CBD Edibles for Anxiety – Here’s What You Need To Know
Cannabidiol (CBD) has a myriad of potential wellness benefits. One particularly common reason people take CBD is to relieve anxiety and stress.
In fact, this is one of the main research-backed benefits of the non-psychoactive cannabis compound.
How does CBD help with anxiety? Is there any evidence that it works?
Here’s what you need to know about using CBD edibles to get your anxiety under control.
How Can CBD Gummies Help With Anxiety?
CBD edibles work much in the same manner as regular CBD oil.
Research indicates that cannabidiol relieves anxiety through two main mechanisms: supporting the endocannabinoid system and interacting with certain parts of the brain.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
Consisting of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that build and break down these compounds, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a central role in maintaining a healthy state of balance called homeostasis.
To that end, this holistic system regulates many processes essential to our health and wellness, including cognitive function & mood.
In fact, recent research indicates the ECS is involved in mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, and that targeting this system with phytocannabinoids (plant-derived cannabinoids) may offer relief.
CBD is one such phytocannabinoid, and it’s been demonstrated to interact with the ECS in several ways:
- Increasing the levels of anandamide, the main endocannabinoid produced by the human body
- Interacting with TRPV1 and GPR55, two receptors that are suspected to be novel cannabinoid receptors
CBD’s Other Effects of the Brain
Aside from interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD has also been shown to affect neurotransmitter systems implicated in anxiety, depression, and other aspects of cognitive function.
Most notably, studies suggest that CBD interacts with the receptor for serotonin, which regulates mood, stress, anxiety, and other key cognitive processes.
Additionally, CBD appears to interact with the receptors of GABA, the brain’s main calming neurotransmitter which reduces anxiety by slowing down neuron activity.
CBD and Anxiety: The Evidence
Cannabidiol’s anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects are supported by a growing volume of medical research.
Most notably, a 2011 study by Brazilian researchers examined the effects of CBD on anxiety caused by public speaking in 24 people with social anxiety disorder (SAD).
The subjects took CBD capsules before a simulated public speaking test, resulting in a notable reduction of anxiety.
Meanwhile, a 2019 study by researchers from Colorado looked at the effects of CBD on anxiety and sleep issues.
Adults suffering from anxiety or poor sleep were given CBD capsules, with 79% of the participants experiencing a significant decrease in anxiety and 67% seeing an improvement of sleep.
The researchers concluded that “Cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders.”
Additionally, a 2017 study by British researchers reported that CBD reduced blood pressure in nine healthy individuals. Since anxiety can cause spikes in blood pressure, this suggests another way that CBD can be beneficial.
These studies are particularly relevant to using CBD edibles for anxiety because the participants were given capsules: an oral form of CBD that is absorbed by the body in the same way as an edible product.
Furthermore, there are many more animal studies demonstrating the anxiety-reducing effects of CBD.
Also, research shows that CBD is an exceptionally safe substance, with the World Health Organization (WHO) concluding in 2018 that it has a “good safety profile.”
Taken together, these findings suggest that CBD is an effective, natural option for anxiety relief.
CBD is such a promising anti-anxiety compound that a 2015 review paper concluded that “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
CBD Edibles and Anxiety
As the name suggests, CBD edibles are foods that have been infused with CBD. The most common types of CBD edibles are gummies, although it can also be added to nutrition bars, chocolate, cookies, and other tasty treats.
Although not as popular as regular CBD oil, edibles can also be used to ease anxiety. Actually, CBD edibles have some advantages over CBD oil and other forms of CBD.
First, it’s important to understand how oral CBD products such as edibles and capsules are absorbed by the body. Whereas CBD oil is absorbed directly into the capillaries under your tongue, edibles have to pass through the digestive system.
As such, CBD edibles are subject to what scientists call first pass metabolism: the breakdown of therapeutic compounds in the digestive tract and the liver prior to reaching the bloodstream. This has both downsides and advantages.
CBD Edibles for Anxiety: The Downsides
To begin with, a major portion of the CBD you take in the form of edibles is lost before it can reach systemic circulation and have a beneficial effect.
This means you will need to take larger doses to experience the same anxiety relief as you would with a CBD oil tincture.
Also, CBD edibles tend to take a while to start working. On an empty stomach, their effects can be felt in 20-30 minutes, but if you have eaten recently, it can take an hour or two for edibles to kick in.
Consequently, CBD edibles are not the best option if you need rapid anxiety relief, such as when dealing with anxiety attacks.
CBD Edibles for Anxiety: The Advantages
Conversely, CBD edibles also have notable advantages that make them a viable anxiety remedy. The main strength of edibles is that their effects last the longest of any CBD form.
You will typically feel edibles for four hours or more, which is great if you’re looking for long-lasting anxiety relief.
For example, you can take a few CBD gummies in the morning to ease the anxiety and stress you experience at work.
Another great thing about edibles is ease of use. You don’t need to count drops or follow any instructions.
Also, you know exactly how much CBD is in your edible product, which allows for precise, consistent dosing.
Besides, edibles are tasty: it’s far more pleasant to eat a CBD-infused gummy than use hemp-flavored tinctures or other products.
Last but not least, edibles are discreet. You can eat gummies at work or in public, whereas using a CBD tincture with a dropper would likely invite confused looks and unwanted questions.
Again, this makes CBD edibles a great option if you experience anxiety for a significant part of the day and require ongoing relief.
CBD Edibles: Natural Anxiety Relief
In sum, CBD edibles are a great option for improving anxiety. Research suggests that CBD can relieve various types of anxiety by supporting the body’s natural endocannabinoid and neurotransmitter systems.
Also of note is the fact that CBD is remarkably safe, whereas prescription anxiety medications such as SSRIs can cause significant side effects.
At the same time, CBD works holistically. In the context of anxiety, this means CBD can help with related issues such as insomnia and spikes in blood pressure.
Although you can use CBD oil, vape juice, and other CBD products for anxiety, edibles have some advantages.
They last a long time and are tasty, convenient, and easy to use. While CBD edibles might not work best for anxiety attacks, they’re great for subtle, long-lasting relief.