It had happened again. I was out with friends in a crowded bar, and while everyone else was chatting and enjoying themselves, I was sat alone in the corner, as far away from the madding crowd as possible. But it wasn’t enough. A wave of fear came over me, and I had to leave… immediately. I approached one friend, made my excuses and left. She knew what was going on and as usual, she, along with the rest of my friends, understood.
That was the story of my life. A complete inability to socialize due to a paralyzing fear was ruining my life, and it seemed as if there was nothing I could do. That is until CBD came along to rescue me and finally allow me to advance in terms of my career and interpersonal relationships.
What is Anxiety Anyway?
Good question because it is a misconstrued set of conditions. That’s right; anxiety comes in many forms including PTSD (it’s not just soldiers you know), OCD, and my demon, social anxiety disorder which is aptly known as SAD. I read that anxiety rates in America alone had doubled in the last 20 years. While some research suggests the number of adults with an anxiety disorder is 40 million, the true figure could be over 100 million which is damn near everybody!
SAD robbed me of so many great experiences. I was too afraid to go out most of the time while my friends partied and made more friends. I was a modern-day version of Emily Dickinson as I stared at the four walls and became a social recluse in my twenties. There were days when I wasn’t far from the stereotypical madwoman who went back and forth on a rocking chair knitting an invisible sweater.
Did You Try Any Forms of Treatment?
Of course! I had a go at Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which worked well enough for a time. However, I still had those dark days when I allowed my mind to become a prison. I was prescribed Klonopin, a popular benzodiazepine, and it did help. The problem was, it also sapped the little energy I had and made me look and act like a character in Night of the Living Dead.
While it made me feel a little better, I was now a prisoner of the potentially addictive benzo in what was an obvious case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire.’
CBD to the Rescue
I don’t use the word ‘rescue’ lightly here because that’s precisely what it is. Although CBD is gaining popularity because products made from it are legal in most states, a lot of people don’t know about it or are misinformed.
CBD is cannabidiol which is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis. This is very important because it means you get all the medical benefits with none of the ‘high’ (THC is the compound that gets you high by the way). To get around legal restrictions, companies get their CBD from industrial hemp, so it has hardly any THC.
Apparently, it can help a number of conditions ranging from chronic pain to arthritis, but its impact on anxiety is obviously what was relevant to me. Saddle up because there’s a small bit of science coming up!
How Does CBD Work to Help Anxiety?
The 5-HT receptor family receptors, or serotonin receptors, play a huge role in anxiety. They bind to CBD, and when it activates them, the result is a notable anti-depressant effect. Endocannabinoids (ECS) are cannabinoid receptors that impact memory, mood, drug addiction, energy balance and brain reward systems.
They are our body’s endocannabinoid system, and benefits include fighting anxiety, depression and promoting feelings of well being. CBD acts on the ECS system’s signals to enhance the function of the receptor, and the result is, you feel awesome!
CBD & Me
Rather than look at the host of studies that show CBD works great for anxiety, allow me to describe what it did for me. There are loads of different ways to consume CBD ranging from edibles like gummy bears to balms you rub on the skin. I opted for the most common option which is CBD oil.
I gazed at the tiny bottle for a second as I wondered if it was capable of changing the way I felt for the better. I placed a few drops under my tongue and held them there for up to 60 seconds as per the directions. The oil had a mint chocolate taste, but you could also get a hint of coconut oil.
I really didn’t know what to expect but within a few minutes (I chose a strong tincture), I felt unusual. Things felt a little bit foggy, but overall, I believed my mood had been elevated. Nonetheless, I was cautious and continued taking the oil for the rest of the week (I started on Monday).
Friday evening was drinks with the girls, an occasion I routinely miss and hardly ever enjoy when I do appear (I’m lucky my friends are a patient bunch!) This particular Friday, it was different. I was eager to go out and socialize, and when I was at the bar surrounded by people, I didn’t feel my usual urge to hide in the corner.
Indeed, I even chatted with a stranger or two (while still reasonably sober) which is something I never do. Okay, I wasn’t dancing on tables or being the life and soul of the party, but I was a normal human being enjoying a night out; something that was alien to me not so long ago.
I’m not going to lie and say that CBD is some miracle cure because no such thing exists. I still have bad days, but they are far less frequent since I began taking CBD. It is part of a treatment plan that includes therapy, yoga, and meditation and I no longer take other medication. It’s a long road ahead, but with CBD by my side, I feel that I have a chance of traversing it safely and happily.
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