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How Does CBD Work to Relieve Anxiety?

CBD to Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal and healthy emotion that helps us stay safe. However, when it becomes excessive, it can interfere with our daily lives and cause our happiness to take a serious dive.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems in the UK, with 1 in 20 adults diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). They can cause a variety of symptoms, including feelings of fear and dread, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, insomnia, and many others.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s important to reach out to a professional for advice. There are a lot of effective treatments available, like therapy and medication, that can help with your symptoms and reduce the effect anxiety is having on your day-to-day life. With the right treatment, most people dealing with anxiety disorders can go on to lead full and productive lives.

If you already have an existing treatment plan or your symptoms are relatively mild, you may be interested in exploring a natural remedy to your current approach. There are a few options out there, but there’s one in particular that’s been skyrocketing in popularity over the past few years: CBD.

CBD has been making waves for its potential to ease anxiety, reduce stress, and improve sleep. While scientists are still unravelling the exact mechanisms behind this, we’ve created a breakdown of several possible ways CBD can help improve your mental health below. Let’s dive in!

1. Interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signalling system made up of three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. It plays a role in regulating a range of physiological processes, including mood and pain.

When CBD is taken, it interacts with the ECS by elevating the levels of endogenous cannabinoid compounds, anandamide and 2AG, which activate cannabinoid receptors. These have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), analgesic (pain-relieving), and anti-inflammatory effects.

2. Activates Serotonin Receptors

Serotonin, often called your body’s natural “feel good” chemical, helps regulate mood, anxiety, and a variety of physiological processes. CBD has been shown to bind directly to the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which is a type of serotonin receptor that is involved in mood regulation, anxiety, and pain. When CBD binds to this receptor, it activates it, which can lead to increased serotonin levels in the brain.

3. Increases GABA Activity

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter with inhibitory effects in the brain. When GABA activity is higher, it can have a calming and anxiolytic effect, potentially reducing anxiety.

CBD can bind to and activate GABA-A and GABA-B receptors, which are the two main types of GABA receptors in the brain. This increases the GABA response in the brain. It also prevents the breakdown of GABA, which means that more GABA is available to bind to GABA receptors and exert its effects.

4. Promotes Neuron Growth

Some animal studies suggest that CBD may promote the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in regulating emotions and the stress response. This process, known as neurogenesis, may contribute to the anxiolytic effects of CBD.

5. Reduces Inflammation

CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could be relevant to anxiety, as chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with mood disorders. Reducing these factors might indirectly help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

Important note: The effects of CBD can vary from person to person, and it may interact with other medications, so it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD to address anxiety.

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