CBD For Anxiety
For those living with anxiety, finding a safe method for managing symptoms is a critical concern.
A pounding heart, sweaty palms, racing thoughts: For those living with an anxiety disorder, these unwelcome symptoms can make everyday life feel debilitating.
One in 13 people around the world live with an anxiety disorder, making them the most common mental health disorder worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). For those living with anxiety, finding a safe method for managing symptoms is a critical concern.
Quick-acting anti-anxiety medication, such as Xanax and Valium, may offer instant relief but can become addictive. Long-range anxiety medications, such as Prozac, may help reduce symptoms over time, but don’t work for everyone.
Enter cannabidiol, better known as CBD. CBD has recently captured the spotlight as an alternative or complementary treatment for anxiety.
How should I consume CBD for anxiety?
If you’re curious about using CBD oil as a tool to help manage your anxiety, education is critical. Understanding the pros and cons of the various ingestion methods can help you determine which form of consumption best suits your needs.
Tinctures & Oils
CBD tinctures and oils represent a quick, easy, and accurate way to consume CBD. Most tinctures contain CBD in an alcohol base. CBD oils contain CBD extracts infused into a carrier oil, such as coconut or hemp seed oil.
Tinctures and oils are taken using a dropper, which allows you to easily measure intake. The cannabinoid rapidly enters the bloodstream when taken sublingually—results can kick in as quickly as ten minutes and last up to three to four hours.
CBD can be added to almost every food under the sun. While super easy to consume in this form—and often delicious, particularly as gummies—it may take an hour or more before results are felt.
What’s more, the oral bioavailability of CBD can hinder CBD absorption—when you consume CBD orally, it has to pass through your gastrointestinal tract before it is metabolized by the liver. As a result, a limited quantity of CBD makes it into the circulatory system.
It’s important to also note that the FDA has recently deemed food containing CBD illegal. You’ll have to get CBD edibles in state-licensed adult-use markets.
Because of its ease of swallowing, a capsule is an effective way to administer CBD in doses which are difficult to measure. These containers are swallowed without chewing. The CBD in a capsule is delivered to the stomach’s digestive tract, a much faster way than other ways of taking medicine.
Capsules can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, but it stops after the stomach. Since they bypass the liver, absorption is much faster.
Dosing CBD For Anxiety
As most scientists and clinicians will readily admit, there is no universally recommended dosage for CBD, and, to date, there haven’t been any large-scale clinical trials to inform dosage guidelines. In addition, the FDA is still learning about CBD—such as its cumulative effects on the body—before it decides on how to regulate it.
This doesn’t necessarily mean CBD is unsafe. Existing research already suggests that it appears to be a safe, well-tolerated treatment. If you’re interested in experimenting with CBD for anxiety to manage your symptoms, aim for an informed, cautious approach to dosing (which is always a good idea). Below are some dosing considerations.
General dosing tips when experimenting CBD for anxiety
Some basic factors that you should consider when devising CBD for anxiety include:
- Body weight
- Concentration of CBD
- Severity of your anxiety
The concentration of CBD varies between products, and is generally expressed as milligrams (mg) per container. Your unique body chemistry affects how you respond to CBD. Once you know the potency of the CBD product you hold, you can use a dosage calculator or an app such as Accugentix to help settle on your perfect dose. Dosage calculators can provide a recommended dose in milligrams based on your body weight and the severity of your symptoms.
Your unique body chemistry also affects how you respond to CBD. Some individuals metabolize medicine faster than others, which can be attributed to genes or lifestyle. If you know that you metabolize medication quickly, it’s possible that you may benefit from a higher dose.RelatedThe entourage effect: How cannabis compounds may be working together
CBD may do different things at different doses, a phenomenon known as bidirectional effects. Overstimulation of the body’s endocannabinoid system may exacerbate symptoms instead of alleviating them.
Additionally, high levels of CBD, such as 300 mg, have been known to promote sleepiness and relaxation. Conversely, low levels of CBD may create an elevating response, inciting wakefulness and alertness. The best way to avoid unwanted bidirectional effects is to follow the adage: start low, go slow.
Start low, go slow
Titration refers to the process of adjusting the dosage of a medication to get its maximum benefits without adverse effects. CBD has been shown to be safe even when taken in high doses (300-600 mg), nonetheless, it’s advisable and more cost-effective to start with a low dose and increase it incrementally, observing how you feel as you go.
This method forces you to pay attention to subtle changes in your body as it responds to the medication. Everyone’s optimal dosage and tolerance is unique, and this process allows you to get acquainted with yours. Related A physician’s perspective on optimal cannabis dosing
Talk to an expert on medical cannabis
If you’re still feeling unsure and you live in a state where you can safely converse with a health professional about CBD, consider scheduling a consultation. Some cannabis dispensaries also have medical experts on hand who can provide you with sound advice and dosage recommendations.