Anxiety disorders plague about 40 million people over 18 years old living in the U.S. on an annual basis. Unfortunately, only about 40 percent of those who have these disorders get any treatment to help manage their symptoms. Anxiety is one of the most manageable diseases to treat. But, the medications that are used, classified as anxiolytic, have side effects that can alter someone’s life. For anyone trying to figure out how to manage anxiety through a more natural approach, some options do not involve medication. One of the most promising choices that are currently on the market is CBD oil. It is showing promise in treating issues people struggle with and preventing future problems from forming.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is pressed out of a hemp plant. Hemp is just one of the most well-known species of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is the other famous species. The difference between hemp and marijuana is that the marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects or “high” that cannabis users typically report. The other substance is the cannabidiol, which is responsible for the relaxing effects that come with CBD. This has no effect that gives a feeling of dissociation because there is no psychoactive component.
When hemp is pressed, the oil that comes out is then purified and bottled, creating CBD oil. This can be used to help manage pain and anxiety, among other medical conditions. People using these products do not have to worry about the same effects that come from marijuana since there is no THC in them. The “high” will not happen, and the relief they can experience is natural. Plus, the side effects of many of the anti-anxiety medications on the market are nothing to worry about, either.
Is CBD Different Than Medical Marijuana?
There are many uses for medical marijuana, and it is a substance that is becoming legal in a growing number of states. However, the substances are different. Medical cannabis needs a prescription to get, and still contains some of the THC that causes the “high.” The amounts are just much lower than traditional cannabis has. CBD from hemp has less than 0.3 percent of THC in it, making it incapable of providing any psychoactive effect. While CBD can help with many medical issues, it is not used for the same things that cannabis is used since the cannabis offers the “high” and CBD does not.
What Effects Do People Taking CBD Feel Most?
When people start to take CBD, overall, they feel better. It is not one specific area of the body that begins to feel better, but the body as a whole. That is due to the effects of CBD on how the body functions. Medications are usually used for a specific ailment, and only work to fix that ailment. CBD, on the other hand, is put into the body to help improve how the body functions. It helps the body recognize areas that were not working as well as they should have been and gets those body parts to become more responsive and alert.
For people with anxiety, the CBD helps the body realize that it was not functioning as it should. As CBD goes into the body, it moves along the endocannabinoid system. This system is set up to hold the different CB receptors in the body and to receive messages that the body sends. Unfortunately, in many instances, when someone faces anxiety issues, those receptors are not working correctly. The receptors forget to open or do not open in time to receive a message. CBD helps to naturally remind those receptors to open and take in the messages being sent around. From there, the receptor can decipher what was the message and reply in a way that makes sense. Medication forces the body to act in some specific way, but CBD allows the body to respond naturally. This helps the body relearn how to move in ways it once forgot, or learn how to act in ways it never knew.
When someone has anxiety, those messages only sometimes get opened. Many times, when the signals of worry or concern are opened, sometimes the receptors send back inadequate responses, such as not being able to breathe correctly or tensing up the muscles. CBD allows the body and the central nervous system a chance to synchronize backup and work together as they should. This is not an instant fix, nor does it work for everyone, but in many cases, CBD may help alleviate anxiety symptoms and put the person back in control.
There are other effects that those taking CBD also feel, including:
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Relief from chronic pain
- Relaxation and a sense of calm
- Tired when appropriate, allowing the person to sleep at bedtime
- Relief from nausea
- An increased feeling of control in overwhelming situations
- Reduction in the effects and inflammation of diabetes
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Many different things can lead to an anxiety issue. Some things are controllable, such as situations in life, while others are not. The most common causes of anxiety include:
- A person’s genetics plays a role in how anxious someone is. For example, if a person’s mother had anxiety, it makes him or her more likely to develop it as well.
- Brain chemistry also plays a role in how much anxiety someone experiences. Those who struggle with mental health issues that alter brain chemistry are more likely to develop anxiety.
- The situation of someone’s life also plays a role in anxiety. People who have been the victim of crimes or suffered abuse are more likely to feel anxious than those who have not.
