Anxiety is something that most of us experience to varying extents. And to some degree, it can actually be helpful – we need to be aware of potential threats for our own safety. However, when anxiety starts to run wild, it can severely impact our quality of life, and even be the root cause of other mental health issues, such as depression. This happens when constant overthinking and overanalyzing leads to a mental paralysis that makes us unable to do anything – or at least not with conviction.
Anxiety sufferers do not have it easy, and are not helped by the relatively poor treatment options available. The most popular prescription drugs of choice for doctors are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These are also used to manage depressive symptoms. However, they are notoriously slow to work, and some patients find them to be completely ineffective. It doesn’t help that experts are unsure as to how SSRIs help to alleviate anxiety, which is partly due to uncertainty over what causes anxiety in the first place.
But research into cannabidiol (CBD) may revolutionize how we treat anxiety moving forward. CBD is found in cannabis and hemp, but does not have the psychoactive properties that are associated with the former. This is critical, as the hallucinogenic effects of marijuana have often been accused of worsening anxiety. That said, others find that psychoactive cannabis can soothe their anxiety by reducing inhibitions. Ultimately, our understanding of how humans respond to psychotropic substances is limited. In contrast, CBD is much more predictable.
So, how does CBD work?
CBD interacts with multiple systems in the body, with the majority of its influence appearing to be in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, CBD’s anxiolytic properties seem to be linked to the serotonin system, and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters.
Recently, researchers discovered that CBD is a 5-HT1A receptor agonist. Scientists are confident that serotonin neurotransmission is involved with anxiety, and this receptor is a common target for those looking to develop anti-anxiety drugs.
CBD helps to boost levels of active GABA in the brain. GABA is necessary for promoting a balance between excitation and inhibition in the brain. An excess of excitation can cause overactivity in the brain, which has been attributed to anxiety and seizures. CBD facilitates a spike in GABA by affecting the GABA-A receptor as a positive allosteric modulator. CBD’s effect amplifies activity among GABA-A receptors in the central nervous system.
It is perfectly possible that CBD’s anti-anxiety effects go beyond what we already know. But it is encouraging that researchers have identified two mechanisms in which the compound operates. Furthermore, a study has proven that these benefits aren’t just theoretical, and that CBD performs better than a placebo. Scientists set up a public speaking test for anxiety patients, giving one group CBD-infused capsules and the other a placebo. The CBD group was much more successful in the test, and this suggests that CBD could help to control social anxiety.
Which CBD products are best for anxiety?
One of the most common complaints about SSRIs is that they don’t kick in quickly enough. Therefore, fast-acting CBD products such as e-liquids may provide the most efficient relief from anxiety. Koi CBD makes e-liquids in a wide variety of flavors using CBD-isolate. As the name indicates, CBD-isolate separates the CBD from the rest of the compounds in the plant. Even though these are made from hemp, which contains just traces of THC, the impact of other plant compounds on anxiety is largely unknown, so users may feel more comfortable taking a product that just contains CBD.
The biggest advantage of vaping CBD for anxiety is how quickly the method starts to relieve symptoms. With CBD becoming active in the body after just seconds, many find that their anxiety starts to reduce just two or three minutes after consumption. For situations where anxiety is triggered unexpectedly, the rapid effects are even more important. For those who harbor health concerns over vaping, CBD tincture oils are the next best option, taking effect after around 10 to 15 minutes.
However, for people who are left constantly on edge with anxiety, CBD edibles or capsules can be a more economical way of treating symptoms. HempBombs gummies are unable to deliver the immediate relief of e-liquids, but once the CBD is activated after being absorbed through the stomach – anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after taking them – you’ll be good for several hours. Conversely, e-liquids wear off after two to three hours.