CBD for Anxiety & Panic Attacks: Can It Help or Make Things Worse?

CBD for Anxiety
CBD is a hot topic of discussion these days. You’ve probably heard friends and family mention it or read posts about it on social media or news websites.

People are, now more than ever, trying it as a way to relieve a wide array of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

But is it really effective? Could it potentially help you reduce your anxiety or panic attacks, or might it make things worse?

The answers to these questions are somewhat complex, and some of them might even surprise you.

How Much CBD Should You Take for Anxiety and Panic Attacks?

CBD is an acronym for Cannabidiol. As Dr. Peter Grinspoon writes, CBD is the secondary active ingredient in marijuana, placing only behind THC. However, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive (meaning that you will not feel a “high” after consuming it).

As far as acceptance by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) goes, CBD is typically regarded as safe for most people. The catch here is that there is no single, known effective dose for any given medical condition. Basically, it’s just guesswork.

Like The Depression Alliance points out on their website, finding the right dosage for treating your anxiety is pretty tricky. First of all, you have to decide which form of CBD oil you would prefer to take.

You can buy CBD oil in tinctures, capsules, tablets, or even edibles (like gummies). You can also buy it for use with a vape pen.

Also, you have to decide which type of CBD oil you want to take. You can buy pure CBD oil, which will always have the highest concentration of CBD in it. In some states where marijuana has been legalized, you can buy CBD oil with THC mixed into it.

A lot of users claim that this is actually the most potent type of CBD oil since you reap the benefits of both CBD and THC. (Note that pure CBD oil does not contain THC, so it will not turn out a positive drug test.)

There is a very minute amount of THC in hemp-based CBD oil, but this amount is so small that it does not show up on drug screens and will not give you a “high”.

After consulting with a physician, start yourself off on a small dosage. You might not notice any effects right away, so give the CBD oil up to two weeks to take hold. If you do not experience the desired effects, you will have to consider upping your dosage.

It is important to gradually increase your amount over time, as your body needs time to adjust to the CBD. Most people do not experience major positive results overnight, and since all of our bodies operate a little bit differently, you might need more – or less – time to adjust to CBD than someone else.

Be patient and allow the CBD oil time to do its work.

What Are Your Risks?

As is the case with basically any legal substance into your body, there are a few risks involved with taking CBD oil. Cathy Wong details some of the associated side-effects of using CBD oil, which can include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and enhanced levels of anxiety.

Those with liver diseases might also want to be extra careful about taking CBD oil, as there is some evidence to suggest that it boosts the amount of liver enzymes that are made. This can lead to inflammation of the liver and liver damage.

Anyone taking anti-epileptic drugs should consult with their physicians before trying CBD oil since there are a few known drug interactions there.

Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding are also encouraged to speak with their doctors about using CBD oil while pregnant or lactating, as there is not a whole lot of evidence yet in existence to prove whether or not CBD oil is harmful to unborn children and infants.

There is one study that shows the potentiality of CBD increasing the placental barrier’s permeability, which could lead to unwanted substances getting in.

So, what exactly are your risks? That is a discussion that you should have with your doctor before starting yourself on CBD oil. More doctors are becoming receptive to CBD oil since it is regarded as mostly safe to consume, but many will be hesitant to recommend it.

Still, it cannot hurt to go over your medical history and what might put you at risk if you take CBD oil.

What the Research Says?

The verdict is still out on just how effective CBD is for anxiety and panic attacks, but there have been studies (such as that by Blessing, Steenkamp, Manzanares, and Marmar) showing some pretty positive results.

The study by Blessing et al. concluded that CBD is potentially able to treat a wide array of anxiety and panic disorders. CBD seems to have an impact on a few receptors in the brain that are associated with anxiety and fear regulation: 5-HT1A (a serotonin receptor) and cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R).

A study conducted by Bergamaschi et al. revealed that CBD might be beneficial for those with socialized anxiety disorder (SAD) as it not only reduced anxiety in its test subjects but also improved their cognition, alertness, and comfort levels when faced with the task of (simulated) public speaking.

Furthermore, for those who experience sleep disturbances along with their anxiety or panic disorder, CBD oil might offer additional comfort and relaxation.

A study done on rats showed that those who experience excessive somnolence (in other words, extreme daytime sleepiness) might benefit from CBD because it helps to regulate waking by inducing alertness.

When taken at the appropriate time, CBD might be able to help regulate sleep patterns. And, with the relaxing effects, it might alleviate that rush of anxiety many of us feel when going to bed.

Final Thoughts

While there is still no concrete evidence to prove or disprove the efficacy of CBD oil, there sure are a lot of personal anecdotes and some really intriguing studies that suggest it can help reduce the severity and frequency of anxiety and panic attacks.

Just remember that, before you decide to take any CBD oil products, you should consult with your physician to see if this could be a helpful treatment option for you.

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