- Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce anxiety in people with generalized social anxiety disorder.
- Here’s author Jennifer Still’s experience of trying out various CBD products to help with her anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder affects more than 6.8 million people in the US, and one in six Americans are on prescribed psychiatric drugs to treat the condition or another mental health issue.
While I’ve never been officially diagnosed with anxiety, working in a high-stress job and being an anxiety-prone person means I have flare-ups that can leave me feeling tense, irritable, and generally unwell.
Thankfully, I don’t experience these episodes enough to warrant pharmaceutical intervention, but I did want to find a natural way to manage my anxiety when it does crop up.
After hearing positive things about cannabidiol (CBD) oil’s effect on our ability to relax and de-stress for those with generalized social anxiety disorder, I decided to give it a go. Here’s my experience.
I spent a lot of time searching online for a high-quality product.
I decided to start taking CBD oil while staying in the UK, which meant that I was looking for a product made and sold in this country to purchase. It’s a legal cannabinoid in the UK, which means it’s pretty readily available online and in health shops such as Holland & Barrett.
I eventually went with a brand called LoveHemp. To start, I chose to take CBD in oil form with a 10% concentration. This is pretty middle of the road in terms of dosage, with products available in as low as 2% and as high as 40% concentrations online.
It didn’t make me spaced out, and I didn’t feel ‘high.’
A lot of people get CBD, or cannabidiol, confused with THC, the latter of which is the psychoactive element in marijuana that gets you high. They’re definitely not the same.
CBD is a separate substance which contains no THC, so you won’t get high when taking CBD as a supplement. Instead, CBD contains compounds which have shown promise for medical uses, including relief from epilepsy, arthritis, diabetes, and anxiety.
One caveat: Many of these studies have involved marijuana strains that contain both CBD and THC. That means further research on CBD alone is needed.
After my first and any subsequent dosages, it didn’t change my state of mind at all. I wasn’t groggy, wired, excitable, or “high.” I felt just like myself.
I experienced a subtle but noticeable difference in my anxiety levels.
While it wasn’t like I was 100% stress-free overnight, I did notice within a week or so of taking CBD oil – roughly six to eight drops under the tongue, held for 90 seconds and then swallowed, twice a day – that I felt less anxious and tense. Things that usually bothered me, like unanswered emails or things going wrong with work, were easier to take in stride.
It also helped that I was sleeping better at night. I hadn’t cut out caffeine or changed anything else about my lifestyle, so I can only attribute the improved ability to fall and stay asleep to the CBD oil.
However, studies have shown that CBD oil has no significant clinical effect on sleep patterns. Maybe it was a placebo effect.
I experimented with different forms of CBD until I found one that fit.
While I started with CBD in oil form, the taste of the oil itself (usually hemp oil, but it can be purchased in coconut oil form as well) wasn’t that great. While I’m not a regular smoker, I have used a vape in the past, and although I know it’s not good for me, I do find the occasional smoke relaxing.
I was curious about the idea of vaping CBD oil, so I ordered a vape starter kit. I enjoyed it, but my paranoia about the dangers vaping poses to your health put me off the idea in the long run.
I also tried CBD gummies, though the lower concentration of CBD in each dose meant that I didn’t experience the same positive effects as I did with the oil. Eventually, I went back to the original 10% oil and have stuck with that ever since.
I still use it semi-regularly, though other lifestyle changes have likely helped as much in relieving my anxiety.
I always keep CBD oil around to take when I’m feeling in need of relief from my anxiety, rare bouts of insomnia, or even occasional back pain. I haven’t experienced any negative effects from taking CBD, and I definitely look forward to reading more research on its efficacy as it becomes available. I don’t take it daily, maybe just a couple of times a week now, but I like knowing it’s available should I need a boost (whether or not it’s the placebo effect).
However, I’m also aware that other lifestyle changes I’ve made, such as improving my diet, taking more time away from work, and upping my exercise routine, have likely had just as much of a positive impact on my anxiety levels, so I don’t want to give the CBD oil too much credit.
Is it a miracle product? No, but if it helps people with certain ailments, why not give it a try?
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