We hear these questions all the time:
Does CBD work for panic attacks?
Can it treat anxiety-based conditions like social anxiety disorder and general anxiety disorder?
The answer is yes — in many cases. CBD helps you manage your panic disorder symptoms and live a more comfortable life.
Read on to find out how you can use this component of the cannabis plant to tap into your body’s natural healing mechanisms.
According to some experts, the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) can aid in treating anxiety and panic attacks by activating the parts of the brain that regulate fear. At the same time, it causes the brain to produce a chemical called serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of joy and tranquility.
As a bonus, CBD products have no psychoactive effects. Therefore, there’s no risk of experiencing a “bad trip,” like there is with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products. This makes it a popular option for people who want help with panic attacks but are afraid of exacerbating their anxiety.
Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of how CBD can help to ease anxiety-based mental health disorders.
We all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that helps to regulate certain bodily functions, such as sleep, appetite, memory, and pain responses.
It also helps to regulate the parts of our brain that regulate our fight-or-flight response (i.e., panic). This happens in a part of the brain called the central amygdala, which manages emotional learning and stress responses.
In other words, the central amygdala determines how our brains react to triggers and handle anxiety.
Now, the important thing to understand is that our ECS system creates its own cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids), which are chemicals that carry signals throughout the brain and nervous system to trigger specific reactions. They bind to the various receptors in your brain to make you tired, hungry, etc.
But when you have cannabis products in your system, your body starts to generate a new type of cannabinoid called phytocannabinoids. Like your naturally existing cannabinoids, these can produce feelings of happiness, hunger, exhaustion, etc.
So, using cannabis products can help you “tap into” your endocannabinoid system to control certain bodily functions. One common example is how people use marijuana to stimulate their appetite.
But another lesser-known example is the one we’re talking about today: how some people use CBD to manage panic attacks and general anxiety.
CBD boosts your endocannabinoids’ ability to control your functions. Instead of binding to a receptor, it increases the amount of anandamide in your body, which is a chemical that activates your amygdala.
Essentially, CBD blocks the production of FAAH, the fatty acid responsible for breaking anandamide down. Thus, your body is able to use more anandamide. As your body uses more anandamide, your amygdala becomes more active, and your brain becomes better at regulating your stress responses.
The increase in anandamide also improves your overall mood, and CBD attaches to your serotonin receptors for further benefits.
Since CBD has no psychoactive properties, it keeps you calm instead of exacerbating your anxiety. THC-based medication can increase anxiety levels for some patients.
However, CBD doesn’t have this side effect, and it can reduce the effect when added to THC medicine.
Here are the best forms of CBD to use if you struggle with anxiety:
Creams, lotions, and other topical treatments usually don’t work because the skin and muscles absorb them before they can reach the brain. Vaping or ingesting CBD makes it easier for the chemical to reach your brain and affect your amygdala.
These medications last for various lengths of time and take different amounts of time to come into effect.
For the best results, we recommend talking to a cannabis-trained doctor. These medical professionals understand how cannabinoids like CBD relieve different ailments. They can help you even when you don’t plan to join your state’s medical marijuana program.
Search our MMJ doctor listings to find a physician in your area.
You can get CBD medication from a few places:
Remember that the CBD oil from some health stores (either online or brick-and-mortar) has fewer regulations than those in dispensaries.
However, you can find high-quality CBD oil at most reputable dispensaries. Just talk to the staff members about their product formulas, as some CBD products contain THC.
CBD and cannabis medicine can relieve various ailments through the ECS. Learn more about the benefits of CBD in our list of treatable conditions.
Learn more about panic disorder and how medical marijuana can help to treat it.