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If the thought of speaking in front of a room full of people makes your palms sweaty and your heart race, or simply making eye contact with the person next to you in the shopping aisle leaves you feeling lightheaded, you may have what is known as social anxiety disorder (SAD). One of the more common anxiety disorders, SAD, also known as social phobia, can make normal social interactions seem impossibly hard, filling you with fear and panic.

As with many other types of anxiety, cognitive behaviour therapy is often recommended as a means of tackling the root cause of this disorder as well as equipping patients with coping mechanisms to better manage social situations. As effective as this therapy can be, it’s not a quick-fix, which is why selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft (Sertraline) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) are often prescribed. The downside to these, and many other anti-anxiety medications, is the side-effects, which range from nausea and loss of appetite to dizziness.

Fortunately, cannabidiol (CBD) is showing great promise as a natural alternative. The secret to its success as a therapeutic treatment is its ability to calm the mind, promote relaxation, improve sleep and stabilise your mood. CBD does this by stimulating the endocannabinoid system, a cell-signalling system responsible for regulating many of the processes in the body from immune function and metabolism to memory.

While more research needs to be done, there is a growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence that points to CBD as an effective remedy for social anxiety.

One study* conducted in 2019 observed the effect of CBD on 37 Japanese teenagers with SAD. Some of the participants received 300mg of CBD oil every day for a month, while others were given a placebo. The teenagers were then surveyed to assess their symptoms. Those who received the CBD treatment experienced fewer symptoms of social anxiety compared to those in the placebo group.

An earlier study** in 2011 looked at CBD’s potential to help people suffering from social anxiety disorder cope better with public speaking. Participants were split into two groups – the one group was given CBD 90 minutes prior to a speaking event, while the other group was given a placebo. Those who received CBD showed reduced levels of anxiety and cognitive impairment as well as better speech performance.

As this study demonstrates, CBD can offer fast relief from symptoms of anxiety, which makes it a valuable addition to your daily routine. While there are a number of different ways to administer CBD, vapes and tinctures are a popular choice for those suffering with SAD. CBD vapes are a particularly good option for smokers, who may be relying on cigarettes to manage anxiety. In fact, CBD vapes will not only help to alleviate anxiety but can potentially help you quit nicotine altogether. If vapes don’t appeal to you, tinctures are equally effective – simply place a few drops under your tongue just before a social occasion to help settle your nerves.

Regardless of which option you choose, remember to always start on a lower dose, gradually increasing it until you find what works for you.

Resources:

* https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02466/full
** https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/

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