We’ll be the first to admit that my anxiety has skyrocketed since the announcement of the global pandemic. Everyday activities like grocery shopping have become an anxious activity as we grow increasingly worried about our health every time we step outside.
Some have been hit by financial difficulties due to losing their jobs. Those who live alone have had to deal with increased loneliness. All in all, we’ve been hit by waves of emotions that have left us feeling overwhelmed, scared and uncertain of what’s to come.
If you’ve been feeling anxious during this time, you’ve probably been looking at ways to manage your mental health. While it is always best to talk to a medical professional regarding treatment, many South Africans are not in a position to afford therapy and medications. That’s why it’s important to explore healthy alternatives for helping you improve your mental health. One of the alternatives that have been on the rise in recent years is CBD. But can the rising star of the wellness world actually be any help?
Remind me, what is CBD again?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural chemical compound extracted from the Cannabis plant and can produce numerous positive effects for health and wellness. It is non-intoxicating and will not result in the “high” that is commonly associated with the cannabis compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It has shown promise in assisting with pain relief, aiding in sleep and easing anxiety, and studies have proven its efficacy as an anti-convulsant treatment for epilepsy in both people and pets.
But can it work for anxiety?
The latest research has shown that, like certain anti-anxiety drugs, CBD is understood to activate a type of serotonin – one of the happy hormones – receptor in the brain, which is why one of its best-known benefits is as a mood enhancer and alleviator of anxiety.
The studies have shown that cannabis does this by cutting down the connections between parts of the brain known to activate anxiety, and by altering the blood flow patterns in the parts that are associated with stress. These results indicated that not only did CBD provide relief from anxiety, but it can also positively affect the limbic and paralimbic — responsible for fundamental cognitive and emotional functions — areas of the brain.
Researchers have even claimed CBD has potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The bottom line
While there is a lot that still needs to be studied about CBD, the current results look very promising for those seeking alternatives to medication. Speaking as someone who has been on both anxiety medication and has also tried CBD products, I have found CBD to a great alternative to helping manage anxiety-related symptoms. Mental health treatments are not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. You have to find what works best for you and sometimes that means trying out numerous methods. CBD oil is a great way to experiment with this alternative treatment, simply put a few drops in your smoothie or on your tongue to help you feel relaxed in no time.
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