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does cbd work for anxiety

Dr. Hurd: So, perhaps…taking it at night only might be best because it can make you a bit sleepy, and everyone has a different sensitivity. If you take it at night you get past the initial sedative effects… and then you don’t have to worry about taking other things like caffeine to try to stay awake.

CBD is a distant cousin of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. They both come from the cannabis plant, but CBD isn’t psychoactive. Meaning it doesn’t get you high. Now, of course, getting high isn’t the only reason why cannabis is popular. People also use it to relieve pain, control seizures, and lessen anxiety. But as researchers like Dr. Yasmin Hurd are discovering, it’s likely CBD, not THC, that’s behind these benefits.

That was the first thing I noticed: that CBD was making me drowsy. Really drowsy. Which Hurd said is a pretty normal side effect at high doses. Though we’re not exactly sure why. But as I discovered the next night, it’s also great for hangovers.

Jones: So, back at the shop, I tried all kinds of product. From sweets to lotions and sprays. And while Hurd couldn’t recommend a specific dose for me, she did say that 300 milligrams a day should be enough to feel something. Because participants in clinical trials typically take anywhere from 300 to 600 milligrams. So, those chocolates and sprays? They weren’t going to cut it. Instead, I went for something else.

Dr. Hurd: It’s one of the first times in history that the public is determining whether something is medicine, not scientists and physicians.

Jones: But if there was one takeaway from our conversations, it was this:

Jones: In other words, we don’t know: what size dose you should take, how, exactly, it changes your brain, or how it impacts different people in different ways. That’s because until late 2018, nearly all CBD was classified as an illegal substance. Which made it really difficult for scientists to study. And while research is starting to catch up… in some ways, it’s too late.

Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go.

Reflecting the next morning, I was most surprised by the fact that I never felt “high” in any way—there was never a moment of It’s kicking in; I can feel it now like with pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs. Considering it takes time, consistency, and the right dosage to experience the full effect, I continued taking the oil once a day for the next six days. Here’s what went down.

It Made Me Less Anxious and Edgy

The current CBD industry is like the internet’s early years. the Wild West. Legally, speaking, a Harvard Medical School blog post reads, “All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it.”   With heightened interest around CBD, it’s important to note that because CBD is currently unregulated, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting (whether that’s a tincture—commonly referred to as CBD oil, which is often combined with a carrier oil like coconut oil—topical products like creams and balms, sprays, or capsules), despite product labels and brand promises, the blog post further reads. It’s also important to note that people experience CBD differently. For the most part, the National Institute of Medicine says that while most people can tolerate CBD, side effects do exist. They might include dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite, among others.  

Charlotte’s Web inaugural CBD oil product comes in two flavors; Olive Oil and Mint Chocolate. It’s also its most potent. According to its website, its Original Formula Hemp Extract Oil comes with 50mg CBD per mL.

For those new to CBD, Charlotte’s Web recommends this hemp oil. Containing 17mg of CBD per 1mL serving, this CBD oil is also U.S. Hemp Authority Certified. Choose from four different flavors including Lemon Twist, Mint Chocolate, Orange Blossom, and Olive Oil.

Initial data also suggests that CBD has other far-reaching medical applications. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that “CBD was shown to offer benefits including acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent.” This means CBD could be used as “potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.”

The World Health Organization takes a similar stance, saying there is no evidence of abuse potential or harm associated with the use of pure CBD. However, WHO cautions against its use as a medicine until further research and evidence have been amassed. And, of course, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before making any changes to your health routine.

“Strong data is lacking with CBD. There have been only small research trials some showing benefit, others showing no benefit with CBD,” said Pritham Raj, an internist-psychiatrist in Portland, Oregon. “So, in short, the jury is still out. This doesn’t mean CBD doesn’t work for anxiety, it just means that we don’t have enough information to make a strong argument for CBD in the treatment of anxiety.”

CBD may help with anxiety or mental health issues.

Blake Pearson, founder of GreenlyMed and a practicing doctor in Ontario, Canada, specializes in cannabinoid medicine and said he has personally seen patients who have lowered their intake of prescription medications or reduced the negative side effects of taking other medications. However, Pearson would like to see more robust research, including random controlled trials.

“For those patients who have tried and failed with prescription anti-anxiety medications or want another option for other reasons, CBD is a potential alternative with a good safety profile that offers fewer negative side effects and fewer contraindications with other substances,” Pearson said. “While it won’t work for everyone, it offers a gentler alternative that I have seen work for many people.”

However, CBD use is better than patients self-medicating with marijuana in a bid to treat anxiety, Raj added.

Anxiety affects almost all of us in small ways. Before giving a speech or doing something new, we might feel unsure, unprepared or nervous. Some of those feelings may well manifest in physical symptoms like shortness of breath, clammy hands or headaches.