There have been many claims made about the health benefits of CBD creating the impression that it is a cure-all for just about any health condition including those of a psychological nature. There has been just as much debate as to the types of health conditions that CBD can actually treat and how effective the treatment is at relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the lack of scientific evidence that is currently available.
However, a lack of scientific evidence does not necessarily mean that there is no evidence that CBD is beneficial for the treatment of anxiety. Currently, research is being conducted into the effectiveness of CBD for anxiety. This is a slow process as many factors need to be determined over and above the efficacy of the treatment. The dosage, how often the treatment should be used as well as the safety and side effects of the treatment need to be determined before CBD can officially be approved for the treatment of anxiety.
This research is also crucial for another reason. Due to the extensive growth in popularity of CBD over the last decade or so, many producers of CBD have jumped on the band-wagon to make hay while the sun shines. Some of these products are inferior while others may be entirely ineffective leading to the misconception that CBD has little to no benefits for the treatment of anxiety. Once it receives approval, many of these ineffective CBD products will fall by the wayside leaving room for laboratory manufactured pharmaceuticals to take their place and the production of quality CBD products to continue.
But is CBD really effective for treating anxiety and what is the science behind how it works?
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system in the human body. This system has two main functions - regulating homeostasis and the immune system as well as regulation of brain activity and the central nervous system. There are two types of receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system - CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. These receptors are present on every cell in the human body. Cells in the brain and the CNS contain primarily CB-1 receptors whereas as cells in the rest of the body contain primarily CB-2 receptors with the exception of cells in the immune system that contain both.
CBD or cannabidiol causes these receptors to fire. In the case of the CB-1 receptors, this affects the way that the neurons in the brain fire electro-chemical signals. When these neurons fire, how often they fire and what causes them to fire are all regulated by the endocannabinoid system. Overactive neurons in certain areas of the brain may be responsible for creating an anxious state or acute anxiety. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating neurons and may therefore act to reduce or increase activity where necessary in order to provide balance.
Promising studies have produced results that propose that CBD effectively decreased performance anxiety and improved speech performance in patients suffering with social anxiety. In 2015, supporting literature was released into the benefits of CBD for other types anxiety including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder as well as generalized anxiety disorder.
Perhaps the best evidence produced to date is the use of the StrainPrint App to enable cannabis users to track and monitor the effects on anxiety. 58% of participants reported a noticeable decrease in anxiety and 50% a reduction in anxiety-related depression.
However, it is important to note that these studies and research were conducted into the effects of cannabis on anxiety and its symptoms and not CBD which is a component of cannabis. It has been found that cannabis (or marijuana) has both anxiety inducing and anxiety reducing properties. This means that it can either aggravate anxiety or reduce it. Further studies into this phenomenon revealed that it is the THC in cannabis that has the inducing effects thereby increasing anxiety whereas as CBD reduced anxiety and its related symptoms.
There is also the issue of delivery that needs to be addressed in the effectiveness of CBD in treating anxiety. There are a wide range of different delivery methods each which have their own benefits to treat a specific type of health condition. Inhalants like smoking cannabis, vaping CBD or using prays that have become available on the market provide a delivery system that provides fast and effective results as the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the lungs.
CBD edibles including capsules or pills are considered to be the least effective delivery method as much of the benefits are lost through the digestive process and passing through the liver. Topical treatments such as creams or oils that are applied directly to the skin where they are absorbed into the bloodstream are also considered to provide fast and effective results.
While the world awaits the scientific evidence required for CBD to become a registered treatment for anxiety, recent research does seem to provide promising results.
"Who are you meeting for lunch this week?"
Without fail, my former boss would ask me this question in every weekly status we had. And I dreaded the question. Because my answer was generally a stammering "Umm… No One." Occasionally I could remember what I actually had for lunch. And almost always it was sitting in my windowless cube eating a soggy sad sandwich.
I didn't understand why "who I had lunch with this week" was worthy of being a topic on our weekly status. After all, I was only 6 months into this new job. I was still figuring out how to pull data from Nielsen. I was still figuring out how to write an innovation brief. I was still trying to figure out where the bathrooms were in this maze of a building.
And despite knowing this question would come up in every weekly status, I was reluctant to change my behavior. I didn't see the value in the question. I didn't see the importance of it in my career. I didn't understand why I had to have lunch with anyone.
Because I hated the idea of having to network, to meet people, to put myself out there. Because networking was something slimy and strange and weird and scary. It made my stomach hurt, my throat go dry. And I could feel a faint headache coming on.
Even Oxford's definition of networking only reaffirmed my fears of what networking looked like: the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
Because please don't ask me to walk into a room where I don't know anyone. And stand in the corner sipping a bad glass of Chardonnay. Please don't ask me to slide my business card out and not so subtly shove it in your face. And ask you to do something for me. Please don't ask me to network. Because I hate networking.
And I used to hate networking (okay, maybe hate is too strong.) I still really dislike the term. "Networking" seemed about getting something from someone. Or someone getting something from you. A favor, a job, a referral. "Networking" seemed very transactional. And someone shoving a business card at you (which happened to me recently at event) only solidified by feelings.
And over the years, I came to really understand that networking wasn't about "the action or process of interacting with others." It was about building authentic connections. It was about meeting people who were different than you. It was about expanding my community. And creating new communities. It was tapping into more and more communities I could belong to.
And as I slowly started to change my view on networking- I mean building authentic connections- I started to realize my communities were more inclusive than I thought. My best friends from middle school. Former bosses. College Alumni I met after we had graduated. Colleagues from past companies. Vendors and agency partners I had once worked with. Colleagues I had once managed. As my family expanded, my husband, my two sister-in laws and my brother in-law. A whole host of fabulous cousin-in-laws. My baby brother as his career skyrocketed. And fellow parents in my kids' school.
I still hate networking. And I love building connections. And helping to build connections and be a bridge for other people.
Now, when I go to a large event, I try to go with a friend. We have a drink at the bar and then part ways to try and make new friends. If we don't authentically connect with other people, and we have made the effort, we always have each other to back to.
Now, I try to meet one new person a week at my company or in my broader community, or reconnect with someone I miss seeing. (This doesn't always have to be in person, can be text, Zoom or Facetime.) And if you can't commit to doing that, that you should seriously relook at your schedule. I thank my former boss for that constant reminder.
Now, I joined Luminary, a women's collaboration hub in NYC, which has been life changing for me. I am also on the advisory board. It's all about women supporting and lifting each other up- to get more money, get that next big promotion, or start their own venture. It's a built-in community of unwavering support.
Now, I am working on expanding my community of moms. Not too long ago, I worked up the nerve to ask a fellow mom in my daughter's class if she wanted to get together. She thought I meant a playdate. I meant drinks. And after one late night out drinking, I have bonded with a whole new set of badass women.
And all of these communities. I am there for my communities. And they are all there for me. Referral for a job at my company. Coaching on how to survive a bad boss. Advice on how to ask for more money. Supporting each other as we care for aging parents. Candid feedback on why they didn't get that promotion. Commiserating over a cocktail on which working parent had the worst week ever.
So please don't ask me to network. Because I hate it. And well actually I don't have a business card to give you. I haven't printed one in four years.