Tag Archives: cannabinoil

How good is CBD for stress and anxiety? What the science says so far

There are plenty of anecdotal reports that cannabidiol (CBD) has therapeutic effects that can help relieve anxiety and stress. But do such reports hold when scrutinized by science?

What’s CBD anyway?

Image credits: Elsa Olofsson.

CBD is a supplement derived from the cannabis plant. Like its cousin THC, it has a variety of touted health and wellness benefits that make it popular among millions of consumers. However, unlike THC, it has no psychoactive properties. In other words, CBD can’t make you high.

CBD is sold in a variety of forms, including oils, incense, bath bombs, vapor rubs, vape juice, candles, and even CBD gummies. CBD dispensaries are located all over the United States but are most commonly found in states where marijuana is legal for medicinal and recreational use. CBD may or may not be legal in your state or country, which is it’s in your best interest to verify the supplement’s legal status before making an online purchase.

Is CBD good for anxiety?

Cannabinoids trigger effects in the body by mimicking the effect of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by the body), which play a crucial role in both brain and bodily functions. These substances attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors that are present throughout the body and are associated with detecting pain, appetite, immune function, mood, and more.

The human body has two types of receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. Whether it’s an annoying itch or a prick of pain, these two receptors on your skin cells will immediately start firing signals to dampen these unpleasant sensations.

CBD oils and lotions seem to bypass CB1 and CB2 receptors and directly stimulate the production of anandamide and 2-AG, neurotransmitters that block signals for pain and itch.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise to find that studies on mice suggest that CBD can help with pain and inflammation, with other avenues of therapy still in exploration. There is even evidence that CBD can boost productivity. But what about anxiety and stress?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), research shows that CBD can reduce stress in rats, which would make the cannabinoid appropriate for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Accumulating evidence now also suggests that CBD is beneficial in the cardiovascular system, where it affects white blood cell migration and platelet aggregation, both linked to the stress response. During a double-blind randomized controlled study, healthy male volunteers who were given CBD had lower resting blood pressure as well as lower than expected blood pressure increases in response to stress.

Concerning other types of anxiety, in a 2011 study researchers have a group of people with social anxiety disorder (SAD) an oral dose of 400 milligrams of CBD, while a second group that acted as the control received a placebo. Those that received CBD experienced overall reduced anxiety compared to the control when speaking in public.

More recently, CBD has been shown effective at reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects approximately 10% of people at some point in life. The efficacy of CBD for PTSD has been shown in both animals and humans.

“Human and animal studies suggest that CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for disorders related to inappropriate responses to traumatic memories. The effects of CBD on the different stages of aversive memory processing make this compound a candidate pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD. CBD also shows an action profile with fewer side effects than the pharmacological therapy currently used to treat this type of disorder,” researchers wrote in a study published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Finally, another study published in 2019 investigated the therapeutic effects of CBD for participants who came into a psychiatric clinic complaining of both anxiety and sleep problems. Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in about 80% of patients while sleep scores improved in 66% of patients.

 The bottom line is that there is some evidence that CBD can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, and perhaps can help with other disorders. However, many of the studies that we reviewed were limited, in that they either only included animal models or used a rather small sample size when assessing human patients.

Given the scale and scope of CBD use, with millions of new users buying CBD products yearly, more research is warranted so that we might have a more accurate picture of the cannabinoid’s influence on the human body.

Pot twist: Cannabis component helps fight addiction in new study

A new study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology has revealed that a non-psychoactive and non-addictive ingredient of the Cannabis sativa plant can help reduce the risk of relapse among cocaine and alcohol addicts. According to lead author Friedbert Weiss, non-psychoactive cannabinoids could have important medical benefits in the fight against substance addiction.

Image via Pixabay/futurefilmworks

Addiction is a powerful, vicious monster that lives inside yourself. The battle is an extremely hard one and it often carries stretches out over years and years — potentially for an entire life. Many abstinent addicts find it even harder to control themselves in drug-related settings or when they experience stress or higher levels of anxiousness. For them, it’s a true struggle to dismiss their impulses when offered an addictive drug like alcohol or cocaine.

Researchers wanted to study the effect of Cannabidiol (CBD) on drug relapse in a rat model. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound of the plant Cannabis sativa (I suppose you already know that’s weed). CBD has been considered as a treatment for neurological and psychiatric disorders, and more recently also as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

“The efficacy of the cannabinoid [CBD] to reduce reinstatement in rats with both alcohol and cocaine – and, as previously reported, heroin – histories predicts therapeutic potential for addiction treatment across several classes of abused drugs,” says Weiss.

Scientists applied a gel containing CBD once per day for a week to the skin of lab rats. The rodents had a history of deliberate daily alcohol or cocaine self-administration, leading to addiction-like behavior.

Next, they performed a number of tests to observe the rats’ reaction to stressful and anxiety-provoking situations, as well as behavior tests that measured impulsivity — a psychological trait associated with drug addiction. The research team reported that CBD reduced relapse provoked by stress and drug cues. CBD also reduced anxiety and impulsivity in the rats.

The authors wrote: “CBD attenuated context-induced and stress-induced drug seeking without tolerance, sedative effects, or interference with normal motivated behavior. Following treatment termination, reinstatement remained attenuated up to ≈5 months although plasma and brain CBD levels remained detectable only for 3 days. CBD also reduced experimental anxiety and prevented the development of high impulsivity in rats with an alcohol dependence history.”

Authors hope that insight into the mechanisms by which CBD exerts these effects will be investigated in future research. They believe that the findings are proof of CBD’s potential in relapse prevention, CBD’s major benefits being its actions across several vulnerability states, and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.

“Drug addicts enter relapse vulnerability states for multiple reasons. Therefore, effects such as these observed with CBD that concurrently ameliorate several of these are likely to be more effective in preventing relapse than treatments targeting only a single state,” Weiss concludes.