Phobias are some of the most common forms of anxiety disorders. We ask if CBD could help reduce some of the symptoms.
Phobias can include more common fears such as heights, spiders, flying or more unusual ones such as beards, chickens, clouds. Their response can be intensely debilitating, not to mention hard to treat.
Phobias, in their truest form, are more than fear, instead, they can develop to such an extent that people start to organise their lives around avoiding the subject of their fear. They can be classed as a type of anxiety disorder.
Research shows CBD may be an easily accessible and chemical-free option.
What causes anxiety and phobias?
The brain’s amygdala is known as our fear centre, is designed to process emotional and fear signals across the brain. The right-side amygdala is tied to expectations of fearful emotions and responses while the left is tied to expectations of pleasant emotions.
People who suffer from phobias have been shown on MRI to display increased activity of the amygdala when exposed to phobia-inducing stimuli.
Symptoms of phobias vary, but will generally include elements such as fast heartbeat, dry mouth, sweating or trembling – similar to those caused by anxiety.
Phobia based anxiety
Phobias can cause a general feeling of anxiety in sufferers, which CBD is well known to potentially ease.
That’s because the compound is thought to interact with the receptors in the brain, potentially sending signals to the neurotransmitter, serotonin, although there is still a lot of research needed in this area to understand how the two interact.
Furthermore, a study examining the effect of CBD on people with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), which could be said to be a phobia of social settings, found that it may help to reduce related anxiety.
Participants in the study were given 400 mg of CBD or a placebo. The researchers reported that those in the group given the CBD recorded lower levels of anxiety.
CBD for phobias
When it comes to phobias, a team of psychiatric researchers from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, say cannabidiol can ‘enhance’ the natural endocannabinoid system – a physiological system that regulates the body’s responses to stress – and help overcome phobias, particularly when used together with exposure therapy, where a patient is gradually exposed to the source of their anxiety.
Lead author Dr Johanna Baas said: “Phobic anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders and are burdensome in terms of loss of quality of life and work productivity.
“Evidence-based treatments are relatively successful in the majority of patients, especially exposure therapy. However, a substantial subset of patients fails to achieve, or stay in, remission.
“Preclinical and genetic research have yielded evidence that the cannabinoid system is involved in the extinction of fear, presumed to underlie the beneficial effects of exposure therapy in phobic disorders.
“A cannabinoid constituent that may enhance endocannabinoid signalling is cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis. Hence, the addition of CBD to exposure therapy is expected to strengthen effects of treatment.”
How to take CBD for phobias
There is a multitude of ways to take CBD, depending on the situation and the user’s personal preference.
Some, such as edibles, have a long-lasting, slow-release effect, making them ideal for those who may need to confront their phobia over a long period of time, such as a long-haul flight.
Others, such as tinctures you drop under your tongue, have a quicker, more short-term effect, perfect for phobia-sufferers who need an instant boost when confronting their fears, such as a meeting on the top floor of a ten-storey office block.
With CBD often hailed as a treatment for anxiety, it is no surprise then that its calming properties can also be used to treat phobias and the symptoms they cause.
Can CBD help with feelings of sadness on blue Monday?
Blue Monday may or may not be a real thing, but feelings of sadness, anxiety and stress are.
The third Monday in January is often referred to as ‘blue Monday.’ But what is it and could taking CBD help with feelings of depression, stress or anxiety?
What is blue Monday?
Blue Monday is thought to be the most depressing day of the year.
It was created after psychologist Cliff Arnall was asked to create a formula for the holiday blues. It falls on the third Monday of January each year. While there is a lot of debate as to whether it is real or not, depression and anxiety can be difficult to cope with.
January can be a really hard time of year for those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It may be due to the increase in cold weather, post-holiday sadness and credit card statements.
Real or not, it can be an opportunity to start talking about how depression or anxiety affect us all.
Could CBD help to lift our mood during this difficult month?
CBD for depression
Symptoms of depression can include a persistent low mood, unhappiness, low self-esteem or feeling tearful. It can cause a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, withdrawal, tiredness or sleep issues. In severe forms, it may also cause suicidal thoughts.
CBD may have a positive interaction with the hormone, serotonin in our brains. Serotonin is involved with different functions in our bodies but it can impact a person’s happiness or emotional well-being. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression.
A study examined how CBD could make a difference to people who struggle with seasonal depression. Participants in the study were given 400mg of CBD or a placebo. Researchers reported those given the CBD reported less anxiety than those on the placebo.
