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Cannabidiol (CBD) has received a lot of press in recent years as more states in the US legalize the use of medical marijuana. Touted as a remedy for arthritic pain, cancer related symptoms and even acne; one may think the CBD compound found in marijuana is a cure all for any ailment. While research is still in its infancy, CBD oil for the treatment of anxiety is showing promising results.

Traditional treatments for anxiety

Traditional medications for the treatment of anxiety typically lean towards benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium or antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac.

Benzodiazepines are a kind of sedative, slowing down various body functions and resulting in feelings of calm and even sleepiness. They come with a range of side effects, some severe and others less so. All benzodiazepines can be addictive and withdrawal symptoms can be expected when people stop using them.

The SSRI group of antidepressants also come with side effects, however many of these can subside over time. Generally speaking, this group of antidepressants is better tolerated, however adverse effects of this medication can include suicidal thoughts, reduced sexual desire and in older people, hyponatraemia – a severe fall in sodium levels.

Traditional natural remedies for anxiety include exercise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), aromatherapy and meditation. While natural therapies can be safer than traditional medications, not all therapies work for all people, making it important to try several therapies, or combinations of therapies to ensure the right fit.

The benefits of CBD vs. Traditional Medications

A range of small studies are starting to show multiple benefits for the use of CBD in the treatment of anxiety. It’s not just one form of anxiety that CBD can treat either. Analysis of previous studies into the benefits of CBD for a range of anxiety disorders in 2015, found it to be a promising treatment for social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorders.

The adverse impact of anxiety on sleep is well documented. CBD as a treatment for anxiety has the additional benefit of supporting better sleep – making it easier for users to fall asleep as well as reducing disturbances throughout the night so the quality of sleep is also enhanced.

CBD oil is not addictive, nor does it create a ‘high’ in the user. In fact, CBD has been shown to modify circuits in the brain related to addiction, reduce morphine dependence and heroin seeking behavior. Furthermore, research specifically focused on CBD has found no negative side effects for users of the substance, unlike traditional medications.

It is becoming clear that people who suffer from anxiety and haven’t found relief through other treatment methods, or who experienced any of the range of side effects associated with anti-anxiety medications, may find relief from their condition through ingesting CBD oil. Given the promising results of the small number of studies and research efforts into CBD as opposed to more general studies into cannabis, further research into the potential uses and benefits of this compound is warranted.