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CBD and Anxiety – Can It Work for Me?

It’s 3:32 AM, and you are wide awake, staring at the ceiling, your mile-long list of worries running rampant through your brain. Sleep is such a distant possibility that you give up for now, get out of bed, check on the kids, and make yourself a cup of tea.

Anxiety has struck again. It’s nothing in particular this time that is worrying you, just the overwhelming mental load that all mothers carry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is this mental load that is causing an exponential increase in anxiety diagnoses in women. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety at some point in their lives, and it seems to be the most prevalent among mothers of young children.

This is a very busy, chaotic, emotional, and overwhelming time in a mother’s life. We are responsible for raising these wonderful little people who occupy such a huge space in our hearts. We care for them, teach them, worry about them, cuddle them, console them, plan for them, and meet their needs to the absolute best of our ability. Sometimes, however, it can get a little too overwhelming, and women struggle to find the balance between meeting the needs of their family and meeting their own mental health needs. This is when burnout happens and anxiety sneaks in.

Many people, mothers included, do not want to be taking prescription medications to treat their anxiety, because those medications can come with their own range of side effects, and they don’t always work for everyone. While they can be helpful in combatting symptoms related to anxiety, anxiety medications can also cause headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, confusion, weight loss or gain, sexual problems, upset stomach, memory loss, and dizziness, to name a few. Many of these side effects are not conducive to a mother’s lifestyle, where she is responsible for looking after young children, and she is already exhausted and burnt out to begin with.

So, what is one to do?

Along with the awareness of mental health illnesses within our society, is also the movement toward healthier living – eating healthier and less processed foods, increasing our time outdoors and physical activity, and moving away from traditional forms of medicine toward a more natural, holistic approach.

One such approach that has come into the spotlight recently is the use of Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil. While used for centuries to treat a wide variety of medical illnesses, it has only been recently that CBD oil is gaining the respect that it deserves in the medical industry.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is one of the two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While its fellow cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is known to cause the “high” associated with marijuana use, CBD does not cause any of the euphoric, hallucinatory effects that THC can cause. CBD also has many therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti- anxiety, and even seizure suppressant abilities.

There are many different strains from the cannabis plant, some that are high in CBD, some that are a balance between both CBD and THC, and some that are higher in THC. Strains that have more CBD than THC help to increase focus, elevate energy levels, and decrease anxiety. It is this type of strain that would be beneficial for someone to use throughout the day, in order to combat anxiety without losing cognitive abilities. A strain that is higher in THC might be an option to take at nighttime, to help decrease insomnia and improve overall sleep quality.

How does CBD help with anxiety?

While there is still more research to be done, several clinical trials over the past few years have concluded that the use of CBD oil can significantly decrease the behavioural signs of anxiety as well as the physical signs, such as elevated heart rate. Research indicates that the link is between the serotonin levels in the body and how CBD can help to alter those levels.

Serotonin is one of your body’s chemicals, and low serotonin levels can cause depression or anxiety in some people. It is serotonin that many of the anti-depressant and anti-anxiety prescription medications target, in an effort to raise the levels within the body. CBD does this same thing naturally, providing relief from anxiety symptoms and even anxiety-induced insomnia.

Serotonin is one of your body’s chemicals, and low serotonin levels can cause depression or anxiety in some people. It is serotonin that many of the anti-depressant and anti-anxiety prescription medications target, in an effort to raise the levels within the body. CBD does this same thing naturally, providing relief from anxiety symptoms and even anxiety-induced insomnia.

CBD is showing to be a promising solution to many forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Can it work for me?

As women continue to talk about and explore ways to combat their feelings of exhaustion, overwhelm, and anxiety, in an effort to navigate the busyness of motherhood a little easier, CBD oil is proving to be a positive, natural solution. Being able to stay away from pharmaceutical drugs, and use something that is more natural and gentler on our bodies is a very motivating factor.

CBD oil helps to reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety, while allowing people to continue in their daily lives without risk of side effects or addiction. CBD oil has virtually no side

effects when taken at the correct dosage, and it can be taken in a wide variety of forms, from sublingual drops to edibles containing the oil. To ensure that you’re targeting your anxiety symptoms with the proper dosage, it is important to seek consultation with your physician prior to starting a daily regime of it.

A recent report concluded that, “[e]vidence from human studies strongly supports the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders.” (Blessing). Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could step away from traditional pharmaceutical medicine, and embrace a more natural, beneficial solution to the anxiety that many of us battle every day? To have something to turn to besides meds or alcohol? Something to calm the chaos in our minds, allowing us to feel a little less panicked throughout our days and to sleep better at night? CBD oil definitely seems like a positive solution.

Now, it’s almost 4:00 AM. We’ve had a nice chat, and we have a solution to this anxiety issue that has been plaguing us. Check on the kids one last time, then snuggle down to bed at last. It is time to tell that mental load to take a hike.

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