According to Beyond Blue, 1 in 7 Australians are currently living with anxiety, and more than a quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
Symptoms of anxiety vary between individuals, but some of the general sensations people experience are:
- A worried mind or repetitive stressful thoughts
- Free-floating anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle tension
Helping to dissolve worry with CBD oil
With so many Australians feeling prolonged stress, worry or anxiety, having access to low-dose CBD oil could be helpful. As one of the CBD oil benefits is it can could help some people dissolve their worries and anxiety.
Many people liken taking CBD oil to having a warm relaxing bath due to its ability to calm the nervous system, CBD is known to soothe anxiety and reduce worrying thoughts. CBD oil may not be suitable for everybody; nonetheless, in instances of mild anxiety or when conventional treatments have not been successful, CBD could provide benefits.
Can CBD oil reduce anxiety?
CBD has been shown to have anti-anxiety (or anxiolytic) actions. This means it can influence areas of the brain that regulate anxiety and reactivity to stressful circumstances.
Unlike THC, which can prompt anxiety or paranoia for some people or at certain doses, CBD is known for its soothing quality. Our understanding of exactly how CBD helps reduce anxiety is still developing; for now, research has established the endocannabinoid system is a key player.
It is unlikely you were taught about the endocannabinoid system in high school biology, and until recently, you might not even have heard about it at medical school!
While knowledge of this system is only recently reaching out of academic discussions and into the mainstream, there’s no doubting the extraordinary capabilities of the endocannabinoid system.
Engaging the endocannabinoid system to treat anxiety
The ECS comprises receptors and endocannabinoids, which are cannabis-like compounds that the body produces innately. The ECS also responds to cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including THC and CBD.
CBD can influence the ECS by upregulating the endocannabinoid anandamide – also known as the “bliss molecule”. According to research, CBD inhibits the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, which can reduce the effects of anxiety.
CBD oil can also influence mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA. These neurotransmitters are partly responsible for sensations of relaxation and boost or modulate a person’s mood.
Low levels of these three chemical signals – anandamide, serotonin and GABA – have been recorded in people with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. CBD oil may enhance the body’s ability to self regulate these chemical messengers that support our mood by engaging the ECS.
How does CBD affect the brain?
Before we even consciously feel any sensation of stress or worry, our brains are setting in motion a complex array of electrical impulses and chemical messages that determine how our body and mind will react.
Aside from measuring the levels of neurotransmitters or endocannabinoids, neuroimaging studies show us a literal picture of this stress reaction in the brain.
In a study of CBD-naive individuals with social anxiety disorder were given a placebo or CBD capsule. Researchers studied the participants’ brain scans and found CBD increase blood flow to areas of the brain that regulate emotions and behavioural responses to anxiety-inducing or stressful circumstance, which was accompanied by a subjective reduction in anxiety.
Research into CBD oil for anxiety
There is enough clinical evidence to support the use of CBD in anxiety, but patients and clinicians are hungry for more detailed and nuanced research into CBD oil for anxiety.
Expect to see much more emerge in the immediate future, including Australian research. For now, let’s review some study results into CBD oil for anxiety:
- A foundational study conducted in 2011 showed CBD reduced anxiety and distress in people with social anxiety during a simulated public speaking challenge
- Our neighbours in New Zealand recently conducted a study of 400 patients taking CBD and found significant improvements in anxiety and depression.
- A 2019 study of people with anxiety showed CBD oil at low doses demonstrated significant reductions in anxiety in nearly 80% of participants. These improvements were sustained over 3 months of treatment.
- A review of human and animal studies into CBD for different types of anxiety disorders, panic disorder and PTSD concluded that CBD could help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety and has an excellent safety profile, particularly at low doses.
Results of many studies into CBD for anxiety present promising results, but it is important to keep in mind not all research into CBD oil supports its use. A 2017 study using a 3D virtual reality experience recorded no improvements in anxiety or paranoia in patients given 600mg of CBD.
Getting the dose right for low-dose CBD
It is also necessary to note that doses in clinical trials aren’t always representative of what doctors prescribe in the real world, in many instances high doses of CBD are given just once which is unlikely to create the same effect as a managed treatment plan with a daily dosing schedule.
Forthcoming research into the long term success of CBD oil for anxiety in larger groups of people will give us greater understanding of how CBD could improve anxiety in the wider population.
Supporting mental health with medical cannabis
Low-dose CBD oil is not yet available over the counter in Australian pharmacies. To fill this gap, CA Connect offers a service for eligible patients with mild conditions, and a CA Connect health professional monitors your progress.
For more chronic or severe situations of anxiety, panic disorder, depression or PTSD, a broader and more comprehensive medical cannabis treatment plan like those at CA Clinics may be more appropriate. Cannabis medicines could include CBD and/or THC under the guidance of professional medical cannabis doctors.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a challenging mental health landscape where further support may be needed, reach out to our sister team at CA Clinics.
How to access low-dose CBD oil in Australia?
There are currently no CBD medications registered in Australia specifically for anxiety, but due to recent regulatory changes, you can now access low-dose CBD oil through CA Connect’s virtual consultation process.
Our unique service provides personalised treatment plans with inclusive follow-up consultations to ensure your low-dose CBD oil medication is effective and safe.
To find out if CBD oil might benefit you, click here to begin your virtual consultation.