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.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist