If you are searching for a natural alternative to help with anxiety, CBD may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What is CBD, you ask?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 85 scientifically-identified cannabinoids (or chemical compounds) derived from the flowing plant cannabis. Each of the cannabinoids within cannabis elicit unique neurophysiological effects.
Most people are well aware of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the predominant cannabinoid within cannabis that is ingested by upwards of 230 million people per year as a psychoactive euphoriant. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and is not taken to get “high.” Yet, CBD provides many wonderful benefits and helping people who suffer from social anxiety disorder is just one of them.
The relationship between cannabis and anxiety is a very interesting one. Large concentrations of THC is often tied to bouts of paranoia and anxiety; however, it is well-documented that CBD can counteract this effect.
With that said, a group of Brazilian researchers published an article in the 2011 Journal of Psychopharmacology that further investigates the relationship between CBD and Social Anxity Disorder (SAD). Their results suggest that CBD could offer a way for people suffering from SAD to help manage their symptoms.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)?
SAD affects approximately 12% of Americans in their lifetime and is the most common form of anxiety – also referred to as social phobia. By definition, SAD is characterized by intense fear in one of more social situations. In turn, this fear can impair daily functioning.
Can CBD Help Reduce Anxiety?
To understand why CBD might help anxiety, we first have to understand a bit more about how cannabis interacts with our bodies. It’s largely due to a physiological system called the Endocannabinoid System or ECS, which is a vast network of chemical compounds and receptors throughout the body. The primary function of the ECS is to regulate all the multitude of functions from inflammation and pain regulation, immune response, mood, neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Our body produces its own chemicals called endocannabinoids, that when fitting into receptors such as the CB1 and CB2, cause various modulating responses throughout the body. One endocannabinoid is called Anandamide and is similar to THC in cannabis. When we produce anandamide we tend to feel at ease and relaxed, just how many people feel after smoking a joint. Both Anandamide and THC fit snuggly into the CB1 receptor, found mostly in the central nervous system, thus affecting cognition and brain function.
CBD and the Brain
CBD like THC is a plant cannabinoid, but unlike THC doesn’t fit directly into any of the receptors. Instead it interacts indirectly, not only with the CB1/2 receptors but also with another related to mood and brain function, the 5HT1-A. The 5HT1-A is a serotonin receptor and is found throughout the brain and in high densities in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala – all heavily involved in the mood and anxiety disorders.
Turns out that CBD is a 5HT1-A partial agonist – which in layman’s terms means it binds to the receptor site but only stimulates the receptor partially – but scientists suggest it does so just enough to elicit an anti-anxiety effect.
Studies also suggest CBD’s ability to promote hippocampal neurogenesis (the part of the brain responsible for memory, emotion and the autonomic nervous system) could also explain why anxiety is reduced.
How to Buy CBD Oil
CBD as we know is a natural cannabinoid found in cannabis, but in most countries cannabis is illegal because it contains THC – the bit that gets you stoned. However, CBD can also be found in hemp – which is effectively the same plant, it just has next to no levels of THC and is therefore legal almost everywhere in the world.
As scientific and anecdotal evidence begin to mount, so does the interest in CBD, both from consumers and those selling the product and there are some unscrupulous companies taking advantage of the CBD gold rush. So it is vitally important to find a clean, ethically produced source of CBD oil, such as CBDPure, that comes with Organic and GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) certification.