The NHS describes anxiety as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.” Anxiety affects all of us at one time or another, for example before an exam or job interview, and everyone has different triggers for their anxiety.
Feeling anxious on occasion in stressful or worrisome situations is completely normal, however, anxiety can become a problem when people struggle to control their worries and it begins to affect their day to day life.
Anxiety can occur alone, known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, or as a symptom of other conditions including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and phobias.
UK-based mental health charity Mind list anxiety as the most common mental health condition in the country, with 5.6% of the population suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and 7.8% suffering from mixed Anxiety and Depression.
Research conducted in 2013 found that women were more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety, and 7.2% of children aged 5-19 years old had suffered an anxiety disorder.
There is still relatively little known about the mechanics of anxiety, until recently, scientists believed that the hub of anxiety in the brain was the amygdala, and that an over-active or hyperactive amygdala was the cause of anxiety disorders. But it is now understood that anxiety is a network across different areas of the brain and no single part of the brain drives anxiety.
One of the most common treatments for anxiety is the prescribing of a type of antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between brain cell, after carrying the message to the cells serotonin is usually reabsorbed by the nerve cells – known as reuptake. SSRIs work by inhibiting serotonin reuptake by the nerve cells, so there is more serotonin in the brain to carry more messages around the nerve cells.
Although it would be far too reductive to claim that anxiety and depression are caused by low levels of serotonin, elevated serotonin levels help to relieve symptoms of both conditions and make patients more responsive to other treatments such as therapy.
SSRIs, and other types of antidepressant medications, can however have some negative side effects including nausea, dizziness, insomnia, stomach problems, and can even exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and in extreme cases lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Medical researchers Eos Scientific found earlier this year that these negative side effects were some of the main reasons that sufferers were reluctant to seek help or take medication for mental health conditions.
Those suffering from mental health conditions make up a large section of CBD users, finding it to be an effective alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals used to treat anxiety and depression.
CBD affects the brain in a different way to serotonin and antidepressant medications. Where SSRIs work primarily on the central nervous system, controlling how nerve cells absorb serotonin, CBD affects the Endocannabinoid System – one of the human body’s major organ systems with receptors throughout the body.
The Endocannabinoid System was discovered only 30 years ago and is responsible for regulating the body and maintaining homeostasis. Essentially, the Endocannabinoid System is the body’s internal balancing mechanism, and regulates many of our daily functions including mood, mental health, appetite, metabolism, inflammation, pain sensitivity, sleep, memory, and immunity.
Unlike the body’s other organ systems the Endocannabinoid System is not an isolated structure, but rather a system with receptor sites throughout the body and on every major organ. This complex system of receptors – CB-1 and CB-2, actually has more receptors than all other neuromodulatory receptors combined.
CB-1 receptors are expressed most densely in the central nervous system and are responsible for mediating the effects of cannabinoids in the brain, as well as cell regulation. CB-2 receptors are found most commonly in the immune system as well as peripheral nerve cells, and are responsible for managing perception and relief from pain.
Different cannabinoids work on the Endocannabinoid System in different ways. Some cannabinoids, such as THC found in Marijuana, trigger the receptors and produce as different reactions – for example the ‘high’ associated with Marijuana use.
CBD, however, doesn’t actually trigger the receptors in the same way as other cannabinoids. Instead, CBD attaches itself to the receptors and modifies them to enhance the way other cannabinoids bind to them and trigger them, including cannabinoids produced by the human body like Anandamide. These enhanced receptors boost the levels of cannabinoids in the Endocannabinoid System by helping the receptors to absorb more of the body’s own cannabinoids, which in turn help the Endocannabinoid System to better maintain homeostasis and promote a sense of balance throughout the body.
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All #Organics products are 100% THC free, meaning they are safe, legal to use in the UK and won’t get you high. In January 2018, the World Anti Doping Agency removed CBD from their list of banned substances. So, no matter what you do, whether you’re an athlete or an accountant, #Organics products won’t show up on a drugs test or negatively affect your job.
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