Cannabis For Social Anxiety Disorder
Hate being around people? Cannabis is the solution
Anxiety manifests itself in many terrifying forms, one of which is social anxiety disorder (SAD). Anyone who suffers from social anxiety disorder can attest to the real panic and sense of threat when they have to be around people. While being around people seems like such a normal thing – no man is an island, after all – for people with social anxiety disorder, this is a serious obstacle.
Have you ever felt paranoid in a social situation? Like the feeling that people are judging you, talking about you, or have negative feelings towards you? For people with social anxiety disorder, this happens frequently. Sometimes it can affect your quality of life so much that it reaches a point that you no longer want to be around people, at all.
Social anxiety disorder is so common that it’s the third most common mental disorder. Government data shows that 7% of the population are affected by social anxiety disorder, and the lifetime prevalence rate is at 13%. People with this illness are often misunderstood and thought to be shy, introverted, aloof, or withdrawn whenever they’re in a social situation. Symptoms of social anxiety include extreme fear and distress when being introduced to other people, when they’re at the center of attention, fear of being observed or watched, or having to speak in public. These are the most common symptoms although, but there are others related to social anxiety as well.
Sometimes people with social anxiety disorder go through bodily changes as a response to their emotional state of mind. Racing heart, excessive sweating, blushing, trembling, muscle switches, high stress and fear levels, and a dry mouth are some of these changes. To treat social anxiety, many patients spend thousands of dollars in therapy and go through cognitive behavioral treatment. However, more people are finding that cannabis is also a solution to help them overcome social anxiety.
How Can Cannabis Help?
The CBD content of cannabis is an anxiolytic, which means that it can treat anxiety. It works by modulating the defensive behaviors that are activated when people with anxiety are triggered. A study shows that when CBD was injected into the periaqueductal gray matter (PAD) region of the brain in animal models, CBD was able to reduce aversion to panic-inducing situations.
In a human study, Brazilian researchers were able to discover that CBD was also effective in treating patients with social anxiety disorder. The study, which was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacy, involved the testing of oral CBD doses among participants using a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment while monitoring the anxiolytic activity. The researchers’ conclusion stated, “CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”
Another study conducted by the same Brazilian researchers analyzed the impact of CBD in 24 patients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. They were administered with 600mg of CBD before being asked to go through a simulated public speaking test, which is meant to trigger anxiety in them. The results revealed that a single dose of CBD used 90 minutes prior to the public speaking simulation was effective in reducing anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort during their public speaking test.
The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in regulating moods, including anxiety. In fact, cannabinoid receptors are highly concentrated in areas of the brain that are are responsible for feelings of stress and anxiety, such as the hypothalamus and amygdala. Studies show that cannabis users admit that using the plant has helped reduce anxiety, further proof that cannabis use is indeed beneficial for treating anxiety – which affects millions of people around the world today.
Additional research also shows that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in getting rid of bad memories, which is why it’s effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Studies also prove that cannabis aids in the growth of new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis, which is believed to be helpful in treating anxiety.
However, paranoia and anxiety is often experienced by cannabis users, especially among newbies who probably haven’t found the strain right for them. It’s one of the most common “side effects” of cannabis use. But the impact of CBD on anxiety isn’t new. The first study to analyze CBD’s effects on anxiety dates back to 1982. The researchers discovered that CBD was effective in blocking the anxiety triggered by THC use in 8 healthy participants, which suggest that cannabis strains rich in CBD may be the ideal solution to solve anxiety and related disorders.
Has cannabis helped you overcome social anxiety disorder? Share your story with us in the comments below!
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