Feeling Stressed? Anxious? Depressed?
CBD may help regulate your stress, ease anxiety, and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Everyone experiences stress and mood swings from time to time — but there’s a clear distinction between “healthy stress” and “unhealthy stress”.
Too many people in today’s world experience a rollercoaster of emotions, and crippling stress or anxiety on a daily basis.
Benefits of CBD Oil For Anxiety, Stress & Depression
CBD is a great supplement to take alongside stress, anxiety, or mood disorders.
This unique compound interacts with a system in the body known as the endocannabinoid system — which plays a key role in the stress response and regulation of our mood.
The best CBD oils for anxiety and mood disorders are made from full-spectrum or board-spectrum extracts, provide relatively high concentrations of CBD (at least 30 mg/mL), and have been independently tested for quality and potency.
Some people experience the benefits of CBD oils immediately — others need to take the oil for several days or weeks before there’s any noticeable difference.
It’s important to be patient and persistent when using CBD. Monitor how your feeling and take other measures to help alleviate anxiety.
The benefits of CBD oil for anxiety, depression, & mood disorders include:
1. CBD Oil Calms The Mind By Promoting GABA Activity
GABA is the brain’s primary neuroinhibitor — which means it’s tasked with being the brake pedal for the mind. When we become anxious or agitated, it’s up to GABA to slow us down and bring us back to a more normal, relaxed state.
Anxiety sufferers often experience a problem with GABA. Without this compound keeping brain activity in check, we experience bouts of anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and more.
CBD has been shown to interact with GABA receptors in the brain .
The interaction is similar to the effects of common prescription anxiety medications like Xanax or Valium, but with much less force. Instead of directly activating these receptors, CBD helps improve the ability for naturally-produced GABA to bind to the receptor and exert its effect.
The result is a dramatic reduction in anxiety levels as well as other benefits like muscle relaxation and improved sleep onset.
2. CBD Regulates Serotonin & Dopamine
Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are all key neurotransmitters involved with regulating mood and mental state. Imbalances with these neurotransmitters can lead to anxiety and depression.
CBD has been shown to stimulate the serotonin receptors (5HT1A) — which leads to increased serotonin activity in the brain. Low 5HT1A receptor activity has been correlated with panic attacks and anxiety .
Dopamine also plays a key role in regulating anxiety levels. Low dopamine levels in mice are correlated with an increase in generalized anxiety symptoms . CBD has been shown to have a mild stimulating effect on the dopamine receptors  — which increases dopamine levels in the brain and alleviates anxiety symptoms.
3. CBD Reduces Inflammation In The Brain
New evidence has recently come to light implicating neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain) to be a major underlying cause for anxiety and depression .
The chemical balance in the brain must be kept within a tight range of controls. Compounds in our blood may interfere with this delicate balance, so a special membrane lining the blood vessels in our brain (called the blood-brain barrier) works to keep unwanted molecules from being able to enter the brain directly.
If this lining becomes inflamed, it can result in damage to the integrity of this barrier. Compounds in the blood enter the brain and affect neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA, glutamate, and more — potentially leading to anxiety.
CBD has been shown to reduce neuroinflammation and enhance the regeneration of damaged nerve cells caused by the inflammatory process .
4. CBD Promotes Longer, More Restorative Sleep
Sleep deprivation is another common cause of anxiety. A 2006 study showed that just one night of sleep deprivation resulted in significantly higher anxiety scores the following day .
Anxiety itself is a common cause of insufficient sleep — resulting in a self-perpetuating negative feedback look. High anxiety levels lead to lower sleep quality, which leads to more anxiety.
CBD can be used to break the cycle by managing anxiety symptoms during the day and improving sleep quality at night.
A review paper analyzed the results of research on over 2000 participants to explore the impact of CBD and other cannabinoids on sleep. The study concluded that there was a clear increase in sleep quality and duration in around 50% of the patients taking part in these clinical studies .
5. CBD Reduces Cortisol Levels
Anxiety is directly related to our stress response — called the “fight or flight” response.
Stress begins with a region of the brain that includes the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. This part of the brain is tasked with controlling the release of hormones from other organs in the body, including the adrenal glands. The connection between these two organs is referred to as the HPA-axis (hypothalamic-pituitary axis).
