Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids


Maroon, Bost

How to use hemp oil for anxiety

One of the many uses hemp oil is known for is anxiety. And since anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States, there is a big potential for using hemp oil to treat symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, there is growing evidence for using hemp oil as an anxiolytic. What makes hemp extract an even more attractive compound to use is its very low toxicity concerns in the human body.

In general, hemp extract has been shown to have not only anxiolytic effects but also antidepressant, neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects. Many use hemp extract today for its anxiety-reducing effects, sleep, improving depressive symptoms, and pain.

Once again, it’s important to note that hemp extract does not give you the “high” or the psychoactive effects that THC does (remember that THC is mainly derived from marijuana whereas hemp extract can be derived from both marijuana and hemp; hemp-derived hemp extract is legal in the United States). Hemp extract contains more of the “healing” effects while also being safe to consume, whether orally with the oil formulation or topically.

Growing evidence for using hemp oil to relieve anxiety

Studies have shown that hemp extract may decrease the intensity and impact of symptoms commonly associated with chronic anxiety and PTSD in stressful environments.1 One specific study showed that hemp extract given over a long period of time resulted in anxiolytic effects.2 Even at a neuronal level, hemp extract has been seen to disrupt emotional processes and connectivity relating to anxiety-reducing effects.3

Many PTSD studies have been conducted with hemp extract showing that symptoms and negative effects associated with PTSD can be regulated. Hemp extract was able to lower the severity of fear and and block the formation of these fearful memories.

At an even broader level, hemp extract has a positive impact on symptoms associated with chronic stress. Many studies showed hemp extract improving behavioral and physiological measures of anxiety and depression. Using hemp extract may therefore be an effective way of alleviating anxiety symptoms if taken consistently.

How does hemp extract work to alleviate anxiety symptoms?

So, how does hemp extract actually work in the human body to help lower anxiety-induced effects and symptoms? The human body has its own endocannabinoid system through which hemp extract and other cannabinoid compounds execute its physiological effects. Our bodies have receptors in our cells that recognize and bind molecules, compounds, and drugs. Specifically, CB1 and CB2 are the primary receptors that bind cannabinoids such as hemp extract and THC. Anxiolytic effects are mainly seen with cannabinoids binding to the CB1 receptor. When hemp extract enters the body, it will latch on to the CB1 receptor and produce symptoms of relaxation and ease anxiety. It has been shown that with a modest consumption of hemp extract, users have seen these anxiolytic effects.

Another receptor hemp extract has been seen to act on is the 5-HT1A receptor. These receptors are present in the brain and are involved in the regulation of stress response. There is some evidence showing that hemp extract may act on 5-HT1A receptors in addition to CB1 receptors in order to potentiate anxiety relief.

How to take hemp extract for anxiety relief

Keep in mind that all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements display results that may vary among individuals. Genetics and environmental stressors all play a role in how a drug will act in a user’s body. This means that when using a hemp extract product, you may need to start off with a low dose and gradually adjust the amount you take depending on the effects you are feeling. For anxiety symptoms, it is suggested to start at about 10 milligrams per dose. With time and some adjustments, you may find a dose that fits your body’s needs. Although hemp extract is generally a safe product to use on your own, it is always advisable to discuss hemp extract use with your doctor if you are on other prescription medications.

1 Campos AC, Moreira FA, Gomes FV, Del Bel EA, Guimarães FS. Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2012;367:3364-78.

2 Campos AC1, Ortega Z, Palazuelos J. The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013 Jul;16(6):1407-19. doi: 10.1017/S1461145712001502. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

3 Fusar-Poli P, Allen P, Bhattacharyya S, Crippa JA, Mechelli A, Borgwardt S, et al. Modulation of effective connectivity during emotional processing by Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009a;13:421–432.

4 Simone Tambaro and Marco Bortolato. Cannabinoid-related agents in the treatment of anxiety disorders: current knowledge and future perspectives. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov. 2012 Apr 1; 7(1): 25–40.

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