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CBD oil for anxiety and depression

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In recent years, anxiety and depression have been recognised more and more as serious conditions, affecting people deeply. Fear, extreme sadness, apprehension, fatigue, and other negative emotional and physical states are symptoms that can sometimes be so intense that they lead to social or even physical dysfunction.

Diagnosed conditions like Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are part of the general classification of anxiety disorders. Usually, these conditions are treated with chemical antidepressants and other medications. But recently CBD oil has been gaining interest as a possible option for treatment.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC - also found in cannabis - CBD does not cause the “high” associated with cannabis. But research is indicating that it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of CBD in this context.

How CBD works

The human body is a complex machine that requires lots of chemicals and hormones to be in balance for optimum performance. The body’s Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, helps to regulate these chemicals, affecting things like mood, sleep, blood pressure, metabolism and so on.

Sometimes, malfunctioning receptors interfere with this system. From what we know about CBD, it is thought to work with these receptors to modify and improve their ability to receive signals - thus affecting our internal functions controlled by ECS in different ways.

CBD for Anxiety

So does CBD help anxiety? Much of the early research into CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety and depression seems promising. With the caution that long-term effects are not yet very well known, more study is being undertaken to narrow down exactly how and how well cannabidiol can impact these conditions.

"CBD is also known to help relax patients and promote more restful sleep, which in term can reduce negative thoughts and improve their overall mood"

In some CBD oil studies, brain scans showed that subjects who were taking CBD showed increased blood flow to the parts of the brain that manage anxiety. CBD is also known to help relax patients and promote more restful sleep, which in term can reduce negative thoughts and improve their overall mood.

Here are a few published studies for more detailed information on CBD and anxiety:

CBD for Depression

CBD oil is also showing interesting effects on people suffering from depression, which is clinically different from anxiety. Depression is linked to low serotonin levels in the brain, and studies suggest that CBD seems to affect these receptors.

While it doesn’t increase serotonin, CBD seems to help receptors react to the serotonin levels that do exist[4]. It also seems to work faster than conventional medication. Where prescribed medication can take several weeks to show effect, CBD tests have shown a quicker impact.

"CBD tends to manifest fewer side effects than antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)"

Another positive being touted by supporters is that CBD tends to manifest fewer side effects than antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)[5]. So there are fewer reports of inhibited libido, insomnia, or personality swings.

Again, experts caution that the CBD oil research is in early stages and that more study into long-term effects needs to be engaged.

What’s the Best CBD Oil for Anxiety?

CBD products come in a few varieties, and may contain different active ingredients:

  • Full-spectrum CBD: This form of CBD contains all the compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC and other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavanoids.

  • Broad-spectrum CBD: Just like the full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all the active ingredients of the whole cannabis plant, minus the THC.

  • CBD isolate: Only the CBD, with all the other compounds extracted. It’s the purest CBD there is.

While neither of these forms is explicitly better than the other for anxiety. They do have some impact on your choice, depending on your form of anxiety. It is best to opt for a product that has been tested and certified by an accredited third party.

Assuming your available options have these, here are some tips that may help:

  • If the effects of THC are not for you, opt for a broad spectrum or isolate.

  • If you have any concerns about other ingredients at all, an isolate is your best choice.

  • A low-potency CBD is better for coping during daytime or work situations.

Ultimately the best CBD for anxiety will be the one that suits your needs and condition.

How to Use CBD for Anxiety

CBD is available in different delivery methods:

  • Tinctures: Ingested orally under the tongue, using tinctures and oils.

  • Edible: Presented in an edible form - CBD gummies or capsules.

  • Vaping: Vaping is the recommended method for consuming whole cannabis flowers and specialised vaping oils. Vaporizer oil cartridges are becoming readily available for Australian patients.

Though not typical, some people may suffer some side effects such as fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, or loss of appetite.

It’s strongly advised that you check whether CBD may interact negatively with any other medication you may be taking with your doctor. It can affect particular enzymes related to drug absorption.

A Word on CBD Dosage for Anxiety

The CBD dose for anxiety can vary significantly. Lots of factors can determine proper dosage, such as your weight, age, the severity of anxiety or depression, and so on.

Here are a list of factors which may affect dosage requirements:

  • Weight

  • Age

  • Gender

  • CBD tolerance

  • Severity of condition

Medicinal cannabis patients may find themselves prescribed anywhere from a few milligrams(mg) of CBD per day up to hundreds of milligrams per day[6] (in extreme cases), depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Finding the right dosage will require some experimentation, monitoring and adjustment. Most patients will typically be prescribed a dosage based on their body weight by the prescribing doctor. Another point to keep in mind is CBD products can contain different concentrations of CBD. For example some CBD oil tinctures may contain 25mg of CBD per millilitre(ml), whilst others may have 50mg or 100mg of CBD per ml.

If possible, speak to your doctor about the right CBD oil dosage for anxiety in your specific case. Be especially careful when using oils in a dropper, as you may need to work out what the dosage in a single drop may be.

The general guideline is to start with a low dose, monitor for adverse effects and slowly increase your dosage as recommended by your medical practitioner.

CBD and withdrawal

CBD is not psychoactive and does not cause the “high” effect associated with THC. It’s also not known to be addictive. Some users have reported irritability, diarrhoea, dizziness, and disorientation. But in terms of numbers and severity, CBD seems to have a better profile than most other medications in this kind of use.

In terms of withdrawal, there does not seem to be evidence pointing to specific symptoms after stopping use of CBD.

Last Words on CBD Oil for Anxiety and Depression

If you’re considering trying CBD for anxiety or depression, consult your doctor to make sure there are no conflicts with any current medication you’re taking. While not very common, it’s better to avoid any such conflicts when it comes to medical situations.

If you want to find out more on the process for accessing CBD oil in Australia, be sure to checkout our guide: How to access CBD and Medical Marijuana in Australia. We also have a Complete Guide to CBD Oil in Australia which goes in depth about everything CBD oils for Aussies.

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Jason Lu | BudHerd

Jason Lu | BudHerd

Jason is one of the lead editors and founder of BudHerd. He spends his days writing, designing, developing and researching all things cannabis. Jason is passionate about destigmatising and educating Australians on the therapeutic and recreational values of cannabis.
References
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  4. Sales AJ, Crestani CC, Guimarães FS, Joca SRL. Antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 30;86:255-261. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 6. PMID: 29885468.

  5. Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034

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Disclaimer
The statements made on this website are for information and educational purposes. BudHerd and its affiliates are not recommending anyone to use or cultivate cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes. Please consult with your doctor before using medicinal cannabis to learn about the associated negative side effects. Medicinal cannabis is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia and more details about cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website.