When we’re faced with a stressful situation — such as coming face to face with a hungry animal or feeling the pressure of an upcoming deadline — the hypothalamus sends a signal to the adrenal glands to start releasing cortisol.
Cortisol is responsible for inducing the changes we perceive as stress. It increases heart rate and blood pressure, stimulates the mind, and forces blood sugar levels to increase.
Usually, when the stressful situation is mitigated, the hypothalamus stops telling the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, and levels go back to normal.
However, many people remain in the “stress” state for long periods of time. Cortisol continues to activate the stress response, leading to symptoms associated with anxiety.
CBD and other cannabinoids have been shown to modulate the hypothalamus through its effects on the endocannabinoid system . Improving the sensitivity of the hypothalamus leads to a dramatic reduction in cortisol levels.
6. CBD Protects Against Oxidative Damage
One of the main ways stress causes so much destruction is through something called oxidative damage.
Higher blood sugar and increased metabolic activity stress causes can lead to a buildup of free radical products which can damage tissues all over the body.
Normally this is cleared up when we enter the rest and digest mode in a state of relaxation, but of course, when we’re stressed for long periods of time these free radicals persist.
CBD oil is high in antioxidant compounds  that help neutralize free radical molecules and protects the body from their damaging influence.
CBD Oil For Anxiety
Everybody has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives. It’s completely normal to feel anxious — to an extent.
Feeling anxious too often can lead to a variety of other health issues and makes it difficult to carry out daily responsibilities.
Healthy anxiety helps us deal with dangers — such as coming face to face with a hungry animal, getting into a fight, or standing on a ledge a thousand feet from the ground below. Our anxiety helps us run away from danger, win a fight, or hold on more tightly to avoid falling.
Anxiety disorders happen when we feel anxiety too often, or we experience a level of anxiety inappropriate for the situation.
For example, social anxiety disorder is characterized by severe, debilitating anxiety around the fear of being judged by others. This form of anxiety can make it hard for sufferers to go out in public, visit with friends, or interact with strangers in any way.
Different Anxiety Disorders Include:
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety has many causes. Virtually anything that triggers stress can result in anxiety. The most common causes are financial concerns, loss of a friend or family member, diagnosis with a health disorder, excessive stimulant intake, and lack of sleep.
Causes of Anxiety May Include:
What Are The Symptoms of Anxiety?
The symptoms of anxiety are different for everybody. The most common symptoms are increased heart rate, elevations in blood pressure, loss of focus, changes in mood, and insomnia.
Symptoms can come and go throughout the day, or remain consistent all day long.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
Are Pharmaceutical Anxiety Medications Dangerous to Our Health?
There are a variety of prescription medications doctors can choose from to treat anxiety. While these medications work in the short term, many of them lead to severe side effects, dependency, and potential for abuse with long term treatment.
The most common class of drugs used to treat anxiety are the benzodiazepines (such as Xanax). These drugs target the GABA receptors in a similar way to CBD, but with a much stronger effect.
In as little as 2 weeks, the body will start to form a dependency to benzodiazepines. When this happens, the GABA receptors adapt to the drug in an attempt to restore balance. GABA receptors become hidden in order to reduce the effects of the drug.
If the drug is no longer used, we lose our ability to activate GABA (because we have fewer receptors available in response to the drug). The results of this are the same symptoms that prompted us to take it in the beginning — anxiety, and insomnia. We become reliant on having the drug in our system for us to avoid anxiety attacks.
In short, taking prescription anxiety medications is safe short-term, but beyond 2-weeks of use, they can have the opposite effect — causing severe panic attacks and anxiety as soon as the medications start to wear off.
Common prescription Anxiety Medications Include:
CBD is an excellent supplement for anxiety symptoms, but it works best when combined with other approaches as well. A targeted, multifaceted approach is always going to have a greater impact than any single therapy on its own — including CBD.
Here are some other steps you can take to mitigate your anxiety:
CBD Oil For Depression
Depression is the most common mood disorder — affecting as many as 300 million people around the world each year, according to The World Health Organization.
