Neuropsychiatric Illness

Anxiety & Social Anxiety Disorder

A small 2010 study found that cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of social anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Brain scans of participants revealed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety.

In this study, cannabidiol not only made participants feel better but also changed the way their brains responded to anxiety. With a daily oral dose of 400mg of CBD oil, the study found that CBD had a significant effect on subjective anxiety. The study concludes and suggests that CBD does have a positive effect to those suffering from SAD and a reduction in anxiety.

Another study tested subjects who were given a task of a “Simulated Public Speaking” test to demonstrate if CBD helps with Public Speaking anxiety. The study gave the subjects 300mg of CBD, which was tested against four other “drugs” in a double-blind test.

After the testing was complete, researchers analyzed the subjects and found that CBD “decreased anxiety after the Simulated Public Speaking test.” The test concludes suggesting that CBD has anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties in human volunteers submitted to a stressful situation.

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Depression & Increased Mood

CBD has shown promise in several clinical studies as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, primarily through the compound’s ability to relieve depression-like symptoms.

The findings of research from 2014 may help explain why CBD can be useful in treating depression. Research indicates that, in most studies, CBD appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Serotonin impacts a range of functions in the body, including one's emotional state and feelings of well-being or happiness. Keeping serotonin levels balanced is often a key therapy for people who struggle with depression. Additional results from a variety of studies indicate that CBD appears to act as an antidepressant and antianxiety compound in animal models of depression.

A study (Epub 2015) was conducted using rodents on the specific effects of CBD on depression found results that “CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects as evidenced by the reversal of the OBX-induced hyperactivity and anhedonia (decreased ability to feel pleasure.)”

CBD has been found to help improve depressive symptoms by modulating the actions of the endocannabinoids while potentiating the effects of serotonin by enhancing the activity of the receptors unto which serotonin binds.

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Stress

Not unlike depression CBD has provided plenty of evidence suggesting the compound’s benefits in assisting with stress as well.

CBD’s effectiveness for stress works in the same fashion as it does for anxiety, depression, mood and other neuro-related afflictions by indirectly attaching to the Cannabinoid receptors in the brain, specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Through these receptors, CBD was found to decrease traumatic and chronic stress in both human and animal studies.

Through clinical research on stress and anxiety, discoveries were made showing beneficial effects of CBD in post-event for anxiety. As a result, research suggests that CBD can help in coping with stress-inducing situations. However, more research still needs to be conducted before any definitive conclusion can be made for stress specifically.

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Symptoms of PTSD

CBD has demonstrated capabilities in assisting in the treatment of people suffering from PTSD by improving the endocannabinoid system’s mediation of essential functions including memory consolidation and retrieval. By activating CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout this core system, cannabinoids could prompt the system to produce neurotransmitters that helps promote happiness, pleasure, and memory.

These cannabinoids play a critical role in assisting PTSD cases by preventing the retrieval of the underlying trauma, effectively preventing traumatic memories and nightmares, while also helping attain emotional wellbeing. This has made it a popular treatment for PTSD patients, of which many are combat veterans.

According to recent reports, up to 20% of veterans from recent military engagements in the Middle East have described symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The unfortunate results are veterans affected by PTSD and other service-related mental health issues received from duty have found difficulty adjusting back to civilian life, which often leads to homelessness, addiction to drugs, or even suicide. According to the Veteran’s Affairs (VA), whose organization conducted influential analysis about PTSD, reported that documented veteran deaths by suicide averaged that of twenty per day.

Evidence suggests that an increased number of deaths are directly related to the over-prescribing of opioids, as well as other medications to veterans upon injury. Observed by current healthcare trends, doctors prescribe opioids as their first choice for dealing with chronic pain. Opioids are known to cause side effects such as addiction, anxiety, mood swings and lethargy.

The VA reported in 2016, that they treated 66,000 veterans for opioid addiction. The reality is that Cannabidiol (CBD) relieves pain, reduces inflammation, is mood enhancing and treats a variety of other ailments both mental and physical.

Simply put, these reports suggest that CBD can be a healthy, non-addictive alternative to opioids for civilians, or military veterans with depressive symptoms of PTSD. Initial research on hemp-derived CBD have shown positive improvement for the symptoms of PTSD.

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Autism

CBD has shown remarkable progress in providing help to alleviate disorders often associated with autism such as epilepsy, anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress.

For example, CBD may cause better sleep and lower anxiety (which helps to reduce aggressive behaviors), fewer seizures (which can lessen stress and make it easier to interact socially), and lower anxiety to make it easier to learn and use social communication skills. A tremendous bonus is the fact that there were few side effects, and those that did appear (sleepiness and change in appetite) were mild.

