Are hemp extracts viable treatments for countering the mental mayhem and social devastation of anxiety disorders?
Honestly yes, while I’m not a doctor or medical expert, I attest the hemp plant can deliver natural relief from anticipatory anxiety, panic attacks, and general anxiety symptoms. And we’ll explore the situation, but first Marjan and I feel compelled to express how overwhelmed we are by the response to my article ADHD and CBD (How About the Hemp Option?).
Hundreds of calls; new comments every other day it seems. It’s been incredible. This is amazing!
Most of the interest is from parents looking for specific dosage info but there’s no regulated-refined mainstream system for hemp products in place yet, well except a couple places on the west coast. There should be as we’re in the so-called “modern” era, and there shall be, if we continue collaborating and communicating.
In terms of anxiety, we’ve also got to further examine how hemp plant concentrates interact with the ultra-common pharmaceuticals floating around: tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines, SSRIs, etc.
So far, according to individuals and a growing amount of studies it looks good, but the two major components not yet in the medical science department are high-quality studies (vs. so much anecdotal evidence and relatively small sample sizes) and long term studies because hemp plant concentrates are somewhat new to first world populations thanks to cannabis prohibition.
We’re Free People!
We can do this.
We control what goes into our bodies and hemp is one of nature’s most brilliant medicinal plants, just ask the MHRA.
So, in this article we’re here to chat about how extracts from the hemp plant (not seed) can help safely (non-toxic/non-psychoactive/non-adductive/no documented negative side effects) dampen and in some cases completely reverse what folks refer to as anxiety. Whether we’re talking “normal” anxiety before a stage performance, or “excessive anxiety” you endure while in otherwise completely safe situations, or regular everyday life.
Anxiety isn’t such a bad thing. Too much of it, too often though, sure can be.
Basically, it’s caused by trauma and this can range from prolonged periods of high-stress to getting beat (my dad called it “discipline”) as a kid. People who experienced getting raped or molested, thrown into a war zone, or even a rough car wreck also commonly suffer from degrees of anxiety.
You know? This is why it’s so often connected to PTSD. Then there’s those who for some neurochemical reason deal with more anxiety than a normal chemically “balanced” person endures only in specific circumstances. But hey, on the other hand life/reality is trauma so anxiety’s par for the course. Some are better at processing it. Others seek the help of the cannabis plant like endless generations of our ancestors did before us. It’s nature.
Reasons Hemp Extracts Are Better for Anxiety than Marijuana
There’s this argument being made that Marijuana is better for anxiety because of the synergy between THC and CBD. That when taken together in certain ratios, it’s more effective than hemp-based concentrates that only contain microscopic amounts of THC and less extravagant terpenes.
For some people that’s probably true, but not for everyone.
CBD doesn’t erase the THC in your body when you consume Marijuana in any way. I’ve taken these edibles and I’ve smoked this Marijuana and you DO feel the THC. Here are some reasons I think hemp concentrates are superior:
- They’re CBD-dominant instead of THC-dominant. CBD, or Cannabidiol, when delivered in organic whole plant hemp form is supplementing your endocannabinoid system’s (ECS) ability to help keep you emotionally/mentally stable. THC for most people isn’t a stabilizer.
- Current medical science has confirmed that whole plant hemp extracts are more effective therapeutic sources in general, but there are issues where low to extremely high-levels of THC are helpful – anxiety isn’t one of them for around 75% of individuals 1.
- For a good portion of the population, THC causes or intensifies anxiety. That’s a fact (I’m one of them). CBD counteracts it.
- There are other (yes perfectly safe) reactions to THC-dominant Marijuana/edibles that just aren’t realistic for everyday life. Again, hemp plant extracts are non-psychoactive. They don’t give you the munchies and they don’t get you high or make you lethargic, unmotivated, or euphoric.
- While Marijuana can differ from crop to crop (did you know there are over 20 pages of accepted pesticides for Washington marijuana growers alone?), organic hemp concentrates are cleanly extracted and pooled and lab-tested and evenly portioned down to the milligram. In most batches, here in America THC levels can reach undetectable amounts while CBD levels remain high.
