How to Cope with the Anxiety of the Coronavirus Crisis with CBD Products
COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 has led both to economic insecurity and medical problems. Growing numbers of infected people, cancellations, and closure of favourite events and quarantine measures convey uncertainty about the future.
What are the benefits of CBD?
The puzzling abbreviation CBD stands for a natural compound made of the Cannabis Sativa plant that has various beneficial properties.
Just as this plant that produces more than 100 different phytocannabinoids, the human body also produces its own cannabinoids named endocannabinoids. There is an endocannabinoid system (ECS) within each organism, comprised of receptors that can be stimulated by cannabinoids. The ECS is responsible for various physiological processes such as pain-sensation, appetite, sleep, mood, and memory. Besides multiple functions performed in each area of the body, the main objective of the ECS is homeostasis.
CBD causes an indirect effect on the endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol has no strong affinity for the receptors but may inhibit Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH). Such inhibition makes the body produce more endocannabinoids such as anandamide, which is important for the neural generation. CBD can also suppress the harmful effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound that may be present in the same plant.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD is entirely non-intoxicating and doesn’t cause a “high” effect. CBD or cannabidiol is used in numerous products: from well-known CBD oils to CBD-infused coffee and transdermal CBD patches.
CBD products are on the way to legalisation worldwide. In the US, CBD is legal to use under the 2018 Farm Bill, and in the UK, CBD products are entirely legitimate. However, in some countries, CBD is still prohibited.
The Coronavirus / COVID-19 Panic
The coronavirus has swept across the globe with unprecedented speed. Causing an economic shutdown never witnessed in our lifetimes. The longer we remain in the economic doldrums, the more devastating the impact on people’s livelihoods. This understandably can cause great stress and anxiety about the future.
Everyone remains uncertain about what the future holds and what their part in that future will be. Therefore, it is only natural to be apprehensive about your life’s fate.
A tremendous burden has been forced upon the world’s health services and the Doctors & Nurses across the world are fighting the outbreak admirably. Many of us have family members who work in hospitals or healthcare, meaning that a great deal of worry is carried by the loved ones of health care workers.
In the age of Fake News, it is difficult to figure out which media sources to trust, if any on the subject of the Coronavirus. With even the World Health Organisation’s integrity being questioned. The manner in which the media present updates on the virus can cause panic and anxiety to people who are concerned about their income and the health of their family.
Travel and tourism, sports, hotels, railways, and many other businesses were hurt by the efforts to slow down the spread of the virus. According to experts, the epidemic keeps challenging the economy and may become even more challenging to combat.
In March 2020, the UK government announced plans to help pay people’s wages during the coronavirus crisis. According to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, the government would pay 80% of the salaries of workers who were sent on unpaid leave due to the pandemic. The UK government has also issued guidance for employers and businesses, providing advice about the COVID-19.
What is anxiety?
It is important to know that anxiety is an entirely normal and often healthy emotion. Usually, anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. This emotion is characterised by feelings of tension, excessive worrying, recurring thoughts, and even physical changes such as high blood pressure.
Regular posts in social media with a hidden message “We will all die” may cause many unpleasant effects:
- Fear and worry about the health
- Nervousness and tension
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Sleep and eating problems
- Sense of impending danger or panic
- Loss of concentration and focus
- Worsening of chronic health conditions
- Boost in the use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
People who may react more strongly to coronavirus crisis:
- People who are at higher risk for COVID-19: older people and those who suffer from chronic diseases
- Children and teenagers
- Medical personnel and health care providers who help with the response to COVID-19
- People with mental health conditions including problems with drugs use
How can CBD help you to deal with panic and anxiety?
To bring you a better understanding of how CBD products may alleviate anxiety, let’s learn how our body copes with it. Along with sweating and accelerated heartbeat, chronic stress and negative emotions may affect your brain. In essence, it adjusts to your emotions and, if needed, makes the body release cortisol, the hormone associated with stress and fear. If discomfort becomes prolonged and excessive, the body keeps releasing more cortisol. This unregulated hormone boost can make your brain make some changes to handle the overload. These changes affect both the structure and chemistry of the brain: some regions become hyperactive, while others shrink, and the number of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and endocannabinoids, and their receptors also change.
The good thing is that CBD may be helpful with these changes. In 2014, researchers in Hungary had concluded that endocannabinoids might influence stress and emotion responses due to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In further studies, CBD has shown the potential to alleviate a variety of anxiety-related disorders, including:
- Panic disorder(PD) is an anxiety disorder that includes sudden panic attacks. Panic attacks feel like intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something terrible is going to happen. CBD can influence the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, a protein receptor engaged in various biological and neurological processes, including sleep, pain perception, anxiety, addiction, appetite, nausea. The 5-HT1a receptor can turn on other 5-HT receptors, causing effects that help to manage anxiety. A 2017 study has shown that activation of the 5-HT1A receptor with CBD may exhibit anti-panic properties. CBD can alleviate and prevent anxiety by mediating and modulating stress response.
- General anxiety disorder (GAD)is an anxiety disorder associated with excessive, uncontrollable nervousness, stress, and worry about events or activities. Studies have shown a good interaction between CBD and 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. CBD has exhibited anti-anxiolytic and antidepressant properties in animal models, which may help alleviate GAD and other mental conditions.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)is among the most common mental disorders, characterised by excessive anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected during social interaction. CBD may alleviate SAD just like any other form of anxiety — by activating the serotonin receptor and adjusting the brain’s stress response. A 2011 study showed that pre-treatment with CBD significantly alleviated anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance. A 2019 double-blind study showed that the anti-anxiety properties of CBD might reduce symptoms and provide relief in the case of SAD.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)is a mental health condition caused by experiencing or witnessing a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms of PTSD can range from mood swings, and nightmares to anxiety, panic attacks and eating disorders. Recent studies have shown the ability of CBD to facilitate the extinction of aversive memories in humans, alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, and adjust brain responses to stressful situations that trigger PTSD.
CBD consumption may relieve many anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder if administered acutely.
A 2019 retrospective case study has shown that up to 80% of outpatients who were given 25 mg of CBD daily in addition to treatment for three months, felt an improvement in anxiety. However, some patients reported that anxiety symptoms of their condition worsened after taking CBD. Different results prove CBD as a bidirectional medicine, meaning it can cause opposing responses at different doses.
By engaging with the endocannabinoid system, CBD may also regulate anxiety with the following mechanisms:
Anxiety can also be triggered by discomfort from other health conditions, such as pain and inflammation. CBD can act against inflammatory disorders and has a potential for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress. That is helpful in the alleviation of various types of pain, including neuropathic pain, muscular pain, and inflammatory pain. CBD products are promising treatments for painful conditions that do not respond to standard therapies, such as neuropathic, inflammatory, and oncologic pain.
It is important to consider that most CBD studies are either done on animals or a small group of respondents with a specific medical condition; therefore, further studies are needed to prove the long-term effects of cannabidiol.
In these strange times, never forget to spread the love.