What is Anxiety Disorder?

We all may feel anxious sometimes throughout our lives. As an example, if you are going through a stressful stage of your life, anxiety should not be a surprising feeling. Anxiety disorder, on the other hand, causes persistent and ungrounded anxiety in a person, and it may grow worse over time. Anxiety disorder may interfere with a person’s functionality and ability to perform daily activities, such as work, studies and maintenance of relationships. Anxiety disorders include general anxiety disorder, panic disorder and various phobias.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder involves excessive worry and anxiety, as the name suggests, most days for at least six months.
  • Panic Disorder involves recurrent unpredictable panic attacks. While panic attacks may be triggered by fears or a stressful situation, most of the time it occurs unexpectedly.
  • Phobia-Related Disorders involve a strong and irrational fear of certain objects and/or situations.

Risk factors depend on the type of anxiety disorder; however, certain factors are common for all three types of the disorder. These are both genetic and environmental and include behavioral inhibition in childhood, stressful life events during childhood or adulthood, history of anxiety in family members, and some physical conditions, such as thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias.

How can CBD help with Anxiety Disorders?

You may have heard before that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies. While CBD is an external endocannabinoid, our bodies produce a natural one, a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Anandamide is named after ananda, the Sanskrit word for “bliss”.

The importance of anandamide was demonstrated in a 2014 study by R J Bluett and fellow researchers which showed that deficiency of anandamide can lead to anxiety induced by stress. It is, thus, not surprising that cannabinoids, which interact with the same ECS in our bodies, can alter the symptoms of anxiety.

There is plenty of evidence that suggests that CBD has anxiolytic properties, meaning it may reduce anxiety. Studies that involved both animal models and human volunteers support this claim. CBD reduced anxiety more effectively in patients with social anxiety disorder, a disorder when one is worried about being judged and watched by others.

In 2011, an experiment involving simulated public speaking showed that CBD reduced anxiety in people who had social anxiety disorder. The placebo group had higher levels of anxiety and discomfort, whereas the group pretreated with CBD had significantly reduced anxiety levels when asked to perform a public speech.

To understand how CBD affects the central nervous system and reduces anxiety, another study was performed; it tracked regional cerebral blood flow. Higher flow of blood in a given brain area indicates a higher activity in that region. When compared with placebo patients, CBD patients showed reduced anxiety. Analysis of cerebral blood flow revealed decreased activity in brain regions associated with anxiety, called amygdala-hippocampal complex and left posterior cingulate gyrus. At the same time, these patients had increased activity in another brain region, called parahippocampal gyrus. These results suggest that CBD may have anxiolytic properties through interaction with limbic and paralimbic brain areas.

One of the major concerns associated with anxiety medication are side effects, including nausea, dizziness and drowsiness. CBD differs from other anxiety medication as it does not produce any side effects and does not dampen emotional responses to stimuli. It has been demonstrated that CBD has minimal behavioral and subjective effects in healthy adults, which suggests its non-psychoactive nature.

You can read studies published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on how CBD and other cannabinoids affect anxiety at the following links:

Central anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety: behavioral reversal through endocannabinoid augmentation.

Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug.

Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa.

Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report.

Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients.

Effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on regional cerebral blood flow.

Central anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety: behavioral reversal through endocannabinoid augmentation.

The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system.

The anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol injected into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are mediated by 5-HT1A receptors.

The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety.

Cannabidiol Does Not Dampen Responses to Emotional Stimuli in Healthy Adults.

Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report.

Cannabidiol regulation of emotion and emotional memory processing: relevance for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent any university, business or affiliates. While the information provided in this article is from published scientific studies, it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Coast to Coast Natural is not responsible for the views and opinions shared in this article.