One of the most exciting areas for medical marijuana research has been the use of CBD oil for anxiety. CBD oil, more properly known as cannabidiol, is one of the 113 cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, and one of almost 600 chemical compounds found within the plant. Compared to the most prominent cannabinoid compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD oil has about the same range of promising medical benefits as well as a far weaker psychoactive effect.
In simpler terms, CBD oil has the potential to treat anxiety symptoms without the “high” that’s often associated with medical marijuana. The implications are that patients may suffer no loss in productivity as is often the case when treating symptoms with cannabis products with THC.
Selected studies, in brief
Research in the past decade on the effect of CBD on anxiety has been promising so far, though researchers as of writing have failed to give a conclusive answer on how CBD oil interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide relief from anxiety symptoms.
In the same studies, CBD oil has shown to create fewer side effects in patients, provided that the patients are receiving controlled doses.
A 2010 study also revealed promising benefits for patients suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) specifically. Brain scans of patients with SAD often show abnormal blood flow in parts of their brain linked to anxiety symptoms. Controlled doses of CBD oil normalized the blood flow in these areas. More importantly, however, patients themselves reported relief from anxiety symptoms.
A related 2011 study also demonstrated similar results, this time focusing on using CBD oil for anxiety related to public speaking. Positive results were had, and this can perhaps have applications for patients with anxiety to be able to start working in fields which would have previously difficult or impossible, such as customer service or management.
A 2015 meta-analysis of studies investigating the use of CBD oil for anxiety found that virtually all forms of anxiety apart from the ones mentioned, including generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As the exact mechanism behind CBD oil’s effect on anxiety is yet to be discovered, there are still unknowns with regards to its long-term effects, and it may take decades before this specific mystery is finally uncovered.
There are also mild risks associated with cannabis products in general, though these risks can be serious for adolescent patients, as cannabis has been found to affect the growth of young brains.
Of course, there are also risks associated with smoking cannabis in a traditional manner, as the burnt particles pose a risk to the lungs. These risks can be largely mitigated by sourcing pure CBD oil products through a known supplier and the use of a vaporizer, or by using tinctures, edibles, and oral solutions.
If you are considering CBD oil for anxiety, it is important to consult a qualified medical doctor and to review the laws concerning the use of CBD in your jurisdiction. This will help further reduce the known health and legal risks associated with CBD as a treatment.