Did you know that anxiety disorders affect up to 40 million people above the age of 18 in the United States every year? That’s a whopping 18.1% of the total population, making it the most commonly experienced mental illness in the country. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only 36.9% of sufferers receive treatment despite anxiety being highly treatable.
Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CBD oils, which, in recent years have seen increasing use as an adjunct treatment for anxiety.
What Is CBD Oil?
Let’s get a few facts out of the way. While cannabidiol or CBD is derived from the plant called Cannabis sativa yes, the very same plant marijuana flowers and hemp are made of—it is not actually weed. Marijuana contains both CBD and a compound called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the substance’s main psychoactive ingredient. It’s what causes that signature “high,” altering a person’s state of mind and mood when they use it. Without this compound, CBD oil is simply not psychoactive, and it cannot affect your perception or consciousness.
While certain growers have bred plants to contain high levels of THC, the plants used in making CBD oil come from farmers who must adhere to the 2018 Farm Bill, which mandates that for hemp plants to be considered legal, they must contain a miniscule amount of THC: 0.3% to be specific. CBD oil can be made a variety of ways, from whole-plant extraction to ethanol extraction of the compound to produce varying results that contain some THC, to none.
How Does It Work?
Our bodies are actually able to produce certain endocannabinoids on their own. They bind to receptors called CB1 and CB2 and help regulate bodily functions with regard to sleep, pain, and how our immune system responds to threats. It is posited that using plant-derived CBD products benefit people who don’t produce enough endocannabinoids themselves, or that these products can help these same endocannabinoids stay in our system longer, extending the overall calming effect. It is most commonly used to treat pain—there is even evidence to suggest that marijuana was used for this purpose as far back as 2900 BC. It can also ease certain symptoms related to cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting.
What Should I Expect When I Use It?
More and more people, including celebrities, are turning to CBD oil for anxiety in place of prescription drugs such as Klonopin or Xanax. Studies conducted by researchers at São Paulo University in Brazil in 2017 found that it was effective in treating social anxiety and in decreasing symptoms of fear, thus recommending it for clinical trials in the treatment of panic, obsessive-compulsive, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Anecdotal evidence suggests that users feel calmer, are less nervous, and are able to think more clearly. CBD oil can also help you sleep better for much longer.
How Much Should I Take?
While it’s always best to consult a physician before you begin any kind of treatment, experts recommend that going with 10 milligrams is a fine place to start. If you have a history of smoking weed, you may have developed a tolerance for CBD and therefore need to take more to produce the same effects. Keep in mind that different delivery methods can produce varying levels of the desired effect. For instance, you may find faster relief in vaping than having CBD in edible form.
While breakthroughs are being made every day with CBD and its derivatives, its legal status can only be described as hazy at best, and different states have different standards. Check your local laws as well as any travel destinations before bringing or using any hemp-derived products. Be reminded than the FDA has not yet approved any nonprescription products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.