Have you recently heard that hemp extract (cannabidiol aka CBD) can help ease your anxiety or help you relax after a long stressful day? Or that hemp extract can help calm the stress you may feel in a social situation without any psychoactive effects? Recent studies have shown that hemp extract can in fact help with these symptoms of anxiety and is becoming an acceptable and reliable alternative treatment for anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder in the U.S.. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of the adult population in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorders each year, which equates to about 40 million people. Additionally, anxiety is closely linked with depressive disorders, and about half of those with anxiety also suffer from a depressive disorder.
Anxiety disorders include a variety of illnesses including general anxiety disorder (GAD), specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, social anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. Symptoms of anxiety include but are not limited to: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance. Treatments for anxiety disorders include medication, such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills like Buspirone, and sedatives, and therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
What can hemp extract do?
Hemp extract, cannabidiol, has recently been studied as an alternative treatment for anxiety symptoms and illnesses. Though these studies are recent, cannabis has been documented and used for these and other symptoms as far back as 2700 B.C. Both animal and human studies have shown that hemp extract has stress alleviating properties.
This 2012 review assessed CBD studies and found the hemp extract is effective in treating symptoms of anxiety. In particular, the study found clinical evidence for CBD treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Though the study calls for additional clinical trials and more evidence on dosing, the review is promising.
A 2014 study on mice sought to find the exact pathway through which CBD/ hemp extract alleviates symptoms of stress and anxiety. This study found that augmenting the endocannabinoid system may be an effective method for reducing the physical and mental effects of stress, proving that hemp extract, which acts on the endocannabinoid system, may be an effective alternative treatment for stress.
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Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying a new type of treatment for any stress related illness.
*FDA Disclosure: Hemp extract products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.