Can CBD really help anxiety?

Cannabidiol is a compound derived from cannabis plants that has shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety with few or no side effects.

Research on cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) is still in its infancy, but there is mounting evidence to suggest that many people can get relief from anxiety. Let’s examine what CBD oil is and how it may help reduce anxiety symptoms.

CBD oil is rich in chemicals called cannabinoids that bind to specialized receptors in the brain. The best-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the “high” people feel after using marijuana. THC, however, is just one of many cannabinoids. Cannabidiol also binds to these receptors but does not produce a psychoactive state.

A 2010 study found that cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder. Brain scans of participants revealed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. In this study, cannabidiol not only made participants feel better but also changed the way their brains responded to anxiety.

A 2011 study also found that cannabidiol could reduce social anxiety. For that study, researchers looked specifically at cannabidiol to treat anxiety associated with public speaking. Additional research published in 2014 found that CBD oil had anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in an animal model.

A 2015 analysis of previous studies concluded that CBD oil is a promising treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety-provoked sleep disorder. Researchers found that cannabidiol did in fact reduce anxiety and helped alleviate debilitating symptoms.


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