At challenging times like this, when the world is in the middle of a global Covid-19 pandemic that sometimes seems like it will never end, maintaining good mental health is more important than ever.
CBD is something that you have probably heard about, though you may not know too much about it. It is often touted as a life-changing medicine that can help to relieve stress, alleviate anxiety, and help with sleep problems. Here, we’ll look at some of the issues around CBD, and hopefully answer any concerns that you may have to overuse it. You’ll see that CBD is a safe way of boosting your chances of minimizing stress and maintaining good overall mental health.
What Is CBD & How Can It Benefit You?
Although derived from the same plant species as marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD) does not work in the same way. CBD is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis and is a key ingredient of medical marijuana. It is obtained from the hemp plant, however, which is a relative of the marijuana plant.
It might be wrong to say that CBD is not psychoactive. It is a psychoactive substance, but only in the same way that substances like coffee or tea that contain caffeine are. The key difference between CBD and THC is that the latter is intoxicating while the former is not. CBD will not cause you to experience hallucinations or anything similar, nor will it debilitate you in any way. Many people who have absolutely no interest in getting high love CBD. So what does CBD do?
CBD is psychoactive in a therapeutic sense. Its psychoactive qualities are what make it such an effective therapy for anxiety relief, stress relief, and the alleviation of pain. Anyone reading this who may worry that CBD is an addictive substance should put their minds at rest. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO): “In humans, CBD shows no effects indicative of dependence or abuse potential. In fact, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
You might well be wondering just how much CBD you need to consume to feel its effects. The ideal dose for you depends on your personal circumstances. The amount you require will depend on your age, weight, and gender, as well as the condition you are looking to treat. Take some time to research before you begin using CBD to see what dose is best for you.
How CBD Supports Mental Health Conditions?
So, what does CBD do in a therapeutic context? How can this versatile and benign substance help our mental health and general wellbeing? Let’s look at the answers to those questions next. CBD oil and other products can be a really effective tool in battling mental health conditions like anxiety and insomnia. CBD works by acting upon the brain’s receptors for serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
CBD acts to calm the brain and support the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that is important for healthy emotions and strong memory. If you use CBD, then you will feel a more general sense of calm and wellbeing. You are also likely to enjoy better quality sleep, something which is vital for maintaining good levels of mental health.
CBD has been shown to be very effective when treating a range of other conditions. While insomnia and anxiety are among the conditions with which it can alleviate, it also has anti-inflammatory properties to help conditions such as joint pain or help with recovery from injury for athletes. Pain relief can be an essential plank in managing more general anxiety, and it certainly helps to relieve stress. Injury and the fear of injury can be a major source of stress for athletes, so anything that helps to alleviate injury pain will also help to soothe wider anxieties and worries.
CBD products can clearly help support mental and physical health and allow us to take steps to wellbeing. Its efficacy in these areas has been proved by science, with several studies demonstrating that products like CBD oil can exert a positive effect on the lives of people suffering from anxiety and other conditions. We will look at the science behind those assertions next.
The Research Speaks For Itself
Different studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD when it comes to treating anxiety-related conditions. The Brightfield Understanding CBD report carried out in 2019, highlighted just how effective CBD is, generally. The report found that 80% of users asserted that CBD “either extremely effectively or very effectively” worked to alleviate their conditions. It also found that 82-83% found effective relief by using hemp-derived CBD. A mere 3% of respondents in the same study stated that any cannabis product was slightly effective or ineffective in providing relief.
When it comes to specific easing anxiety, a study published in Nature in 2011 showed that consuming CBD oil for anxiety considerably reduced the distress of people suffering from social anxiety in a public speaking context. Animal studies have demonstrated similar levels of efficacy, with a study carried out on the elevated plus-maze model of anxiety in rats highlighting the chemical’s positive effects.
Multiple recent studies have also demonstrated that CBD can also have a positive effect on patients who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These studies showed that CBT could be effective both as a standalone treatment and when used alongside other therapies, such as conventional medication and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
CBD has also been shown to help to recover drug addicts remain stable and avoid relapse, highlighting what a benign substance it is. This evidence should also alleviate the concerns if you are reading this and worry that CBD is in itself an addictive substance.
It is not just anxiety and mental health issues with which CBD can help, though. A study from the European Journal of Pain, for example, showed, using an animal model, that CBD applied to the skin could help to relieve inflammation and pain caused by arthritis.