There are a few different types of depression — characterized by the presence of other symptoms and the length of time the condition was present. All forms of depression involve chronically low-mood and motivation. Other symptoms may include fatigue, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, or low libido.
There Are Three Severity Levels of Depression:
The Benefits of CBD For Depression
There are a few ways CBD can be used to alleviate depression. The most important is through CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits — especially on neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain). Inflammation is considered to be one of the most common causes of depression .
CBD also protects the hippocampus from damage — which is a region of the brain tasked with regulating mood and one of the first regions of the brain to show signs of damage in the minds of depressed individuals.
The benefits of CBD oil for depression include:
CBD Oil For Other Mood Disorders
Mood disorders (also called affective disorders) are a collection of neurological conditions affecting our ability to regulate and maintain emotion.
There are many different kinds of mood disorders, and CBD works a little differently for each one.
CBD has the biggest impact on mood disorders underpinned by inflammatory or autoimmune disease, or in people experiencing hyperactivity with their moods — such as bipolar disorder or mania. For depressive disorders, CBD offers benefits for common side effects like insomnia or low energy.
What Causes Mood Disorders?
Here are the most common types of mood disorders and how CBD may be able to help:
1. Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a neurological disorder involving extreme shifts in mood — going from periods of deep depression to euphoric mania and everything in between.
There’s no cure for bipolar disorder, and medications for the condition are often hit or miss in their effectiveness.
A large clinical trial is currently investigating the potential benefits of CBD as part of a treatment plan for bipolar individuals. Although the study isn’t scheduled to finish until 2020, the results are looking promising for CBD.
The Benefits of CBD For Bipolar Disorder
CBD may be effective for bipolar disorder — however, bipolar disorder affects everyone differently. What might work on one person could make symptoms worse for another. So it’s important to discuss the use of CBD with your doctor or psychologist before giving it a try.
If you decide to use CBD, always start with the smallest dose possible and build up gradually from there to see how it affects your symptoms.
Mania (also referred to as manic syndrome) is a serious condition involving abnormally high energy levels, feelings of euphoria, and frequent anxiety attacks. It’s the opposite of depression, but it can be just as debilitating.
Manic syndrome can lead to increased tendencies for violence, aggression, irritability, and delusions. This condition can be dangerous, causing people to become reckless and at a higher risk of injuries.
The Benefits of CBD For Mania
Use CBD with extreme caution for mania due to concerns of worsening the condition. Mania is a severe condition that requires the care of trained medical professionals.
The cause of mania is different from one person to the next, and although there are reports of people using CBD to treat this symptom effectively — there are plenty of reports about cannabis products making symptoms worse as well.
Hypomania is similar to mania but involves more mild symptoms. It’s somewhere between depression and mania.
Symptoms of hypomania involve extended periods of euphoria and disinhibition but aren’t as severe as mania.
The Benefits of CBD For Hypomania
CBD can be used to support some of the side-effects of hypomania, such as insomnia and anxiety. Similarly to mania, CBD should be used cautiously with this condition. Always start with a small dose and increase gradually.
Once you know how it affects you individually and you’ve confirmed it doesn’t make symptoms worse, try increasing the dose.
4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder brought on by lack of sun exposure. It’s referred to as a seasonal disorder because it’s especially prevalent in northern climates during the winter months when daylight hours are at their lowest. At the same time, the cold weather in these places means the people living there tend to cover up most of their exposed skin — further limiting the exposure of UV light with the skin.
When light from the sun hits the skin, it drives an enzymatic reaction that produces vitamin D — a key regulator in our mood.
The best treatment for seasonal affective disorder is regular exposure to sunlight, or another source of UV light, and vitamin D supplementation.
The Benefits of CBD For Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Both CBD and THC may be useful for this condition by alleviating many of the associated side-effects of the disorder such as insomnia, low immunity, depression, and anxiety. Vitamin D supplementation and UV light exposure are still required for maximum effect, however.
・Promote Natural Sleep Patterns and Improve Sleep Quality
・Relieve Pressure and Assist Emotional Management
・Relieve Chronic Pain and Inflammation
・Keep your Body and Mind Healthy
References Cited in This Article