Anxiety is not a rigid disorder and can manifest itself in many peculiar ways. Some people get performance anxiety, others suffer from social anxiety, some are scared to ask questions in case they look stupid, and so on. Treatments for this frustrating mental ailment have historically not been great, but new research into the cannabis plant and non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) in particular has provoked interest among anxiety patients.
Many have even tried CBD products themselves, and there is a growing number of positive anecdotal stories of people finding anxiety relief.
This goes against what scientists and society has long thought about cannabis – that it causes anxiety, as well as paranoia. Those were the hallmarks of “reefer madness.” While this is sometimes true of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabinoid, research into cannabis is more detailed now than ever, and we are able to isolate compounds from the rest of the plant and utilize their specific effects. Sometimes, having all the cannabinoids and terpenes present is essential for a condition, but in the case of anxiety, isolated CBD is preferable to a treatment which also contains THC.
This post will look at a few common types of anxiety and explain how they can be remedied with CBD.
1) Public speaking anxiety
In 2011, a study found that CBD can help to reduce public speaking anxiety. The research involved 24 participants taking either a single 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo and performing a simulated public speaking test. All that took part had social anxiety. The study checked for the blood pressure, heart rate and mood of the participants, in addition to a few other variables.
The 12 who were treated with CBD performed much better in the public speaking test than the 12 given the placebo. As well as calming anxiety, CBD helped to boost cognitive performance, while reducing sensitivity and alertness. These findings about CBD and public speaking are noteworthy to those with generalized and social anxiety.
2) Ease the fear of flying with CBD
The idea of flying does not sit well with everybody, but thankfully a small dose of CBD can help to keep you at ease in the air. Snack on an edible or administer some CBD hemp oil prior to your flight, and you’ll feel completely relaxed on the plane. The sedative properties of the compound may even send you to sleep.
However, be aware that the laws surrounding CBD do vary from state to state and from country to country. For that reason, it may be better to only carry hemp-based CBD products onboard, since these are legal in all 50 states.
Being in a positive frame of mind before take-off is essential to having a comfortable flight if you’re prone to worrying. If you can neutralize any doubts and fears with CBD, you’re less likely to get consumed with panic while 30,000 feet up in the air.
3) Social anxiety
Social anxiety is not well understood in society – probably because many sufferers have stayed quiet so long, trapped in their own minds. While accusations are rife that cannabis causes social anxiety, this is only possible by taking high amounts of THC on a regular basis. And unlike THC, CBD is completely non-psychoactive, and therefore cannot magnify positive or negative thoughts in the way that a hallucinogen can. CBD even has antipsychotic properties to go with its anti-anxiety effects.
CBD helps anxiety patients to keep their minds under control and self-consciousness at bay and engage more productively in social settings. The compound helps make you mellow and improve your mood.
4) Posing questions
The fear of looking stupid is so great for some, that they would rather have stayed in the dark and have their questions go unanswered than risk being embarrassed. Schoolchildren often suffer from this type of anxiety, but it can also affect adults in the boardroom, and even when having an otherwise relaxed conversation with friends.
This question-asking anxiety is a combination of social anxiety and public anxiety. With what we know about CBD, it’s no wonder that the cannabinoid can be of therapeutic value too. CBD stops the brain from worrying too much, which increases comfort in intense scenarios, such as public speaking. Having fewer negative, anxious thoughts swirling in the mind can boost self-confidence, and make people more willing to ask questions without the irrational fear of humiliation.
The best way to manage anxiety is to stamp it out at its source. Sometimes, anxieties can emerge from other anxieties – for example, not understanding a topic friends are discussing could lead to thoughts of worthlessness or worries that you’ve been left out. But in this situation, if you go ahead and ask the question, you eliminate the chance for these other anxieties to creep in.
5) Settling into a new environment
When you first enter a new and unfamiliar environment, it can be somewhat unsettling. While a standard cannabis joint probably wouldn’t serve you well, a dose of CBD will help combat any anxieties you have.
The thought of exploring a new location may be exciting to many, but anxiety patients can sometimes be overwhelmed. Fears of getting lost are common, and if you have somewhere to be at a certain time, the stresses can compound and become too much. This is where CBD can bring you back down to earth and stay cool. Think of it as a natural way to destress.
Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often suffer from hypervigilance which is relatable to this kind of anxiety. Hypervigilance ramps up the senses, causing you to find more potential problems, something which the mind can exacerbate in new surroundings. CBD happens to be a useful new treatment for PTSD patients.
Whether your anxiety in the new place is rooted in general, underlying concerns or comes from hypervigilance, CBD can help. The science shows us that it can treat specific types of anxiety, so it makes perfect sense that the compound can be used as a natural way to take the edge off things.
Thinking, thinking, thinking and more thinking: an all-too-familiar train of thought for those with severe anxiety. One worry leads to another and another, and before you realize it, you’re overthinking and fretting about something – and playing the scenario out in your heads – that is highly unlikely to happen. Yet the mind sometimes gets confused and interprets a minor problem as a massive risk. This can even cause the physical body to respond negatively.
There’s no benefit to overthinking, with the growing physical and mental strain causing stress and anxiety levels to increase – and all for nothing. However, CBD can put an end to anxiety episodes over hypothetical scenarios.
7) Dealing with an anxious stomach
Most people with anxiety have probably experienced the uncomfortable pain of a nervous or anxious stomach – the manifestation of a mental disorder in the physical realm. High-stress levels can even slow the rate of digestion as the body becomes consumed with worry. An animal study in 2011 revealed the antiemetic effects of cannabidiol (CBD), and there’s a stack of research supporting the anti-vomiting and anti-nausea properties of the cannabinoid.
Chemotherapy patients have benefitted from CBD’s powerful anti-nausea effects – either cannabis itself or CBD products are typically used to combat the side effects of treatment. Given that CBD is strong enough to help chemotherapy patients, regular gastrointestinal issues are comparatively easy to manage.
8) Handling an awkward silence
Social anxiety sufferers need no reminding about how mentally painful an awkward silence can be – especially when it’s unforeseen. As you scramble to think of something to say, time ticks on, making matters even more awkward. You hope someone else will break the silence, but that doesn’t happen. And even if the conversation does begin to flow again, it’s common to ruminate over the embarrassing silence and start beating yourself over it. This can take your attention away from where it needs to be, the conversation itself, leading to more silences. While it may not be possible to eliminate awkward silences, we can make them easier to handle, with CBD offering a helping hand.
Everything considered, that momentary awkward silence is not going to be remembered by anybody, except maybe you. Therefore, what’s important is that you learn not to obsess over these uncomfortable moments. CBD can change your perception of a situation and stop you from over-analyzing and stressing out of a situation.