Anxiety and mood disorders are the most common mental health ailments not only in Canada but worldwide. It’s estimated that in 2013 it affects the daily lives of about 3 million Canadians. That’s certainly a lot of people looking for some sort of relief.
Based on the reference material on the Canadian Government website here are some further statistics : ( https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/mood-anxiety-disorders-canada.html )
- Just over a quarter of those 3 million people said that their anxiety or mood disrupted their day to day life “extremely” or “quite a bit” in the previous 12 months
- While the majority of those people consulted a doctor or mental health expert a surprising 23% of people did not seek any help. This is surprising because anxiety can be a scary thing
- 93% of the people who sought help are currently taken or previously took prescription drugs to help cope
- 35% of those people reported stopped working during these periods
Looking at these statistics it’s easy to see why so many people are turning to more natural remedies such as CBD. The current treatment options for anxiety start with prescription drugs such as SSRI ( Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). A few examples of specific SSRI’s are Celax, Lexapro, Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft. Patients using these types of drugs often have to go through a few different ones to find a good match. They often come with their own risks and short and long-term side effects.
(SNRIs) Serotonin-no epinephrine reuptake inhibitors are an altogether different class of drugs. Some examples of these specific drugs are Cymbalta and Effexor XR. TCAs (Tricyclic antidepressants) again are another class and some examples of these are Tofranil, Pamelor, Elavil.
There are a couple more classes of drugs used to treat anxiety but this article is more about how CBD can be used without all the negative side effects which can be common with prescription drugs.
IF CBD IS AN OPTION WHY ARE DOCTORS NOT PRESCRIBING IT?
Usually, doctors learn about certain prescriptions in school and during ongoing training. Up until a few years ago, CBD was really not a choice or even suggestion for most doctors. In the last few years while running this CBD company I have heard more and more feedback from customers letting me know their doctor is suggesting they try CBD. This is amazing and I really could not believe it because the CBD market is certainly in its infancy here in Canada.
About 2 years ago I had a relapse of anxiety. I was unable to get into my family doctor for a few weeks so I opted to try an online virtual doctor. To my surprise one of the first things she actually mentioned to me was CBD. Already knowing about all the benefits of CBD specifically related to anxiety I kept probing her for more information and specific dosing instructions. One thing I realized is that the dosing I was using at that time was likely lowered than what I actually needed to make a difference in my own mental health.
After that point, I started increasing the dosage bit by bit until I found a dosage that worked for me. The dosage I started taking was approx 30mg in the morning and 30mg after dinner. It made a huge impact personally for me and was able to clear my mind during the day as well as falling asleep. Falling asleep was always a struggle because of all the “negative thoughts” going through the brain. My anxiety was GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).
FINDING YOUR RIGHT DOSAGE
As I touched on briefly in the last section, dosing is key to finding balance in your day-to-day life. I won’t come out and say that CBD is going to cure you, it most likely won’t. It can certainly help take the discomfort away and possibly allow you to return to days which you can function.
Too often I read online failures when people have taken CBD. Sure, I’ll agree that there may be some people that do not get benefits from it. We are all biologically different which means it might not work for everyone, fair enough. For the majority of other people, I will argue that they are not dosing correctly or they did not give it enough time for their body to adjust to.
There are a few ways to get your intake of CBD which include vaping your CBD, edibles such as gummies or capsules, and tinctures which is probably the easiest and most popular method of taking CBD. If one of these dosing methods does not work for you do not simply give us, move onto the next method and see if it works for you.
Dosing is probably the biggest thing at the start to play around with. The instructions on the bottle cannot tell you what is going to work for you as an individual. This is where trial and error come in and you play around with the dosage to see if something works better over time. We always suggest taking the approach of starting low and slow and moving up gradually in dosage. The goal is to find a dosage that gives you the ideal results without wasting the product. Less is more sometimes, and more is not better.
The journey of using CBD as a beginner starts with the first time you use it. You start with a low to trace amount and you try that a few days if you see not relief you move up in dosage over days. Once you find the dosage that works for you but you find it’s not “lasting” a full day, you start dosing 2 times a day and seeing if that works better.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SHOW AT THIS POINT?
