According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. These affects 40 million adults every year. Unfortunately, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) usually begins around age 13 . Approximately 36% of people struggle for 10 years before finally seeking help.
Are you constantly worrying about embarrassing yourself, fearing to talk to strangers? Are you avoiding social gatherings due to increased stress? This is not a productive way to live. Not to mention the health consequences that can develop. Some of them are high blood pressure, clinical depression, and heart disease – if you don’t treat social anxiety. So how can a Cannabidiol treatment help and can it put a stop to anxiety issues?
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound of cannabis that has plenty of benefits. In fact, it counteracts THC’s psychoactive effects. This non-psychoactive chemical structure will not get anyone “high”. CBD consumption provides relief from various conditions including stress and anxiety.
It’s often in the form of an oil. A number of studies confirm that CBD possesses a massive potential for being a natural antidepressant, powerful neuroprotective antioxidant, and anti-psychotic remedy.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD is the second most popular cannabinoid out of 80 cannabinoid compounds. Once we consume it, cannabinoids bind to particular receptors on our cells famous as cannabinoid receptors. These CB1 and CB2 receptors play a major role in the body. They exist in nerve tissue, liver, kidney, lungs, and almost in every organ. They affect the blood cell formation and immune system as well.
All of them together make up our endocannabinoid system which has an influence on our mood, appetite, sleep, reproduction, memory, energy, etc. CB1 receptors are mainly in the brain, while CB2 are mostly in the immune system. Their primary functions are quick stress recovery, balanced immunity, neuroprotection, and homeostatic regulation.
This is where CBD does its magic because it can rapidly interact with cells in the body, due to a similar chemical composition, and produce therapeutic effects that return our system to a state of balance.
Furthermore, CBD’s effects are not solely limited to these receptors. It also acts via numerous networks that are completely independent of any receptors. This means that it can activate non-cannabinoid receptors as well.
The anti-anxiety impact of cannabidiol is largely associated with the activation of the Adenosine receptor. Hence, this is precisely the reason it can effectively help with anxiety. But at the same time, it protects the rest of the inner organs.
CBD for Social Anxiety
How does the interaction between adenosine and cannabidiol help treat anxiety? Adenosine receptors are a crucial part of the cardiovascular system. They affect the regulation of myocardial oxygen consumption as well as the coronary blood flow. Nevertheless, they are also quite significant factors of the brain. These receptors regulate the release of other neurotransmitters.
That said, with stimulated adenosine production due to CBD, cannabidiol promotes the rise of dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitters. Dopamine is responsible for motor control, motivation, perception, and reward. Glutamate is in charge of memory, learning, cognition, and excitatory signals.
CBD for social anxiety has been studied for quite a while now and the results suggest that it reduces anxiety in SAD. Animal and human studies indicate that CBD has anxiolytic properties due to its effects on the activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.
On a more interesting note, the data from a Neuropsychopharmacology study on cannabidiol as an anti-anxiety treatment, used on patients with social phobia who were instructed to give a public speech, confirm that CBD may be a highly effective treatment for social anxiety disorder.
This study compared the results of a simulated public speaking test and healthy control of the patients who received placebo and a single dose of cannabidiol. The 24 patients who took CBD experienced a significant reduction of anxiety and discomfort over public speech performance than the 12 placebo patients who presented higher anxiety levels, discomfort, and cognitive impairment.
The positive CBD properties are also mirrored in the stress-induced study of central anandamide deficiency. Since stress is one of the main anxiety triggers and increases the chances of developing serious mood and anxiety disorders, research findings support that endocannabinoid augmentation is an excellent medical strategy for treating stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
CDB vs. THC for Anxiety
There are two ways to treat anxiety with cannabinoids and that is with CBD or with THC. There are benefits to both options, although pure CBD is legal and non-psychoactive. In addition, the majority of people with anxiety can’t use THC because it encourages the anxiety and an irrational state of mind.
On the other hand, some findings suggest that THC can actually potentiate CBD effects and reduce the onset of neuropathy and serve as a treatment for insomnia, depression, and appetite loss. Still, it is recommended to start using CBD for social anxiety only because this is the safest manner to gain control and put a stop to social anxiety attacks.
If we take look at patients who voluntarily participated in clinical trials, such as those mentioned above, their message is clear – we need to raise awareness for Cannabidiol. Therefore, it’s not only studies that agree on CBD’s benefits, but a broader audience of people who have experienced the positive effects of cannabidiol consumption.
While the studies continue to examine all of the ways in which CBD balances our system, by now, it’s become quite obvious that cannabidiol is a powerful natural anxiety treatment. Not to mention that it is the most cost-efficient option if we compare it to other alternatives.