How Cannabidiol (CBD) Works for Treating Anxiety

How Cannabidiol (CBD) Works for Treating Anxiety

by Jeremy Kossen at www.leafly.com

While we don’t normally think of anxiety as desirable, it’s actually a critical adaptive response that can help us cope with threats to our (or a loved one’s) safety and welfare. These responses help us recognize and avert potential threats; they can also help motivate us to take action to better our situation (work harder, pay bills, improve relationships, etc.). However, when we don’t manage these natural responses effectively, they can become maladaptive and impact our work and relationships. This can lead to clinically diagnosable anxiety-related disorders. We’ve all heard the saying, “stress kills.” It’s true!

Anxiety-related disorders affect a huge segment of our population—40 million adults (18%) in the United States age 18 and older. In response, Big Pharma has developed numerous drugs to treat anxiety-related disorders, from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft to tranquilizers (the most popular class being benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax).

While these drugs can be effective for many patients, some don’t respond favorably. Certain patients don’t see much improvement, or they can’t tolerate the side effects. Moreover, tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax can be highly addictive. Clearly, alternative treatments are warranted. Could cannabidiol (CBD), the most prominent non-intoxicating constituent in cannabis, provide a viable alternative for currently available anxiety medications? Quite possibly!

In recent years, CBD has generated a tremendous amount of interest among consumers, clinicians, and scientists. Why? Not only does evidence suggest CBD counteracts many of THC’s adverse effects, but numerous animal studies and accumulating evidence from human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies suggest CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties. Administered acutely (“as needed”), it appears safe, well-tolerated, and may be beneficial to treat a number of anxiety-related disorders, including:

  • Panic disorder

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Social phobia

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Mild to moderate depression

How Does CBD Work?

CBD exerts several actions in the brain that explain why it could be effective in treating anxiety. Before we dive in, it’s important to note that most research describing how CBD works is preclinical and based on animal studies. As the saying goes, “mice are not men” — and, results from animal studies don’t always neatly transfer to human therapies. However, preclinical studies provide insights that move us in the right direction:

5-HT1A agonist: 5-HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor, which is important because anxiety and depression can sometimes be treated with medications that target the serotonin system. This is why drug companies developed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft. SSRIs work by blocking reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, which increases availability of serotonin in the synaptic space. This helps brain cells transmit more serotonin signals, which can reduce anxiety and boost mood in certain cases (although the full biological basis for this is more complicated and not fully understood).

Similar to SSRIs, CBD may boost signaling through serotonin receptors. In an animal study, Spanish researchers found that CBD enhances 5-HT1A transmission and may affect serotonin faster than SSRIs. Researchers noted:

“The fast onset of antidepressant action of CBD and the simultaneous anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect would solve some of the main limitations of current antidepressant therapies.”

Hippocampal neurogenesis: The hippocampus is a major brain area, and plays a critical role in a variety of brain functions. It’s most famous for its role in memory formation and cognition. Brain scans of patients suffering from depression or anxiety often show a smaller hippocampus, and successful treatment of depression is associated with the birth of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus.

An animal study using mice found repeated administration of CBD may help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could be useful for treating anxiety or depression. Research shows both SSRIs and CBD may promote neurogenesis. This is significant, because evidence suggests that severely impaired neuronal plasticity may influence suicidal behavior. Future research comparing CBD and SSRIs effect on neurogenesis could open up promising new avenues in how we understand depression and how to most effectively treat it.

How Can CBD Help Anxiety?

Building on the foundation of animal studies, human studies are starting to provide evidence to demonstrate that CBD can improve many commonly reported anxiety-disorder symptoms, including acute stress and anxiety.

Human Studies Show How CBD Reduces Anxiety

Brazilian researchers conducted a small double-blind study of patients afflicted with generalized social anxiety. After consuming CBD, participants reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Researchers validated patients’ subjective reports by performing brain scans showing cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with an anti-anxiety effect.

In another small study, researchers had patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder perform a simulated public speaking test. Participants reported significantly less anxiety, findings supported by objective anxiety indicators like heart rate and blood pressure.

Researchers concluded, “[CBD] significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance,” whereas the placebo group experienced “higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, [and] discomfort.”

Final Thoughts

Evidence from animal studies have begun to characterize the details of how CBD acts in the brain, and human studies of patients with and without anxiety disorders are starting to validate CBD’s efficacy as an anti-anxiety treatment. Given the huge social and financial costs of anxiety disorders in the U.S., CBD has the potential to play a significant role in treating a myriad of anxiety-related disorders.

While more research, including large randomized-control trials (RCTs), is clearly warranted to examine the long-term effects and potential for CBD, its demonstrated efficacy and highly favorable safety profile (particularly when compared to currently available drugs) make it a viable alternative or adjunct to currently available pharmaceuticals.