As states in the paramount Mental Health Daily article,
“Those with anxiety disorders who fail to derive benefit from traditional pharmacology and/or who are unable to tolerate standard pharmacological treatments may want to consider administration of CBD oil on an ongoing or “as-needed” basis.” 2
Simply put, hemp plant oil helps attenuate the infamous “fight or flight” mechanism in the brain because of the way your ECS interacts with the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus 3. CBD is a regulator. It calms. It takes away pain. It relieves stress. It takes up space on your neural receptors so anxiety-causing chemicals can’t land.
An Easy Way to Think About It
Let’s say I’m suddenly thrown into a very hectic situation (or smoke too much high-THC marijuana) and my anxiety goes off the charts – scatter-brained, hyper-sensitive, hyper-aware, sweating, rapid heartbeat, intense fear…the works. If I put a mere two drops of quality-potent hemp extract on my tongue within maybe a minute or less my anxiety levels would begin to normalize.
Would it go completely away? No. I’m in a hectic situation, remember? But they’d normalize because that’s one of the primary ways in which my ECS would utilize the CBD. It would last a few hours minimum, but then again it’s hard to detect CBD because it’s not psychoactive. All I would be aware of is suddenly feeling more “normal” so to speak.
- A solid amount of studies and mountains of anecdotal evidence show people ditch 30-100% of their conventional anxiety medications for hemp extracts (as well as Marijuana-cannabis with specific CBD to THC ratios) once they have a safe supply.
- Other studies have shown people successfully using hemp extracts to stop using high-THC Marijuana.
How Does Hemp Work on Anxiety?
I’m not a doctor, but after going through tons of literature, media, testimonials, studies, and my own experiences I’m confident that hemp-derived CBD blends are an effective treatment for anxiety on-the-spot and over time, but it may not be good for everyone. Some people’s brain chemistry may not be as receptive, and there could be subtypes of anxiety (like phobias) where CBD may not be as effective.
Our brains are rather complex…
The medical community is inching its way, collecting data, but they haven’t found a way to pinpoint the answer. Here are some of the current ideas, or mechanisms that could explain it.
- Modulating 5-HT1A Receptors: without all the scientific mumbo-jumbo, CBD seems to cause increased serotonin and dopamine which releases acetylcholine 4. It’s intricate, but feel free to Google around if you’re hungry for dense medical info.
- Neurogenesis: growing new brain cells, specifically in the hippocampal region of the brain which likely helps the ECS attenuate symptoms of serious anxiety (as well as depression) 5.
- Anti-inflammatory: meaning CBD has been shown to dramatically reduce neuroinflammation which is commonly associated with anxiety disorders 6.
It won’t be long until there are phytocannabinoid (like CBD, CBG, CBN, & THC) medicines throughout the established medical system. It looks like the first will come from Britain and that’s great. But let’s say you want to start tinkering with hemp plant extract to see if it can help you or someone you love that deals with anxiety; in that it’s in some way negatively impacting their life.
First and foremost, get to know who you’re going to purchase your hemp plant product from. You need to make sure it isn’t seed-based oil they’re trying to pass off as plant concentrate, and that it’s lab-tested for phytocannabinoid content and cleanliness – pesticides, herbicides, fungus, etc.
Here’s three ideas:
Hemp Honey Sticks are inexpensive at $10 a pop and deliver small 25mg doses.
Hemp Oil Capsules are $35-$210 and range from 100mg and 600mg.
Hemp Tinctures which range from $40 to $80 with 250mg and 500mg respectively.
Pretty simple, and because Hemp for Fitness isn’t some massive corporation you can give Marjan a call and customize your order. Enjoy, and please, if you do use hemp and it helps PLEASE get online and leave a testimonial/review to spread the good news. Tell the world not only how it impacts your anxiety levels, but any other positive ways your ECS helps stabilize your mental & physical health.
- “CBD from Organic Hemp: For Anxiety & Benzodiazepine Tapering, Trudy Scott, Oct 14th, 2016.
- “CBD Oil For Anxiety: Is Cannabidiol An Effective Treatment?” Mental Health Daily, Feb 24th, 2016.
- “The Effects of CBD on Fear, Anxiety, and a Healthy Stress Response” Leafly, Feb 29th, 2016.
- “Agonistic properties of cannabidiol at 5-HT1a receptors.” Russo, Burnett, Parker, Aug 30th, 2005.
- “The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system.” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, July 16th, 2013.
- “Inflammation in anxiety.” Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Houston, 2012.