A common fear with anxiety is that it’s not anxiety but some other illness. I know that sounds crazy, but the worry is that the anxiety sufferer is suffering from a dangerous or even potentially fatal illness or heart condition. This is because of how anxiety is created in the brain, and scientists have been studying how mental anxiety can lead to physical problems like high blood pressure and racing heart rate. It’s a vicious cycle where fear is a symptom of anxiety, which leads to scary physical symptoms, which further scares the anxiety sufferer… See? Let’s see what scientists have found out about how anxiety works in the brain and how CBD can break that anxiety cycle.
CBD and Neurological Symptoms of Anxiety
We know that Cannabidiol Hemp Oil has anxiolytic (or anti-anxiety) properties, but scientists are still working on the concrete evidence of what CBD does in our body and our brains. Before we look at what CBD does in the brain, let’s look at what all anxiety does to the brain.
Neurological Part of Anxiety
While anxiety isn’t technically classified as a neurological disease nor does it cause lasting neurological damage, it can still can change the neurotransmitter levels in your brain and cause them to send strange signals to the rest of your body. This results in the physical symptoms of a panic attack, like increased heart rate and breathing. Neurological anxiety symptoms can also present just like other neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and lyme disease. Doctors run numerous tests to rule out these diseases, but anxiety makes it difficult for patients to believe the doctor when they say that everything checks out as normal. It’s important to know the symptoms of anxiety so that patients can know that they are just having a panic attack and not a heart attack, for example.
Some of the neurological symptoms of anxiety are:
- Lightheadedness/dizziness. Because some anxiety sufferers have the potential to hyperventilate when faced with a stressful situation, it can cause a loss of oxygenated blood to the system and result in the feeling of lightheadedness to the point of difficulty standing. Vertigo can also be accompanied by nausea or other stomach upset, even well after the stressful event.
- Nerve Pain. Anxiety can also cause psychogenic pain. What’s that? Psychogenic pain is when your brain automatically activates pain sensors because of anxiety or stress. Even though you’re not actually being caused pain, the pain you feel is real because your nerves are firing. The good news is that the pain can go away with anti-anxiety medication or calming activities.
- Tingling hands and feet. The rush of adrenaline and hyperventilation that accompanies an anxiety episode can cause tingling hands and feet. Some people report tingling, while others report numbness, coldness, or a burning sensation. This is because adrenaline dilates blood vessels, sending more blood to the muscles, and hyperventilation constricts the vessels and impedes blood flow. Either one of these can cause tingling in the extremities.
CBD Hemp Oil and Neural Anxiolytic Effects
One of the latest cannabidiol hemp oil studies investigated the effects of CBD hemp oil on the underlying brain mechanisms of human pathological anxiety. What this means in English is that these neuroscientists wanted to actually see how CBD works in the human brain to calm anxiety, and they used neuroimaging to do this.
How Did the Study Work?
The neuroimaging test measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) twice during the testing time. This test was divided into two double-blind sessions, where patients were given either a 400mg dose of CBD or a placebo. A double-blind study is when neither the observers nor the patients know which one they’re getting. We perform double-blind studies to lessen the margin of error when it comes to these tests. If the patients knew what they were given, there is the potential for the placebo effect — or having similar results as if they had received the proper drug when they’d only received a placebo. It’s blind for the observers, too, because if they knew what patients were given, they could potentially record the results through rose-colored glasses. In the first session, some subjects were given the oral dose of CBD or a placebo. In the second session, they received the other drug. As in, those with a placebo the first time received the CBD the second time and those with the CBD oral dose were given the placebo the second time.
The results found that CBD reduced the anxiety in patients with Social Anxiety Disorder. The results found a connection to this decrease in anxiety symptoms to do with the activity in two distinct parts of the brain: the limbic and paralimbic brain areas.
- The limbic system is the part of the brain that focuses on emotions, memories, and stimulation (or arousal). The hypothalamus is in the limbic system and the hypothalamus is a busy part of the brain. It tries to keep the body level and regulates the autonomic nervous system, meaning it regulates pulse, blood pressure, breathing, and arousal.
- The paralimbic cortex is a transitional portion of the brain and is involved in emotional processing, motivation, and self control. It works very closely with the limbic system.
If CBD has an effect on the limbic and paralimbic system, than it definitely has an effect on anxiety in the brain, calming the overactive nerve cells in these systems.
CBD Hemp Oil as a Treatment for Anxiety
These studies have proved definitively that CBD hemp oil can calm patients with anxiety disorders. By correcting the imbalance of chemicals in the brain that cause anxiety, they stop those signals from the brain to the body that cause the physical symptoms of an anxiety episode. CBD oil can also be a good everyday treatment to keep anxiety in check and the brain balanced.