Anxiety is the world’s most common psychiatric disorder. According to data, one quarter of the world’s population has suffered from anxiety at some point in their life. Whilst there is a current mental health epidemic sweeping the globe, anxiety has been documented for millennia Latin and Greek philosophers distinguished anxiety as a medical disorder while Ancient Stoic philosophers describe techniques to free the mind of anxiety, which are similar to modern cognitive psychology treatments.
People experience anxiety for a number of reasons and there are multiple ways of treating and managing the disorder. Recent studies into the effects of CBD on the brain found in nearly all cases, the correct doses of the cannabinoid can help reduce anxiety in both animals and humans. The science behind the effects of CBD on the brain supports these interesting results. With CBD now becoming more accessible, it presents an alternative option for those struggling with anxiety.
For the most part, anxiety is caused by systemic inflammation of the brain, brought around by stress and worry. The relaxing effects of CBD help to combat stress and in turn reduce anxiety.
This is achieved by altering the flow of blood in the brain. As CBD has anti-inflammatory properties it reduces the swelling in the brain. When the brain swells it produces a steroid hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol increase blood pressure amongst other troubling symptoms.
Taking the flow of blood away from the area of the brain responsible for cortisol production and redistributing it to areas beneficial to functionality, CBD helps with the production of both dopamine and serotonin. These two hormones are responsible for libido, sleeping patterns, appetite and memory as well as many other functions relating to your wellbeing.
Dopamine is the chemical that is delivered when you participate in a high energy or elating activity. Whenever you finish a run, leap out of a plane, or even simply watch sport, the charged feeling you experience is a release of dopamine. The hormone acts as a reward for any pleasurable action and is the reason we seek excitement and thrilling activities.
Serotonin works similarly, aside from it is somewhat more to do with movement. Whenever you participate in active work the bodies muscles produce tryptophan. This amino acid is what your brain uses to create serotonin and prompts the ‘high’ sensation felt after a run or session in the gym.
The production and release of these hormones are what give us our instinct. They create the fight or flight feeling that in wild animals, are as much about survival as finding the next meal. The serotonin and dopamine creates the desire to hunt, whilst the cortisol creates apprehension and doubt, making them alert and cautious around possible predators.
Studies show that a regular dose of CBD, morning, noon or night can help reduce your heart rate and has a calming effect which benefits many aspects of your life. With less stress in the day, people find it easier to sleep at night. With better sleep, comes greater levels of serotonin and dopamine, both produced during the deeper stages of sleep.
Everyone’s body is different. To feel the full benefits, some will require more CBD while others will require less. While most users report improvements in wellness and health after a sustained period of using CBD it often means that users will want to increase their dosage. While most studies begin at a minimum of 20mg per dose other studies show improved symptoms between 50-300mg per day.
Of course, as exciting as this research is, if you suffer from anxiety, it’s important to reach out and consult a professional. According to Mind, one of the UK’s leading mental health charities, talking to someone you trust about what’s making you anxious can be a relief. Having someone listen to you, understand the issue and show you they care can help. If you aren’t able to open up to someone you know, the Samaritans and Anxiety UK both run helplines that you can call at any time.