CBD for anxiety
Anxiety is a reaction to stress creating an apprehensive feeling about what may happen. Some people struggle with strong feelings of anxiety every day. These feelings of anxiety can be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder.
A study on CBD and sleep quality also found it may reduce anxiety. It involved 72 participants with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 with poor quality sleep. Each participant was given a daily dose of 25mg of CBD then asked to report how they felt afterwards. The researchers recorded that 79.2 per cent recorded reduced anxiety and 66.7 per cent said their sleep had improved after the first month.
CBD for stress
Our bodies naturally produce a hormone called cortisol which is responsible for our feelings of stress. When we encounter fear or a stressful situation, our brain signals our nerve and hormone systems. Adrenaline and cortisol rush into our body causing a spike in blood pressure and heart rate.
Cortisol increases the glucose in the bloodstream and increases the availability of substances that can repair tissue. It controls mood, motivation and fear.
In one study, male participants with Parkinson’s disease were given CBD then asked to undergo a simulated public speaking test. Researchers reported that an oral dose of 300 mg of CBD given 90 minutes before the test reduce the participant’s anxiety and stress.
The best way to take CBD
There is no right or wrong way to take CBD if you are feeling blue.
The most common ways to take CBD are oils or tinctures, edibles or vaping. Each person may have an individual preference for one method over another. Oils or tinctures can be great if you need a quick, easy way to take a dose but vaping helps the CBD to reach the system faster. This could be a great choice if you are struggling with panic attacks and need a faster dose.
Edibles are a discreet way to take CBD and they also taste nicer than some oils. The best way to decide what is right for you is to try different methods until you find the one you prefer.
Could CBD be the key to a healthier 2022?
We explore the myriad of ways CBD could help you have a healthy 2022.
The start of a new year is always the time for making changes, setting goals and new promises, could CBD help you make some positive changes this year?
At the end of 2020, 43 per cent of one survey’s participants resolved to eat healthier, while 50 per cent aimed to exercise more. And that was after one year of a pandemic; as we now enter the third, Cannabis Health looks at how CBD could be the key to a healthier 2022 for you.
What is CBD?
Its official name is cannabidiol and is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis.
Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive enzymes and therefore does not cause a ‘high’.
Although studies are continually ongoing, it has not yet been found to have any effects indicative of abuse or dependence.
Here are just a few of the ways CBD can help you feel healthier this year.
We thought we’d start with the big guns; period pain. Something almost every woman suffers from to some degree, the monthly cramps can have a huge impact on your mood and lifestyle.
With its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is a perfect remedy for menstrual difficulty – and there are so many ways you could take it!
While oils and edibles are perfect for a quick fix, there are other methods that can be more enjoyable and direct.
Craving chocolate during your period is totally normal, so why not mix a few drops of CBD oil to a soothing mug of hot chocolate?
Or if you prefer lounging in the bath, throw in a CBD bath bomb to help you fizz away to your happy place feeling relaxed and calm (they’ll even help with lower back pain too).
Want a more direct route? You can’t get more precise than CBD tampons. Vaginal absorption is one of the fastest ways to get a dose into the system, as the walls of the vagina absorb the CBD immediately into the bloodstream where it can get to work.
New year’s diet
We’ve all been there – pledging to eat well, maybe even lose a few pounds, but how can CBD help you eat healthier?
Adding hemp (the plant from which CBD hails) can have numerous benefits – it’s considered a superfood after all.
A great source of Omega 3 and 6, polyunsaturated fats that cannot be manufactured by the body, hemp is thought to help reduce cholesterol, and be associated with improvements in skin, heart health and mental health.
Hemp seeds are also a fantastic, complete protein source so if you’re a gym-goer, athlete or body builder looking to improve their macros, a sprinkling could work wonders!
A good night’s sleep
It’s no secret that good health starts when you’re not even awake. A bad night’s sleep can cause a ripple effect of unhealthy decisions. But CBD can help.
A study from 2019 with 72 patients, 25 of whom experienced poor sleep, looked at whether CBD could improve sleep. The participants were given a capsule containing 25 milligrams of CBD and in the first month, 66.7 per cent reported better sleep.
With several methods available, there’s no right or wrong way to take CBD for sleep, but many find oils and edibles work best, although it entirely depends on your own endocannabinoid system.
Avoiding anxiety and burnout
The added pressure we put on ourselves at this time of year, not to mention the current climate we’re living in, can leave us feeling frazzled and burnt out. This is where CBD could come into its own.
