When it comes to conditions that affect wellness, like anxiety and insomnia, their symptoms may include similar mental and physical factors. Anxiety is characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or excess fear that are often as a result of your body's reaction to stress. Anxiety can be relatively mild or as serious as panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Insomnia, on the other end, is a sleep disorder that is characterized by problems with falling and staying asleep, often as a result of stress, anxiety, and poor sleeping habits. Based on the symptoms of these conditions, the treatment of anxiety can be related to the treatment of Insomnia. And the most common medications for these conditions are drugs that have a calming effect on the individual, helping them to rest and sleep better, which is where Cannabis and CBD make an appearance.
What is CBD -and how does it help with anxiety and insomnia?
Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plants, a species that includes hemp and marijuana. It is one of the two most commonly known chemicals from the cannabis Sativa plants, the other being Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD and THC have gained increasing popularity in recent years, due to the legalization of cannabis use and the incorporation into food, beauty, and health industries. But the benefits of these components have been known for centuries, especially in traditional Asian communities.
Over the past few years, researchers have studied cannabis and its components to uncover its benefits for everyday use and it has been published that, while THC is the 'high' chemical, CBD has more of a calming effect on the consumer/user.
How CBD helps with Anxiety
There are different receptors in the human body and they react to stimuli differently. CBD has been studied to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. In its interactions with these receptors, particularly CB1 and the central nervous system, CBD may affect serotonin signals and secretion in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that sends messages to your brain, and it is commonly described as the ‘happy’ chemical/hormone. It stabilizes moods, anxiety, and happiness and low levels of serotonin, for some people, may result in anxiety and depression. Now, with the interactions between CBD and the CB1 receptors, it is very possible that CBD can be used to trigger serotonin levels with the receptors in the central nervous system.
A 2011 study found that CBD was able to reduce symptoms of anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder and the findings of a 2015 review suggested that CBD could help with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These studies show that CBD can have positive effects in managing anxiety and improving quality of life.
How CBD helps with sleep
Anxiety and Insomnia can be treated with anxiolytics or anti-depressants but, some studies suggest that cannabis can be used as an alternative, particularly CBD. In a 2019 study, where CBD was used to treat people who were struggling with anxiety and sleep, about 80% of people’s anxiety improved, and almost 70% reported improved sleep in the first month.
CBD improves sleep by tackling the root cause of insomnia, which could be depression, anxiety, or pain. By providing health benefits that help the user tackle symptoms, CBD addresses the problem of sleep.
How to use CBD for anxiety and insomnia
CBD is manufactured and processed for recreational and medical use in different forms.
● Vape concentrates, pre-rolls, and packaged buds for smoking.
● Oils and tinctures for aromatherapy with other essential oils.
● Pills and capsules for oral consumption (medically-regulated)
● Edibles like chocolate, candy, gummies, and so on.
● Oils, soaps, and other forms mixed with skincare products.
The quantity and method of using CBD for anxiety and insomnia is highly dependent on the individual’s tolerance level as well as the intensity of their condition. Using CBD in the same form and dosage as someone else may lead to different effects and reactions for you.
The use of cannabis, CBD in particular, for anxiety and insomnia can be helpful, although research isn't extensive. However, like most things medical, some precautions must be taken. Remember that it is a chemical compound that may interact adversely with any other medications you are on. So, it is best to speak with a professional dispensary, physician, or consultant before using CBD for anxiety and insomnia.