- Studies show that the right dose of CBD can positively impact stress and anxiety.
- Other possible conditions that may benefit from CBD include PTSD, SAD, and insomnia.
The world has been dealing with the spread of COVID-19 for the entire year so far, and many people are understandably upset by their current circumstances. Parents everywhere are anxious about how their children are going to have a proper education while remaining safe. Essential workers are putting themselves at risk daily as they interact with the public. At a time when everyone is at their peak level of frustration and stress, CBD has an exciting opportunity to shine.
Considering all of the misinformation being spread in the world today, finding a way to soothe stress is a top priority naturally. The CBD industry is filled with studies throughout the last few years that have shown the idea that this compound is capable of eliminating stress. A decade ago, a study was published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that the use of CBD was effective in reducing the onset of symptoms associated with a social anxiety disorder (SAD). This study was further supported by subsequent research the next year, regarding the way that CBD affected individuals who suffer from anxiety as the result of speaking in public. Scientists in 2015 again concurred this effect, supporting that CBD helps deal with stress and anxiety.
The studies on CBD’s effect on the mental state of humans haven’t been limited to just anxiety and stress. In 2014, researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry in Rio de Janeiro tested out the effects of different doses of CBD oil, concluding that CBD could also suppress symptoms of depression. As recently as four years ago, CBD was found to have a positive impact on anxiety resulting from PTSD, as well as sleeplessness.
The public has already shown support for the use of CBD for sleeping support, as Jen Palmer, ND of Charlotte’s Web, explains. According to a recent article by NutraIngredients-USA.com, the Director of Education for the firm stated, “During these pandemic days, people are also turning to Charlotte’s Web for sleep support. The high levels of stress that most of us are currently dealing with can be very detrimental to sleep and can interfere with our ability to feel grounded.” Continuing, Palmer remarked that the customers of this CBD brand have primarily been using full-spectrum extracts as a way to regulate their mood and eliminate feelings of stress.
For customers of Kat’s Naturals, over 30% of customers use the cannabinoid as a way to deal with their anxiety, as well as their depression, seeing “an immediate (acute) response” during a panic attack or anxiety attack, according to Kat Merryfield. Merryfield, the founder of Kat’s Naturals, added that customers say,
“That it helps with sleep when insomnia is induced by anxiety, and taken over time has helped with depression, overall anxiety of certain situations that they once had a fear of (extinction of fear memories) and has helped with calming them in stressful situations or when feeling ‘impending doom.’”
Along with founding Kat’s Naturals, Merryfield is also a natural health practitioner, and she has found that much of the research regarding the effect that CBD has on stress and anxiety alike is incredibly helpful. She remarked,
“CBD has direct interactions with our serotonin and vanilloid receptors in our brains which help our bodies regulate mood and respond to stressors. The vanilloid system deals a lot with our ‘reward and punishment’ mechanism, and serotonin is thought of as our ‘happiness’ receptor. Studies have shown that taking large doses of CBD is not adequately dealing with anxiety but tends to have a more significant effect in moderate doses. Systemically administered CBD reduced acute increases in heart rate and blood pressure induced by restraint stress, as well as the delayed (24h) anxiogenic effects of stress. It also inhibits the ‘escape’ response in people with panic disorder.”
Dr. Hector Lopez recently became the lead author of yet another study that showcases CBD and the ways that it can help the body’s stress response. The study – “Effects of Hemp Extract on Markers of Wellness, Stress Resilience, Recovery and Clinical Biomarkers of Safety in Overweight, But Otherwise Health Subjects” – used PlusCBD products to experiment, and it was ultimately published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements in May 2020.
The results of the study “demonstrated a signal for improvements in perceived stress response, sleep, and life pleasure, while being well-tolerated across key biomarkers of health with a dose of 60 mg of full-spectrum CO2 hemp aerial parts containing 15 mg CBD.” The research ultimately showed the same general idea that many other studies had confirmed time and time again – that CBD affects the neurochemistry of the brain.
There are still many factors that play a role in how seriously these studies are taken, and scientists are interested in how much of these results are swayed by the THC content in the formulas. Dr. Lopez believes that the answers aren’t visible yet, and that “we don’t know just yet.”
By law, CBD is allowed to have up to 0.03% THC in its formula, which is so minuscule that feeling any psychoactive effects is practically impossible. Considering that users of CBD often opt for this cannabinoid because they are seeking out the therapeutic benefits, rather than the psychoactive impact. Each one plays a different role in easing anxiety, as Dr. Lopez explains.
“[T]he available clinical data and empirical research support that CBD-dominant formulations or compositions may be more suited for decreasing anxiety, improving mood and stress resilience, while simultaneously limiting any psychotoxic impairment. Whereas, a THC-dominant formulation may have more benefits for certain pain conditions.”
The entourage effect has become a rather well-known phenomenon in the industry, and for a good reason. Most research shows that using the entire plant to create an extract or oil is a preferred option since it contains a multitude of flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids that aren’t available isolated with only CBD. This collection of other compounds in the formula contributes to the phenomenon, but the use of the whole plant also means that some CBD oils can contain a small amount of CBD. Palmer commented that “the CBD-THC ratio matters” for precisely this reason. Merryfield concurs with this stance, saying,
“When paired together, CBD helps to mitigate the anxious feeling sometimes experienced from taking THC. In this sort of situation, studies have found CBD to be more helpful when taken together with THC and not as an ‘antidote.’ Studies have not shown that CBD is ineffective in helping with anxiety without THC, and that it is fine used alone, but that dosages are more important in these models.”
Even with the legal status of CBD now, there is a strikingly low number of physicians that have any formal education on what it can do. Also though the endocannabinoid system has been common knowledge amongst scientists for the last 30 years, “many medical schools … are not teaching their students about this important part of human physiology,” says Palmer.
Lopez has witnessed the same lack of attention to the system, but that doesn’t mean that medical education isn’t making progress. He noted that,
“There has been a push toward increased adoption from the explosion in research along with trends amongst practitioners and patients alike over the last 5-10 years. Physicians are seeking continued education in the responsible use of CBD and other phytocannabinoid/endocannabinoid products as part of their expanding therapeutic armamentarium.”