If you know someone who currently takes CBD chances are they might say they’re exploring the ways that CBD can help their anxiety. And if you know someone who smokes marijuana with a high-level of THC they may also perhaps say they use it as a coping mechanism when their anxiety becomes too much.
But what are the actual real triggers of anxiety and do CBD and or THC really have any impact on these feelings? Keep reading to find out.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as an emotion categorized by feelings of worry and nervousness. Although it's technically coined as an emotion, anxiety still impacts and triggers your body and provokes a physiological response. It can cause your heart rate to increase. It can make you begin to sweat. And anxiety can even increase your blood pressure.
Everyone experiences anxiety in their life and it's a common feeling in regular stressful situations. But there may be cause for concern if these feelings of uneasiness and worry become so excessive that they interfere with your ability to function in your everyday life.
According to the American and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness and they affect over 40 million people in just the United States alone!²
With statistics like that it’s no wonder so many people are so desperate to find ways to alleviate their feelings of anxiety. Now let’s explore how CBD and THC relate to anxiety in their own special ways.
Ways To Cope With Anxiety
With the number of people who battle with anxiety is so alarmingly high, we thought it might be a good idea to explore a few ways of coping with it. As a natural part of the way we react to stress, anxiety isn’t something that we will ever be able to avoid for good, but there are a few lifestyle hacks that have been known to take the edge off.
- Practicing mindful meditation - The practice of meditation has been linked to the reduction of anxious feelings and thoughts for years. Through this process of deep breathing and focusing your attention, one will be able to more easily deal with the way their body and mind reacts to stress.
- Exercise - It’s been proven time and time again that regular exercise strengthens our ability to handle stressful situations. The act of regularly training your body strengthens your mindset, and provides the regular release of endorphins. Endorphins make us feel great and directly combat anxious feelings.
- Medication - If all else fails, it’s definitely a good idea to speak with your doctor about trying different medications. Sometimes the severity of your feelings calls for a medical professional as well as real medication. And it’s important to know when to seek this help. If your anxiety impacts your daily life so severely that you find it difficult to function in your every day routines, you may benefit from medication.
What Is CBD And Does It Help With Feelings of Anxiety?
CBD is a phytocompound produced within the cannabis plant. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is being researched more in depth every single year and the results are still rolling in. CBD can be consumed in many different ways including smoking, eating, as a topical, tincture or even in a capsule.
Research suggests³ CBD has a rather robust pharmacological profile and interacts directly with specific receptors for regulating fear and anxiety-related behaviors.
The majority of those who try CBD experience no negative side effects of the compound. The World Health Organization mentions that research⁴ suggests that any negative side effects that are in fact felt from the use of CBD may likely come from its interaction with a medication one may be taking. But generally speaking CBD is safe for most people.
What Is THC And Does It Help With Feelings of Anxiety?
THC refers to tetrahydrocannabinol and this little compound is the factor that causes the intoxicating side effects of smoking marijuana. This psychoactive cannabinoid is what is known to cause those feelings of euphoria when smoking marijuana with high levels of THC. So, how does THC relate to anxiety? Do you think it helps or hinders those feelings?
Well, to find the answer to that question we must explore how THC makes our brain and respond.
After THC enters the bloodstream it binds to receptors located all over the brain. When the body consumes cannabis that holds a rich level of THC content research shows that a potent amount of THC might overstimulate the part of our brain known as the amygdala. This process of overstimulating the amygdala can create heightened feelings of anxiety, paranoia and fear.⁵
What’s The Difference Between CBD and THC?
It might come as a surprise to you that CBD and THC are molecularly almost identical. Each compound is created with 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.¹ The only difference between the two is the way in which these molecules are set up with one another. So chemically speaking both CBD and THC are made of the same stuff, simply in a different order.
This slight difference in the chemical makeup of these compounds makes all the difference on how the body is impacted.
In addition to the structural makeup of THC and CBD, each one also provides a different reaction within the brain and in interacting with our endocannabinoid system. When THC reaches the brain it immediately and strongly binds to the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors. This act of binding to those specific receptors is what triggers that feeling of tension melting from your body and sense of euphoria.
On the other hand, if CBD does decide to bind to those CB1 receptors (which, sometimes it just doesn’t) they attach very weakly. Generally CBD requires THC to do this and because of that, CBD can actually have counteracting effects on the paranoia induced by THC.
If the world could be rid of its anxiety problems who knows what other issues might be addressed. Although there’s tons of research out there that seems to be promising, it will likely be quite some time before we see either THC or CBD being used to remedy this common ailment that so many people in the world suffer from.
If you’re someone who suffers from anxiety and are curious about trying CBD and or THC to help, make sure to do your research beforehand. The research points to CBD being your best bet due to the link between THC to heightened feelings of paranoia.
- Anxiety And Depression Association of America
- World Health Organization
- Science Direct