References

Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-36. PDF

Malberg JE, Eisch AJ, Nestler EJ, Duman RS. Chronic antidepressant treatment increases neurogenesis in adult rat hippocampus. J Neurosci. 2000;20(24):9104-10. PDF

Zlebnik NE, Cheer JF. Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation?. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2016;39:1-17. PDF

INSOMNIA AND CANNABIS

I recently received this article from Green Flower Media regarding Insomnia and using cannabis as a natural sleep aid. There are many many reasons why people can't sleep, stress, pain, anxiety and many more. Please pass this on to anyone you know that is having issues with sleeping OR want to get off medications like Ambien.  This article was written by Seshata, a journalist and researcher specializing in medical, cultural, and geopolitical aspects of cannabis.   Elizabeth...PiantaTinta

How insomniacs find sleep with cannabis – not pharmaceuticals.

Estimates suggest there’s up to more than a billion insomniacs the world over, and for severe cases, the effect on health can be catastrophic.

Lack of sleep has been associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity – not to mention an inability to keep up with daily tasks and an increase in motor vehicle incidents.

In the United States alone, approximately one-third of all adults will experience insomnia at some point in their lives. Women are afflicted at twice the rate of men, and about half of all seniors over 65 suffer from the condition.

So that means that in the U.S., there are between fifty and seventy million adults afflicted with sleep disorders. At least nine million of them regularly take prescription sleep aids in the effort to keep heads on pillows.

But the massive irony is – most of these prescription medicines have dangerous, debilitating side-effects, and the vast majority don’t really do very much anyway!

For example, Ambien (the biggest selling sleep aid in the U.S.) has never been proven to be effective at maintaining sleep, except when delivered in a controlled-release form (so the drug stays in the system for longer).

But this controlled-release form is associated with dangerous levels of morning drowsiness, which has led to motor vehicle accidents on numerous occasions. On top of that, users are also taking on a scarily high risk of addiction, violent psychosis, blackouts and suicidal thoughts!

Your alternative to this prescription medicine madness

No need for dangerous pharmaceuticals like Ambien when cannabis is proving to be so much more effective.

For centuries, if not millennia, people have been using cannabis as an all-natural sleep aid, reporting that they are able to get to sleep more quickly and ultimately feel more rested.

To understand more about cannabis and healthy sleep cycles, we spoke with the esteemed physician and medical journalist Uwe Blesching. Uwe is the author of The Cannabis Health Index as well as a new online course on cannabis and insomnia.

“Insomnia is a disease that affects millions, and is the number one reason that women turn to cannabis" he says.

It’s also clear that when used properly, cannabis can certainly help an insomniac get a much better night’s rest, and with practically zero risk or side-effects compared to current drugs.

The mechanism via which cannabis influences sleep in humans is extremely complex and far from being fully understood. However, it’s clear that several cannabinoids have an important role to play in sleep cycles.

So which cannabinoids can help, and how?

As we expand our understanding of cannabinoid science, we learn how to better use this plant for many illnesses or ailments – including insomnia.

Uwe explains that THC causes an increase in “deep” sleep and a decrease in REM sleep (the “dream” stage of sleep).

In fact, during withdrawal from THC, REM sleep goes back up and deep sleep goes down. This ties in with the common belief that tolerance breaks lead to an increase in dreams.

THC also appears to increase initial sleepiness and make the user fall asleep faster. However, it has also been repeatedly associated with feelings of lethargy the next day (an effect also commonly found in prescription meds!).

CBD appears to have a twofold effect. When attempting to fall asleep, CBD can mitigate against the possible anxiety-inducing effects of THC, allowing the user to feel relaxed, calm and peaceful.

On the other hand, CBD can also increase feelings of alertness and wakefulness, so when combined with THC in the correct ratio, it can decrease the likelihood of feeling that next-day “hangover”.

Finding the right combination of THC and CBD could potentially get you to sleep quicker and leave you much more refreshed in the morning!

THC and CBD are just the beginning!
We also now know that several lesser-studied cannabinoids such as cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG) can have a sedative effect. In fact, Steep Hill Labs says: “Of all the cannabinoids, CBN appears to be the most sedative.”

There are over a hundred unique cannabinoids in cannabis, and even more important organic compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, which can act together in countless different ways, to produce a range of unique effects.

Several terpenes commonly found in cannabis, such as myrcene, linalool and citral, have been shown to have sedative or relaxant effects. For more information, check out Green Flower’s fantastic resource on cannabis terpenes!

How Stress is Fundamental to Insomnia

Cannabis, when properly administered, can also help you tackle underlying issues that cause insomnia, particularly stress.

