How CBD Oil Can Help Treat Anxiety During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Feelings of anxiety are a normal reaction to stressful circumstances. An exam, for example, can make one feel anxious. A job interview can do the same thing. Most of us will likely have elevated heart rates if asked to speak in front of an audience.
That said, can you imagine the anxiety levels people are now dealing with because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The ever-growing numbers of infected people and deaths are bad enough, but things don’t stop there.
The economy is at a standstill, with countless businesses across all industries shutting down, leading to millions of lost jobs. Then there are the shelter-in-place orders, which effectively told people to stay in their homes indefinitely. On top of all these is the avalanche of news reports and social media posts painting an uncertain future for all of us.
Mix all of that up, and we have an incredibly potent recipe for a widespread mental health crisis.
Some 40 million American adults already suffer from anxiety disorders every year. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the danger of that number hitting an all-time high is very real.
Anxiety disorders are usually addressed through psychological counseling and medication. More people, however, are becoming more open to alternative ways of coping with anxiety like CBD oil.
CBD In A Nutshell
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, a type of chemical that naturally occurs in cannabis plants like marijuana and hemp.
For some people, the word “cannabis” is synonymous with getting high. Cannabidiol, however, is nothing like its cousin, the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD doesn’t give users a high or affect their mental state. What it does, among many other things, is interact with our endocannabinoid system and provide anxiolytic effects.
Studies On CBD As Treatment For Anxiety
For now, the studies focusing on CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders are limited. Full clinical human trials that could prove or disprove the positive effect CBD has on anxiety have yet to be conducted. However, there are already several early studies establishing the potential of cannabidiol as an anxiolytic.
Much of the research about the effects of cannabidiol on anxiety were conducted on rodents. Of 32 such studies, only one didn’t show any useful results, according to a recent review.
Studies have also been done on humans, like the one from 2011 where people about to undergo a simulated public speaking test experienced reduced anxiety levels after taking CBD.
Another study reported that CBD could reduce anxiety in people with SAD, OCD, PTSD, and other mental disorders.
There’s also a case study worth mentioning, which shows that cannabidiol helped lower the anxiety levels and improve the quality of sleep of a 10-year-old PTSD patient.
How CBD Oil Works
To this day, it’s still not clear how CBD oil works to reduce anxiety levels. It is believed that cannabidiol alters serotonin signals as it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in our endocannabinoid system.
Serotonin is a chemical and neurotransmitter regarded as having a role in naturally stabilizing our mood. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression and anxiety and are typically treated with SSRI medications.
Potential Side Effects of CBD
A few small-scale clinical trials conducted on CBD have hinted at cannabidiol having possible side effects. Some subjects said they felt tired after taking CBD. Others reported reduced appetites and gastrointestinal discomfort.
However, evidence of these side effects remains inconclusive. Bigger and more extensive clinical trials are needed to decisively establish CBD’s side effects, if any.
Cannabidiol’s Other Uses
Aside from anxiety, CBD is also being used to relieve arthritic pain and as a treatment for acne. Others use it to help them sleep.
Then there’s Epidiolex, the only CBD drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s used to treat seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare forms of epilepsy that affect young children.
The existence of Epidiolex is proof that CBD has therapeutic value. The FDA may not have approved any such drug for anxiety just yet, but the potential has already been established by early studies and tons of anecdotal evidence.
If you’re considering using CBD to help with your anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, discuss it with your doctor to be on the safe side.
About the Author
Lauren Klesser is the Content Marketing Strategist for Half Day CBD, a thoughtfully-curated brand of organic hemp-derived products like CBD oils, CBD vape and CBD gummies, which are designed to help manage pain, anxiety, stress and sleep issues. In her spare time, she plays axe throwing and escape games with her family and friends.