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CBD for Stress

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a drug being studied for its ability to treat many psychiatric disorders. The current review looked at whether CBD could be used to treat anxiety-related disorders by assessing evidence from preclinical, human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies. The review found strong evidence that CBD can be used to treat panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when given acutely. However, there isn’t a lot information about how well CBD works when taken over a long period and how well it works with chronic CBD dosing. 

Likewise, evidence from human studies supports an anxiolytic role of CBD but is currently limited to acute dosing, with few studies in clinical populations. Overall, current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with the need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations. How Can CBD Help Manage Anxiety? | Stay Honest.

37.5% of people said they use CBD to reduce stress levels. 92.2% said it worked for them, making it the third-most popular reason for using CBD. However, no studies are looking at how CBD affects stress levels. This might be because stress is not a disease that is classified by international disease classification (WHO | Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases 2019). With more than 12.8 million working days lost because of work-related stress, anxiety, or depression in the UK (Hse 2019), the relationship between CBD and stress is an essential area for further research. Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users…

A study that looked at social media comments about CBD products found that people talked about the therapeutic effects of CBD for stress and nausea the most, even though those symptoms are not currently addressed in the research literature. (Tran and Kavuluru 2020).

CBD is thought to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates many vital functions like mood, sleep, and appetite. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. For example, CBD has been shown to increase levels of anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid that regulates pain in the brain (Zanelati et al., 2015). CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety in animal models (Crippa et al., 2004; Resstel et al., 2009).

A small 2010 study “Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients,”

 found that CBD oil helped reduce cognitive and physiological stress measures in humans (Bergamaschi et al. 2011). In this study, 24 subjects were given either 600 mg or 1200 mg of CBD oil or a placebo before undertaking a public speaking test. The 600 mg CBD group showed lower self-reported anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort during the speech task compared to the placebo group. The authors suggested that CBD’s anxiolytic effects might be mediated by 5-HT1A receptors, as CBD oil increased cerebral blood flow in regions rich in this receptor (Bergamaschi et al. 2011).

In a 2015 survey “Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems,” 2,400 CBD users, 37.5% reported using CBD for perceived stress, with 92.2% reporting reduced stress levels (Blessing et al. 2015). In this study, CBD effectively reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Blessing et al., 2015).

CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety in animal models “5-HT1A receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to acute restraint stress in rats”

(Crippa et al., 2004; Resstel et al., 2009). In addition, CBD oil decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in rats (Zanelati et al., 2015). CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Blessing et al., 2015).

A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis examined CBD’s anxiolytic effects in humans (Shannon et al., 2017). The authors concluded that CBD is a promising treatment for anxiety disorders, but more research is needed to determine the therapeutic doses and long-term effects of CBD on anxiety.

Resources and Studies