Over the past few decades, cannabidiol (CBD) has generated a lot of interest among scientists, clinicians as well as consumers. Research has even suggested that CBD is powerful enough to counteract some of the adverse effects of THC. Moreover, there is mounting evidence from both animal and human studies that CBD has anti-anxiety properties. The truth is that many scientists have insisted that CBD is safe, well tolerated and effective if administered in the right doses.
To understand the anti-anxiety properties of CBD, it is imperative for us to first of all have some background knowledge on what anxiety disorder is and how it could affect our lives. Anxiety disorder is a group of mental illnesses that can result in distress, thereby making it almost impossible for us to go about our normal lives conveniently. This condition is quite common and an estimated 40 million adults of 18 years and older in the USA suffer from it. People with anxiety disorder are living constantly in fears and worries and this could be disabling.
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term for many different conditions such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias. Of course, all anxiety disorders share major symptoms, with the most common ones being sleep problems, panic, fear and uneasiness, shortness of breath, dry mouth, heart palpitations, tense muscles, dizziness, as well as cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet. Even though researchers are yet to find out exactly what causes anxiety, there are indications that like many other forms of mental illnesses, this condition could stem from a combination of factors including changes in the brain as well as environmental stress. Anxiety disorder, also runs in some families and people born into such families are at high risk of developing it. Even though anxiety disorder could be disabling, with the right treatment, it is possible for people to manage the symptoms and get back to their normal lives. The most common treatments of anxiety disorder include medications like antidepressants, as well as psychotherapy.
It has been scientifically proven that CBD exerts many actions in the brain that could be effective in treating anxiety. According to an animal study that was published through Pub Med in 2013, the repeated administration of CBD may help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could be useful for treating anxiety or depression. Even though this study was conducted on mice, the findings indicate that severely impaired neuronal plasticity may influence suicidal behavior. The researchers of this study further asserted that comparing CBD and SSRIs effect on neurogenesis could open up promising new avenues to understand other mental conditions like depression and how to effectively treat them.
Studies conducted on humans have also buttressed the fact that CBD is an effective anti-anxiety. According to a small study that was conducted by Brazilian researchers on patients, CBD can decrease anxiety. After consuming CBD, the patients who were afflicted with a generalized mental disorder reported a significant decrease in anxiety. The researchers went forward to validate the subjective report of patients by performing brain scans which indicated consistent cerebral flow patterns with an anti-anxiety effect.
The findings from another small study that was conducted in 2011 also supported the claims that CBD was an effective anti-anxiety agent. During this study patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder were asked to perform a simulated public speaking test. The findings from this study revealed that the participants experienced significantly less anxiety after consuming CBD. It is worthy to note that the findings were supported by objective anxiety indicators such as heart rate and blood pressure. The researchers of this study, therefore, concluded that CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment as well as discomfort in the speech of participants, whereas the placebo group instead experienced higher anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort.
A reasonable portion of research concerning how CBD acts in the brain have focused on mice, even though some human studies have also been done. Therefore, there is a need for large randomized-control trials (RCTs) in a bid to examine both the long term effects and potential for CBD. Moreover, through a randomized control trial, it becomes possible to demonstrate the efficacy as well as the highly favorable profile of CBD in relation to the other available drugs for anxiety disorder.
Sources:Web MD PMC
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