In 2021, a review of all the research so far found that CBD can have a positive impact on anxiety and stress. Scientists believe that CBD works by interacting with receptors in the brain to potential sending signals to the neurotransmitter, serotonin.
While more research is needed to uncover how precisely the two react, what we do know is that serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for mental health and that lower levels are sometimes associated with depression or anxiety, which why the medicinal treatment for anxiety is usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Whatever you’re using CBD for, and however you choose to take it, the advice from professionals is always to start low and go slow, upping the dose only once you’re sure of the effects – and always speak to your doctor before making changes to your medication.
Yoga and CBD – how a new event hopes to combine benefits of both
If you have ever been curious about cannabinoids or yoga, then this is could be the event for you.
Practising yoga is perfect for connecting the body, while CBD may help you to deal with stress and anxiety.
After the stress of the past two years, we could all do with making relaxation and unwinding one of our new year’s resolutions. Taking up yoga or introducing CBD could be a great start to 2022.
The yoga will be led by Victoria Logan, who has been working in the cannabis space for three years, alongside teaching yoga. Roísín Delaney of cannabis consultancy firm, Neon Green, will provide information on the endocannabinoid system while Herbotany Health will be providing CBD products for attendees.
Victoria has been teaching yoga for around four years after completing her teacher training in India, and is passionate about mental health, CBD and reconnecting with the body.
Victoria said: “I came to the cannabis space through the medical route instead of wellness. I’ve been working for the Centre for Medical Cannabis for about three years now trying to change policy around prescriptions. I’ve also been using cannabis myself for a long time as well so I was able to cross over into the CBD market.”
She added: “I understood that people were quite curious about using CBD as a supplement. I met a lot of interesting patients who were using it as part of their daily rituals, especially if they have members of their family who are quite sick. They use CBD as a supplement to help them manage that situation as well. It seemed like a really natural progression to start talking about CBD and introducing it into my practice.”
Yoga and mental health
Yoga and CBD share a lot in common when it comes to the health benefits they could offer. This is especially true when it comes to helping with mental health conditions.
“It slows everything [down] and allows you to connect the mind and body,” explained Victoria.
“CBD is a natural product that shares a lot of the sort of healing and calming aspects that yoga does. It allows you to come into a correct headspace while giving you the space to manage things. It melts away a lot of mental health issues especially with meditation and pranayama which is a breathing technique we use in yoga.”
Victoria stressed that the session will involve a gentle vinyasa practice, with attendees at the event led through breathing techniques and given CBD to sample. The variation on each pose will allow beginners and experts alike to tailor the event to their experience level.
Although yoga is often associated with flexibility, it isn’t a requirement to get started. There are many different physical and mental health conditions that can benefit from taking part or introducing a regular yoga routine.
“You hear people saying, oh no, I can’t do that as I’m too stiff. You are too stiff because the body is holding on to that trauma or illness, grief or anger, whatever situation has happened to you,” said Victoria.
“With yoga practise, it really works on those areas. Especially a practice called Yin yoga which holds postures for three to five breaths. It’s very floor-based and restorative while also being calming and passive. You may find it a bit uncomfortable to begin with, but the longer you sit in the posture, you learn that it’s actually really beneficial as you are melting away the stress.
“You are opening the body, allowing it that little bit of space and recovery. Then with the CBD, it’s a lovely extra thing to have in the practise. It can help with stiffness in the body and help with holding the poses for longer.”
Endocannabinoid system education
The event will begin with an introduction to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Victoria said: “I think it’s really fundamental that people understand that we have it in our bodies. A lot of people don’t actually know it’s there and that comes down to education. We will introduce the ECS, receptors and how the plant interacts with that.
“We will also have a bit of pranayama which is a breathing technique and w will all take some of the Herbotany CBD. There will also be little pots of ointment for self-massage too. We invite people to smell the product and consciously use it, to take time to appreciate it and nourish the body.”
The event is hoped to be the first of many, with plans to develop a series that can be held across the UK, in person and online.
“Yoga workshops are a really nice thing to attend. It’s a nice environment where you meet lots of lovely people who are on similar journeys or paths. If people are dealing with things, especially at the moment, or something traumatic has happened then it can create a safe space to go and release some of that stress or tension,” added Victoria.
“I love organising events and wellness workshops which bring people together while creating community vibes. I think people would really respond to it at the moment because of the last couple of years. It feels like the next natural thing for us to do is to step outside of this little Covid bubble to create some wellness events and help people move back to whatever normal life is.”
For more information on the event, click here
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