Anxiety from the stresses, pressures and day to day intensity of our modern lives is a very real phenomenon. In fact, close to 1 in 5 Australians or around 15% are expected to experience it each year, as well as around 40 million Americans – about 18% of the US population. This is a big a growing problem. Anxiety is a psychological condition that can lead to a number of negative effects for the mind and body including depression, irritability, restlessness, mood issues and fatigue which can be exhausting.
For many, one potentially tool to help mitigate its effects and help those affected lead more full lives is full spectrum CBD oil. The reason is it has anti-analgesic and anxiolytic properties through its metabolic interactions with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies that helps to calm both the body and mind. It’s become an all-natural alternative to many pharmaceuticals that’s non addictive and is already helping millions around the world deal with their stress, anxiety and sleep issues, all while providing improved levels of nutrition through increased mineral, vitamin and plant antioxidant intake. So how does it work and why even consider it? Let’s find out.
What is hemp oil?
Full spectrum hemp oil is one of the many Phyto cannabinoid, flavonoid and cannaflavin containing oils that can be extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plant. It’s called ‘full spectrum’ oil as it comes from the ‘whole plant’, using the leaves, stems, buds and seeds for maximum nutritional value and terpenes which improve uptake. It has some surprising and incredibly useful properties due to being anti-analgesic and anxiolytic, meaning it can help treat a variety of health issues such as anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Another chemical that is also found in hemp and marijuana plants is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) also known for the high associated with marijuana – however this is removed in CBD oil as it contains 0% THC. You might also see this product called hemp extract oil in places like Australia where its available widely or CBD which is legal in pharmacies.
There is much discussion and debate on multiple aspects and uses of this complex and amazing product. It comes in different forms – for example oils, tinctures and sublingual’s – in the market and has multiple uses as well. Oil extracted via CO2 or alcohol extraction is one of the many forms it can be consumed. Before we move on to the question: “How does this help with anxiety?” let us first debrief on how it works. This oil can be used in a number of different ways – from consumption to topical application and even in the hair. It can also be used when it comes to anxiety or stress in conjunction with other therapies, lifestyle changes and treatments to maximize its efficacy and to support the outcome of these other tools to heal the mind and body. Anxiety can be a difficult issue to tackle and lead to worsening of other related issues like depression or nausea – full spectrum CBD may help to mitigate across the range of these interrelated mental problems, helping to bring some relief to users. Even when combined with therapy it can help affected individuals relax more, stay calm and sleep better which all in-turn combines to mitigate the effects of the mental issue, strengthening resolve and morale. We don’t recommend combining it with any strong medications however like SSRI’s and always speak to your physician before starting any supplementation regime. Hemp oil works on the CB1 and CB2 receptors that are present in the brain and limbic system, as well as glutamate and serotonin, helping to refresh and restore the mind, improve mood, day to day energy and potentially focus. In combination with daily practices like exercise, meditation and mindfulness it can be a great reinforcement mechanism for healthy mental states and the avoidance of recurring negative thought patterns.
Most hemp farming and harvesting approaches are specifically tailored towards the industrial hemp cultivars, particularly those from Bondi Hemp Oil where we use only the best hemp from Northern NSW, which has targeted, scientifically designed selective breeding, growth and nurturing protocols to maximize the full spectrum Phyto cannabinoid and antioxidant contents of the final product. This ensure the best anxiolytic effects through containing many of the more than 400 minor cannabinoids that are present in the plant as well as terpenes, all of which contribute to reducing anxiety and stress. These components help to deliver the effects of CBN and CBG through endocannabinoids, functioning in the ancient system of the body that contains the receptors responsible for producing the anti-anxiety enzymes and response for the brain. The body produces these itself and CBD is merely a trigger to initiate their release.
