Taking on Anxiety and Stress with CBD : Takeaways from Science | By Tara DaVincenzo

Last Updated: February 1, 2022By

CBD (cannabidoil), a compound in the cannabis plant, is being pushed as a miracle antidote to nearly everything. Because of its long prohibition, there is a relatively small amount of research on its effects, both short and long term, but there are enough studies to back some of its attributes. Many of the supposed benefits of CBD come from it being somewhat of a calming agent. Inflammation and arthritisseem to catch a break when CBD is applied, and there’s substantial evidence that it’s the same case for anxiety and stress.

How Do Our Bodies Use CBD?

CBD is one of the various cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. As it turns out, it’s also been shown in studies dating back to 1988 that humans have a built-in network of receptors that are equipped specifically to produce and receive cannabinoids. When the cannabinoids of the plant are isolated, as is often the case with CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), we can uncover their exact role and response in the body.

THC was isolated and identified in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam. The isolation of CBD came earlier, but when Mechoulam discovered THC, he had also isolated CBD to compare and contrast the effects. What he uncovered was that THC was the sole chemical responsible for creating the cannabis-related high, while CBD creates a different response.

CBD has the power to be an analgesic, or inflammation reducing, and an anxiolytic, an anxiety-reducer. Studies suggest that it can be an effective treatmentof generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The few studies that do exist have shown the possibility that introducing cannabinoids into the body can result in a reduction of symptom severity or even slow the progression of diseases. This is important for anxiety and stress since they are controlled and induced by the brain. When neurotransmitters are disrupted or there is an imbalance of mood-controlling chemicals, stress and anxiety occurs. Preclinical trials have shown that CBD reacts with neurochemicals, namely serotonin. By introducing the CBD cannabinoids into the body, the brain may have the opportunity to re-establish the necessary balance to keep us happy and healthy.

Finding the Right CBD for Anxiety and Stress

Brands are creating expectations for CBD products that they can ease pain, calm inflammation and reduce anxiety. When we look at it from the scientific point of view, it’s easy to see why.

The newfound legal standing of CBD has inspired it to be shaped and molded to fit various types of ailments. If the trouble is skin deep, people can reach for a balm or salve. When your feelings and emotions need help being reigned in, CBD may not help you if it’s applied dermally.

To use CBD as a regulator of stress, it needs to be consumed. Tinctures, capsules or even vapes are some of the preferred ways for treating stress and anxiety with CBD. Consuming CBD-infused capsules, gummies, or beverages allows it the opportunity to be absorbed into the bloodstream and rerouted to the brain, where its effects are needed. The problem with consuming CBD through food or capsules is that it’s exposed to all of the breakdown initiated by digestion. This first-pass effect can reduce some of the potency and negate the hoped-for mood-boosting effects.

Still, some people who are aware of their necessary personal doses like the idea of taking a simple capsule in the morning. Another simple option is the tincture. Applied and held under the tongue for a few seconds, it has the potential to seep into the bloodstream more directly by the sublingual receptors.

Among all of the options, vaping CBD is believed to be the quickest way to administer CBD, especially in the cases against anxiety. Breathing it into your lungs gives it the most direct pathway into the bloodstream and to neurotransmitters that need it most.

CBD is as versatile in methods of consumption as it is for treatment possibilities. It could very well be considered as a natural and therapeutic alternative to other pharmacological treatments of stress and anxiety. Now that it’s legal in the U.S., researchers will be able to access it more freely, uncovering a deeper understanding of how this ancient plant can have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

Tara is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer focused on doing what you don’t have time to do: validating CBD. She covers brands, products, and developments of America’s blossoming hemp industry.

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