- Whether someone has an outgoing or introverted personality also plays a role in how much anxiety someone feels.
Which Forms of Anxiety Are Most Present in the Population?
People all around the United States struggle with anxiety, but the specific type of stress varies. Here are some of the most common forms of anxiety that people are trying to manage.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 7 million adults in the U.S.
- Panic Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 6 million adults in the U.S.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 15 million adults in the U.S.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This form of anxiety affects approximately 8 million adults in the U.S.
- Several Phobias, Such as Social Phobia: Phobias affect approximately 19 million adults in the U.S.
- OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This form of anxiety affects more than 2 million adults in the U.S.
- Major Depressive Disorder: This form of anxiety affects over 16 million adults in the U.S.
Most Common Treatments for Anxiety
By far, the most common way of treating anxiety is medication, at least out of the people who seek treatment. However, most people do not try to receive treatment. The classifications of medication often used to treat anxiety include:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, often help with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Tricyclic antidepressants are used to help with the treatment of anxiety or depression, but they tend to be difficult for most people to take due to the effects they cause.
- Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, or SNRIs, are often used to treat anxiety or depression.
- Benzodiazepines are used to treat any physical manifestation of anxiety, such as the inability to sleep or muscles that stay tense, since they are sedatives.
- Beta-blockers are most commonly used for those with heart issues or high blood pressure, but they can also help those struggling with anxiety.
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, or MAOIs, are used for those struggling with panic disorders and social forms of phobia.
Another treatment option that is coming to light is CBD oil. The properties of CBD allow it to be an excellent way for many people to relax. Plus, cannabinoids are natural, therefore causing fewer adverse effects to the people taking them. Instead of racing heart rates, the inability to focus, or being so sedated that it can be challenging to function, many people want to get similar results without those negative feelings that come with it.
People have been noticing the benefits of CBD a lot, and people are not the only ones taking notice. The FDA has been running clinical trials and approved at least one medication that contains CBD for use in the U.S. so far, and more are on the horizon. Plus, several animal studies are going on testing several cannabis products, since the bodies of animals are so similar to human bodies in how they react to many substances.
Can CBD Products Be Used as Any Other Potential Treatment Option?
Using CBD for medical ailments aside from anxiety is also possible. It is already used medicinally to treat seizures and some forms of epilepsy, but there are other ailments that it could help with, too. Some of those ailments include:
- MS or Multiple Sclerosis: Studies have found it effective at reducing pain, improving the relaxation of muscles, and allowing patients to have to urinate less frequently.
- Schizophrenia: Studies have shown that the psychotic symptoms of those with schizophrenia have declined when CBD is taken for four weeks.
- Dystonia: Studies are showing an improvement in dystonia symptoms by as much as 50 percent in people taking CBD for six weeks.
- Parkinson’s Disease: Studies are showing significant improvement in the psychotic symptoms of those struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
- Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD): Studies have shown that taking CBD before a bone marrow transplant and continuing to take it for at least one month after can slow the development of GVHD.
- Social Anxiety: Studies have shown that people with different types of social anxiety can have markedly better relationships and much less anxiety when taking CBD. Those who have a fear of public speaking often need higher doses of CBD to feel the effects. Those who struggle with other social fears can often have doses as low as 300 mg per day to feel more in control.
- Insomnia: Studies had shown that people taking at least 160 mg of CBD each night before bed slept better and struggled less with insomnia than those who took smaller doses.
Health Benefits and Risks That Come From Cannabinoids
Aside from a reduction of anxiety, there are other benefits that products containing CBD can provide. Here are some of the most common:
- Reducing or stopping inflammation all over the body
- Cutting down on the frequency of kidney stones
- Relieving pain all over the body
- Reducing or stopping nausea, especially when it comes from chemo
- Slowing the growth of cancerous tumors
- Killing off cancerous cells floating around the body
- Helping prevent obesity
- Calming tight muscles
- Stimulating the appetite in higher doses
- Improving the ability to gain weight in patients that have cancer or AIDS
- Stops many of the symptoms of depression
- Reducing appearance and inflammation of acne in some concentrations
- Improving overall heart health
- Strengthening the circulatory system as a whole
- Reducing dependence on drugs and alcohol for those going through withdrawals
- Preventing the spread of tumors to other parts of the body, especially cancerous tumors
There is constant testing happening on all types of products that contain CBD because of the promising effects of cannabidiol. There are very few risks that come with using CBD in any form. They include:
- Feeling tired some of the time after taking the CBD. This usually passes after a short time and stops once the body adjusts to the new chemical.
