Anxiety & CBD Research Overview
There’s a movement growing around the amazing benefits of CBD to treat various debilitating conditions, including most types of anxiety. Especially with the popularity of alternative treatments over prescription drugs, CBD is quickly gaining a loyal following of users who suffer from anxiety disorders. A scholarly paper on the effect of CBD on anxiety, called Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series, gathered evidence which suggests that there might be a benefit in the use of Cannabidiol to treat anxiety-related disorders. Thanks to hard work by researchers like these, we now have a solid understanding of not only the kind of anxiety that CBD might treat but also how it could get the job done. Let’s take a brief overview of all the most important studies you should know.
One of the main symptoms of anxiety problems is an uncontrollable sense of dread or restlessness. As such, any medicinal compound which can significantly improve mood or mental well-being can serve as a reliable treatment option after a series of controlled clinical trials have been done. Several studies indicate that CBD is quite adept at calming and enhancing mood. For instance, in a study conducted on 74 patients, it was observed that CBD was well tolerated, with few patients reporting side effects (Shannon, Scott, et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series).
According to the report, Cannabidiol: a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug, studies have shown that CBD has an anxiolytic-like effect via increasing neurotransmitter production, such as serotonin and dopamine. It must be pointed out that there were limitations in the tests as some patients given only placebo claimed to feel the effect of CBD. Other reports, such as Placebo effects of edible cannabis: Reported intoxication effects at a 30-minute delay by Loflin MJE et al., may hold the key as to why this happens. Some researchers argue that the notoriety associated with cannabis and medical marijuana in society probably contributes to an inflated placebo effect.
Though there is a significant difference between each type of anxiety, and no single drug works with the same efficacy, it seems that CBD may be doing more than just binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our brain. Insomnia is one noted problem that affects the overall mental well-being of people suffering from anxiety. In a trial involving kids with ASD, Barchel and colleagues noted that a solution of CBD and Δ9-THC (1,20 ratio) was effective for hyperactivity, insomnia, and anxiety (Oral Cannabidiol use in children with an autism Spectrum disorder to treat related symptoms and co-morbidities Barchel et al., 2018).
Uncontrollably trembling is another primary symptom for most people dealing with anxiety disorders. A study called Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa, suggests that CBD improved stress-related issues during standardized stress tests on lab rats. They believe it’s interaction with the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor, which helps facilitate this sense of calm. We also have double-blind, randomized testing, which concluded CBD is an effective way to relieve stress brought on by public speaking, even in those who suffer from a form of social phobia. The report, called Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients, found that the correct administration of CBD to a particular case of stress-related anxiety in public speaking, helped in relaxing the patient. Other reports have made similar conclusions about the effect of CBD on various forms of anxiety. A study called Central anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety: behavioral reversal through endocannabinoid augmentation noted the transient anxiety related to acute foot-shock stress, which can often last over 24 hours unchecked, was quickly relieved once CBD was started.
Several other studies about the relationship between CBD and anxiety are only starting to be explored, but nevertheless provide some fascinating insight into the possibilities of CBD. In Effectiveness of Cannabidiol oil for pediatric anxiety and insomnia as part of posttraumatic stress disorder: a case report, a Grade B recommendation was made for the use of CBD in patients with ASD, anxiety disorders including SAD, and sleep problems. This goes hand in hand with another report called, Interaction between non-psychotropic cannabinoids in marijuana: effect of cannabigerol (CBG) on the anti-nausea or anti-emetic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in rats and shrews. Another report, The anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol injected into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are mediated by 5-HT1A receptors, showed evidence that systemic CBD treatments significantly reduce fear and anxiety in lab rats. It also provides a deeper understanding of what causes this effect, as pretreatment of the 5-HT1A receptor effectively blocked any positive impact of CBD. The team also observed this role of the 5-HT1A receptor but took things a step further to determine cannabigerol (CBG) was the primary antagonist of CBD. Their findings also suggest CBD could be an effective treatment for stress-related vomiting, which is another common symptom of most anxiety disorders. If further testing on humans proves positive, then it raises the possibility of cannabidiol being effective in treating the same symptoms in humans.
“Cannabidiol (CBD) has shown promise in helping anxiety-patients cope with several symptoms that impair their quality of life. Several animal studies have explored the possible mechanism of action of CBD, while some randomized trials have shown benefit in anxiety-related disorders. Further clinical trials are urgently needed to assess the efficacy and confirm the safety of CBD in patients with or without comorbidities. Moreover, it’s still unclear whether CBD taken with regular anxiety drugs has an additional effect or if it’s safe to combine both drugs.” - Ahmed Diab, M.D