Updated: Oct 31, 2019
I was just relaxing at home after our last Sunday Kambo ceremony and I took a few hits from my CBD liquid vape. As it started to gently take effect and I began to relax I started thinking about this CBD craze that seems to be sweeping the globe. It seems that CBD is the hot topic at the moment and with the recent widespread legalisation of it, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes even more popular than it already is.
As I use Kambo to heal people, as you can imagine I meet a lot of people with a whole plethora of physical and emotional problems. One that comes up again and again is anxiety. I started to think about how CBD could be a great safe and natural remedy for anxiety so I did a little research online, looking at some studies and research findings.
What I found was pretty amazing. Does CBD help with anxiety? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” CBD has a variety of effects on the brain, many of which help to reduce anxiety.
As I’ll demonstrate below we now know that CBD can really help with anxiety but what about the side effects? Is it addictive? Can you overdose?
Let’s take a closer look and I can explain in more detail the way that it works and answer these questions...
What is it?
For those of you who don’t know what CBD is, it’s a chemical compound from the Cannabis plant called cannabidiol. It’s totally natural and is used in products like oils, vapes and edibles. It induces a feeling of calm and relaxation and unlike it’s other family member THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) it’s not psychoactive.
Who can use CBD?
Before we talk about legalisation let’s define what we’re talking about when we reefer (pun intended :) ) to CBD.
While most of us understand the difference between CBD and THC, there is another lesser known, but very important difference when it comes to CBD legality, and that is the difference between marijuana and hemp.
So to begin with it’s important to know that marijuana and hemp are both members of the cannabis family. There is, however, an important difference between the two - the amount of CBD and THC that each plant produces. A marijuana plant can contain up to 30% THC. In other words, marijuana is the plant that gives you the high, euphoric, psychoactive effects. The hemp plant contains no more than 0.3% THC. This makes it virtually impossible to feel high from consuming hemp. This is the reason hemp is legal in most countries and safe for pretty much everyone, including elderly people, children, and even animals.
Hemp-derived CBD is legal in most countries. CBD is also found in the marijuana plant. Marijuana-derived CBD is not legal in most countries because the growth and cultivation of marijuana are not legal. CBD derived from hemp has no psychoactive effects, therefore the purchase, sale, or possession of hemp CBD products are completely legal in most places.
Because hemp is sometimes confused with marijuana, there is still some stigma towards hemp-derived CBD. However, from a legal perspective, hemp-derived CBD is completely legal and possession should not cause any legal issues in most countries.
How does it work to reduce anxiety?
As I mentioned above CBD has a variety of positive effects on the brain. Let’s take a look at a few that relate to anxiety.
CBD is a 5-HT1A agonist: This sounds complicated but it’s actually very simple. In our brains we have a 'feel good' neurotransmitter called serotonin and we have serotonin receptors. 5-HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor, which is important because anxiety and depression can sometimes be treated with medications that target the serotonin system. This is why antidepressants that work as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are very effective. SSRIs work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, which increases the amount of available serotonin in the synaptic space for the serotonin receptors. Over time this causes the serotonin receptors to increase the amount of serotonin they can absorb.
This helps the brain to regulate a higher level of serotonin, which over time can reduce anxiety and boost mood in certain cases.
Similar to SSRIs, CBD may boost signaling through serotonin receptors. In an animal study, Spanish researchers found that CBD enhances 5-HT1A transmission and may affect serotonin faster than SSRIs.
Hippocampal neurogenesis: The hippocampus is a major part of the brain. It plays an important role in a large selection of brain functions. It’s super important for memory formation and cognition. Patients suffering from depression or anxiety often show a smaller hippocampus in brain scans, and successful treatment is associated with the growth of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus.
A study using mice found repeated administration of CBD may help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could be useful for treating anxiety and depression. Research shows both SSRIs and CBD may promote neurogenesis.
Human Studies Show How CBD Reduces Anxiety: Brazilian researchers conducted a study of patients afflicted with generalized social anxiety. After consuming CBD, participants reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Researchers validated patients’ subjective reports by performing brain scans showing cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with an anti-anxiety effect.
In another small study, researchers had patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder perform a simulated public speaking test. Participants reported significantly less anxiety, findings supported by objective anxiety indicators like heart rate and blood pressure.
It seems that CBD has many positive effects on the brain and not only can it lower anxiety, but it also helps to reduce the symptoms associated with a wide range of psychological conditions and brain disorders.
It has been indicated that CBD may prove to be an effective treatment for:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder
What’s really interesting is that the human body has a built-in system designed explicitly for processing cannabinoids.
It’s called ‘the endocannabinoid system’ and it plays a major role in keeping the body in homeostasis – which is the ability to maintain a healthy inner balance. This means CBD oil and other derived supplements can regulate sleep, appetite, mood, and consequently the level of anxiety we might be experiencing at a given moment.
Are there any negative side effects?
Sound too good to be true? I thought so as well, so I started looking for any negative side effects that may come from CBD use. It turns out side effects from CBD are unlikely but they are possible. Here’s a list of potential side effects:
Changes in appetite
Changes in mood
It’s funny how at the top of the list is ‘anxiety’ which is the very thing I’m suggesting people might want to use CBD for. As with any substance there’s always the potential for a side effect and although CBD is labelled as non psychoactive, it will still change the way you feel and with that comes the potential for anxious feelings in some people.
If you are thinking about using CBD then the best advice is always to start slow with a low strength formula and asses how it affects you. All medicines affect people differently so finding your own individual tolerance will help you choose the right strength product. Start on the low end and go from there.
Is it addictive?
The next thing that came to mind is the question “Is it addictive?”. With something like this that can reduce anxiety and pain it would seem that there may be an addictive quality to it. Well it turns out that CBD is 100% non-addictive.
As CBD is an isolated compound made from cannabis and does not contain THC it is not addictive. THC produces the mind-altering effects and as such can be an addictive compound. Addiction all boils down to dopamine. Dopamine is the reward chemical in the brain. Anything which spikes dopamine levels such as cocaine, porn, tobacco, chocolate or even sex can be addictive. It’s the dopamine we’re addicted to not the substance or activity itself.
CBD does not touch the dopamine system in the brain and for this reason is totally non-addictive. On the contrary CBD has been shown to actually help in treating addiction.
Can you overdose?
Although I thought it seemed very unlikely I thought I’d better look into the possibility of overdose. As CBD is not toxic and has very few side-effects it has been known to produce incredible benefits and help many people who are searching for recovery or relief but is it possible to overdo it?
Fortunately, there are hundreds of cases of people experiencing the benefits of CBD and no known reports of fatal overdose from CBD or CBD oil. CBD seems to be a safe alternative to other potentially dangerous medications and illicit drugs.
It appears close to impossible for someone to have a fatal overdose from CBD. According to the National Cancer Institute “Because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur.”
One thing’s for sure - CBD is here to stay and as you can see, it seems it’s a safe and effective treatment for a variety of physical and mental disorders. Don’t take my word for it, as always I’d advise you to do your own research and then make a decision as to whether CBD is right for you.
I hope you found this article informative, I’ll be hitting you up with a new one very soon.