Anxiety is something most people experience but something few people understand. As with all emotions, anxiety serves as an adaptive mechanism, primarily in response to threats to one's survival. However, although useful in small doses, persistent anxiety can lead to maladaptation and consequential health symptoms.
In fact, chronic anxiety can lead to neurological disorders and physiological disorders. All emotions affect human physiology, mostly by stimulating various hormonal secretions. For example, emotions such as anxiety and fear can stimulate the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. On the shorthand, these hormones help to mobilize nutrients for adaptation to stress. Over the long term, the chronic production of these hormones leads to immunosuppression, hypothyroidism, low energy and the general catabolism of the body.
Needless to say, anxiety is an emotion that is better when tightly regulated. Fortunately, there are natural remedies (such as CBD oil) that are proven to help ease anxiety and its negative physiological impact. 1
Say No To SSRI's
Currently, the mainstay treatment for mood imbalances such as anxiety and depression is the use of SSRIs or serotonin reuptake inhibitors. There are many problems with the use of SSRIs; enough to write a book on, but here's the short version.
First off, SSRI's effectiveness is based on the unverified, unphysiological notion that a "serotonin deficiency" is what causes depression and anxiety. However, there has never been any scientific evidence that has found a correlation between low serotonin and depression or anxiety. However, serotonin is known to suppress the metabolic rate, increase the stress hormone cortisol, and is a potent inflammatory mediator and attributes to fibrosis. 2
As a matter of fact, serotonin plays specific, key roles in intestinal inflammation. And it just so happens that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with anxiety and depression. This is likely related to the phenomenon known as the Gut-Brain axis, which explains the connection between intestinal function, elevated serotonin and its effects on energy production. In short, serotonin seems to increase in proportion to intestinal inflammation, which directly suppresses energy metabolism, leading to depression and anxiety. 3
Studies have even found that by increasing extracellular serotonin, SSRIs disrupt energy balance in the body and often worsen symptoms of depression. 4
How CBD Treats Anxiety
Now that it's clear that SSRI's are not the solution to depression or anxiety, let's talk about some better alternatives. One possible remedy is the use of CBD oil.
CBD; short for cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid constituent of the cannabis plant. Although CBD lacks the psychoactive effects that tetrahydrocannabinol or THC has, it does possess broad-range therapeutic properties across a range of neuropsychiatric disorders. 5, 6
Recent research has found CBD to be a potential anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) treatment. 7, 8
Mechanically speaking, CBD has been found to both, directly and indirectly, regulate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor 55, the equilibrative nucleoside transporter, the adenosine transporter, and glycine receptors. 9,10,11,12,
To say the very least, these various receptors have important roles related to anxiety regulation such as maintaining the body's energy balance, immune function, emotional behaviour, and emotional response. One way these effects are helpful is for treating stress-induced anxiety. Taking CBD prior to stress has been found to help maintain the body's energy balance despite the stress, which can improve the body's adaption to stress, preventing anxiety. In other words, injecting CBD into stressed animals was found to help modulate anxiety. 13
Overall, evidence strongly supports the use of CBD as a natural treatment for anxiety disorders. In conclusion, CBD was exhibits a wide range of beneficial actions, relevant to treating anxiety, including direct anti-anxiety, and anti-compulsive actions, as well as a decrease in autonomic arousal, and even a decrease in the automatic fear response. Combined, these effects may help prevent the long-term anxiety-inducing effects of stress while helping the body cope with stress in the short term.