For example, the six hemp oil companies the FDA had investigated in February had explicitly advertised CBD products for use in the “cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases.” The agency sent warning letters to the companies, ordering them to change their product labeling or face potential legal action. Then, in May, the FDA announced it was excluding products containing cannabidiol from its definition of dietary supplements altogether. Hard, the spokesman for Medical Marijuana, Inc., said the company views “these developments as positive because this allows the debate regarding CBD to come to the forefront.” He characterized the FDA’s May announcement as “an opinion” and added, “Medical Marijuana, Inc. and HempMeds, along with industry associations, are working on determining how we can come to a mutual understanding on the matter with the FDA.”
THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance, is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.” Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. Thus, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD or CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp plants, as they only have minuscule traces of THC (<0.3%).
Fear and anxiety are adaptive responses essential to coping with threats to survival. Yet excessive or persistent fear may be maladaptive, leading to disability. Symptoms arising from excessive fear and anxiety occur in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Notably, PTSD and OCD are no longer classified as anxiety disorders in the recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5; however, excessive anxiety is central to the symptomatology of both disorders. These anxiety-related disorders are associated with a diminished sense of well-being, elevated rates of unemployment and relationship breakdown, and elevated suicide risk [1–3]. Together, they have a lifetime prevalence in the USA of 29 % , the highest of any mental disorder, and constitute an immense social and economic burden [5, 6].
That’s precisely why I was intrigued when I started hearing about CBD, or cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive compound found in the cannabis or hemp plant that apparently helps with sleep and anxiety. I didn’t exactly get my hopes up ― after all, tons of natural remedies that worked for other people hadn’t worked for me ― but I figured it was worth a shot.
Many people find CBD helpful in the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia, insufficient sleep, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep disorders refer to changes in sleeping patterns or habits that negatively impact health. Sleep disorders are surprisingly common, affecting 50-70 million adults in the United States. Unfortunately, most physicians prescribe pharmaceuticals to combat sleep disorders rather than managing the disorder naturally. Medications like sleeping pills and allergy/cold medicine are habit forming, unhealthy, and induce negative side effects when taken regularly. Your body develops psychological dependency to sedative hypnotic drugs like Ambien and Lunesta, and they often leave you with residual feelings of grogginess in the morning, even after a full 8 hours of sleep. The good news is that natural, plant-based remedies like CBD have helped thousands get off pharmaceutical sleeping pills. In addition to making lifestyle changes that facilitate a better night’s sleep, ingesting CBD oil before bed will help provide you with a restful night’s sleep – naturally.
The eCB system regulates diverse physiological functions, including caloric energy balance and immune function . The eCB system is also integral to regulation of emotional behavior, being essential to forms of synaptic plasticity that determine learning and response to emotionally salient, particularly highly aversive events [29, 30]. Activation of CB1Rs produces anxiolytic effects in various models of unconditioned fear, relevant to multiple anxiety disorder symptom domains (reviewed in [30–33]). Regarding conditioned fear, the effect of CB1R activation is complex: CB1R activation may enhance or reduce fear expression, depending on brain locus and the eCB ligand ; however, CB1R activation potently enhances fear extinction , and can prevent fear reconsolidation. Genetic manipulations that impede CB1R activation are anxiogenic , and individuals with eCB system gene polymorphisms that reduce eCB tone—for example, FAAH gene polymorphisms—exhibit physiological, psychological, and neuroimaging features consistent with impaired fear regulation . Reduction of AEA–CB1R signaling in the amygdala mediates the anxiogenic effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone , and CB1R activation is essential to negative feedback of the neuroendocrine stress response, and protects against the adverse effects of chronic stress [38, 39]. Finally, chronic stress impairs eCB signaling in the hippocampus and amygdala, leading to anxiety [40, 41], and people with PTSD show elevated CB1R availability and reduced peripheral AEA, suggestive of reduced eCB tone .
