All humans experience anxiety when dealing with stress. These feelings can manifest as frequent restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, fatigue, lack of control over feelings of worry, and sleep problems. For some of us, this feeling can become overwhelming and consume our lives. For years, doctors have relied on therapy and high-powered drugs to help those who struggle to cope with this sometimes-crippling condition.
Many people struggling with anxiety have been searching for alternatives to the side effects of traditional pharmaceuticals. Some have found relief in a new derivative of an old plant. It was long thought that any part of the marijuana plant caused a “high” and should be used with caution. Today, researchers are finding promising results for anxiety with one component of the plant. CBD oil (a cannabinoid) occurs naturally in the marijuana plant. It is not known to produce a high like cannabis, but some have found the oil may be helpful for anxiety and other conditions. For this reason, sales of CBD oil have exploded in several countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and Italy.
Because the oil is fairly new as a potential treatment, there is not much research available. The majority of the studies done so far have been done using animals. These seemed to show a relation between a reduction of seizures and the use of CBD oil. A small study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2011 suggested CBD oil may be able to help with social anxiety in humans. Another study in 2018 used highly paranoid people as subjects and suggested the oil had no effect. There are currently no studies on the long-term effects of CBD oil. More studies need to be done to ensure the safety and dosage of this oil. Those interested in doing their own research should be sure to use the word, “cannabidiol” and not marijuana when looking up research projects.
There are several potential side effects to CBD oil use. These may include changes in mood, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and low blood pressure. Another possible side effect, ironically, is anxiety.
Several states consider CBD oil an illegal drug. Some states allow use for medical reasons, so it can still be purchased online. A caution to potential users: This product is not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, there is no standard dosage and those legally able to use should do so sparingly until they know how their body will react. A recent study found that a percentage of CBD oil purchased online may contain THC. The exact amount of CBD oil in each product differed in those products analyzed.
Working together with your health care professional is the best way to treat anxiety. If CBD oil is legal in your state, do your own research before meeting with your doctor. There are many things to consider, including dosage, possible side effects, and drug interactions before deciding on this treatment path for your anxiety.