Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders and is characterized by a fear of social situations and social interactions. For people with this disorder, it causes distress and an impaired ability to function normally in daily life. SAD also has plenty of physical symptoms, like racing heart, nausea, and excessive sweating to name a few. The good news for all of the anxiety sufferers out there is that cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil has been proven to help generalized social anxiety disorder specifically and anxiety disorders in general.
Cannabidiol Hemp Oil and Social Anxiety Disorder
Before we start talking about how cannabidiol hemp oil helps SAD, let’s talk about what SAD is and how doctors are currently treating this common disorder.
Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder is the third largest mental health care problem, and millions of people suffer from this condition. Social anxiety can be generalized, in that the anxiety is sourceless, or specific, which means the person has specific social phobias. Ultimately, this anxiety disorder centers around the fear of being judged negatively by other people. This intense fear leads to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, humiliation, and ultimately depression.
However, not everyone who has anxiety about social interactions has Social Anxiety Disorder. If someone is irrationally anxious in social situations, but better alone, then SAD may be the culprit.
People with social anxiety disorder are aware that their anxiety is irrational. While they understand it, that doesn’t mean it has any effect on the feeling of anxiety. The symptoms that go with SAD can include racing heart, blushing, and sweating, to name a few. People suffering from SAD can experience intense emotional distress in situations like:
- Being teased or criticized
- Being the center of attention
- Meeting authority figures
- Social encounters with strangers
Current Medical Treatments for SAD
Treating social anxiety disorder is more than “facing your fears so they’ll go away.” In fact, people suffering from SAD face their fears everyday, and surprise — they still have social anxiety disorder. The best treatment for truly overcoming SAD is cognitive-behavior therapy, but sometimes the disorder is so severe that drugs are prescribed.
The most common drugs prescribed for SAD and other anxiety disorders are called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Usually these pills are prescribed at the same time as talk therapy. Many people are prescribed paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft), but these chemical drugs aren’t without side effects. Common side effects for these two SSRIs include:
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Nausea, stomach pains, upset stomach
- Headaches, memory problems, fainting
Cannabidiol for Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder
I’m not going to say that cannabidiol fixes everything. I am just going to say that cannabidiol seems to have the same positive effects as many of the other drugs on the market without nasty side effects. Now it’s not just a bunch of hippies saying that cannabis helps you feel better; we have scientific proof that it performs on par with what a regular human body would do. How do we know? Neuroscientists tested it.
In one clinical trial, scientists tested CBD against healthy patients and patients receiving placebo pills. The procedure for this trial was a double-blind study. This means that neither the patients nor the observers knew exactly which patients got which drugs, even though, yes, someone records who is given what. The reason scientists perform double-blind studies is to prevent the “placebo effect.” As in, the patients can’t convince themselves that they’ve taken the test drug and end up having potentially similar results just by mentally thinking they’re better. I know it sounds weird, but it happens.
In this particular study, they selected 24 people who have Social Anxiety Disorder but have never been treated and then 12 people who do not have SAD. An hour and a half before being put through a stress test, half of the SAD patients were given CBD, and the others were given a placebo. The Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and the Self-Statement Scale (SSPS-N) were measured six different times during the stress test so that the scientists could see how patients were reacting. These scales tell scientists a person’s level of anxiety through how they feel (self-reporting), but scientists also tested their physiological measurements (blood pressure and heart rate) to see their physical expressions of their anxiety.
The results of this CBD hemp oil study
Those given the CBD pill before the test reported significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort. The placebo group reported higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, and general discomfort than the control group (the healthy patients). The CBD group and the healthy control group tested similarly with no obvious differences. Then the placebo group was administered CBD hemp oil. At this, their anxiety symptoms subsided, and they had a similar result as the healthy control group.
What does this mean for SAD patients?
I know these medical discussions can be a little overwhelming, but the scientists behind this CBD double-blind study are essentially saying that with the help of CBD, a person with generalized social anxiety disorder can have similar reactions to a person who doesn’t have social anxiety at all. The problem with a lot of pharmaceutical anxiety medications is that the chemical goes too far, and the patient may go from feeling anxious to being a zombie, which is also not a good outcome.
CBD hemp oil might be the answer for some patients with Social Anxiety Disorder, as this study proves. With as much as 600mg of CBD, the user will test like a person without any anxiety at all. Not only does CBD hemp oil have fewer side effects than the currently used SSRI drugs, but it also can be given before the user knows they will be facing a stressful social situation. There are plenty of other studies as well proving CBD’s anti-anxiety properties, so hemp oil might just be the newest all natural treatment for anxiety disorders.