With everything going on in 2020, it’s safe to say almost all of us have experienced some anxiety. We hear the term ‘anxiety’ a lot, but what exactly is it? Anxiety is a mental reaction to something stressful that often creates a sense of anguish, uneasiness, or the brain believes we are in danger. When we find ourselves in uncharted territories such as losing a job or going on a blind date, the mind is programmed to analyze these situations to determine what things are minor and what is a threat. After putting everything in categories and reviewing all possible solutions to problems, our brain then chooses the best route to take to find a resolution to the issues at hand.
Some amount of anxiety is completely necessary for safety and survival, but what happens when the mind is unable to switch back to ‘regular’ mode and we find ourselves becoming obsessive, crippled with fear, anger, or worry? What happens when even the smallest situations cause our brain to believe it may just be the end of the world? How can we use the tools nature has provided to take back control and live in a calmer state of mind?
Negative Effects of Anxiety
There are countless situations where anxiety and stress are the cause of health issues. We often think the only way we get sick is by contracting a virus or a bacterium or maybe sustaining an injury, but the brain is just as capable of making us sick as any outside element. If the body can’t process anxiety healthily, negative emotions such as fear, panic, and gloom can overwhelm it, leading to immense mental, physical, and/or emotional damage. When we’re incapable of reasonably assessing situations, our mind often causes the body to freak out, creating physical reactions such as hyperventilating, excessive sweating, loss or increase of appetite, insomnia, and the production of unnecessary cortisol.
Produced by the adrenal glands, cortisol is your body’s main stress hormone that works with the parts of the brain that control fear, mood, or provide motivation. It is best known for helping to fuel your body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct when you’re in a crisis, getting you out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. Cortisol levels are designed to decrease once the mind says it’s safe to do so, but if the mind is in a constant state of high alert, it’s common for cortisol to stay elevated. The toll this can take on the body is pretty serious and has been known to cause more than a few issues such as:
- Anxiety attacks
- Memory problems
- Heart disease
Anxiety-Caused Mental Disorders
If you find yourself seeing everything as a threat, your brain convinces you that even the smallest things can be a threat to your survival. You feel panicked about every situation, no matter how small or insignificant that may be. You may be overly terrified of germs, so you wash your hands every 10 minutes, or maybe you’re terrified that someone will kidnap you, so you never leave the house. There are dozens of ways anxiety presents itself, and they all fall within one of three categories:
- Anxiety Disorders: Have you ever felt your heart race uncontrollably because you saw a snake, or maybe you’re terrified of being in crowds of people. If you’ve found yourself overreacting to situations because you felt crippled by fear and anxiety, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced (or are still experiencing) an anxiety disorder. These include disorders such as phobias, social anxiety, panic, and separation anxiety. Anxiety disorders are triggered by fear and are often fueled by overactive imaginations or past trauma.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: Better known as OCD, people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders struggle with recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations that drive them to do something repetitively. The repetitive behaviors, such as brushing your hair a certain number of times or washing hands compulsively, can significantly interfere with one’s daily activities and social interactions. For those with OCD, routines and behaviors are unwanted and overly rigid to the point where not doing them can cause immense distress.
- Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders: Trauma-related disorders can be acute stress disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are severe psychological reactions that develop following exposure to a stressful or traumatic event such as neglect, childhood abuse, combat, assault, natural disasters, or torture.
Although the categories may vary and the treatments may differ, we know one thing: All anxiety starts in the brain. Once a doctor or therapist determines that your ailments are caused by anxiety, it’s time to start figuring out how you can help your brain feel safe, balanced, and capable of dealing with anything that comes its way. Since CBD has been shown to interact with your brain’s receptors, it might be a great remedy for those who don’t want to become reliant on prescription medications, or for those who are looking to support their current treatments or therapies.
Remedies for Anxiety
There are too many treatments to count when it comes to coping with or eliminating anxiety, but when reviewing all the options, they always seem to fall into one of two categories: Medications or Natural Remedies.
Medications for Anxiety
Anti-anxiety medications have been around for decades and are often prescribed for short-term relief from mental episodes. Dozens of anti-anxiety medications have been produced by the medical industry to treat all types of anxiety-related disorders, but the truth of the matter is they are usually designed to treat symptoms, not the root cause.
