Tackling Anxiety Disorders with CBD and delta-8
Cannabis has always been known to help with relaxation and relieving anxiety. However, for inexperienced users, it can actually result in the opposite, promoting anxiety and paranoia when one takes too big a hit at once when they don't have much experience in consuming it.
However, there are now derivatives of cannabis that are purported to not have those side effects, letting users be able to enjoy the relaxing effects of cannabis without having to worry about anxiety and paranoia.
Let's take a look at the use of CBD and delta-8 for relieving anxiety and treating anxiety disorders. Can these two constituents of cannabis actually help with anxiety?
What’s Wrong With Regular Cannabis?
The main psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been known to have anxiogenic effects, meaning that it can actually cause anxiety. Anecdotal evidence from cannabis users say as much, and it’s also backed up by studies that have found that cannabis can indeed produce feelings of anxiety, panic, paranoia, and even psychosis.
Studies have found that these effects are dose-dependent. It was also found that cannabinoids have biphasic effects that have now been extensively documented. While a more precise assessment is needed to document both the anxiogenic and anxiolytic effects of phytocannabinoids, we may have already found the “holy grail” in cannabis that’s better for more users in dealing with anxiety.
The other well-known constituent of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) is where most of its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects lie. Also, it has been found out that the isomer of delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC, also has anxiolytic effects. CBD and delta-8 are now being touted as beneficial to more users, not requiring as much experience in order to consume. As long as beginners take the recommended dosages, it should be fine.
Why is Anxiety Bad?
Anxiety symptoms include rapid heart rate and breathing, overwhelming sense of dread, excessive perspiration, insomnia, digestive distress, and other unpleasant effects. The problem with anxiety is that once you know you're having anxiety, that then produces more anxiety, which can then snowball and may even result in panic and even psychosis.
People with anxiety disorders deal with this on a regular basis, but even people who don't have them can experience anxiety during stressful situations. Chronic anxiety can prevent a person from being able to function properly in their everyday activities, thus impacting both their health and quality of life.
Anxiety can be either acute or chronic. Acute anxiety may be experienced during adrenal situations like taking a big test or going skydiving for the first time. Meanwhile, chronic anxiety can be debilitating, leading to symptoms of depression, suicide ideation, substance abuse, and other mental health problems.
It can also affect the immune system. Due to the body experiencing great amounts of stress, it can lead to the person becoming sick more often due to becoming more susceptible to colds, flu, and other infections. That's especially alarming now with the specter of COVID-19 caused by coronavirus now a reality throughout the whole world. Therefore, anxiety relief is not just a way to feel better, but also to stay healthy.
Are CBD and delta-8 Good for Anti-Anxiety?
First of all, it must be noted that the exact mechanisms of many psychiatric drugs are still not completely understood by science. That's why whenever a patient is prescribed conventional psychiatric drugs, there's a "wait and see" approach to determine whether that individual will experience side effects from those drugs.
Much of the same is also reported with CBD and delta-8. Despite that, there's a ton of anecdotal evidence and a growing body of formal scientific evidence on how these two substances can help with reducing anxiety, especially for people with anxiety disorders. As time goes by, more and more knowledge is being unearthed regarding this subject.
What we do know about cannabis is that its cannabinoids interact with the human body's so-called endocannabinoid system, which is composed of nerve receptors that those cannabinoids interact with, thus producing the well-known effects of cannabis consumption. CBD and delta-8 THC interact with these receptors differently from the regular delta-9 THC most people associate cannabis with.
According to a study published in the Current Neuropharmacology journal in 2013, cannabinoids have similar effects as clinical antidepressants in regulating anxiety and depressive symptoms. While their effects are yet to be completely understood, the changes they can create in the endocannabinoid system could be similar to that of some actions of antidepressants.
The National Cancer Institute has also found anxiolytic effects from delta-8 THC, which is definitely something they would be interested in as both chemotherapy and anxiety are known to compromise the body's immune system. While there is still much research to be done in order to confirm the anxiety-reducing effects of delta-8 THC.
A study published by Life Sciences in 1995 had delta-8 administered to children undergoing chemotherapy, and they found that they didn't show signs of psychoactive effects that's usually expected from cannabis. While some of them did exhibit slight irritability, delta-8 did not result in any anxiety, uneasiness, or other adverse side effects.
A chemically-similar compound as its bigger brother delta-9 THC, the difference in chemical arrangement of delta-8 is enough to make it interact slightly differently with the endocannabinoid system, thus producing anxiolytic effects instead of anxiogenic effects that gives it a more calm and focused high, unlike with regular cannabis.
This is due to delta-8 THC having binding affinity to the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which is three-fold lower compared to delta-9 THC. CBD also displays similar effects, and it doesn't hurt that CBD itself is void of any psychoactive effects, as well as being an effective anti-inflammatory.
While even more research must be done in order to pinpoint exactly how cannabis can help with anxiety disorders, we already have a lot to work with thanks to CBD and delta-8. As more research is being cranked out by the scientific and medical community, more and more states are now considering full legalization of cannabis.
This has opened the floodgates for CBD and delta-8 products in the market like tinctures and gummies that are becoming more accessible to more people, including those who have anxiety disorders. Many users are reporting positive results, leading to a whole new cannabis revolution.