Depression, stress & anxiety, Pain

CBD and anxiety: does it help?

If the current Covid-19 crisis and its devastating impact on your work, finances and even family life, have sent your anxiety levels through the roof, perhaps it’s time to explore the healing power of CBD?

Loadshedding, an ailing economy, state capture – life in South Africa is not without its fair share of stress. Throw a global pandemic into the mix and it’s inevitable anxiety levels will soar.

If allowed to go unchecked, anxiety can begin to negatively impact almost every aspect of your life, from your health to your job to your relationships. So how do you get it under control?

Despite there being a number of allopathic medications on the market, the most commonly prescribed being serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), more and more people are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment option.

While research into the health benefits of CBD are still in their infancy, there is some evidence that points to it as a promising alternative to mainstream medicine. One study conducted in 2019 observed the effects of CBD on 72 patients suffering from anxiety and sleep concerns. The results? After one month of using CBD, their anxiety scores had decreased. Similarly, another study of a group of people with Social Anxiety Disorder found that CBD given at a certain dosage helped to reduce their anxiety.

So what’s powering this plant-based therapy?

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which is believed to promote balance in the body by regulating everything from your immune system to your appetite and, importantly for those suffering from anxiety, your mood.

By activating receptors in the brain that are responsible for boosting the natural production of serotonin, the feel-good chemical, CBD can help to elevate your mood, in turn reducing your anxiety.  

But low serotonin levels are only one of a number of factors linked to increased levels of anxiety. A lack of sleep, physical pain and excessive stress can all exacerbate the problem – and CBD can assist with these too. Growing anecdotal evidence shows CBD can help to promote relaxation, improve sleep patterns and reduce pain and inflammation in the body.  

Fatiema Johnson, a graphic designer from Cape Town, battles with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain. After six years of searching for a remedy she insists CBD has been her saving grace.

“Over the years I have been prescribed everything from Xanax and Alzam to Urbanol, but my issue with all of these medications is that they’re highly addictive, have major side effects and the withdrawals when you stop taking them are intense,” she says.

After a recommendation from a friend and intense research, Fatiema decided to try CBD oil, with amazing results.  

“I started incorporating CBD into my daily routine one year ago and I have found that not only has my anxiety improved dramatically, but I have finally found some relief from the pain I experience as a result of my fibromyalgia.”

So whether you’re suffering from GAD, panic attacks or PTSD, cannabidiol might just be the perfect starting point in your journey to mental wellbeing. 

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