Research big and small is what we need more of. With the continued acceptance and destigmatization of CBD and cannabis in general hopefully in the future, we will see more depth and bigger studies. This does not mean there are no studies done specifically on anxiety and CBD, there are.
2019 Study (Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A large Case Study) ref: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
This was a study done in 2019. The objective was the determination based on previous evidence if CBD helps improve sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population. The results of this sample of 72 adults which presented primary concerns of anxiety or poor sleep listed that anxiety scores decreased within the first month in about 80% of the patients and remained decreased during the study’s duration. The sleep scores improved within the first month in 67% of patience but also fluctuated over time. The CBD was well tolerated with all but 3 patients. They called for more studies to be done but said that CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications.
2019 Study (Anxiolytic Effects of Repeated Cannabidiol Treatment in Teenagers With Social Anxiety Disorder) ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31787910/
This was a double-blind study done with 37 teenagers who suffered from SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) over the course of 4 weeks. SAD symptoms were measured both at the start and end of the treatment period. In this study, there was no change with the placebo group and the fear score was lower in the patients using the CBD
2015 Review Of Assessing Evidence From Previous Trials Done
This was not a trial but more of a review of previous data regarding existing trials done. The conclusion to this review was that CBD conclusively demonstrates efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors which are relevant to many disorders which including SAD, OCD, PD, GAD, PTSD with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects. This review overall emphasizes the potential value and need for further studies of CBD.
2011 Study Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking ref: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079847/
This study was testing the effects of CBD on people with a generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD). Twenty-four people took part in this double-blind trial which involved a public speaking element. During this trial, each participant was given 600mg of CBD. The participants who received the CBD experienced a significant reduction in the discomfort of giving the speech, reduced anxiety, reduced cognitive impairment vs the group that received the placebo.
As you can see there are a handful of studies being done. The current doctors look at these same results and are seeing great potential for CBD but the trials and studies currently available do not give them enough information to suggest it over “normal” prescription medication they are so used to prescribing.
CBD is relatively new and without larger studies being done we are likely years away until we see the majority of doctors prescribing it. I commend the doctors that have done their research and are suggesting their patients try it currently. The one thing we do know is that the side effects of CBD are tiny compared to the long sheets of side effects from regulation prescription drugs(this is where you do your own research on this topic)
CBD IS NOT YOUR ENDGAME
Reading this article you can see that I am proof that CBD can work for you. I have done much research on the subject and use CBD personally. I can confidently say that CBD does help me deal with my anxiety situations. Saying that though, I cannot honestly say I do not have my good days and my bad days. I choose CBD over prescriptions because of the fact that I know the harsh side effects the prescriptions do to my body (long term and short term).
To beat anxiety you must think of a multi-pronged approach to beating your anxiety. CBD can be one prong but you must equip yourself with an arsenal of tools to help you.
Exercise: I am not gym buff or the guy with the 6 pack. I probably would prefer to sitting down on the couch and watching a move over a 2km run. Through my experimenting of ways to deal with anxiety, I do notice that exercise (running specifically) has helped me greatly recently in my battle against anxiety (alongside CBD of course). Running does a few things for you, first off it uses the extra cortisol that your body creates when it’s stressed(anxiety), your body creates serotonin naturally which if you have anxiety/depression you might be lacking, you get used to a higher heart rate when running which means during rest periods your heart rate stays lower. It’s no surprise that exercise is good for us but this has been very useful during my bad moments
Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: If you are brand new to anxiety or panic attacks then it’s easy for you to spiral down the hole of negative thoughts. Cognitive-Behavior therapy is a way for you to learn skills on how to cope with these feelings and use tools to get past the bad moments. Research has shown it to be effective in the treatment of panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, social anxiety, phobias, and so on.
Meditation: This is something I’m working on currently and just getting into myself. There is much research regarding meditation and anxiety. There are a ton of great books on guided meditation and like listening to the audiobooks through audible. It’s simply an easy and a great way to feel relaxed.
I hope this article has helped you understand a little bit more about the various methods that you can use to combat your anxiety. CBD, of course, is a great natural product with preliminary research backing it up but as you read there are also various other methods to add to your anxiety battling arsenal.