Does CBD Oil Decrease Anxiety?

Learn about the latest research on CBD oil and its therapeutic use in managing anxiety.

CBD, or cannabidiol, contains cannabinoids, which are important players in our body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD oil is non-psychoactive but may help regulate mood. One endocannabinoid, called anandamide, that is produced in our bodies is actually referred to as the “bliss molecule”. Low levels of anandamide have been linked to decreased happiness and increased anxiety. Particular foods can increase our production of anandamide, like dark chocolate. CBD can prevent the breakdown of anandamide, and therefore, create more bliss.

In a previous article, I discussed the potential for CBD to decrease inflammation and alleviate migraines. Other reported health benefits include decreasing stress and anxiety. This article discusses the peer-reviewed studies that examine the mood-boosting effects of CBD.

Anxiety Disorders

A poll in 2018 surveyed 1500 Canadians and 41% reported experiencing anxiety. One-third of responders had been formally diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It is estimated that anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults. Therefore, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in both Canada and the U.S.

Anxiety disorders can include the following: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Individuals that suffer from anxiety disorders are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders. Anxiety is often accompanied by depression.

PCOS and Anxiety

While the research on the connection between decreased mental health and PCOS is sparse, there is evidence that anxiety is more prevalent in women with PCOS. A study from 2009 found that anxiety symptoms were present in 50% of women with PCOS versus 39% of women without PCOS. More recently this association was confirmed in a study I led during my doctoral research. When women with PCOS were compared to women without PCOS, the women with PCOS had significantly higher levels of anxiety. In particular, I found that women with hyperandrogenic PCOS had greater symptoms of anxiety than women with non-hyperandrogenic PCOS. I hypothesized that the external appearance of hyperandrogenic PCOS (which can include increased body/facial hair, acne, and balding) strays from the societal beauty norms placed on women.

“Expectations of female beauty are rooted in Western societies and being hairless is one major social norm of femininity.”

D. Cutler, UBC Doctoral Thesis, 2019

This may be one explanation for increased anxiety in women with hyperandrogenic PCOS. PCOS has even been nicknamed “The Thief of Womanhood” for similar reasons. In addition, I found that reproductive hormone levels (including estradiol and androstenedione) were associated with increased anxiety.

How CBD Affects Anxiety

In 2019 a clinical study was published which included 72 people. These adult subjects were given 25 mg of phytocannabinoids per day. After one month, 79% of the anxiety-sufferers experienced improvements in their reported anxiety scores. Also worth noting is that many cases of insomnia are tied to anxiety. The same study found that 67% of those suffering from poor sleep experienced improved sleep after one month. However, over time, this effect didn’t remain.

In a study from 2011, CBD was found to decrease anxiety of public speaking in 24 subjects with social anxiety disorder. While this is a small study, there appears to be potential for CBD to be a safe, effective method of managing social anxiety disorder. This was further demonstrated in 2019 in a double-blind trial. CBD was found to be comparable to the medication Paroxetine at decreasing symptoms of social anxiety disorder in teenagers.

Is CBD safe?

There have been a few reported side-effects, including fatigue, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Otherwise, CBD has been deemed relatively safe. Precautions should be made to avoid interactions if you are taking medications, or if pregnant/breast-feeding. It is important to always discuss the use of herbs and supplements with your healthcare provider.

In health, Dr. Dylan Cutler, Ph.D.

The post was sponsored by Icaria – Vancouver CBD Oil for Busy Female Professionals, based in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Can CBD Oil Decrease Inflammation?

Discover the latest research studies on CBD oil for decreasing inflammation and migraines.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive member of a plant family of compounds known as cannabinoids. We each have an endocannabinoid system which plays a role in regulating mood, pain, memory, and appetite (1, 2, 3). Our bodies actually produce two endocannabinoids; anandamide (known as the “bliss molecule”), and sn-2-arachidonoylglycerol. These endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors, which have been found in the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and immune system (2, 4). Then, an enzyme breaks down these endocannabinoids. We obtain phytocannabinoids from particular foods, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, parsley, sunflower seeds, and cacao. When we consume higher amounts of phytocannabinoids, via CBD, for example, our body will break down the CBD thus preserving our endocannabinoids.

Some of the potential health benefits of CBD include decreasing inflammation, pain, stress, and anxiety (5-9). For the sake of time and attention to detail, this article will focus on peer-reviewed studies regarding inflammation.