Experience reports and anecdotes from around Australia across many users confirm the relaxing and supportive subjective effects and mental state that hemp extract can bring. This is due to the cannabinoids as well as the vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, GLA, ALA and unsaturated fatty acids contained in the product. The general effect in the body via endocannabinoids also supports against chronic inflammation and enhancing immunity. It may also help supports the body in metabolic function and cell regeneration through these nutrients, while protecting against oxidative stress and free radical damage. Even resolving and curing addiction can be supported via similar mechanisms to help people quit negative habits like smoking Many people are smokers and want to deal with their addiction. As is usually the case with addiction this is very difficult due to the deep dopamine pathways and resulting habits they have formed. Some studies have indicated that hemp oil may have an effect against nicotine addiction as well as other forms of addictive behaviors through similar mechanisms as its anti-stress functions. So, In the actual studies for addiction two groups were tested for placebo vs the test subject group which had daily access to CBD vaporizers (all participants were nicotine addicts). The test group received daily dosages and access via a vaporizer. After two weeks their consumption of actual nicotine reduced by 60%. This suggests that for longer applications using hemp extract or CBD there is indeed a complete cessation of addictions like cigarettes or nicotine which become possible.
Can help oil be a possible solution to anxiety?
It is not yet fully known as to whether full spectrum hemp oil can help with anxiety – although much of the research on this up-and-coming compound containing Phyto cannabinoids like CBG and CBN suggests this will be the case due to their anxiolytic properties. There is a lot of reasonable ground that suggests that it helps in reducing inflammation and stress responses as a result of cortisol production, indicating there may be a link towards anxiety reduction for many users and potentially depression. Some recent research by US National Institute on Drug Abuse showed in 2016 that CBD oil may work to decrease anxiety by affecting the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical in the human body that has an active role in controlling our mood, sleep, digestion, and behaviour – it’s a key neurological ‘regulator’ similar to dopamine and affects many brain functions. Altering serotonin levels may be the key to helping with anxiety and depression as well as issues like mood regulation. There’s already some solid research that’s been carried out to find an accurate answer to these questions – let’s take at look at what the science says.
Notable research on the anxiolytic properties of CBD
Firstly, a number of clinical research studies from the US showed that ” hemp oil reduces anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment trials – a form of social phobia. A broad research program conducted by ‘The Pharmacogenomics Journal” in 2011 shows that Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is also among the most common anxiety conditions that affect one’s social life. Phyto cannabinoids in oil from hemp which are major non-psychotomimetic compound of the cannabis sativa plant showed considerable anxiolytic effects in both humans and animals (which can also suffer from anxiety issues). The study was aimed at comparing the effects of a simulated public speaking test on healthy control patients and compare treatment against affected patients who were given a single high dose of full spectrum oil . Some 24 patients who were never treated before were given either full spectrum hemp oil or placebo in a double-blind randomized design – both were given 1.5 hours before the test.
The same number of subjects performed the test without receiving any medication. Each person participated in only one experimental session in a double-blind procedure. Subjective ratings in anxiety tests and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were calculated during and after the test. The results were submitted to a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Conclusions were clear – the CBD oil reduced anxiety significantly, cognitive impairment and fatigue in their speech performance, and helped to decreased stuttering in their speech. The placebo category showed higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, fatigue, and alert levels when compared with the control. The scores showed increases during the testing of the placebo category that was mostly eliminated in the full spectrum oil category. The shoot-up in anxiety produced by the test on patients with anxiety disorders was decreased by using the oil. In short, the researchers concluded that full spectrum hemp oil containing CBN and CBG as well as Phyto cannabinoids could help with problems like anxiety.
Another renowned study was conducted in 2011 on the same question, which was published by the US National Library of Medicine, with almost the same conclusion. The research titled “Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of CBD oil in generalized social anxiety disorders: a preliminary report” stated that human and animal studies show that the oil has anxiolytic properties. Anyhow, up until the release of this study, no one had yet tried to find out the effects of the compound on human pathological anxiety and the brain mechanisms associated with it. The purpose of this study was to find the impact on subjects having social anxiety which was detected via neuroimaging. The results suggested that CBD oil from hemp extract reduced the impact of social anxiety; it linked this result to activity in limbic and para limbic brain regions which control the stress response.
