety and Stress?

How much CBD oil you should take depends on several factors. A smaller person obviously needs a lower dose of CBD oil than a larger person. The concentration of the CBD product you're taking is also a factor in determining dosing. For anxiety, research shows that a low to moderate dose is best. When in doubt, start out by taking very little. You can also take smaller amounts of CBD oil several times throughout the day. In general, if you have questions about CBD dosing, it's best to consult a medical professional. 

Can You Take Too Much CBD?

You can't overdose on CBD oil, and side effects occur only rarely. However, high doses of CBD oil may not be as effective against CBD oil as lower doses. 

CBD hemp oil has helped many people suffering from anxiety-related disorders. This revolutionary substance has the potential to help many more people with a variety of mental and physical health conditions in the future. 

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