CBD For Anxiety: Better Than Xanax?
Medical cannabis significantly reduced Xanax use among 146 study participants diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
- After 2 months, 30.1% of patients stopped taking Xanax and other benzodiazepines prescribed to them for the treatment of their anxiety disorder.
- After 6 months, 45.2% had stopped taking prescribed benzodiazepines entirely.
Medical cannabis and full spectrum CBD oil interact with the endocannabinoid system to affect mood, mental health, and physical wellbeing.
- The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is located in the central nervous system. It is responsible for maintaining chemical balance (homeostasis) within the body.
- Cannabinoids, like CBD, act as signaling agents within the ECS. Cannabinoids help the ECS communicate regulatory commands to systems that restore the body’s chemical balance.
- Unlike Xanax, taking CBD for anxiety does not have a sedative effect. CBD is not addictive and does not have significant withdrawal symptoms.
- Though not covered in the scope of this medical study, CBD benefits for inflammation and blood pressure may be helpful to individuals with anxiety as well.
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Anxiety Study: CBD Results
- After 2-months, 30.1% of patients taking medical cannabis for anxiety discontinued using benzodiazepines.
- After 4 months, 44.5% of medical cannabis patients discontinued using benzodiazepines.
- After 6months, 45.2% of medical cannabis patients in the study had stopped using benzodiazepines for treating anxiety. (1)
Anxiety Study Summary
Benzodiazepines are a group of pharmaceutical drugs including Xanax that are prescribed for the treatment of anxiety symptoms. Benzodiazepines have a strong sedative effect and several significant adverse effects including addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, there is a pressing need for alternative ways to treat anxiety disorders.
- This medical cannabis study was a retrospective analysis of 146 patients.
- Patients were already taking benzodiazepines prior to starting medical cannabis.
- The average age of study participants was 47 years.
- 61% of participants were female.
- 54% of the study participants had used cannabis prior to the study. (2)
CBD THC Ratio For Anxiety
CBD is believed to reduce feelings of anxiety while THC may cause anxious feelings.
- CBD has the ability to “down modulate” THC absorption in the central nervous system and counteract THC’s tendency to cause anxiety in some people.
- It is hypothesized elsewhere that the increased feelings of anxiety caused by modern cannabis strains are the result of THC:CBD ratios changing from 1:1 parity to 5:1 THC dominant over the last 20 years.
- Selective breeding for THC dominant cannabinoid ratios is a legacy of prohibition economic incentives.
- Interestingly, the distribution of cannabinoids (CBD:THC ratio) within the cannabis used in this medical study did not have a correlation with a greater likelihood of quitting benzodiazepines.
- “The distribution of cannabinoid (CBD and THC) proportions was not significantly different among patients who continued and those who discontinued benzodiazepines.”
CBD For Anxiety: Other Medical Studies
- Multiple studies have shown that THC may cause anxiety in some consumers while CBD appears to have an anti-anxiety effect.
- CBD decreases the anxiogenic (anxiety causing effects) of THC when both CBD and THC are consumed together.\
- It is believed that higher THC to CBD ratios lead to anxiety-causing effects of cannabis in some consumers. (3)
The authors conclude that a large percentage of the participants stopped using benzodiazepines such as Xanax in conjunction within 6 months of starting medical cannabis use for anxiety symptoms. The authors urge further research into the benefits of cannabis for anxiety disorders.
- “Within a cohort of patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy, a large proportion successfully discontinued their pre-existing benzodiazepine therapy. This study therefore supports the continued research of medical cannabis and urges further exploration into its therapeutic value.”