Anxiety affects the lives of over 40% of Americans according to recent studies. And that means the out-of-control feelings of helplessness aren’t just present in 40% of the population — rather, this huge chunk of the population is struggling with maintaining a normal life due to anxiety.
Not every anxiety sufferer is fighting its effects 24/7. Some anxiety is circumstantial. Major life changes, social settings, and money troubles can be triggers for a more specific type of anxiety.
These feelings can come into your life unexpectedly and without any real warning. That’s how it happened for me, when anxiety completely overturned my life in my mid-thirties. Up until that point, I’d never realized that the occasional sick feelings I had throughout my life were actually panic attacks. It wasn’t until the attacks got so bad that I couldn’t leave my own apartment that I realized something was very wrong.
I tried every approach imaginable to beat my sudden flood of anxiety so that I could get my life back. In my trials, I learned that CBD has helped many people in the United States achieve a natural, healthy way to beat anxiety.
I soon learned that it would work for me, too.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress, something that we all encounter on a very regular basis. Symptoms of anxiety may include an increased heart rate, fast breathing, sweating, panic, and fatigue.
Anxiety isn’t always debilitating. In healthy individuals, anxiety will cause some discomfort or make one nervous in the face of day-to-day challenges. If left unchecked, stress builds up over time and can cause painful physical and emotional symptoms.
When everyday situations bring on panic and fear, anxiety is probably out of control. This state can be extremely debilitating and can upend someone’s entire life — just like it did to mine. This often leads to a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Common symptoms include emotional distress, panic attacks, excessive anxiety, and worry. I often describe it as feeling like your “fight or flight” reflex is always turned on.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is also very common. This involves irrational fear triggered by social situations. Along with severe anxiety, this condition may exhibit palpitations, fear, and depression along with the irrational thoughts and feelings about the situation.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is also an anxiety-related disorder. With OCD, obsessive thoughts lead to repetitive & impulsive behaviors. This can be extremely debilitating as it will often interfere with “normal” daily activities and patterns of behavior.
Different Types of Anxiety
There are numerous types of anxiety disorders and studies suggest CBD can help with many of them. Let’s take a quick look at a few key examples:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This affliction creates an “umbrella” feeling of panic or worry about day-to-day living. This can often be debilitating because sufferers often spend hours each day consumed in a general state of fear.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Sufferers struggle with an intense fear of social interactions. Everything from parties to simply going to work and being surrounded by other people can become painful.
Phobias: Cause powerful reactions as irrational fears manifest over particular situations or objects.
Panic Attacks: Panic attacks are so physically and mentally jarring that they’re often mistaken for heart attacks. They cause many symptoms including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and nausea.
DOES CBD HELP ANXIETY?
This is the big question, right?
The simple answer is “yes”. CBD helps with anxiety by interacting with the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system helps regulate a person’s internal systems — everything from body temperature, blood pressure, sleep and energy, metabolism, mood and much more.
What recent science has shown us is that cannabinoids are found naturally in the body, not just in hemp and cannabis plants. The reason why cannabis compounds (cannabinoids) can influence our bodies so readily is that they can interact with that natural biological system.
CBD, one of these cannabinoids, interacts with the CB1 & CB2 receptors in the brain and body through both the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems.
One of the reported effects of this interaction is a “calming” sensation, or the deactivation of the “fight or flight” response. In short, CBD has delivered the exact result anxiety sufferers are looking for in several studies.
IS CBD A SAFE ALTERNATIVE FOR ANXIETY MEDICATIONS?
Yes, CBD is natural and entirely safe according to the World Health Organization.
(You may want to consult your doctor if you’re already taking other medications, however, just to avoid any potential interactions.)
CBD is an organic compound that occurs naturally in the hemp plant and in your body. It is completely safe to ingest or apply topically.
There are cases of people weaning themselves off of prescription SSRIs with the help of CBD and/or medical marijuana. Personally, I was able to stop using prescription antidepressants because of CBD.
