Butterflies churning in your stomach, your heart thumping in your chest and your palms slick with sweat; we’re all familiar with the hallmark sensations of anxiety.
For most people, these sensations are tied to specific situations. Drumming fingers as you wait for a job interview, deep breathing before a test or fiddling with a magazine in a dentists’ waiting room. Unpleasant as you feel, the anxiety soon passes, gone the moment that ‘threat’ is over.
For people who suffer with anxiety disorders, those feelings don’t simply slip away. At least, not for long. Instead, every single day can feel like a catalogue of threats just waiting to pounce. The fear is constant. The anticipation that everything will come crashing down around you if not now, then tomorrow, next week or next year.
It’s exhausting. Sufferers of severe anxiety live with an almost continuous feeling of fear and dread. Sometimes, without even knowing what it is you’re afraid of.
Every year the number of people suffering from anxiety is going up. 8 in 100 people are diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depression every week in UK.
Yet, with healthcare services stretched, many will struggle to find prompt or adequate treatment for this condition. This leaves loads of people looking towards alternative therapies for help. Even the medical community is always on the lookout for better, more effective ways to treat anxiety.
This is where the wellbeing wonder supplement CBD oil comes in.
Evidence is mounting that anxiety and panic disorders are another one of the growing lists of conditions that CBD may be effective in managing. The use of CBD for pain relief is something that is happening widely in the UK and certain CBD products are used by the NHS to treat a small number of conditions such as arthritis.
In this article, we’re going to pick that potential apart. We’ll look at anxiety in a little more detail, weigh up the existing treatments and see how CBD could help revolutionise the way we manage and treat mental health conditions.
You will be familiar with the standard symptoms of anxiety. Think back to the last big life-changing moment you had, and chances are you felt some of these unsettling symptoms. It’s the body’s natural response to a situation it perceives as dangerous. Fight or flight instincts kick in, the body floods with stress chemicals.
But when these feelings reappear every day, triggered by inconsequential, even non-existent things, that’s when anxiety becomes a problem. A disorder.
This life in a constant state of heightened fear brings a range of physical symptoms, as well psychological. These symptoms include:
The five main types of anxiety related disorders are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a long term condition that makes you feel anxious about many things in your life not just one specific event.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition where you have obsessive thoughts and show compulsive behaviours.
Panic Disorder is where you have sudden panic attacks or attacks of fear.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by particularly stressful or distressing events .
Social Anxiety Disorder is a long term fear of social situations.
Diagnosing anxiety can be tricky. The only way to do it is in conversation with a healthcare professional. Using a careful selection of questions, they can identify how severe your symptoms are, how regularly they occur and how large of an impact they are having on your everyday quality of life.
If the worry you feel and the subsequent physical issues caused are assessed as having a profoundly negative impact on your day-to-day life, relationships and wellbeing, you will be given a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.
You can find out more about anxiety disorders and treating anxiety on the NHS website.
Like all mental health conditions, there is no true ‘cure’ for anxiety. Treating anxiety is about finding a way for you to manage the unhelpful thought processes, with a long-term commitment to monitoring behaviors and avoiding relapse.
This is why, currently, the preferred treatment for moderate to severe anxiety is a type of therapy called CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy.
The aim of CBT is to help break the cycle of negative thoughts and behaviours that feed anxiety. It arms you with techniques and tools to tackle anxiety-provoking thought processes and helps you change your thought patterns.
Talking therapies such as counselling and other psychological interventions can also be used to treat anxiety, but CBT is usually the preferred option. This is because it empowers the sufferer to ‘treat’ themselves and identify and manage future relapses.
Relaxation techniques, including mindfulness, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation are always encouraged for anyone suffering from anxiety. You can learn and follow these through apps, classes and or on your own. They also form part of most CBT courses.
For severe anxiety, you may be prescribed medication. These drugs work by increasing the levels of serotonin (the happy chemical) in your brain. You usually start taking them in low doses, increasing until you find your symptoms lessen.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis plants (hemp and marijuana). It is non-psychoactive. This means it doesn’t create the euphoric feeling that is associated with cannabis – getting ‘high’. That feeling is attached to the THC compound which is always removed from CBD.
