Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is an active ingredient found in the cannabis plant that is said to have many therapeutic benefits. Among other uses, CBD oil is used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality and elevate general mood. CBD products are therefore now being used more and more to promote psychological well-being.
What is CBD and how does it work in our body?
Cannabidiol is an extract from the hemp or cannabis plant, which contains less than the 0.02% THC permitted in Europe. It is therefore legally available and not intoxicating. It can be taken in the form of oil or capsules, among other things.
CBD products are generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects. However, it is important to choose a quality product that is subject to the verification of high-quality standards.
CBD works in our body, in addition, through an interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It promotes the production of natural endocannabinoids, which help the system communicate better with the rest of our body. The so-called endocannabinoid receptors are located all over our body. This is also the reason CBD can be used for so many symptoms.
At the annual conference of the Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology, it became apparent that the data on the use of cannabis-based drugs in psychiatry still needs improvement, but is also delivering positive signals.
Prof. Dr. medical Kirsten Muller-Vahl from the Clinic for Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Hannover Medical School presented a review of 83 studies that concluded that the evidence that cannabinoids can achieve symptom improvement in the investigated indications is low.
Moreover, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as Tourette’s syndrome and depression were examined. The study authors concluded that there is a widespread lack of high-quality studies that are sufficiently powered to examine the direct influence of cannabinoids on mental disorders.
Another review from 2020 also comes to a rather critical conclusion: although there are initial indications of the effectiveness of cannabinoids in many mental illnesses, these are not yet sufficient to derive concrete treatment strategies, the authors wrote. What the review did suggest was that CBD could tend to help reduce social anxiety and, as an add-on, to dim certain symptoms of schizophrenia. The authors report that small case studies also indicate possible positive effects of medicinal cannabis on sleep disorders and PTSD. However, they warn that extra care should be taken with high-dose THC formulations.
CBD for better mood and against anxiety
Research on cannabidiol is still in its infancy. There are still large studies on humans that confirm the assumed effectiveness of CBD. Meanwhile, however, CBD is already being used by many people who suffer from anxiety or depression, for example.
CBD can be helpful here, as people with depression and anxiety disorders often suffer from a lack of the happiness hormone serotonin. CBD is said to bind to the very serotonin receptor that plays a major role in anxiety. Therefore, CBD can be a natural alternative to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants) in some cases. However, this should always be decided by the doctor treating you and should never be seen as the first choice of therapy in severe cases.
Furthermore, taking CBD in the body activates certain cannabinoid receptors, which can have a positive effect on various physical ailments, including the psyche.
CBD for relaxation and as a remedy for insomnia
Taking CBD oil helps to switch off and relax. Unlike marijuana, it is low in THC and therefore legal.
CBD can also improve overall well-being by lowering stress levels and promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. It is therefore also used successfully in the therapy of sleep disorders. This is because CBD can affect the amount of adenosine produced in the body.
Adenosine is produced by our body to regulate our tiredness.
CBD does not make you sleepy, however, as it does not increase or decrease adenosine levels. Instead, regulating adenosine levels only helps prevent sleep disturbances caused by external stimuli and thus naturally helps our internal clock.
How is CBD oil taken?
The oil can be put into the mouth on its own, but you can also add it to your dishes when cooking or baking. Alternatively, CBD oil can also be used in other forms, such as capsules.
Start with a low dose (e.g. 20 mg) and gradually increase if necessary to find the optimal dose for you.
If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your mental health, you should consider using CBD, although in no way should it replace a visit to the doctor. Rather, it is suitable for accompanying and supportive therapy.