The apparatus used for the polysomnography exams consisted of different devices including electroencephalogram with the international 10–20 system (to rule out the occurrence of epileptic seizures), electrooculogram, electromyogram of chin muscles and upper and lower limbs, nasal pressure cannula, oral thermistor, thoracic and abdominal respiratory inductive plethysmography straps, pulse oximetry, electrocardiogram, and snoring and body position sensors. Video and sound were also recorded during the exam.
Over decades, researchers have found that THC may help treat pain, nausea, loss of appetite and other problems, while CBD was thought to be biologically inactive in humans. But in the past 10 years, scientists have concluded that CBD may be quite useful. Dozens of studies have found evidence that the compound can treat epilepsy as well as a range of other illnesses, including anxiety, schizophrenia, heart disease and cancer.
Guzmán is a biochemist who’s studied cannabis for about 20 years. I visit him in his office at the Complutense University of Madrid, in a golden, graffiti-splotched building on a tree-lined boulevard. A handsome guy in his early 50s with blue eyes and shaggy brown hair tinged with gray, he speaks rapidly in a soft voice that makes a listener lean forward. “When the headline of a newspaper screams, ‘Brain Cancer Is Beaten With Cannabis!’ it is not true,” he says. “There are many claims on the Internet, but they are very, very weak.”
CBD has a broad pharmacological profile, including interactions with several receptors known to regulate fear and anxiety-related behaviors, specifically the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, and the transient receptor potential (TRP) vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptor [11, 12, 19, 21]. In addition, CBD may also regulate, directly or indirectly, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor 55, the equilibrative nucleoside transporter, the adenosine transporter, additional TRP channels, and glycine receptors [11, 12, 19, 21]. In the current review of primary studies, the following receptor-specific actions were found to have been investigated as potential mediators of CBD’s anxiolytic action: CB1R, TRPV1 receptors, and 5-HT1A receptors. Pharmacology relevant to these actions is detailed below.
Though it's derived from marijuana, CBD doesn't contain any psychoactive elements like pot. "What CBD does is help balance our endocannabinoid system, the main job of which is to keep our body in homeostasis," says Aimée Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine. In addition to affecting the receptors in our brain that impact our stress response, mood, inflammation, and pain, Shunney says, "it also prevents our major endocannabinoid, which is called anandamide, from being broken down—and when we have plenty of our own endocannabinoids circulating, not only are we not going to respond as much to a stress, but we're going to return to baseline faster, so it's like a recovery system." (Related: The Best Health and Wellness CBD Products)
Reflecting the next morning, I was most surprised by the fact that I never felt "high" in any way—there was never a moment of It's kicking in; I can feel it now like with pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs. Considering it takes time, consistency, and the right dosage to experience the full effect, I continued taking the oil once a day for the next six days. Here's what went down.
Cannabidiol offers a novel pharmacodynamic profile as an anxiolytic agent. It is believed that administration of CBD (cannabidiol) modulates neurotransmission in a multitude of ways. Literature shows that cannabidiol alters 5-HT1A, GPR55, CB1/CB2, and mu/delta opioid receptor sites – while simultaneously enhances hippocampal neurogenesis. The combination of these neurophysiological effects likely contribute to its efficacy as a novel anxiolytic.
CBD oil products can be somewhat expensive, which may be a barrier for individuals seeking treatment or relief from different conditions and disorders. Endoca is a notable exception as far as price-point is concerned. The brand offers two options for CBD oil: pure CBD; and RAW hemp oil that contains both CBD and cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). These oils are priced at $31 for 300mg oils and $129 for 1,500mg oils; both price-points are significantly below average.