CBD oil is always refined until it contains less than 0.2% THC, ensuring there are no intoxicating qualities to it at all. The compound is also usually extracted from the hemp plant, as this naturally has a higher level of CBD and much lower level of THC.
The healthcare community is currently waking up to the massive potential of CBD oil benefits. It has been proven to help manage the fits and seizures of two types of epilepsy, and the NHS can now prescribe it as a treatment for them. In November 2018 CBD was also legalised for sale in the UK as a supplement.
A growing area of research suggests that CBD could be revolutionary in the treatment of mental health problems. It looks particularly promising as a treatment for anxiety.
It is thought that CBD treatment can ease anxiety in a similar way to SSRI drugs, the medication most frequently prescribed for this condition. CBD can help the body process serotonin and increase the effects it has.
Manufacture and consumption of hemp derived cbd products is legal in the UK under certain conditions, one of which is that the CBD oil should be 100% THC free.
Medical cannabis has been prescribed on the NHS since 2018. However CBD products are only prescribed for conditions such as epilepsy, nausea caused by chemotherapy and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. Medical cannabis is not currently used in treating anxiety and depression.
One of the most exciting things about CBD is that it’s a completely natural compound that echoes so closely the effects of specifically designed pharmaceutical drugs.
The drugs currently prescribed for most mental health conditions have a slew of potential side effects. Long term use can also bring its own complications: both in terms of dependency and side effects. CBD has the promise to side-step these issues as a potential treatment for anxiety.
As CBD is currently only prescribed to treat epilepsy, there is no exact CBD dosage for anxiety. General advice when using a CBD product is to start with a minimal amount, considering your size, weight and lifestyle. One of the major CBD oil benefits is that it should take effect quite a lot quicker than pharmaceutical drugs.
The medical world has only recently begun to embrace CBD and its amazing therapeutic potential. This means that research around CBD oil is in its infancy, with a lot of studies having only been carried out on rats or on in small scale clinical trials.
However, people worldwide are claiming that CBD treatment has had an incredible impact on their anxiety symptoms, proving to be an effective treatment in helping to making their anxiety disorder more manageable and allowing them to live happier lives.
Taking marijuana has been linked to a number of mental health issues. Long term use has been linked to depression, but even short-term use can be bad news for anxiety sufferers. It can induce feelings of panic or paranoia and make your heart race. These feelings are unpleasant enough for anybody but for someone already suffering from anxiety it can be unbearable.
This probably sounds like some damning side effects for CBD treatment of anxiety. Of course, there is more to it than this.
All those issues are linked to the THC in marijuana. As mentioned before, reputable CBD oil will have less than 0.2% THC in it. This is a legal requirement in the UK.
Conversely, all the research surrounding CBD oil shows that it helps improve mental health. A growing body of evidence suggests that depression, Generalised Anxiety and panic disorders all seem to be helped by CBD oil, as it assists the body with processing serotonin.
The one real warning around use of CBD is that no research exists around how it interacts with other drugs. This is a serious consideration for if you are already taking prescription medications to tackle mental health problems. If you are interested in trying CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor or therapist first.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, flooded with fear on a daily basis, CBD is certainly a supplement worth exploring.
Potentially providing the same benefits as harsher drug therapies, with less side effects, with a little more research it could revolutionise the way anxiety, panic and other mental health issues are treated.
If you are thinking of using CBD oil for anxiety there are a variety of CBD products to choose from. Nonprescription CBD products are widely available.
We’d encourage you to look for the best CBD oil products. The best CBD oils are produced by CBD brands that focus in non-GMO and organically produced CBD products. We only supply high quality CBD products that are 100% natural and THC-free.
The concentration of CBD oils varies and the product should be clearly labelled with how much CBD it contains. We stock a variety of CBD oils, ranging from 3.33% CBD oil to 20% CBD oil.
There are three main types of CBD oils, all of which are extracted from the cannabis plant.
Which is the best CBD oil when it comes to CBD treatment for anxiety? It will be down to personal choice. Full spectrum CBD has been shown to be more effective in some studies than pure CBD isolate.
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