With CBD’s boom onto the market it can be hard to remember the compound’s true medical benefits while it’s being sold at almost every gas station, or convenience store. Pure cannabidiol or CBD in refined form is pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotectant and mood elevating. When speaking of moods, CBD can turn a frown upside down or even work deeper alleviating symptoms of panic or anxiety attacks. So, medically speaking how does CBD work to soothe panics, calm fears and ease anxiety? Join us as we go in-depth into the science behind CBD for panic attacks and CBD for anxiety, to learn.
What are Panic & Anxiety Attacks?
Panic and anxiety attacks are often associated as one but they’re actually two separate conditions. One similarity is that CBD can help treat the symptoms of both.
Those with panic disorder endure repeated panic attacks which stem from intense feelings of fear. This is different from anxiety or anxiety attacks which are typically caused by an actual stressor. Once the stressor is removed, normally the anxiety is too. With panic attacks, it’s not always so easy.
Panic attack symptoms include dizziness, abdominal distress, shortness of breath and even heart palpitations. In fact, the symptoms often imitate those of a heart attack. The source or cause of panic disorders is currently unknown, although it’s found to be hereditary. What we do know from recent studies on animals and humans, is panic often originates in the brain and specifically the amygdala area. Abnormal activation in this area may cause panic, as it’s associated with feelings of anxiety and fear.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines are usually prescribed to those who suffer from panic attacks. But like any pharmaceutical drug, they come with their own set of side-effects. Not to mention, benzodiazepines are not effective in long-term treatment of panic disorders or attacks. It’s been reported by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence that benzodiazepine use for panic disorders should not extend past four weeks.
CBD for Panic Attacks & Disorders
Which leads us to…CBD for panic attacks and panic disorders. Many are turning CBD as a natural resource to relieving panic attacks and disorder symptoms. Especially considering the science that is seemingly backing up the claims.
Through the endocannabinoid system, CBD interacts with a variety of receptors and pathways that are responsible for sending messages throughout the body. One of those pathways include serotonin – also known as the ‘happy chemical’. By reacting positively with serotonin, CBD is able to ease feelings of panic or anxiety, ultimately improving your mood.
CBD also interacts with inhibitory neurons that would normally deplete levels of serotonin. Which means, CBD works to increase levels of serotonin present in your system, overall. In comparison to prescriptions often recommended for panic disorders or attacks, research shows that CBD affects serotonin more quickly than standard antidepressants.
Lastly, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are two types of panic related conditions. To add to evidence, in 2015 a study concluded that CBD oil has potential to treat the symptoms of PTSD and OCD in addition to anxiety disorders. Speaking of anxiety…let’s learn how CBD can efficiently effect the symptoms of feeling overly anxious.
CBD for Anxiety
Back to research findings, a 2013 study from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published that ‘CBD was shown to offer benefits including acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent.” For anxiety, CBD’s proven anxiolytic trait is most important. That’s because by definition anxiolytic means to reduce anxiety.
CBD’s improvement for anxiety symptoms stems from serotonin, too. Serotonin is comprised of least 14 receptors, one being 5-HT1A. This receptor is said to have the strongest influence on anxiety conditions. CBD specifically binds to 5-HT1A positively promoting its activation and reduction of anxiety felt.
Two recent human studies with two separate doses found positive results of CBD reducing anxiety. In 2011, a study of participants who suffered from Social Anxiety Disorder reported significant decrease in anxiety levels when dosed with 300 mg of CBD. On the flip side, in 2019 a small group of 47 individuals studied the effects of CBD on anxiety over a span of 3 months. When taking 25 mg daily, after the first month 79.2% of the participants reported a decrease in anxiety. After two months, 78.1% reported even more of an improvement in feeling less anxious.
Full or broad spectrum CBD products are shown to be more effective than isolates, in fighting anxiety symptoms. That’s because beneficial plant matter like terpenes are also showing to reduce anxiety in addition to CBD. The terpene caryophyllene is found in hemp and reduces symptoms of anxiety all on its own. In a study of mice, caryophyllene proved effective in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Caryophellene interacts directly with CB2 receptors, ultimately strengthening CBD’s effectiveness throughout the endocannabinoid system. What does that mean? Basically, with terpenes and CBD you’re amplifying anti-anxiety effects. This amplification of results is commonly known as the ‘entourage effect’.
CBD oil products containing whole plant matter often contains the cannabinoid, CBDA. CBDA is the precursor to CBD and can also be found in raw cannabis or hemp leaves. Additionally, CBDA positively interacts with the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A which we previously discussed. So, products containing a full or broad spectrum of cannabinoids increase the number of agents working against anxiety, internally.
Finally, stress can be a source of anxiety for many and CBD can help eliminate stressing from the inside out. CBD works with glands throughout the body by attaching to receptors via the endocannabinoid system. And glands, produce hormones – including, stress hormones.
Which means, CBD influences the activity of these systems – including the levels of hormones that glands create.
To use an example – the adrenal gland produces cortisol which is a hormone that manages stress. A recent study published that “CBD interferes with cortisol secretion”. Participants of the study showed lower levels of stress hormones in their plasma samples, after ingesting CBD. So, by CBD decreasing cortisol production, feelings of stress can be reduced overall.
Soothing effects of CBD
While you’ve probably heard that CBD benefits include being naturally soothing, now you know – it’s got the science to back the claim. With research steadily increasing with the federal legalization of hemp and CBD, the positive results seem to continue growing. To harness the hemp plant’s power of easing panic and anxiety symptoms, check out our full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products now.