A Snapshot of Mental Illness
Mental illnesses are some of the most misunderstood ailments in our country as well as throughout most of the world. Disorders of the mind, whether circumstantial or prolonged, are understudied, underestimated, and misunderstood in the context of helping the people that suffer from them. Psychology and psychiatry are still relatively new fields along the span of modern medicine’s existence, and the solutions that they pose are too novel to be considered effective cures or treatments. To accompany this, most medications for anxiety, or disorders that are co-morbid with anxiety, inadvertently produce major side effects. These side effects can sometimes be worse than the actual disorder being treated, which poses to anxiety sufferers a horrible question; do you avoid treating the anxiety, or do you deal with the slew of other dysfunctions caused by available medications? On top of this, physical and psychological dependence, more commonly referred to as addiction, can arise quickly based on the type of medication that is prescribed. All of these issues beg the question: What can be done about mental illness?
Reports indicate that approximately 58 million people experience clinically diagnosed bouts of anxiety, in the United States alone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even include people who are undiagnosed. This is a pretty staggering number when you compare it to our population size: 325.7 million (~17.8%); research continues to show that this trend is only increasing. This growing pattern of severity gives CBD an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on those who suffer from this ailment.
CBD & Anxiety
One of the most prominent and touted effects of CBD is its ability to aid those experiencing anxiety. This is the case whether it be stress-induced anxiety, or chronic disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The key behind this mechanism of action lies in how anxiety and even similar disorders, like depression, come to fruition. One receptor cell in the brain that is heavily associated with these ailments, and has been studied thoroughly by the medical community, is the 5-HT1A receptor. This cell is heavily involved in regulating serotonin in the brain. Dysfunction of this cell and serotonin are strongly linked to the experience of anxiety. Specifically, when there isn’t enough serotonin running through these neuronal pathways, people aren’t able to regulate basic brain functions, including the management of stress. When this effect becomes too pronounced, feelings of anxiety are developed. Also, if this chemical imbalance is prolonged due to genetics or external factors, anxiety disorders may arise.
In this sense, CBD operates along the same pathway as typical anxiety medications like selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors (SSRIs). Both have been studied and shown to reduce the amount of serotonin that is absorbed back into cells while in communication with one another. These neurotransmitters, like serotonin, are chemical messengers between cells in the brain and throughout the body. Their messages are what stimulate cells to act alone or in unison to produce an action, whether that be a simple thought or a muscle movement. When there is more serotonin allowed to circulate, experiences of anxiety are diminished; this is because serotonin deficits are correlated with this mental disorder heavily.
Where Does that Leave Us?
Due to current legal standards, there is no language appropriate to say that CBD is guaranteed to treat anxiety. With that being said, if you do your research you’ll find a clear answer pointing in a positive direction. To accompany this, there are massive amounts of testimonials online from satisfied customers who have experienced, first hand, the benefits of CBD. If you ever have questions, feel free to reach out to your CBD provider and ask. All well-minded CBD businesses should be able to explain how their products work. Happy trails!