- Diarrhea sometimes happens when the doses of CBD are too high. To remove this effect, all people have to do is decrease the dose they are taking.
- The use of CBD is often associated with dry mouth. This can be easily combated by adding more water into the diet daily.
- Occasionally people taking CBD feel dizzy. This is due to lower blood pressure and will pass as the body gets used to the change in nearly all instances.
How Can CBD Products Be Taken?
There are many ways to use CBD. It all depends on what the results are that the person wants and how quickly he or she wants those results. Various methods provide different results in how immediately the effects are felt and in terms of how long the effects last. Here are the most common methods of ingestion for products containing CBD:
- Edibles: This is one method of getting the CBD into the body. Edibles come in the form of gummies, lollipops, candy, desserts, popcorn, and honey.
- Tincture: This is another method of getting CBD into the body, but this uses CBD oil that is placed under the tongue. This product can come in many flavors like vanilla, mint, coffee, watermelon, and strawberry banana.
- Inhalation: Pure CBD can be inhaled through a vape pen or a smoking rig, allowing the CBD to enter the lungs and hit the bloodstream almost instantly.
- Skin: CBD can also be absorbed through the skin. This can be done by using CBD lotion, massage oils, ointments for pain relief, rollers with oil on them, and balms. There are even products for the skin to improve how the skin looks or feels, such as facial creams and lip balm.
Items taken under the tongue or through inhalation hit the system much more quickly than those that have to be absorbed or ingested. However, they also tend to wear off more quickly. Those that are eaten or absorbed take a little longer to start working, but they also last longer. Some products need to be taken every few hours, others need to be taken when symptoms arise, and others need to be taken on a schedule, such as twice per day. It all depends on what method of ingestion is used and what the goal results are.
Anxiety is more common than most people realize. Unfortunately, it is treated far less often than it should be. There are ways of being able to combat anxiety naturally, and CBD is one of the most promising methods around. Testing is being done on many products that contain CBD to see not only how effectively it can treat issues like depression and anxiety, but also what other benefits come with it. People can face situations they never could before while on CBD, including simulated public speaking and talking with people who once made the users afraid. If CBD can provide these effects currently, imagine what it could do in the near future for extensive medical and mental health issues.
Having anxiety during pregnancy is a real mental health condition. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign that a woman’s body needs help. A pregnant woman who suspects she has anxiety or experiences panic attacks should get help right away for the health of her baby.
What Is Normal?
Pregnancy can be a stressful time. If a woman is experiencing normal anxiety, she will find that it comes and goes. Often it is triggered by a stressful experience, such as a fight with a loved one or problems with other children. While some stress during pregnancy is normal, if it is beginning to bother the mother or impact her daily life, she should consult her doctor.
A pregnant woman experiencing antenatal anxiety, or anxiety during pregnancy, may feel intense and excessive anxiety. Often, she cannot be able to pinpoint the reason for her anxiety. Even small tasks like paying the bills may make her feel anxious.
An expectant mother also experiences other symptoms in antenatal anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting one in four people, and the risk of anxiety is thought to increase during pregnancy.
Each case of antenatal anxiety is different for each patient. However, there are some common symptoms pregnant women can look out for. While having one or two of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate anxiety, having several of these symptoms may mean an expectant mother should see her doctor.
- Persistent worry – While some worry is normal during pregnancy, worry that do not go away is not normal. Often, this worry is focused on the health or well-being of the baby.
- Panic attacks – These are characterized by heart palpitations and an intense feeling of terror.
- Finding it difficult to focus – Sometimes, this feeling is described as “brain fog.”
