According to Anxiety UK, anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions worldwide, with 8.2 million cases of anxiety disorders in the UK alone in 2013. That was before a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic turned our lives upside down, so it’s safe to say those numbers are only going up.
It’s no wonder that more and more people are looking for natural solutions like CBD to fight anxiety and improve their overall health and wellbeing. But do they work? Can CBD gummies really help to relieve anxiety?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the research into CBD and anxiety, and we’ll discuss how you can use CBD gummies like ZenBears to calm an anxious mind.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a word that’s thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean to suffer from anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, fear or worry. It happens to everyone from time to time, like when you’re waiting for important news, you’ve got a big test coming up, or you’re dealing with a major life event like buying a house. As unpleasant as it feels, the anxiety usually eases off when the situation is resolved.
For some people, though, anxiety can become persistent and start to interfere with their lives. That might be due to a situation that’s especially challenging or drawn out (looking at you, coronavirus), or it might be because of a clinical anxiety condition.
People who suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), for example, might find themselves constantly worrying about lots of different things, rather than one particular thing. As soon as they resolve one worry, another one takes its place.
Other people suffer from extreme anxiety only around specific objects or situations (known as a phobia). For example, somebody with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), or social phobia, might feel anxious only when they think about social situations, or when they have to interact with others.
People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) feel anxiety due to traumatic events they’ve experienced. They’ll often feel extremely anxious and distressed when they’re reminded of the traumatic event, and they might also have a general sense of anxiety in day-to-day life.
These are just a few examples of how anxiety can become a problem. For those who suffer, anxiety can make it difficult to eat, sleep, or concentrate on things like work and school. It can make them feel upset, afraid or helpless, and it might stop them from doing things they enjoy. They might feel irritated or restless, and their relationships with other people might suffer. They might experience physical symptoms, too, like headaches or digestive problems. And if they struggle to cope with their anxiety, they might turn to unhealthy coping strategies like smoking, heavy drinking or drugs.
As you can see, anxiety is a really broad term! We might use it when we’re nervous about something, or when we’re completely overwhelmed by trauma. However you personally experience anxiety and why, it’s worth exploring solutions if it’s interfering with your health and wellbeing.
Can CBD gummies help with anxiety?
For clinically recognised anxiety disorders, like GAD or PTSD, doctors currently recommend psychological therapies, anti-anxiety medications, or both. Some people use CBD alongside these treatments, and others prefer CBD alone. But is it as effective at treating anxiety?
Because CBD is a fairly new supplement, scientists are still studying how it works in the body, what effects it can have, and what conditions it might be able to treat. Based on their research so far, it looks like CBD can help to relieve anxiety, although we don’t yet know whether it’s any more or less effective than the treatments currently used.
How do CBD gummies work for anxiety?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid, found in the hemp plant. When hemp oil is extracted from the plant, it contains CBD and various other cannabinoids and chemicals. The oil is then processed and used to make products like CBD gummies.
Your body also makes its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. They’re part of a complex system called the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS, which keeps everything in your body in a nice state of balance (homeostasis).
Endocannabinoids are the chemical messengers of the ECS. They travel around the body attaching to receptors, signalling to the ECS that some kind of action needs to be taken. When they’re done, specialised enzymes clear them up.
When you take CBD – a cannabinoid – it behaves a lot like your own endocannabinoids. Believe it or not, we only discovered the ECS in the 1990s, so we’re still not exactly sure how CBD works on your ECS. We just know that it does!
So far, we know that it affects receptors in the brain called CB1 receptors. This might alter levels of a mood-related chemical called serotonin.
In some people, anxiety can be caused by not having enough serotonin in the brain. That’s why doctors often prescribe a class of medications called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) to help keep serotonin levels up. It’s thought that by acting on CB1 receptors, CBD can help to relieve anxiety in a similar way.
What does the research say?
So far, so good!
According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, several studies have shown that CBD reduces the signs of anxiety in both humans and animals.
This scientific review looked at many studies on CBD as a treatment for anxiety. The researchers concluded that CBD reduced anxiety in a number of conditions, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Another study focused on SAD, and found that CBD reduced symptoms of the disorder. They theorised that CBD calmed the limbic system, the area of the brain that controls how you react to emotional stimuli.
This was backed up by another study, showing that CBD can calm the central nervous system and improve both anxiety and sleep. 79.2% of participants in the study said that they felt fewer symptoms of anxiety, and 66.7% said that they slept better.
All of these studies point out that we need more research into CBD and anxiety. We agree, but based on this research and lots of anecdotal evidence, we think CBD shows lots of promise as a natural, effective solution for anxiety.
How to take CBD gummies for anxiety
Oil, capsules, vape, gummies… you’ve got lots of options when it comes to taking CBD. Call us biased, but gummies are our favourite! Here’s why:
- They taste much better than earthy, herbal-tasting oils.
- They’re much easier to take. No fiddling with a dropper and spilling your CBD!
- You don’t have to guess how much CBD you’re taking. Each ZenBear contains 20mg of CBD for easy, accurate dosing.
No messing, no guessing — just pop a tasty sweet and you’re good to go!
When you chew a CBD gummy, you absorb most of the CBD into your bloodstream through the blood vessels in your mouth. It can take at least 30 minutes to feel the effects, so keep this in mind if you’re taking them before a study session, social occasion or other anxiety-inducing event. You might want to plan ahead and have a CBD gummy around an hour beforehand.
How many CBD gummies should I take?
If you’ve never taken CBD before, it’s best to start with a low dose of about 10mg (half a ZenBear) and see how you feel. If you don’t get the effect you want and you don’t feel any side effects, try 20mg next time. Be sure to wait at least a couple of hours between doses though to be sure.
Keep working your way up slowly like this until you find the right dosage for you. If you notice any uncomfortable side effects, drop back down to the previous dose and stay there.
Are CBD gummies safe?
CBD gummies are generally safe and we’re not aware of any serious side effects in healthy people. Lots of people use CBD gummies to relieve mild or moderate anxiety, and most of them report very few mild side effects, if any. In fact, some people choose CBD because they want to avoid the harsher side effects of common anti-anxiety medications.
However – and this is a biggie! – if you’re already taking medication for a clinical anxiety disorder, it’s really important that you don’t stop taking it without speaking to your GP. It might be the case that your current treatment really is the most effective option. But either way, if you do choose to stop taking anti-anxiety medications, especially benzodiazepines, going cold turkey can cause nasty withdrawal symptoms and might even be dangerous. It’s always safest to make a plan with your doctor.
CBD can interact with some medications and may not be suitable for people with pre-existing conditions. As always, if that applies to you, check with the doc first!
Where can I buy CBD gummies?
Right here! If you’re looking for the most effective CBD gummies in the UK, our super-chilled ZenBears have got you covered. They’re made with organic hemp, 100% vegan ingredients, and all-natural flavours, so you can relax knowing you’re only getting the best!