The pandemic has hit hard everywhere in the world, and the US is no exception. 19% of American adults had suffered from symptoms of anxiety early this year when a global quarantine started, according to this report by the National Institute of Mental Health. 5% of them had been officially diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Not only that, but another study found that 40% of US adults have suffered other mental health issues as well. Depression (31%) being the most prevalent, followed by PTSD (26%), substance abuse (13%), and suicidal thoughts (11%) this early June of 2020.
Mental health and therapy isn’t a joke, and although treatment is essential, there are also other ways to cope with your difficulty during these isolating situations. CBD has been known as an anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, and appetite stimulant, but were you aware it also helped with anxiety? Discover more by reading this article on how your 2020’s pandemic-induced anxiety can be coped with CBD.
What We Know About CBD
CBD—being the main ingredient of most CBD-derived products—is a well-known compound found in Cannabis sativa. It is also known as cannabidiol and is often mixed up with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Although both are phytocannabinoids with health benefits, they are two separate and different compounds in origin, therapeutic effect, and legality.
First of all, hemp is a plant that is rich with cannabidiol. It accounts for almost 57% of its phytocannabinoid count, while it has a minuscule (2.5%) amount of THC. This is why hemp is grown and used instead of marijuana—the latter has a large amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol compared to hemp.
What makes people choose cannabidiol over THC? The compound cannot induce psychoactive effects that THC quite easily gives users upon ingesting/inhaling it. Not only will it become a nuisance to their daily lives, but having THC in your body means you’re prone to a positive drug test. Only the best strains of hemp can make sure you’re both THC-free and getting a high-bioavailability strain. Some prefer to have less than 0.3% THC content in CBD products (0.3% is the legal threshold) to trigger the entourage effect.
The entourage effect happens when multiple phytocannabinoids work together in the body to elicit a more significant therapeutic effect the user desires. Cannabis has over 100 compounds, and only broad-spectrum cannabidiol products contain those other compounds. The presence of THC is not there to induce psychoactive effects (since 0.3% cannot make it possible) but instead act as the catalyst for the phenomena.
Anxiety And CBD
Anxiety affects a lot of people in many ways. It takes in many forms to cause trouble for the affected individual. For example, some people may experience generalized anxiety disorder (3.1% of the general population), while others have it in the way of social anxiety (6.8% of the general population). Whatever forms it takes, sometimes nothing can work to ease the symptoms. That is when people typically start to find alternative treatments, and CBD is one of them.
CBD works in the brain as a catalyst in the endocannabinoid system. The ECS consists of receptors and cannabinoids. These cannabinoids can either be endo (bodily made) or Phyto (found in plants), and each type has its way of interacting with the receptor. In cannabidiol’s case, it stimulates the receptors to send a message to the brain to release hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin works directly to lessen anxiety, while dopamine is a feel-good hormone that keeps any unpleasant feelings at bay.
A study published in the Journal of American Pharmacists Association has found a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms while causing little to no side-effects to the user. In their research (found here: https://www.japha.org/article/S1544-3191(19)30514-X/fulltext), the researchers encouraged physicians and users to ensure the purity of the formula for its high-efficiency. They also urge to be mindful of any legalities and drug interactions while using cannabidiol products.
Another way cannabidiol can help lessen anxiety (though this is still up for debate) is to block impulses going to a part of the amygdala, the “emotional” part of the brain. It can also block messages with the potential to stimulate stress in the brain. Many physicians and researchers find this fascinating, but it lacks evidence to prove the theory. The results are way ahead, though, as testimonies continue to pile up, unlike its scientific counterparts.