Since we were able to walk the earth, we have found ourselves up against numerous threats. In the grand scheme of things, we have had to endure a whole manner of trials and tribulations in order to survive. From the caveman era where we had to outrun creatures with fangs and claws to guarantee seeing tomorrow, all the way through to the modern life we now lead, anxiety has been a constant for tens of thousands of years.
As such, it’s easy to forget that modern life and its subsequent anxieties are very recent. We haven’t evolved from our primal ways, and so, the mental and physical responses that helped us outrun physical threats can cause problems that don’t serve us well in the 21st century. In one respect, anxiety is as common as the ground we walk on; it covers every aspect of our lives, from work, sex, relationships, money, family, and on it goes. It is like our sense of selves has the first place in an all you can eat anxiety buffet, and it is stuffing itself to the gills!
To combat this common and complex problem, people supplement their mental health support with various herbal remedies, including CBD. There is a lot of evidence that CBD can help, but to understand why it helps us, we need to know how anxiety works.
Anxiety: How It Becomes A Chronic Illness
For all the problems it causes us, it’s important to remember that anxiety serves a purpose. Back in the early days of humanity, humans faced physical threats, from animal attacks to avalanches. The human stress response was encoded in us as a way to keep safe. If you have heard of cortisol (the stress hormone) or the notion of “fight or flight” (the sensation when faced with a stressful situation, this is what enabled us to escape danger quickly.
Fast forward to the pressures of modern life, from money worries to relationship pressures, rather than being hazardous or immediate; they are ongoing. But as our bodies don’t know the difference, the perceived “threats” we get causes this rush of stress hormones. But if there’s no outlet for the stress response, this turns into chronic stress, which trains our brains to feel anxious, which will contribute to exhaustion. These high levels of stress hormones can cause or aggravate many serious health problems, such as depression, heart disease, digestive issues or weight gain, as well as tension, fatigue, a weakened immune system, and sleep problems.
If you’re under enough stress for long enough and have no history or predisposition to mental illness, you may develop chronic anxiety.
The Impact Of CBD On Anxiety
CBD can affect the body in various ways, such as:
A positive impact on serotonin
CBD can bind to the serotonin receptor, which has the largest role in moderating anxiety.
Impacting the endocannabinoid system
Our bodies produce “cannabinoids.” These chemicals are structurally similar to the phytocannabinoids commonly found in cannabis. Our version of these chemicals, known as endocannabinoids, plays a significant role in many essential human physical and mental functions. When stressed, our system of cannabinoids and corresponding receptors can become unbalanced, which CBD may help to restore by increasing the production of these endocannabinoids.
The effects on neural regeneration
Over time, chronic stress can damage our brain cells and may even shrink the brain! Research suggests that certain parts of the brain can regrow these brain cells that were damaged or destroyed, and CBD may encourage this in areas such as the hippocampus (which functions to process memory, learning, and mood).
Its effects on “extinction learning”
This is where our subconscious has learned certain behaviours without any reinforcement.
It is possible to “unlearn” these triggers, but only when we deem our environment to be “safe,” which can be challenging in the face of constant stress. But studies have shown CBD to facilitate the extinction learning process. As such, CBD products could help us to let go of anxiety triggers.
Should We Treat Anxiety With CBD?
It’s safe to say that constant stress part of modern life. It has such a wide-ranging impact on our mental and physical health that it is crucial to incorporate a multi-faceted, holistic approach to managing anxiety. Even doctors have started to recommend traditional treatments with lifestyle changes and wide-ranging therapies like yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
If you decide to incorporate CBD oil for anxiety into your life, it retains its efficacy as part of a broader plan. It is important to, as with any new regimen, consult with your doctor. If you are taking prescription medication for depression or anxiety, CBD can impede your body’s ability to metabolize certain drugs. In fact, CBD could make the medications weaker or stronger.
As soon as the doctor gives you permission, you will need to decide on the best CBD method for you. If you choose a CBD oil for anxiety or tonics, they provide long-lasting relief but don’t get to work right away. To increase absorption, swish CBD oil in your mouth rather than swallowing it or try a CBD vape pen for a quicker effect in difficult moments. You could even try a CBD suppository due to its increased absorption.
Just be sure to choose products from reputable sources. There are many companies online who aren’t so transparent about their sourcing, ingredients, testing, or manufacturing process. Find the right source that openly states everything.
A Way Forward In Tough Times
If you’ve been struggling with stress and anxiety for so long and sick of feeling sick or tired of feeling tired, remember it can take time to reverse the damage. While a behavioural approach can create new mental habits, rebuilding your brain through relearning on a deeper level could get you there quicker. CBD may indeed help with this process.
While anxiety is a well-learned habit and has become natural for us over tens of thousands of years, if we use it to pursue treatments that work for us all, it will be a great ally.