- Becoming easily annoyed – Pregnant women with antenatal anxiety often find themselves getting irritated at family and friends easily.
- Odd behavior changes – Pregnant women with antenatal anxiety often develop obsessive or compulsive behaviors.
- Unexplainable sadness – Mothers with depression-like symptoms, such as crying for no reason and feeling consistently low, may be suffering from antenatal anxiety, especially if these symptoms persist for two weeks or more.
Because anxiety and depression go together during pregnancy, having anxiety may be a symptom of depression.
Women are more at risk for anxiety and depression during pregnancy because hormone changes can affect hormones in the brain that are related to depression and anxiety. Difficult life situations can also lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety during pregnancy often go hand in hand. Moreover, in some cases, it can be a vicious cycle. Feeling depressed can lead to anxiety about why one is feeling depressed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that between 14 percent and 23 percent of women experience depression during pregnancy.
Like clinical depression, depression during pregnancy is a mental disorder.
Anxiety can lead to panic attacks. These attacks can come quickly, seemingly without a cause. There are many symptoms of a panic attack, some of which a woman might experience all at once. Women experiencing panic attacks can have a racing heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, shaky limbs, tingling, shortness of breath, and a severe feeling of dread.
These attacks can last anywhere from five minutes to 20 minutes. While they can be terrifying, they are generally not dangerous for the mother or baby.
Effect on the Baby
Left untreated, anxiety during pregnancy can harm the baby. One study found that when a woman experiences anxiety during her pregnancy, the child’s neurodevelopment is at risk, and the baby is more likely to be born preterm.
After birth, any anxiety or depression a mother still has makes it harder for her to bond with her baby. Bonding with the baby right away is important for the baby’s development.
If a woman has lingering depression after her baby’s birth, she may not have the desire or strength to care for her baby. These babies may be less active and show higher levels of agitation.
Anyone can experience anxiety during pregnancy. However, there are a few risk factors which can make a woman more likely to develop anxiety in pregnancy.
- Family history – Genetics play a role. If a woman’s family members have had anxiety or panic attacks in the past, she is more likely to experience them as well.
- Personal history – If a woman has had panic disorders or anxiety in the past, pregnancy generally makes them worse.
- Too much stress – In women who experience excessive stress in their everyday life, panic attacks, and anxiety can be triggered.
- Previous difficult birth – If a woman had a difficult birth or pregnancy in the past, she is more likely to experience anxiety in her next pregnancy.
While researchers do not know every risk factor that can result in anxiety, they believe that factors such as environment, physical well-being, and emotional well-being all play into a woman’s risk of having anxiety during pregnancy.
The good news is, there are many treatments for anxiety that can help an expectant mother feel better and calmer about her pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s doctor may suggest she use coping mechanisms. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, self-help resources, activity for emotional release, or medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches skills to cope with different problems such as anxiety. The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that people’s feelings and behavior tend to reflect how they think about different situations. If they think about situations negatively, their feelings imitate that. In cognitive behavioral therapy, an individual suffering from anxiety works with a therapist to identify negative thinking patterns that may be causing anxiety.
Self-help resources can also help anxiety. A woman with anxiety may work through these resources by herself or with another individual who has suffered from similar problems.
It can help pregnant women with anxiety to find a release for their emotions. It can help them take their minds off their problems. Engaging in physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can help the brain release endorphins. Endorphins kill pain, boost happiness, and relieve stress. Physical activity for as little as five minutes can help release endorphins from the brain.
For pregnant women where physical activity is not an option, mind-body wellness strategies can work. An expectant mother might try meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, or even acupuncture.
If these anxiety treatments are not working, or a pregnant woman’s anxiety is severe, her doctor may prescribe medication to ease her anxiety. A woman’s doctor may recommend antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are fairly safe to take during pregnancy.
Anxiety in pregnancy is a very common thing. Having it does not mean a woman will be a bad mother. There are several ways to treat it, and expectant mothers should remember there is no “one size fits all” approach. What works for one woman may not work for another. Trying different techniques, such as stress management, self-help, and cognitive behavioral therapy, helps a woman get the peace of mind which is essential for her health and her baby.