Real world scientific evidence for hemp oil’s benefits
A third example of real-world evidence was a review of 49 studies conducted by the US National Library of Medicine in 2015 which “strongly supported” the assumptions and conclusions of previously conducted research, helping to reinforce their findings. The review stated that full spectrum hemp oil is a pharmacologically broad-spectrum drug that is recently being used to treat multiple neuropsychiatric disorders. The review aimed to determine the supplement’s potential as a remedy for disorders related to anxiety, by testing pieces of evidence from preclinical, experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies. They figured out that existing preclinical evidence supported the product as a remedy for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely with the right dosage protocol; however, very few studies have investigated chronic dosing.
Similarly, evidence from human studies supported the view of the anxiolytic role of that the oil plays but was limited to acute dosing. This means full spectrum CBD oil was found to be effective in helping conditions such as anxiety disorders. An update in a 2019 study by the US National Library of Medicine found that CBD did not appear to change consciousness, have psychoactive effects or cause a “high.” However, an increase in scientific publications found preclinical and clinical evidence documenting the benefits of the oil in some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and schizophrenia. It pointed towards the calming effects of it in the central nervous system and limbic system.
Researchers in Australia have used hemp extract to treat people with sleep and anxiety disorders, with medication becoming more accessible now via Green Doctors. Interestingly, it was found effective for the 80% of patients that had anxiety disorders, and it was also effective for around 70% of the patients that had sleeping problems but notably didn’t work for all individuals. One study that was carried out in 2017 and was published in the SAGE Journals didn’t find any evidence that could show the effectiveness of the product in helping with anxiety-related problems. One unusual finding of the research was that in some people treatment even increased anxiety. It’s important to note that in all of these studies, quality of the product was clinically controlled and was ensured to contain less than 0.3% Tetra Hydro Cannabidiol (THC) and was extracted from controlled cultivation, organic hemp plants.
What’s the recommend dose for anxiety reduction?
All of this evidence and proof begs the question – how much should I be taking? No specific or ‘one size fits all’ dose can be recommended to all patients; however, in most cases, 300mg to 600mg is given to patients with Social Anxiety Disorder. CBD and CBN come in multiple forms and products such as oil, capsules, drops, teas, vaporizers, and sublingual strips. If taken in a highly pure form with THC completely filtered and extracted from it, it will never get you high. Both CBD and THC work on the same brain receptors, however, only THC is psychoactive which can cause a “high” condition. Further to this, the World Health Organization, declared this compound was not found to be a habit-forming drug and had no sign of any dependence found with drugs of abuse. They also cleared it for any potential risk with side effects – only minimal nuisances can occur like dry mouth or mild stomach irritation.
The people that were treated with Epidiolex (a CBD based clinical product used to treat epilepsy, a neurological disorder) reported some effects like drowsiness, fatigue, decreased appetite, insomnia, and diarrhea. Also, the FDA warns that it can cause mild liver damage if combined with other pharmaceuticals. However, on a large scale and in general use, very few people reported such conditions which means that it has side effects on some people while it has no side effects on others.
Final thoughts on full spectrum hemp oil for anxiety
Let’s wrap up – we’ve covered a number of reasons to consider hemp oil for its potent anxiolytic properties and ability to help with issues like stress and anxiety through the endocannabinoid system. This product is becoming more and more available globally and you’re sure to see it near you – for example in Australia it became legal in pharmacies for over the counter purchasing in 2020. We covered how CBD, CBN and CBG are some of the many naturally occurring plant compounds found in Cannabis Sativa plants, of which hemp is a key cultivar. It is said to be useful in treating several health issues such anxiety, stress and relaxing the limbic system to assist with sleep. While much of the research on this up-and-coming medication is still fairly new it’s clear from the multiple corroborated findings that there is a significant anxiolytic response that occurs from consumption of broad-spectrum CBD oil.