McGuire doesn’t advise buying CBD products. You need to differentiate, he says, between the extremely high doses of pharmaceutical-grade pure CBD that participants in the handful of successful studies were given and the dietary supplements available over the counter or online. “These may contain quite small amounts of CBD that might not have large enough concentrations to have any effects,” he says. “It’s the difference between a nutraceutical and a pharmaceutical.” These supplements aren’t allowed to make claims of any effects. “If you’re making creams or sports drinks with CBD, you can say anything you like as long as you don’t say it will do such and such,” he says.
CBD Oil with THC – This type of oil isn’t legal in all states, and has a different effect than pure CBD oil. Many people take marijuana for the effects of THC, as it helps them to battle different medical conditions. They believe that the two combined provide an enhanced experience that exceeds the beneficial properties of taking one over the other (i.e. just taking THC or CBD by themselves). It is important to note that THC can counter the benefits of CBD, and therefore correct dosing is essential.
There may be some drawbacks associated with using CBD oil for anxiety, especially over a long-term. Hypothetical drawbacks could result from CBD usage include: deleterious epigenetic and/or neurophysiological effects, increased anxiety, tolerance onset (with decreased efficacy over time), and/or withdrawal symptoms. Keep in mind that many of these drawbacks are merely speculative and cannot be confirmed.
An animal study involving male Wistar rats conducted by Resstel et al. (2009) examined the effect of CBD on restraint stress (RS). Previous research had demonstrated that the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) yielded anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties in animal models. For this reason, they investigated whether CBD facilitates adaptation to scenarios of inescapable stress and whether this response is mediated by 5-HT1A receptors.
The American public is starting to see the light when it comes to CBD as a safe and effective treatment option for a long list of medical problems. While THC and similar oils have been used for their health benefits going back to the dawn of civilization (even before the Great Wall of China was built!), people are just recently rediscovering the profound positive impact these oils can have on treating ailments.
Stress is an important contributor to anxiety disorders, and traumatic stress exposure is essential to the development of PTSD. Systemically administered CBD reduced acute increases in heart rate and blood pressure induced by restraint stress, as well as the delayed (24 h) anxiogenic effects of stress in the EPM, partially by 5-HT1AR activation [67, 73]. However intra-BNST microinjection of CBD augmented stress-induced heart rate increase, also partially via 5-HT1AR activation . In a subchronic study, CBD administered daily 1 h after predator stress (a proposed model of PTSD) reduced the long-lasting anxiogenic effects of chronic predator stress, partially via 5-HT1AR activation . In a chronic study, systemic CBD prevented increased anxiety produced by chronic unpredictable stress, in addition to increasing hippocampal AEA; these anxiolytic effects depended upon CB1R activation and hippocampal neurogenesis, as demonstrated by genetic ablation techniques . Prior stress also appears to modulate CBD’s anxiogenic effects: microinjection of CBD into the prelimbic cortex of unstressed animals was anxiogenic in the EPM but following restraint stress was found to be anxiolytic . Likewise, systemic CBD was anxiolytic in the EPM following but not prior to stress .
Although not as abundant as THC cannabinoid content, cannabidiol accounts for approximately 40% of all cannabinoids within cannabis extract. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive and isn’t typically ingested with the intent to attain any sort of psychological euphoria. That said, the medicinal properties associated with cannabidiol (often administered in the format of “CBD oil”) are thought to far exceed those of THC.
Hey Michael. Thanks for your question. The mg per drop of CBD oil will vary depending on the brand and concentration. Usually it will tell you on the label how many mgs of CBD per drop. Regarding how much you should take for sleep – this is usually going to vary for each person but a good place to start is with the serving size on the label of the CBD product you are using. Please let me know how else I can help and I’ll do my best 🙂
Bonn-Miller also explained that it's imperative to exhaust the traditional and established front-line treatments that are available before seeking out these products. "CBD is not really a first-line treatment for anything," he said. "You don’t want situations where somebody says, 'I have cancer I'm going to forgo chemotherapy because I read something about CBD or THC helping with cancer.'" That's not a good idea, Bonn-Miller said. "Not only is the science not there, but you may end up worse off."
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