We’ve all experienced anxiety at one point or another. So much so, it’s actually the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the US every year.
But even though that many people experience anxiety every year, only about 37% receive treatment. Fortunately, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, there’s a new alternative to pharmaceuticals with the potential to help anxiety in a cleaner, non-addictive way—cannabidiol, or CBD.
Using CBD for anxiety is a fairly new concept, but it’s quickly catching on because of its natural makeup and the anecdotal and scientific evidence pointing toward its efficacy. Here’s what we know about using CBD for anxiety so far.
What Is CBD?
CBD is an active chemical compound, known as a cannabinoid or phytocannabinoid, found in the flower plant. Usually extracted from hemp, the non-intoxicating version of flower, it’s one of two well-known cannabinoids, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Unlike THC, which induces the euphoria associated with flower, CBD cannot get you high. It can, however, offer you plenty of other benefits. By directly and indirectly interacting with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), it can help soothe inflammation, ease pain, and reduce anxiety.
How Does CBD Help Anxiety?
The phytocannabinoids found in hemp stimulate our ECS in a similar way to our naturally-occurring endocannabinoids, although they don’t all do so in the same way. THC, for example, mimics our endocannabinoids in order to bind to the ECS’s cannabinoid receptors. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t focus as much on the receptors of the ECS as it does on other parts of the system.
Instead, CBD interferes with the enzyme function of the ECS, inhibiting the breakdown of endocannabinoids like anandamide, which is a mood-enhancing chemical we naturally create. By inhibiting its breakdown, anandamide levels increase in the brain, leading to an improved mood and reduced anxiety.
Plus, CBD can directly stimulate our serotonin receptors, producing an anti-anxiety effect through another channel in the body outside of the ECS. And it boosts the calming effects of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) on the brain, adding to its full-body, anti-anxiety effects.
Using CBD for Anxiety
With CBD’s documented ability to reduce anxiety in more ways than one, it’s no surprise CBD oil is already such a common choice of assistance for those dealing with anxiety. And now that it’s federally legal, you can find it almost anywhere and infused into almost anything.
So what’s the best product option when it comes to using CBD for anxiety? Edibles are readily available, but ingesting CBD sends it through your digestive system, so it can take some time to feel its effects. Topicals are excellent if you’re targeting a specific pain or inflammation point, but because they’re contained to one area and the CBD absorbs through the skin, they’re not really effective for overall relaxation. Your best bet is likely going to be a full-spectrum, sublingual CBD oil.
Underneath your tongue are capillaries that absorb the CBD oil into your bloodstream. This allows you to feel the anti-anxiety effects of CBD within minutes, making it ideal for anxiety which can have a tendency to creep up out of nowhere.
What to Know About Using CBD Oil
CBD oil is available as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate. While an isolate can be effective, you could experience more complete benefits from a full- or broad-spectrum oil. That’s because they contain the other phytonutrients found in the hemp plant, not just CBD. The phytonutrients all work together to create a synergy known as the “entourage effect,” which is the theory that the whole plant profile is greater than the sum of its parts. Meaning, nature designed all of the compounds within the plant to work together, so separating them diminishes the overall effectiveness of each of the compounds.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil has some of hemp’s other compounds besides CBD, but not all. Full-spectrum CBD oil is the ideal choice if you’re looking for a full entourage effect because it maintains the entire profile of the plant it was extracted from. Unfortunately, because the industry is still largely unregulated, it can be tricky to find a full-spectrum CBD oil that actually contains all the phytonutrients it claims to.
Finding the Right CBD Oil to Help Your Anxiety
Because of the lack of regulation around CBD, it’s important to search out a full-spectrum CBD oil that has legitimate third-party lab tests available. These lab tests tell you if the ingredients and potency listed on the label match what’s inside the bottle.
Your best bet to avoid these mislabeled, potentially harmful products is to make your CBD oil at home. If that sounds anxiety-inducing in and of itself, don’t worry. It’s actually super easy!
Using a countertop machine like the LEVO II simplifies the process for you. You can easily infuse up to 19 oz of oil, and you have complete control over the potency of the oil and the ingredients used. Making your CBD oil at home also allows you to avoid accidentally ingesting potentially harmful solvents that are often left behind from the extraction processes of store-bought CBD oil. Not to mention, if you ever want to experiment with other CBD products, you can use the LEVO II to make edibles and topicals too.
CBD for Anxiety Summary
CBD has been documented to reduce anxiety in several ways, making it an appealing, natural alternative to anti-anxiety medications.
- CBD interferes with the enzyme function of our endocannabinoid system, inhibiting the breakdown of mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain, therefore improving mood and reducing anxiety.
- CBD can stimulate our serotonin receptors to decrease anxiety. It also boosts the calming effects of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) on the brain, adding to its overall anti-anxiety effects.
- A sublingual CBD oil could be your best option when using CBD for anxiety because it’s absorbed directly into your bloodstream, allowing you to feel the effects quickly.
Because the CBD industry is still largely unregulated, it can be best to make your CBD oil at home with an easy-to-use machine like the LEVO II. This will allow you to control the ingredients and potency of your oil, avoiding the confusion and potential danger of mislabeled store-bought CBD oils. If you’re looking to reduce anxiety by making CBD a part of your life, ditch the added layer of nerves that comes with finding the right CBD oil for you, and simply make your own at home.