According to Uwe, “The most common cause for primary insomnia is so universal that it is almost synonymous with the condition itself: STRESS – especially chronic stress. More specifically the kind of stress that builds up in the form of worries, fears, emotional distress, heartaches, longings, or simply bad news.”

Targeting the symptoms of stress, as well as directly manipulating sleep cycles, should therefore prove to be a far more effective approach than the current standard in healthcare.

Currently, doctors may look at your medical history and run a few diagnostic tests, but it is unlikely that they will explore the causes of your stress in-depth. What’s far more likely is that they’ll throw a prescription sleep aid at you and move on to the next patient.

Instead, many of us now have the information and the high-quality, legally-accessible cannabis medicine with which we can begin to tailor our cannabinoids to suit us best.

Finding the Right Blend For You

This THC-free terpene oil is a great example of how we are expanding access to different formats of cannabis medicine.

More research into cannabinoid and terpene ratios could lead to the development of seriously effective, individually-targeted insomnia medications – which will reduce stress, keep the user asleep for longer, and wake up more refreshed and less “hungover” than any existing pharmaceutical! As well as – perhaps most importantly – cutting out practically all of the potential health risks.

The key to the puzzle is finding your “subjective therapeutic window,” as Uwe puts it. Your optimal dosage, in other words.

Individual genetics, state of health – these crucial factors determine what your body needs at any given time. Meeting those requirements with the correct cannabinoid profile is, in essence, finding that subjective therapeutic window.

Why is this so crucial? Uwe says: “Because taking too little is sub-optimal, while too much can actually increase the very symptoms you are attempting to treat.”

 

Source: http://greenflowermedia.com/article/treati...

Counteracting a too intense high....

Recently saw an article about 8 ways to counteract a too intense cannabis high, at Leafly.com

What surprised me was that Cannabidiol (CBD) was not even on the list. Cannabidiol counteracts any negative psychoactive effects of THC. For those of you who have never experienced this, some of the effects of taking too much THC can be rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, dizziness, inability to concentrate, increase or decrease in blood pressure, anxiety and paranoia...these can be very uncomfortable but fear not, there have been zero reported cannabis overdose deaths in the history of the plant. So remember no matter how freaked out you feel...you will be fine!!

Here is the list of 8 ways to counteract the uncomfortable effects according to Leafly.com:

1. Don't panic - the effects can last minutes to sometimes hours, but know that it will wear off, give it some time and the feelings will pass.

2. Know your Limits: don't feel pressured to consume more than you think you can handle, take it slow, especially if you are going to consume edibles. A standard dose of edibles is 10mg but I would start at 5mg and ease into it. You can always increase once you know how your body handles it. This goes for inhalation also.

3. Keep hydrated: This will help with the "dry mouth" feeling....do stay away from alcohol as it can increase THC blood concentrations.

4. Keep Black Pepper on hand: cannabis and pepper have very similar chemical traits; pepper has a “phytocannabinoid-terpenoid effect,” which is known to help with pain, depression, addiction, and anxiety. Combining the terpenoids (such as beta-caryophyllene) in pepper with the tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis has a synergistic chemical reaction on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In layman’s terms, they both bind to the same receptors in the brain and, when combined, have a therapeutic, calming effect.

5. Keep calm and rest: Concentrate on your breathing and the sound of your breath. Sometimes sleeping it off can work, but it might be hard if you can't turn your brain off, but if you feel sleepy, then sleep!

6. Try going for a walk: If you can't turn your brain off, then try going for a walk, stick close to home of course, sometimes fresh air and distraction works. If you feel light headed, then its best not to walk.

7. Take a shower or bath:  If you are at home, try this to help you relax.

8. Distract yourself: listen to music, play a video game, talk to a friend, something that gives you positive feelings (like eating ice cream!)

So, some good tips, but my favorites are:

CBD: a cannabinoid that naturally counteracts the psychoactive effects of too much THC. I personally experienced taking too much THC oil and found myself pacing the living room with a increased heart rate, and a little bit of paranoia. Knowing that I would be alright I took a dropperful (about 20mg) of CBD tincture and within 3 minutes my heart rate started slowing, and within 5 minutes I was back in bed. Had I not taken the CBD, the uncomfortable feeling could have lasted 30-690 minutes. Keep some CBD on hand!!

Black Pepper: keep some peppercorns on hand and crunch on a few! Combining the terpenoids (such as beta caryophyllene and pinene ) in pepper with the tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis has a synergistic chemical reaction on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In layman’s terms, they both bind to the same receptors in the brain and, when combined, have a therapeutic, calming effect.

Lemon peel- contains the terpene called limonene, which works on anxiety and calms.

Source: https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/8...