Anxiety

Can cannabidiol (CBD) help?

Breaking down anxiety

Over 25% of people experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives, so you are not alone. Family history, personality traits and stressful life events or physical health problems can all play a role in a person developing anxiety, and it may be one thing or a combination of factors that cause an anxiety condition – everyone is different. 

Sometimes what you experience as anxiety is caused by an associated medical condition, such as a thyroid condition, heart condition, diabetes, medication reaction, or hormone imbalance, so it’s important your doctor investigates and rules these out before you commence treatment for anxiety. 

Anxiety is not just one condition. There are different types of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and others. Your doctor will have discussed your diagnosis and approach to management with you and may have prescribed you with anxiety medication. 

There are many things you can do to help manage anxiety, and a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist can support you with cognitive or behavioural therapies. You may also be trying mindfulness, relaxation techniques or meditation. Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising can really help. 

If you have tried these things and are not improving, and you have worked with your doctor to address any barriers to your progress, you may find benefit in cannabidiol (CBD) treatment.

Cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of anxiety

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It can help people with anxiety experience reduced symptoms with few or no side effects. 

CBD can be used as an oil to activate certain receptors in the brain, which makes it helpful in reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. These nervous system receptors are responsible for mood, as well as pain, appetite, memory and other functions.  Cannabidiol will not lead to any alterations in mental state or ‘high’, as it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

THC and CBD (tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) are the two main constituents of cannabis, although there are many others.

Medicinal cannabis is not all the same. It is important to understand the way CBD works in the body to effectively treat anxiety with medicinal cannabis. Some formulations contain high doses of THC to treat different conditions, and this can cause or worsen the symptoms of anxiety, and even increase the risk of severe mental health disorders such as schizophrenia or suicidal thoughts.  For this reason it is very important to avoid self-medicating with recreational cannabis.

Can CBD help me?

Yes – early studies have shown reduced symptoms in people with social anxiety disorder, with other promising results in patients with panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

It should only be accessed and prescribed through a qualified medical professional. Doctors can prescribe CBD under the Special Access Scheme.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for (a) professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment; (b) professional legal advice or guidance on legal or regulatory issues; or (c) information from manufacturers or suppliers in relation to products or product information. Always seek the advice of your physician, qualified health provider, qualified lawyer, or authorised manufacturer or supplier in respect of such matters. This information is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the information undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of the content.

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