How to Take CBD to Help Anxiety

If you have never struggled with an anxiety disorder, then it can be hard to fully appreciate how debilitating it can be. Most of us will have felt anxious in anticipation of certain situations, for example, before a driving test or an important meeting.

You might feel your heartrate and breathing speed up, and the benefit of this is that it can temporarily help to sharpen your mind and focus your attention. But imagine feeling like this a lot of the time, not necessarily in response to an unusually stressful situation. It can be physically and emotionally debilitating and really effect your quality of life. Long-term anxiety causes your brain to release stress hormones on a regular basis, which can also lead to dizziness, headaches and depression. 

 More and more people are turning to natural solutions to help with mental health conditions like anxiety disorders. There’s still a lot to learn as CBD (Cannabidiol) is a relatively recent area of research, however preliminary results are really promising. So, let’s take a closer look at the data and find out more about how CBD can help you manage symptoms of anxiety in your daily life. 

How can CBD and CBD oil help with anxiety relief?

There are multiple independent mechanisms within the nervous system that can be targeted by CBD to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. The effects of cannabidiol on Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain have been shown to be helpful in calming the mind. It works as a blocking agent against the consolidation of persistent anxiety-causing memories.

As well as regulating serotonin and dopamine production (hormones that promote positivity), CBD also relaxes muscles in the neck and shoulders, promotes restful sleep, and lowers cortisol levels in the body. "Stress hormone" cortisol is produced by the body in response to stress.

So, how does CBD work? 

First, a little on how it works. CBD is a chemical compound that is extracted from the hemp and cannabis plant. Our CBD products are made from hemp and not cannabis. They do not cause psychoactive side effects as it does not contain the THC cannabinoid, which makes it an appealing option for people looking for a natural calm.

cannabidiol compound

To ensure that there is no THC cannabinoid or any of its side effects, i-Cann's CBD products are all made using CBD isolate (taken from the hemp plant) - as opposed to the other forms such as full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD which have trace levels of the THC cannabinoid. Cannabis is illegal in the UK, and so too is any product made from cannabis. This is why all CBD products int the UK are derived from the hemp plant. You can learn more on our recent blog where we discuss CBD isolate and other types. CBD is often consumed as a CBD oil tincture but there are other CBD products available such as CBD topical skincare and CBD capsules.

It is thought that CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote an overall feeling of calm. The endocannabinoid system was identified around 30 years ago when it was found to be essential for regulating many of our bodily processes including sleep, memory, appetite, pain sensation, immune response and mood. The ECS does this by releasing natural endocannabinoids, or neurotransmitters, into the body to restore balance when a health issue develops. When you consume CBD products, you are basically supporting the work that your ECS is already doing. 

Scientists believe that CBD works to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders by binding to one of the main receptors within the ECS, the CB1 receptor. The CB1 receptor reduces inflammation of the central nervous system and helps to balance serotonin, one of the ‚Äėhappy‚Äô mood chemicals in the brain. Long-term anxiety has been shown to reduce the levels and function of GABA, a brain chemical that has a calming effect on the brain and helps to relax muscles and promote a sense of calm.¬† It is believed that the cannabinoid might help balance GABA, thus reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders.

What about stress?

Modern life can leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed out at the best of times, which can in turn lead to increased anxiety levels. So, it’s really important to make sure that you find some ways that work best for YOU to manage and recuperate from life’s stressors in order to minimise impact on your mental health.

 Nutritionist and Chartered Psychologist, Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart, PhD says:

“What’s really interesting about cannabidiol is that scientists have used MRI scans to see how CBD works and they could actually see cannabidiol working to regulate the brains response to stress".

¬†My favourite CBD oil is i-cann Peppermint Relax, which has a delicious, subtle peppermint flavour. The CBD oil is infused with lemon balm, which really helps to calm the mind and promote a sense of wellbeing. i-Cann‚Äôs CBD oil is made here in the UK and is vegan friendly and cruelty free.‚ÄĚ

Is there any real evidence that CBD oil and other products work?

cbd research

Yes! Fascinating research in the journal, Archives of General Psychiatry, found that CBD oil was able to modulate the stress response in people‚Äôs brains, as shown on MRI brain scans¬Ļ. This means that researchers could actually see the cannabinoid working to regulate the brains response to stress. CBD oil has been found to be of benefit for people with social anxiety. Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is defined by the NHS as a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations¬≤.

Researchers gave people with social anxiety either CBD oil or a placebo oil, ninety minutes before a public speaking situation. Results shows that people who took CBD felt significantly less anxious compared to the placebo group¬≥. Another more recent study investigated the effects of CBD in a clinical population of patients with anxiety and found that anxiety scores decreased within the first month in almost 80% of patients and remained decreased for the duration of the study‚Āī.¬† ¬†¬†

How to take CBD for anxiety

One of the most effective ways to take CBD for anxiety symptoms is with CBD oil. Cannabidiol when taken sublingually has the best bioavailability, meaning this is the best way for the CBD content to be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Other CBD products other than CBD oil, such as topicals are more effective for localised treatment for pain relief and skin concerns. CBD products such as CBD balm and massage oil are used to help unwind and relax the body which goes a long way in reducing symptoms of anxiety.

You can introduce CBD oil discreetly into your daily routine. As it does not contain THC, it does not have psychoactive side effects and is not impairing, which means you can take it while you work, drive and any time when you need to be at your peak and your best self. 

What's the correct CBD dose?

The correct dosage of CBD oil for you will depend on your bodyweight, your level of anxiety, and your individual body chemistry. It is important to note that it is generally recommended not to exceed the daily dosage of 70mg. Listen to your body and adjust the CBD oil dosage as required. But before you try CBD oil, do talk to your GP as CBD may interact with certain medications. 

It's important that you do your research on CBD and make sure you choose a CBD brand that has shown third-party lab testing and uses a fully certified CBD. There are some unscrupulous CBD brands out there selling CBD oil and other products that don't meet the required standards.

How long until I can feel the effects of CBD?

Whether you are taking CBD in the form of CBD oil tincture, or a CBD balm, the effects won't be felt instantaneously. Within 15 minutes after vaping or using the cannabinoid sublingually, you will begin to feel its effects. It may take up to two hours for edibles and topical products to take effect.

 

To measure the full effects of taking CBD - whether that's topical application or via CBD oil, you should consider consistently using the CBD product for a minimum period of a week to see if it works for you. 

References

¬Ļ¬†Fusar-Poli P, Crippa JA, Bhattacharyya S, Borgwardt SJ, Allen P, Martin-Santos R, et al.¬†Distinct effects of {delta}9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on neural activation during emotional processing.¬†Arch Gen Psychiatry¬†(2009)¬†66:95‚Äď105. 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.519

² Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations.

¬≥¬†Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al.¬†Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-na√Įve social phobia patients.¬†Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-26. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6

‚Āī¬†Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.¬†The Permanente journal,¬†23, 18‚Äď041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041