CBD (Cannabidiol), positively influences symptoms of anxiety and inflammation and might be a smart choice for treating your symptoms.
However, gaining a deeper understanding of CBD’s effects is the key to benefiting from it. Instead of just taking a few CBD gummies once in a while, it’s essential to know how CBD might help you and also, how to use it correctly for the best results.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a molecule contained within the Cannabis plant. Importantly, CBD is not the same as marijuana, or even THC; the molecule that typically produces the “high.”
CBD is regarded as nonpsychoactive and has been associated with treating epilepsy and, more recently, as a potential option for reducing pain, anxiety, and inflammation (1-4).
Fortunately, the rise in CBD’s popularity has prompted continued research into its effects, and many of the results are promising.
Why CBD Might Help With Anxiety & Inflammation
Amazingly, the limited amount of research on CBD suggests that it might be the right choice for improving symptoms anxiety and also reducing overall inflammation.
On the mental side of things, theories on CBD suggest that its effects are broad, including influencing how we store and retrieve painful memories. Studies indicate that CBD might do so primarily through interacting with serotonin receptors known as 5-HT1A receptors, which are found throughout the brain (2, 5).
Other studies suggest that regular use of CBD might interact with how our bodies secrete and utilize cortisol, the hormone most associated with stress (6, 7).
While cortisol is often looked at as “bad,” it’s crucial for our stress response. Research shows that chronic anxiety leads to malfunctioning cortisol, but surprisingly, CBD might interrupt this process, allowing cortisol to work correctly (6-9).
However, while the exact mechanisms of CBD’s influence on anxiety are still mostly theory, studies testing CBD in those with social and chronic anxiety do show a lot of promise (10, 11, 12).
Finally, CBD appears to positively influence inflammation, which could play a role in its effect on anxiety and even depression, since all three have been linked. CBD also limits the release of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines, potentially directly reducing inflammation (13-17).
Keep in mind, this research is still quite new, but the growing evidence does show CBD might positively impact anxiety and inflammation.
Is CBD Right For You?
Research on CBD suggests that using it regularly might provide a small anti-anxiety effect as well as a reduction of inflammation. However, research on CBD is still in its infancy. Studies aren’t entirely conclusive, and we don’t yet know which dosage is best, since many studies use high doses, which would be extremely expensive for most people (10, 11, 17).
Mostly, because CBD is still relatively new, it’s probably best to use it if you have low to moderate levels of anxiety. While CBD might even help someone with clinically severe anxiety, it’s best to speak with your doctor to see if it’s the right choice in this situation.
Finally, if you do have severe anxiety and currently use anxiety medication (or any medication for that matter), make sure to speak with your doctor to ensure that CBD has no risk of negatively interacting with your medicine.
Use CBD Alongside Other Healthy Practices
First and foremost, CBD is not meant to be a cure-all. While many people have promoted its benefits, studies show a relatively mild effect on anxiety symptoms (11, 12).
Instead, try to use CBD in combination with other practices that will help you achieve your goal of reducing or entirely abolishing your anxiety.
If you’re not already, this means using CBD alongside a proper and consistent exercise routine. It also means establishing proper eating habits comprised of adequate calories and nutritious, whole-food options.
Along with consistent use of CBD, try dedicating specific time to de-stressing and working through your anxious thoughts. If possible, meeting with a therapist might also be a smart move.
How To Incorporate CBD Into Your Life
CBD is a very new product for mainstream health, which means that standards haven’t yet been established. As a consumer, you want to ensure you’re not only getting what you pay for but that you’re taking CBD in the most effective manner possible.
Use The Right CBD Product
Since the CBD market is new and mostly unregulated, many companies don’t bother to hold high standards. Because of the lack of oversight, you should find a company that uses third party laboratory testing on their products to ensure they’re both safe and effective.
Second, read reviews from previous customers. In our online age, reading reviews is the best way to find a product with a high reputation and solid proof of effectiveness.
Choose The Most Effective Method of Using CBD
There are many ways to consume CBD, such as gummies, pills, tinctures, and vapor, but unfortunately, these methods are not equal in their effectiveness.
CBD, when taken by mouth through gummies and pills, has low bioavailability. Low bioavailability means that the body won’t be able to use all of the CBD you take. CBD, when ingested through the stomach, also goes through a process called first-pass metabolism of the liver, which means a lot of the CBD metabolizes before it enters your blood (18, 19).
Instead, consider using a tincture, or a highly concentrated solution of CBD that enters the blood through the lining of your mouth, or if possible, use vapor. These methods, while slightly more expensive, will provide you with a higher amount of active CBD and will take effect within minutes.
However, if gummies or pills are all you can afford, try taking them with food that has a moderate amount of fat. Studies suggest that taking CBD with fat might improve how the body utilizes it (18, 20).
Be Consistent With Your Healthy Changes
Similar to incorporating exercise and nutrition habits, staying consistent is the key to finding success with using CBD for anxiety and inflammation. Whether you decide to use CBD daily or only when you need it, sticking to a routine will help you gain as much benefit as possible.
Overall, the initial research on CBD for anxiety and inflammation does seem promising. However, it appears that CBD should be used consistently and in combination with other healthy practices.
Finally, make sure to consider that not all CBD products are created equal, both in effectiveness and reliability. If you want to use CBD, it’s best to use products with high standards and reliable customer reviews, and if possible, choose the most effective method.
By Sam Biesack
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