CBD is everywhere right now.

On the news, it’s being heralded as a miracle-worker for young children suffering from Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Online, testimonies are springing up left, right, and centre about how CBD “magically” cured Steven, 45, West Yorkshire, and his lifelong back pain.

CBD seems to be working for a whole host of physical ailments, but there’s little coverage on how it can affect mental health.

For years, now, dedicated stoners have advocated for the calming properties of marijuana, and just across the pond, growers in the US are being asked more frequently than ever to cultivate high-CBD, low-THC strains for consumption by their customers.

So, what exactly is CBD? Can it help your anxiety? In this article, Smart CBD takes you through everything you need to know about CBD and its influence on people with anxiety disorders.

How can CBD help with my anxiety?

CBD oil is extracted from hemp, which is a plant found in the cannabis family. Don’t let this discourage you – hemp is an extremely low-THC, and CBD extract is legal as a food supplement within the UK and EU.

According to research, CBD affects CB1 receptors within the brain. A receptor is a protein attached to your cell that’s capable of receiving chemical signals from different stimuli. They pass these stimuli as ‘commands’ to your cells, helping them respond.

CBD interacts with CB1 receptors in a similar way to serotonin, altering serotonin signals. Serotonin is the body’s ‘happy’ chemical and must be regulated to ensure positive mental health. People will serotonin deficiencies may suffer from a variety of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

People with low serotonin are often prescribed antidepressant medication by their doctor. These come in two main types; SSRIs and SNRIs. SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, and SNRI stands for Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor.

Both alter your brain chemistry in order to make you feel better within yourself. For some people, antidepressants and anxiolytics give them side effects that outweigh the benefits. Some of those people may benefit from CBD as an alternative. Before you make changes to your treatment plan, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Is there research to support this claim?

It has been suggested in multiple studies that CBD could benefit those with generalised anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, many of the more reputable studies have involved animals, so we have decided not to include those in this post.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, some of which have been shown to respond positively to treatment with CBD. A small study on CBD and its effects on Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) found that CBD could reduce the symptoms of this disorder. Brain scans conducted on participants found that blood flow was reduced in areas of the brain linked to anxiety.

Similarly, in a 2011 study based on CBD and its effect on anxiety induced by public speaking, researchers found that participants treated with CBD prior to giving a public speech were less anxious overall than participants who had been given the placebo.

Are there any potential side effects?

Though CBD is deemed generally safe for use by humans, there is no data available to fully evaluate side effects experienced by long-term users.

However, people taking CBD sometimes experience the following side effects:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • mood swings
  • dry mouth
  • feeling drowsy or tired
  • dizziness

Do not stop taking your normal medication without speaking to your prescribing doctor first. CBD is not an approved medicine and should not be taken in place of any prescribed medication without the go-ahead from a medical professional.

CBD oil from Smart CBD

Smart CBD stocks a range of balms, pastes, and oils to help alleviate your anxiolytic symptoms. View our range of CBD-rich products here.