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How Does CBD Work To Alleviate Anxiety?

There is evidence to suggest that CBD can help treat anxiety. Unfortunately, we don’t really know exactly how the cannabinoid does this. Like many other things related to CBD and cannabis, more research is required. However, we do have a few ideas. CBD could work on anxiety by:

Acting As An Agonist To 5-HT1A Receptors.

These are a subtype of serotonin receptor. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood. SSRI stands for “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor,” and SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft are frequently used to treat anxiety and depression by stopping the neurotransmitter serotonin from being reabsorbed. This keeps more serotonin floating around in your brain, which can reduce anxiety and increase happiness. CBD may work in a similar way by boosting the strength of the signals that serotonin receptors send. One study (on animal subjects) found that CBD might work on serotonin balance issues more quickly than SSRIs.

Promoting Neurogenesis In The Hippocampus.

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for cognition and the formation of memories. Brain scans of anxiety sufferers show that these individuals often have a smaller hippocampus, and successful treatment results in neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) in the hippocampus. One study (again, on animal subjects) indicated that regular use of CBD may help promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

Increasing The Availability Of Endocannabinoids.

CBD works as an antagonist to CB receptors found throughout the endocannabinoid system. This means that CBD can bind to the receptors, but doesn’t trigger them. As a result, endocannabinoids that would normally bind to those receptors are left to float around in the body and brain. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. It seems plausible that CBD’s ability to increase the availability of endocannabinoids might help by correcting a deficit of those compounds. This would explain why the previously mentioned 2017 study found that CBD had no effect on healthy individuals’ anxiety levels; of course, we won’t know for sure until this theory (and the others) has been thoroughly tested.

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