WHAT ARE THE NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD OIL?
It’s not very common to experience negative side effects from CBD oil. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from all of the studies out there, it’s that negative side effects almost never occur.
You could potentially run into side effects simply by using too much CBD. If you begin to experience dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, or drowsiness, try cutting back your dosage until symptoms go away.
Also be sure to avoid cannabinoid compounds with THC. Too much THC can actually increase anxiety. If your feelings of anxiety increase, check to see if you’re using a full-spectrum CBD product which may contain trace levels of THC. If so, try switching to a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD product.
Learning your dosage is usually a trial and error affair. Start with a low dosage and work your way up. Once you start to feel the effects, hold at that dosage.
HOW HAS CBD HELPED WITH YOUR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION?
My anxiety started in high school, although I really had no idea that’s what it was. I would have panic attacks regularly, and I couldn’t handle being surrounded by so many other people. Every day, I felt like I was being attacked.
Even things that I enjoyed doing started to become a nightmare. I drifted away from my friends because I couldn’t function in groups. The only time I felt safe was when I was home alone in my own bed.
The strangest thing about all of this, looking back, is that I never thought that there was anything really wrong with me. I just thought the irrational fears were true and that I was doing the natural, smart thing by avoiding people and staying home.
Obviously, time changed my opinion. I started to realize that being afraid of everything and panicking in large groups was not the shared human experience. Some therapy and meditation helped me turn that around in my early twenties and I began coming out of my shell.
I thought I was on a pretty good path until something happened when I was 35. I had sudden chest pain playing soccer with my son and had to be taken to the hospital. For some reason, that triggered a long downward spiral of anxiety that haunted me for many months afterward. Maybe it was the ambulance ride. Maybe it was thinking “man, what if I had a heart attack right there in front of my son?”
The panic attacks were worse than anything I’d ever experienced in my life. It made my miserable high school years seem like a walk through the park.
That’s when I had to start searching for a new solution. Meditation and my coping skills still helped, but I needed to up my game. Eventually I came across CBD, and it became my new best friend.
When the anxiety started to overwhelm me, I could turn to the CBD for a calming and relaxing response. When my brain starts going into that “heart attack” panic mode, the CBD slows it down and helps me rein in the irrational panic.
The CBD also helps me sleep, I’ve found, which is great for overall health and wellness. And I’ve noticed that it gives me some relief when I feel particularly sore after a workout.
Is CBD a Scam?
Obviously, from my personal experiences, I’m going to say no. There are also scientific studies that show CBD working to address many different ailments or injuries.
Although the science is there, you may still run into people who claim they’ve tried CBD and it didn’t have any effect on them. There are a few reasons why this can happen.
First of all, you have to take into account the quality of the products. There are high quality CBD products on the market…and there is junk. CBD can be made from specially-grown plants, using the best parts of the hemp using food-grade methods, and tested for purity — or it can be made from the roots and stems of the plant and be horrible. Make sure you’re using the higher quality option!
There can also be challenges with dosing. You will need to experiment with dosing for your body weight, metabolism, and what effects you’re looking to get. Everybody’s chemistry is different. You know your body and how you feel best, so use your intuition to work out the best regimen for your needs.
That being said, people still always ask me…
WHAT IS AN EFFECTIVE DOSE OF CBD OIL FOR ANXIETY?
This bears repeating:
An effective dosage of CBD will vary from person to person.
Your body weight, metabolism, tolerance, and sensitivity to CBD all come into play when figuring out the right dose.
To know if you’re getting an effective dose of CBD, pay attention to how you feel. Start low, and go slow when it comes to milligrams of CBD.
Average CBD doses for anxiety based on severity:
- Mild: 5mg-15mg
- Moderate: 15mg-30mg
- Severe: 30mg+ (avg. 30mg-60mg)
Timing is also a factor. See how one dose a day affects your symptoms. Increment doses, and milligrams as needed until desired effects are achieved. Most users end up needing a dose every 6-8 hours to manage chronic anxiety disorders.