It's also important to note that sleeplessness and aggression are particularly difficult symptoms for parents, who can quickly find themselves exhausted and overwhelmed. Aggression, in particular, is one of the most challenging behaviors common to autism—often, this is a reason a parent may place their child with autism in an institutional setting. Additional studies have provided similar results: CBD has proved to be helpful in many cases in lessening emotional and behavioral issues and can even help to improve social communication skills. These preliminary findings, along with the low incidence of significant side effects, are very encouraging. Studies are ongoing in clinics and research centers around the world.

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Fear Reactions & Effects

A study (Musty 2005) was conducted on rodents in an attempt to evaluate the effects of CBD on fear. The study discovered that 40mg of CBD helped rodents in fear.

In addition, Cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2, TRPV1, GP55 and others) and the biochemical machinery necessary to synthesize and generate cannabinoids are present within areas of the brain known to control emotional behavior, mood, sleep, stress, irritability, fear and even the sensation of “craving.” These structures include the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, and periaqueductal gray (PAG) of the midbrain. Several lines of evidence in mice and other animals have clearly demonstrated that activation of cannabinoid receptors within the brain lowers heart rate and blood pressure responses to stress and reduces panic and anxiety behavior. Put simply, hemp-derived CBD administration appears to attenuate the well-known “fight or flight” phenomenon to physical and mental stress.

Another study (Front Pharmacol. 2016) on fear treatment using CBD found four distinct ways that CBD helps fear.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) decreases fear expression acutely The physical ways in which people demonstrate or show fear. The study found no dosage dependency for effects.
  • Cannabidiol disrupts memory reconsolidation (re-remembered), leading to sustained fear attenuation (reduction) upon memory retrieval. This aid in fear also may help PTSD as well. When traumatic memories are remembered, they are stored as “important” by the brain. CBD could serve to disrupt this process, and eventually lead to less severe negative memories being processed.
  • enhances extinction, the psychological process by which exposure therapy inhibits learned fear. This relates to the process that helps suppress or fight fear, through exposure in which CBD could improve the therapeutic healing process.
  • Auditory fear expression is also reduced acutely by cannabidiol. Meaning CBD may possess the possibility to reduce fear caused by sounds and noises. Studies have found that the dosage of CBD for Auditory fear had to be significantly increased than contextual fear.

CBD has been tested and shown to possess benefits for contextual fears (context matters). Other evidence indicates how CBD can “modulate fundamental neurobiological processes” with Pavlovian fear conditioning, which is the subject’s learning of the different environments and stimuli that are related to threats, which serve to assist with survival during fearful events.

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Sleep Insomnia

Studies have shown that approximately 80% of the American public struggles with some form on insomnia at least once a week. Research conducted on the effects of CBD on insomnia has shown to help improve both the length and effectiveness of sleep, as well as benefits in the relief of insomnia symptoms (Russo et all 2007). Additionally, CBD has been found to reduce the intensity of anxiety, therefore making it easier for some people to fall and stay asleep. Here are 5 ways and tips to use CBD to help you get a better night’s sleep using CBD. Let's get right to it!

After CBD is ingested, regardless of the delivery mechanism, it ends up in the blood stream. Upon arrival in the bloodstream, CBD then travels throughout the body through blood circulation and makes its way to the brain where it attaches to your CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system has been found to help regulate the Central Nervous System (CNS) and therefore the receptors that control pain, sleep insomnia and other possible targets of CBD.

Additionally, one CBD sleep study (https://www.sleepassociation. org/sleep-treatments/cbd/) analyzed 72 patients at Kaiser-Permanente who used CBD for sleep and anxiety, found that in three months anxiety levels declined, leading to increased sleep. The study stated this could have been caused because people were less anxious and worried about their sleep problems.

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Withdrawl & Addiction (Opioids & Beyond)

According to research conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States die daily after overdosing on opioids. The abuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers prescribed by physicians, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a national epidemic that affects public health in ways never observed prior. Additionally, a report published in May of 2015 [Subst Abuse hyperlink https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444130/], discovered that patients treated with cannabidiol (CBD) reported lower cravings for heroin or other opioids than did patients who were either given a placebo or no treatment at all. As states and public health experts scramble to contain the drug epidemic, the findings of the effectiveness of CBD could provide some hope to those who struggle with addiction.

Although further studies are needed, these studies strongly suggest that CBD may hold significant promise as a critical weapon in fighting the opioid epidemic.

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