Though the stigma surrounding mental health issues has started to wane, there is still a lot of judgment and feelings of failure surrounding them. This means that many people end up suffering in silence, not seeking treatment or finding any means of relieving the stress and issues they are dealing with.
One of the more common types of mental illness are anxiety and depression disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder (panic attacks). The thing about anxiety is that it isn’t necessarily that bad. It is actually a highly adaptive survival mechanism that is at least in part a reason for our incredible success as a species. However, for some of us, anxiety goes beyond telling us we need to run when there is a sign of danger.
For some of us, the most seemingly innocuous things can cause our bodies to react as if our life is in danger. This means racing thoughts, pulse, heart rate, and more. When anxiety reaches this level, it moves from being an adaptive survival mechanism to a disorder that interferes with your ability to easily navigate the necessary tasks of your daily life.
Anxiety can actually have incredibly far-reaching effects beyond feeling like you are stuck in fight or flight mode much of the time. Anxiety is a form of stress and there is a ton of evidence that shows just how damaging stress is on our bodies and our overall health and wellness generally. It can also make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to function normally, which can make it incredibly hard to hold down a job, which often only serves to exacerbate the problem.
On top of all these issues, health care costs are rising at a faster rate than ever before and it seems like every medication that holds any promise of providing relief to those suffering from intense anxiety also come with a very scary and often long laundry list of potential side effects you risk experiencing for, perhaps, some relief. It becomes a matter of risk versus reward for many people, trying to determine whether the multitude of side effects they experience from the medication designed to help them are worth the actual help they get from the medication.
This is why many have long sought alternative treatments for anxiety. For many years, pretty much all that was available was some advice to take some herbal remedies without much in the way of evidence to support the efficacy of said drugs. Aside from these options, suffers had therapy, exercise, meditation, etc., which can be beneficial, but are often not enough on their own to provide significant amounts of relief to people who suffer from intense anxiety or anxiety disorder.
However, in recent years, there has been a lot of research on the potential for new alternative treatments for things like anxiety disorder that may help people obtain relief without the huge range of negative effects associated with pharmaceuticals. As more states have legalized medical marijuana and even cannabis for recreational purposes, products containing certain active ingredients in the plant have been researched and made their way on to the marketplace. One of the most promising and exciting is what is called cannabidiol or CBD.
Cannabidiol is an active ingredient that is found in both marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike THC, the chemical compound most of us associate with marijuana, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties, which means it does not give one the body buzz or “high” that THC does. It does, however, provide a wide range of health benefits, including the potential to help people suffering from severe anxiety better manage their disorder without pharmaceutical drugs.
The effects of CBD oil are beginning to show. In recent years, more people suffering from a range of anxiety disorders have found a significant amount of relief through the use of CBD oil (hemp oil), which is just one form in which this compound extract can be administered. It is the easiest to find, affordable, and readily available.
While it is certainly true that more research will need to be done on the use of CBD oil and other forms of CBD to treat anxiety and other mental health disorders, research and the actual experiences of people who use CBD oil for anxiety are showing highly promising results.
Like SSRIs, which are often prescribed for people who suffer from anxiety disorders, the effects of CBD appear to boost signaling in serotonin receptors. This means that it acts in the brain in much the same way as SSRIs do and animal research indicates that it may actually enhance and affect serotonin better than pharmaceutical drugs.
Additional animal research also indicates that repeated use of cannabidiol oil can actually help the hippocampus area of the brain regenerate neurons. This area of the brain is associated with many different aspects of cognitive functioning and is also associated with anxiety, depression, and even suicidal behavior. Both SSRIs and CBD appear to promote what is called neurogenesis.
Double-blind studies on humans in Brazil have shown that participants in a recent study reported significantly reduced feelings of anxiety after taking CBD. The study was done on patients that have a history of social anxiety and the self-reports were then compared and validated against brain scans. These scans showed corresponding decreases in activity in areas of the brain associated with the physical symptoms of anxiety, showing that the effects were not placebo.
Many people looking for alternative treatments for their anxiety swear by CBD oil as a highly effective, safe, non habit forming, and a narcotic free way to obtain relief from various forms of anxiety. The research we have available to date supports these claims with a wide range of peer-reviewed evidence and experiential testimonials. This is incredibly welcome news since anxiety is something that so many people deal with and pharmaceutical drugs are hit and miss in their effectiveness and also come with so many side effects that it often seems like a better idea to just suffer than deal with the negative effects of taking some medication. Research shows that CBD acts in much the same in the brain as SSRIs, providing an alternative way for people who suffer from anxiety to feel relief.