Benzodiazepines are sedatives that help to relax muscles and calm the mind and are prescribed for most anxiety episodes. They work by increasing the effects of specific neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that pass messages from one brain cell to another. Xanax or Valium are commonly-prescribed Benzodiazepines that work with suppressing symptoms, but unfortunately, they have a long list of potential side-effects one should consider before taking them. They’re most often known for causing drowsiness, memory loss, vision problems, depression, and may even cause seizures if weaned off them too quickly.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety
Before medications came into play, humans relied solely on natural remedies for relief. Some of the oldest, such as meditation, yoga, therapy, and herbs, date back thousands of years. From as far back as researchers can find, hemp is one natural remedy that’s been used to heal a myriad of health conditions ever since its discovery .
If the thought of using CBD is giving you anxiety, rest assured we are not the first generation to use it. Hemp, which is a low-THC variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, is loaded with CBD and has been a medicinal staple for generations! It was likely used as herbal medicine starting in Asia around 500 BC. For thousands of years, it was used to help the body to restore itself. CBD doesn’t just help with symptoms; it may help get to the source of the problem and put the body in prime condition to begin healing and repairing so you can experience long-term benefits.
With any supplement, there is always a chance of adverse reactions, but with the studies conducted on CBD so far, those side-effects are fairly minor. Some users have experienced nausea, fatigue, and irritability. Since side-effects tend to be far and few in between, many holistic physicians and chiropractors are recommending CBD as a natural alternative to prescription drugs.
How CBD Helps Anxiety
CBD, one of the main cannabinoids found in hemp, has been found to support our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex internal system that plays a role in regulating all types of processes and functions, including the following:
Our bodies have tons of different receptors, which are protein-based chemical structures that are attached to our cells. Plant-based CBD, often extracted from hemp, interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors that are mostly found in our central nervous system. In one study examining how CBD affects the ECS system, researchers found that cortisol levels decreased significantly when participants took CBD oil. These results suggest that CBD may have a positive effect on releasing cortisol, allowing CBD to act as a sedative to encourage normal wake/sleep cycles and overall healthy cortisol levels.
Because CBD appears to interact with a network of proteins, receptors, and chemicals in the brain, CBD may play a key role in providing your brain with a calm feeling when anxiety starts to take over. And to top it off, did you know CBD affects your serotonin? That’s right! A found link between CBD and serotonin makes CBD one of the ideal compounds to encourage a balanced state of mind. So how does this happen, exactly? When serotonin levels are too low, it’s common for people to experience depression and anxiety. The conventional treatment for low serotonin is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as Zoloft or Prozac, but with the new flood of CBD research taking place, many people with anxiety may be able to manage their condition with CBD instead of taking one of those prescription drugs.
Best CBD for Anxiety
If you’ve researched or purchased CBD before, you may have seen the terms ‘quick release’ or ‘slow release’ next to certain products. Some anxiety relief may require a quick release of CBD while other disorders would benefit more from a slow-release product. Understanding what these terms mean will help you choose the right CBD products for your needs.
Quick-Release CBD Products
Quick-release products release CBD into your system quickly. If CBD is absorbed into the skin or the mouth tissue, it can start providing relief in as little as 10 minutes! This is an ideal type of product if you suffer from sporadic panic attacks or stressors. Quick-release products will often linger in the system for over an hour, providing you with enough support to get you over the hump. Our favorite quick-release products for anxiety include gum, mints, and oils.
Slow-Release CBD Products
Opposite of quick-release, slow-release has a delayed response. With taking slow-release products, CBD will enter your system in around two hours, then it slowly releases the CBD over a 6-hour window. Slow-release CBD is perfect for people who need consistent relief from items such as chronic fear, an overactive mind, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and those who often get woken up in the middle of the night with their mind racing. The ideal products for those who believe slow-release CBD would be a good addition to support their anxiety relief can start and end their day by taking products like softgels or gummies. Another option is to purchase a quick-release product with low potency and evenly space out doses throughout the day.