Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults every year, and roughly 284 million adults globally. Rising at alarming rates, psychologists and health care physicians alike are eager to locate accessible treatment options. Various studies have demonstrated the positive effects of CBD, claiming that that the use of CBD can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, while producing antidepressant effects.
As the owner of Mother’s Hemp Farms, LLC in Wyoming, Dale Tenhulzen is a major advocate for the use of CBD as a natural add on to existing treatments. Having used CBD himself, Dale Tenhulzen examines what anxiety is, what role CBD can play in reducing it, and how CBD is being used to treat other disorders.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety, in short, is the body’s response to worry and fear. Dale Tenhulzen explains that there are a multitude of anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, social anxiety, and many more. While the symptoms and severity of each disorder will depend on the individual, two primary treatments recommended for anxiety sufferers are therapy and medication. However, an urgent need for improved mental health assistance, funding, and resources has forced many to consider alternatives.
There has been a growing interest in the potential benefits of CBD for everything from insomnia to epilepsy and chronic pain. Dale Tenhulzen explains that a 2019 research letter published by JAMA Network Open reported a significant increase in searches online for CBD in the United States.
Through numerous studies examining the multiple benefits provided by CBD, the compound has unsurprisingly been touted as the ‘wonder drug’. Dale Tenhulzen explains that it is now being examined as a potential treatment for anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.
First and foremost, what is CBD? Dale Tenhulzen explains that it is an acrynom for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis sativa is well known to humankind, with its earliest use in ancient Chinese culture dating as far back as 2700 BC. It is a naturally occurring substance that is used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive. Now, Dale Tenhulzen explains that cannabis, marijuana and hemp are often talked about in relation to CBD. While both marijuana and cannabis contain CBD, there are much higher percentages in hemp, which has very low levels of THC (less than 0.3%!).
Benefits of CBD
CBD has been shown to have multiple benefits for those experiencing anxiety. Chronic stress and anxiety can negatively impact your body, but it can also rewire you brain. Cannabidiol has more than 75 targets throughout the body, which can make it difficult to pinpoint the sources of its many therapeutic properties. Studies currently suggest that CBD counters anxiety by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Dale Tenhulzen explains that CBD essentially tells your body to calm down, and reminds you that you are safe. It mellows out the nervous systems so that you are not in a ‘fight or flight’ response. The exact way that CBD affects CB1 receptors in the brain is not fully understood, however, it may also alter serotonin signals in the brain—which may be useful in the treatment of depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression affects an estimated 17.3 million adults every year. Dale Tenhulzen explains that CBD has also been investigated for having potential antidepressant effects. A 2018 study found that the antidepressant-like effects that CBD produce depend upon the serotonin levels in the brain. While cannabidiol does not appear to increase serotonin levels, it does affect how the brain responds to serotonin that is already present in the body.
Of course, a lot more research needs to be done to support the use of CBD to treat mental conditions. However, Dale Tenhulzen explains CBD can be an excellent addition to other medication, therapy, and mindful practices. With so many sources of constant stress in modern society, people often need a holistic approach to heal from anxiety and depression. If chronic stress and anxiety have rewired your brain, it will take time and work to undo this damage, and CBD just might be the natural supplement to help you on your journey.