The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating everyday functions including mood, stress, and anxiety. It is composed of fatty ligands called endocannabinoids that bind to a vast network of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain, immune system, central nervous system, and organs. The endocannabinoid system is constantly at work to ensure all of our physiological systems remain balanced and in homeostasis.
This important regulator works as a buffer to make sure we don’t develop an illness as a result of all the stressful stimuli that we experience. However, unmanaged, chronic stress can eventually impair our endocannabinoid system, downregulating the CB1 receptor to brain regions responsible for emotion processing. Chronic stress also leads to less anandamide, an important feel-good endocannabinoid. With weakened endocannabinoid signaling, we are more vulnerable to developing anxiety and depression. Boosting CB1 signaling may offer significant therapeutic promise for preventing and treating anxiety disorders– that’s where CBD comes in.
CBD for Anxiety
While we still need a lot of clinical research completed before we can make any conclusions, the existing preclinical and anecdotal data is quite promising for CBD as a viable treatment for anxiety. There are several studies that showcase CBD’s ability to enhance CB1 signaling and promote neural regeneration among the hippocampus.
Beyond endocannabinoid signaling, CBD’s promising anti-anxiety properties are shown by how it interacts with serotonin 5-HT1A receptors in the brain. These receptors are targeted by pharmaceutical drugs in anxiety treatment. Animal studies have discovered that CBD may lower heart rate and blood pressure while also reducing anxiety levels. In a human trial, neuroimaging of healthy patients given 400mg of CBD isolate displayed that the relaxation experienced might have been caused by the activity in the limbic and paralimbic brain system.
Since anxiety is such a broad term that can refer to numerous disorders, most research that’s been completed on the topic with CBD is typically concentrated on one type alone. The most commonly researched is social anxiety disorder. One study found that CBD considerably reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort during speech performance while alleviating stress levels prior to the test.
How Can CBD Help Women With Anxiety?
CBD may offer a multi-faceted approach for helping women cope with anxiety. By potentially enhancing endocannabinoid signaling, promoting neural regeneration, and interacting with serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, CBD may offer comprehensive therapeutic promise for this condition. CBD may also offer stress-relief properties for helping address chronic, unmanaged stress which can significantly increase your risk for developing anxiety. Anxiety can also be a side effect caused by PMS and menopause. CBD’s interaction with our complex endocannabinoid system may also address these underlying causes of anxiety.