CBD Oil Benefits

CBD and Inflammation

Inflammation can range from acute (like a rash or the swelling we experience after injuring a knee) to chronic (presenting in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, PCOS, and more)(10, 11). Pain often accompanies inflammation. CBD may decrease pain by binding to serotonin receptors and interacting with TRPV1 channels (12-15). An oral spray containing CBD was approved in Canada over ten years ago to treat pain in both multiple sclerosis and cancer (16).

Animal studies have demonstrated how the endocannabinoid system plays a role in inflammation occurring from allergies. For example, a study using a mouse model for allergic reactions of the skin found that when mice lacked cannabinoid receptors, their skin allergic reactions were heightened. Following in the same vein, when mice had increased levels of anandamide, their skin allergic reactions were decreased (17).

When it comes to conditions of chronic inflammation, CBD may also provide relief (18). A study published in PLoS One in 2011 found that CBD may decrease inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). The researchers obtained bowel biopsies of 10 patients with UC and 8 control subjects. The biopsies were then cultured with CBD. The results indicated a protective action of CBD against further intestinal damage (19).

This isn’t the only evidence that CBD may have beneficial effects on gut conditions. A cell study in 2017 demonstrated that CBD may protect against inflammatory damage and restore the intestinal barrier (20). In Crohn’s disease, a randomized placebo-controlled trial on CBD was published in 2018 (21). The study included 50 patients with Crohn’s disease. After 8 weeks of administration of a CBD oil (containing 15% CBD and 4% THC), the Crohn’s Disease Activity Index decreased and quality of life increased compared to the control group that consumed an olive oil placebo (Naftali et al., 2018). 

Can CBD Oil Decrease Inflammation?

CBD and Headaches

Migraines may be related to inflammation. The prevalence of migraines is increased in women for reasons largely unknown (evidence published in 2018 suggests sex hormones may play a role)(22). There is evidence that women who suffer from migraines have greater FAAH enzymatic activity which results in greater breakdown of endocannabinoids (23). Other research indicates a decrease of anandamide in the cerebrospinal fluid of migraine sufferers (24). This further supports the theory that endocannabinoids may play a role in the regulation of migraines (25-27)

A review published in Current Opinion of Neurology in June of 2019 discussed the use of CBD oil for migraine relief (25). It is possible that the endocannabinoid system has several pathways of which it regulates migraine pain (25).

While human clinical trials on CBD, specifically, for migraine relief are sparse, a study was published in Pharmacotherapy in 2016 which included 121 patients who were migraine sufferers. The researchers found that daily medical marijuana use reduced the frequency of migraines from 10 to 4 migraines a month (28). While not specific to CBD, this study further suggests that the endocannabinoid system may play a roll in some types of headaches.

The Science Behind CBD Oil Benefits

Can CBD Alleviate Acne?

One physical sign of inflammation can be acne. While we have all likely dealt with acne at some point in our life, it has the potential to greatly impact our self-esteem and quality of life (29). A pre-clinical study in 2014 determined that CBD may have a therapeutic effect on acne vulgaris partly due to its anti-inflammatory properties (30).

Are there any Side-effects?

CBD has been shown to be relatively safe for consumption with some reported side-effects being fatigue, diarrhea, and loss of appetite (31). It may put extra stress on the liver and interfere with other medications. Enzymes cytochrome p450, CYP3A4, and CYP2C19 metabolize CBD, so if other medications or supplements are also metabolized by these enzymes, there may be interactions (32). It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider before using CBD, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding. 

The research on CBD and the cannabinoid system is evolving rapidly. I am curious to see what an increase in future clinical studies will confirm for us.

In health, Dr. Dylan Cutler, Ph.D.

The post was sponsored by Icaria – Vancouver CBD Oil for Busy Female Professionals, based in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

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CBD Oil and Inflammation

References

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Disclaimer: As the sole author of Phruitful Dish, I have based my posts on my own experiences and personal knowledge. However, I am not a medical doctor or a licensed nutritionist. The information in this blog is not intended as medical advice, and it is not endorsed by my employers or institutions I am affiliated with. Nutritional and supplemental choices should be made in consultation with your health care provider. This blog is intended to inspire and encourage readers to educate themselves on how nutrition and lifestyle are important and often overlooked aspects of health. Therefore, please use the information at your own risk. Occasional links may be provided leading to third party websites. The existence of these links does not infer a responsibility or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents.