With anxiety being the most common mental illness in the United States, it is important to explore how CBD can help those who want to feel like a normal part of society again. There has been a stigma attached to seeking out the use of cannabis since the United States started to criminalize it in the late 1930s due to its psychoactive effects, which came from THC. CBD, however, was recognized in 1940 as another effective component of cannabis that did not have mind altering properties. Years later, CBD is considered an all-natural alternative to medications that have severe side effects and has given immeasurable relief to those suffering the debilitating effects of anxiety.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Various forms of anxiety affect over 40 million Americans over age 18. That’s an astounding 18.1% of the total population. Anxiety is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, but due to the negative stigma attached to mental illness, only 36.9% of diagnosed individuals seek out treatment. It’s also common for those with anxiety to be affected by depression, where approximately half of those affected by generalized anxiety show consistent symptoms. Different types of anxiety have been recognized:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Affecting 6.8 million American adults, it’s often experienced with major depression. Symptoms include a variation of fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, insomnia, and restlessness.
- Panic Disorder (PD)
- Affecting 6 million American adults, sufferers experience sudden panic attacks without an immediate threat present. Symptoms can include rapid heart rate, chest and stomach pain, difficulty breathing, sweating, tingly or numb hands, weakness, and dizziness.
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- SAD affects 15 million Americans, normally starts around age 13, and is characterized by an irrational fear of being judged when around others. Symptoms are blushing, nausea, trembling, sweating profusely, and having a hard time talking.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- OCD only affects 2.2 million Americans, with symptoms starting as young as age 13. It can be a debilitating illness if someone finds that they cannot function with normal activities without completing self-prescribed rituals.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Affects 7.7 million Americans. It results from experiencing a traumatic event. Rape is one of the most common triggers. Childhood sexual abuse is another common predictor of developing PTSD, as well as soldiers transitioning back into normal life after deployment.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) and Major Depressive Disorder
- Depression is the leading cause of disability in America and is present in 16 million people aged 15 to 44. Hopelessness, low energy and self-esteem, and poor concentration cause over 50% of sufferers to not seek treatment.
Many of the people who experience debilitating anxiety do not seek help until they have felt its affects for over 10 years. Untreated, it can lead people to try and alleviate their mental anguish with unhealthy coping mechanisms, leading to other life-altering issues that cause more harm. Other problems that people with depression may experience in conjunction with anxiety include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- BDD (body dysmorphic syndrome)
- Chronic pain
- Adult ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder)
Suffering from anxiety is a never-ending cycle in which many feel like they have no hope of living the life of which they dreamed. Finding relief from the symptoms is key to breaking this cycle. Instead of believing that it is all in their head, CBD oil has given people back their will to live without the in inhibitions anxiety provides.
History of CBD
With the fact that there is a stigma attached to both mental illness and using the cannabis plant, the thought of using CBD oil doesn’t even occur to many people, especially when they don’t want to put effort into much of anything in life anyway. Cannabis was used medicinally for thousands of years, only being outlawed in 1937 because there wasn’t enough scientific proof that it could help ailments. In 1940, CBD was isolated for the first time as a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that could deliver the same benefits as its counterpart. This meant that people could function through the routine of their lives with relieved symptoms. Scientists and doctors who wanted to get ahold of marijuana for research had a hard time doing so in the 1970s because of the War on Drugs and the Controlled Substances Act; however, individual states soon began to decriminalize the use of cannabis.
With research mounting proving the impressive effects of the cannabis plant and CBD on numerous illnesses, it became more recognized in the 1980s. In 2004, a little girl was experiencing 300 seizures a week due to a rare form of epilepsy. The face of medicine was forever changed when CBD oil profoundly reduced her seizures and led to a mainstream movement that recognized CBD as medicinally beneficial. It took some time and effort, but states began to legalize the use of CBD apart from the known THC component. Today CBD is legal as long as it adheres to restrictions put in place by regulatory organizations.
How does CBD oil help anxiety?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has gained popularity as a remedy for anxiety in recent years. It is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, THC being the first. CBD doesn’t produce the infamous “high” that THC does and is legal as long as it contains only 0.3% THC. This miniscule amount won’t trace in a drug test.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in all vertebrates. It was recognized through extensive research in the 1990s as having the responsibility of keeping balance in many of the systems that help the organism function optimally. It regulates sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, fertility, and more. When there is an imbalance in the body, the cannabinoids (CBD) bind with receptors that create a calming effect, among many other things, that reduces anxiety. It can help create an environment that helps individuals get back into the frame of mind that makes them happy.
CBD can be used to treat everyday stress, while others can take it to treat something more serious, like the array of anxiety disorders that affect so many people. Over 62% of CBD users rely on it to treat pain, anxiety, or depression. Whether someone is dealing with generalized anxiety disorder or their anxiety is associated with a separate underlying disorder, CBD oil is an all-natural alternative to prescription medications that produce unwanted side effects.