Of all the conditions being treated by CBD oil at the moment, one of the most common is anxiety. Though difficult to understand (and even more difficult to treat), anxiety is something that affects countless people around the world, leaving them unable to perform normally in society due to crippling feels of stress and worry.
However, something very common for those first using CBD oil to treat their anxiety is the worry that it doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Why isn’t CBD oil helping? Is there something wrong with you? Or is there something wrong with the CBD oil?
Let’s take a look at why CBD oil might not be helping you with your anxiety, and what steps you can take to ensure that you are maximizing the benefits of this amazing compound.
What is Anxiety Anyway… And How Might CBD Help?
Anxiety as a mental disorder is difficult to classify – or even diagnose – because its symptoms are not entirely understood. Anxiety as a general feeling, however, is easily observable – the feeling of stress, worry, and anticipation of something is familiar to all of us at some point or another. However, anxiety as a disorder takes it that one step farther.
When you suffer from anxiety, you can feel periods of such intense stress, worry, and panic that you can be left utterly unable to complete normal, everyday tasks. Though there are varying levels of intensity, the condition is debilitating. CBD oil has recently been tied to the treatment of anxiety with surprising results, but why might it work?
Researchers who look into the possible medical benefits of CBD have been looking at CBD’s interaction with our mood for decades. In a study conducted by Crippa et al., researchers found in a survey that tested people’s reasons for using cannabis that an extremely large number reported their reason as being to treat anxiety.
This means that people already know that cannabis helps with their anxiety, they just don’t know why.
Another study by Blessing et al. found that CBD had a significant effect on people’s anxiety, going so far as to test various amounts on a large group of rats. Researchers found that, when dosed significantly enough, all rats showed lower levels of stress and cortisol, as well as an increased ability to persist under strain.
While this does make it sound like CBD is some kind of super-powered drug, the study merely showed that, after regular imbibing of CBD, the rats were able to cope with stress, pressure, and anxiety far better than those not dosed with CBD.
This study (and a number of others) have yet to pin down the exact mechanics behind why CBD helps improve anxiety, but it’s clearly something to do with the CB1 receptor.
When triggered, the CB1 receptor encourages the release of a variety of mood-enhancing hormones and neurochemicals, chief among which is serotonin.
Among other things, these chemicals are believed to be responsible for our mood on a moment-to-moment basis. When you suffer from anxiety, the chemicals become more “hesitant” to come out, as our brain incorrectly assumes we’re in some sort of dangerous situation.
Essentially, anxiety is nothing more than an advanced fight or flight response – our bodies think we’re in danger (even if the situation is completely normal), so it panics. By encouraging the release of these helpful neurochemicals, CBD helps combat anxiety by basically telling the brain that everything is okay – you’re not in danger, so there’s no reason to panic.
All sounds pretty good, right? But… why isn’t it working?
Why Isn’t CBD Oil Helping for my Anxiety?
There are a number of reasons why a particular medicine wouldn’t work the way you expect it to; as with all things medicinal, there are decades or even centuries of research that go into a medicine, but once it interacts with a body, it’s possible that things don’t go as planned. However, one of the most common reasons CBD doesn’t work when treating anxiety is down to one thing: dosage.
CBD commonly sold at pharmacies, on the internet, or as food supplements are a particular strength, usually between 5% and 15%. These strengths are calculated to give you a mild or medium intensity dose to treat a host of minor conditions.
However, anxiety has been demonstrated to only be affected by large doses of CBD. For example, Blessing et al. found that the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects felt by the rats he was dosing with CBD were only felt if the dose was of a much higher concentration than used when treating other conditions.
If you find yourself not reacting to CBD, it’s entirely possible that it’s because you’re not taking enough.
To combat this, up your dosage by 5% every day until you feel like you’re beginning to feel the effects. This slow incremental increase allows you to not “overdose” yourself on CBD once you feel like you’ve finally hit the right threshold (not that a CBD overdose is dangerous or anything, it’s just a waste of useful CBD)!
Another reason you might find your CBD not working is due to your genetics – there are some people for whom cannabinoids just don’t work right.
The endocannabinoid system doesn’t just rely on cannabinoids from Cannabis; our bodies produce a host of endogenous (naturally-occurring) cannabinoids for our own use. These cannabinoids trigger the ECS at their own rate, and the body prefers them to affect the ECS over any “external” cannabinoids.
It’s believed that a small percentage of the human population, roughly 15%, produces more cannabinoids than other people. This means that for a small subset of people, the cannabinoids found in cannabis have a diminished effect.
If you’re finding that your cannabinoids aren’t working properly, it’s possible that you belong to this “unlucky” group. The only real way to combat it is, sadly, to increase the dosage.
Finally, another possible reason why CBD oil doesn’t help treat anxiety is due to tolerance.
Everyone has a tolerance for any chemical you regularly put into your system – consume enough of something, and eventually your body will get used to it.
This is especially true for things like cannabis, as your ECS can develop a sort of resistance to the external cannabinoids found in your CBD oil. This diminishes the effect of your CBD oil, as the CBD that manages to work its way to your ECS is only partially used.
To combat growing cannabinoid tolerance, you have two choices: either take a tolerance break, or increase the dosage.
Assuming you don’t want to deal with the horrendous cost of once again increasing your dosage, then a tolerance break is likely the best solution. To take a tolerance break, simply stop using CBD oil for between two and four weeks. This break from all cannabinoids allows your body to rest and “let its guard down,” meaning that when you eventually resume your course of CBD oil, it will have the chance to be effective once again.
CBD for Anxiety Not Working? One Last Thing it Could Be…
If you start doing some Google searches for CBD oil and anxiety, a common question on forums is about it feeling like it’s not working. This is partially because of the reasons listed above (which can mostly be combated by increasing the dose), but it could also be due to one other thing – the fact that it takes time.
Anxiety is a difficult condition to deal with, so it makes sense that it takes CBD a little bit of time to start working and helping you adjust to a new normal. Sometimes, the reason it feels like your CBD oil isn’t working may be because you just haven’t noticed the effects yet. It’s not going to be a sudden change; it’ll feel slow and gradual.
Hopefully, however, you’ll start feeling less and less anxious over time. So give it a chance, try and be patient, and don’t give up; it might still work.
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