Have anxiety? Welcome to the club. Over 40 million US adults experience anxiety each year, making anxiety and anxiety-related disorders the most common mental illness in America.
Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants are handed out like candy by doctors across the country, and scripts like Xanax, Valium, and Prozac have become a household name. Pills to manage “problems with emotions, nerves, or mental health” are prescribed toone in six American adults.
Anxiety happens. We get it. We live in a wild world and keeping up with the demands of our modern-day lifestyles can be exhausting. Here’s the thing though. You don’t need to pop a Xanax to ease the (often crushing) weight of anxiety. An increasing number of people who suffer with anxiety have found CBD helps ease anxiety just as good (if not better) than any prescription pill.
Anxiety, Serotonin, and CBD
There’s been countless research that shows anxiety and depression are directly linked to an imbalance of serotonin. Known as “the feel-good chemical,” serotonin is a chemical and neurotransmitter responsible for several functions throughout the body including mood, anxiety, and happiness. Stress is one of the main reasons serotonin levels become depleted, which sooner or later manifests as the anxiety we all feel from time to time.
CBD can help. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid has quickly become a go-to for individuals seeking natural solutions to ease their anxiety. While CBD is a chemical compound of cannabis, it has little influence on cannabinoid receptors which is why it doesn’t get you high. In fact, CBD is known to counteract the anxiousness and paranoia that THC often elicits.
Although the cannabinoid doesn’t merge with cannabinoid receptors, CBD does have a particular attraction for binding to other receptors throughout the body and brain. One area where CBD has a special affinity is the serotonin receptor 5-HT1a. CBD is an agonist of 5-HT1a, meaning that it initiates a psychological response when combined with this serotonin receptor.
How Does CBD Work for Anxiety?
CBD works much like the meds people are often prescribed for anxiety. Zoloft and Prozac are known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and are pills designed to increase the availability of serotonin in the body and mind. This leads to the transmission of more serotonin signals, which in turn leads to decreased anxiety or feelings of depression.
Because CBD is a serotonin agonist, it has the same influence of serotonin molecules. Simply put, CBD increases the production of serotonin and helps release it to keep moods stable and anxiety at bay.
One study used brain imaging scans to determine what regions in the brain CBD helped with anxiety. Researchers discovered CBD to significantly reduce activity in regions of the brain that are typically overactive in people with anxiety. They believe this is the effect CBD has on the activity in the limbic and paralimbic brain areas.
In another study, CBD was shown to have an extremely positive effect on public speaking anxiety. Results of this 2011 study revealed a “promising indication” for people who get anxious speaking in public. Another important aspect of the study showed that the negative self-evaluation during public speaking was almost completely abolished by using CBD. Seeing that more people fear speaking in public than death, CBD shows some serious promise.
Using CBD to Ease Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety, CBD has the potential to revolutionize your life. Almost everyone experiences anxiety, but this doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it or pop a prescription pill to feel better. CBD can reduce anxiety naturally, without any of the unwanted side effects common in prescription meds.
Everyone deserves emotional freedom and to live a balanced, healthy life. Breaking the cycle of anxious thought and living in a state of panic is possible. Using CBD can ease anxiety and help bring back the natural balance of mind, body, and soul that can easily become lost in our busy lives.
Written by Jen Keehn
Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer focused on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about recreational and medical cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic healing.