What, why, how is a Q&A series where we tackle questions we’ve heard from women who are curious and what want to learn more about CBD.
40 million Americans suffer from anxiety, that’s almost 18% of the population. It’s no surprise given the stress of our daily lives, the changing landscape of work, and for many the lack of financial stability.
We’ve moved from a single company career-focused society celebrating 20-year tenures to bouncing between companies every few years, and 36% of the workforce moving completely to freelancing. Some key benefits of this shift are increased independence, flexibility, and the opportunity to test out different industries. However, the downside is less overall job and financial security – very few of us are looking forward to a company-sponsored pension, plush healthcare plans, and bountiful 401ks.
Furthermore, working women are coming up the ranks professionally and making their mark but are still faced with mounting household duties. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article,
“working women put in longer hours on the job last year, spent more time caring for their children and did more work around the house than they did a year earlier. They also spent less time relaxing or socializing—and less time sleeping. Those results, from the annual American Time Use Survey released Wednesday by the Labor Department, hint at the challenges that working women face when juggling life’s various obligations.”
Anxiety and stress can come in many different forms – it can be chronic or fleeting but most of us have felt that heart tightening, heat rising, full-body anxious tension. Or maybe it was just a moment in the day where those anxious jitters kept you distracted rather than propelling you forward. Either way, there are options to take control and relax without popping a bunch of prescription pills. Enter CBD.
Q. How can CBD help me with stress and anxiety?
Preclinical research has provided encouraging results revealing the potential anti-anxiety properties of CBD. While CBD does not bind to the CB1 receptors in our brain, it does work with many other receptors in our body such as the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. The science is quite similar to how the big pharma SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac and Zoloft work. CBD blocks serotonin receptors, increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain, which may reduce anxiety and help boost overall mood.
Q: What research is available to support the potential anti-anxiety benefits claimed to be CBD?
There are two international clinical studies that often referenced. The first in Brazil, where researchers worked with a small group of people with generalized social anxiety. In this double-blind study, participants consumed CBD and reported a significant decrease in anxiety, these were then validated with brain scans revealing a blood flow pattern consistent with the anti-anxiety effect.
The second study focused on social anxiety disorder. Patients consumed 300 MG of CBD and then participated in a simulated public speaking test. Patients stated they felt significantly less anxious and researchers validated the results with anxiety indicators – heart rate and blood pressure, which were consistent with a decrease in anxiety.
To date, research conducted has shown potential benefits for CBD with several anxiety-related disorders –
- Mild Depression
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Social Phobia
Q: How do I choose the right products?
While CBD may offer anxiety relief, it is only so powerful alone. To maximize these therapeutic properties, researchers encourage using products made with the whole plant and specific terpenes – limonene and linalool.
Limonene, as its name suggests, smells like lemons. It can be found in peppermint, rosemary, and pine needle oil. Products high in limonene alleviate stress, improve mood, and help with anxiety.
Linalool, which can also be found in lavender is a sedative, which has to potential to produce calming effects. When people talk about smoking cannabis and passing out on the couch, it’s typically through consuming strains that are also high in linalool.
Q: How much should I take?
Just because you’re feeling anxious doesn’t mean you should drastically increase your dosage. CBD is most effective when you’ve reached the “Goldilocks Zone,” think back to the children’s tale. Not too hot, not too cold just right. In this case, you’re looking for not too much or too little CBD, as overdosing may actually decrease the efficacy of CBD in treating a specific disorder.
“Overshooting the Goldilocks Zone when trying to treat a given condition may reduce the efficacy of CBD. An animal study published back in 1990 found that low to moderate CBD doses reduced anxiety, but CBD’s anti-anxiety effect disappeared at higher doses. Importantly, the authors note an inverted-U response to CBD. Out of the four doses tested, the lowest dose had a moderate anti-anxiety effect, the second-lowest dose had the greatest anti-anxiety effect, the third dose had a moderate effect, and the highest dose had no effect.
While it may sound out of the ordinary, this “inverted-U” effect is actually quite common among drugs that affect multiple brain receptors, as CBD does. In fact, 37% of published toxicology articles report some degree of an inverted-U response, indicating that this is not a random event but instead reflects differential drug effects on brain targets.” Excerpt from Leafly.
Image from Leafly
Cannabis is a personal process. It takes time to find the right dose and everyone has their own dosing levels but it’s important to understand that higher doses don’t translate to increased efficacy nor higher impact.
Have you used Cannabis or CBD products to help you with anxiety? Did it work?