Anxiety can be crippling. Fortunately, there are things that help, like CBD.
Anxiety affects 40 million U.S. adults, or 18.1% of the population, each year. While many people turn to prescription medication to manage their anxiety, it’s also worth looking to nature. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabis compound that can help you feel calm, especially when used in combination with other stress-relieving techniques. Here’s a guide on using CBD for anxiety.
About CBD for Anxiety
Cannabis (hemp and marijuana) contains at least 113 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most abundant, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means you won’t get high or stoned from using CBD. In fact, research has shown CBD actually counteracts the effects of THC, including the elevated anxiety that comes from consuming large amounts. Furthermore, CBD provides a myriad of benefits that range from relieving pain to managing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. CBD products are hemp derived and legally cannot have more than 0.3% THC. So, no matter how much you consume, you won’t get high or stoned. Scientific and anecdotal evidence show the effectiveness of using CBD for anxiety.
The Research on CBD for Anxiety
Research shows CBD reduces anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple anxiety disorders, including PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder, with a notable lack of anxiety-producing effects. A 2010 study found CBD can reduce symptoms in people with social anxiety disorder. Brain scans of the study participants showed the blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to anxiety changed. So, not only did the study participants feel less anxious, but the CBD also changed the way their brains responded to the anxiety. A study published in 2019 revealed CBD to be better tolerated than the usual psychiatric medications and shows effectiveness in reducing anxiety in those with diagnosed anxiety disorders. Research published in 2014 states CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in laboratory animals.
Using CBD With a Deep Breathing Routine
One of the fastest ways to calm your anxiety is by breathing deeply and slowly. When we get anxious or stressed, our breathing gets shallow, our heart rate jumps, and adrenaline runs high. Chronic anxiety means having prolonged periods of this “flight or fight” response. Using a deep breathing routine will calm your body, slow your heart rate, and reduce the effects of anxiety. The next time your anxiety is high, try this simple deep breathing technique:
- Take 1 ml of CBD tincture sublingually.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose for the count of three, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold for three seconds.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth for the count of three, pursing your lips a little, but keeping your jaw relaxed.
- Repeat this deep breathing for several minutes, or until you feel calm.
Using CBD With a Self-Massage
Massage is among the most popular ways of relieving tension and stress. If you are unable, or don’t want, to get a professional massage, you can learn how to self-massage to reduce anxiety. Here’s how:
- Massage your scalp. Find a quiet spot and get comfortable. Start rubbing your scalp as though you were washing your hair. Massage by moving your fingertips in a circular motion. Grab large sections of hair and gently pull, then release. Do this for your entire head. Apply pressure to your temples for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this three times. Using the pads of your fingers, apply firm but gentle pressure to the occipital hollows in the base of your skull.
- Massage your shoulders. Take some of your favorite CBD topical and rub it into your shoulders. Massage and squeeze your joint, rubbing the topical into your skin.
- Massage your hands. The fleshy part between your index finger and thumb is a sensitive area that can promote a sense of calm when massaged. Gently apply pressure and rub the area in a circular motion between your other thumb and index finger.
- Massage your feet. Take some of the CBD topical and start massaging your feet. Gently pull on each toe, and rub between them.
Using CBD With a Calming Tea
One of the most effective ways to calm anxiety is to sip on some CBD tea. The taste of the tea can be quite bitter, so it’s best to add another type of tea to it. Some teas that promote calm and ease anxiety are:
- Lemon Balm
- Holy Basil
Using CBD for Anxiety
While CBD cannot cure an anxiety disorder, it can alleviate the symptoms and calm the body and mind. That being said, chronic anxiety can be a symptom of an underlying issue or be indicative of a medical condition. Please be sure to discuss your anxiety with a trusted healthcare professional before you start using CBD for anxiety. There is no cure-all for anxiety and stress, and what works well for one individual may not be as effective for another. Only a healthcare professional can analyze your specific symptoms and situation to ensure you are receiving the proper mental health care you need. However, once your doctor gives you the green light on using CBD for anxiety, these techniques will help you calm yourself when your anxiety heightens.