The coronavirus pandemic and the socioeconomic downturns that have accompanied it, has heightened everyone's anxiety about the future. Will we get a vaccine in time? Will companies start hiring again or will digital workplaces and reduced employee counts be our new reality?
These, and many other questions have no doubt caused a lot of mental anguish in lots of people over the past few months. With most governmental and medical agencies occupied with the pandemic, mental health issues like anxiety disorders, have unfortunately been thrown in the back burner.
Notably, there is no permanent cure for anxiety (or most mental health problems for that matter) and most of the time, treatment is aimed at managing the symptoms. Some of the symptoms associated with anxiety include; excessive sweating, frequent loss of concentration, shortness of breath, sleep problems and general restlessness. CBD, a key compound found in marijuana, has shown great promise in alleviating these symptoms.
The Endocannabinoid System and Stress Relief
The average weed smoker will admit to feeling calm and a bit light-headed after downing a joint, but they probably don't understand the biological reasons for the same. In truth, the physical and mental relaxation is occasioned by the activation of the body's Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is basically involved in balancing our physiological systems.
The ECS is mostly made up of fatty compounds known as endocannabinoids which, when activated, travel and stick to the networks of cannabinoid receptors in the brain, immune system, and central nervous system.
Activating the cannabinoid receptors (mostly CB1 receptors) in the brain and central nervous system has been found to produce a 'calming effect' that reduces stress, and fear. This, however, doesn't mean that you should smoke large amounts of weed any time you feel stressed out. See, most cannabis plants have higher concentration of THC (a psychoactive/intoxicating compound) than CBD, and imbibing high amounts of THC has been found to induce anxiety and paranoia.
Use of CBD for Stress Management
In the US states and countries where medical cannabis is legal, CBD treatments for a range of conditions, including anxiety are quite common. These treatments include CBD-rich lotions and oil, which can be either taken with food or beverages, or dropped on the bottom of the mouth.
Indeed, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence from people who successfully got rid of their anxiety by using CBD treatments. Sadly, however, the scientific community has seemingly not caught up, seeing as there are no large scale trials on the touted efficacy of CBD as a stress reliever.
Nonetheless, there are still some notable scientific trials on the topic which have shown great promise. One of them involved randomly giving 600mg pure CBD dose or placebo to a bunch of people who suffered from social anxiety disorder before they had to give public speeches. A proportionate number of perfectly healthy individuals also participated in the public speaking contest, but weren't given any medication.
The outcome was that the socially anxious persons who received the CBD tablets were able to perform the task with considerably lower anxiety, discomfort and cognitive impairment compared to the group that got the placebo. The healthy participants performed as well as the CBD group, which basically means that taking strong doses of CBD before giving public speeches would help socially anxious people to be as confident and effective as any other person.