Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the
U.S., afflicting 40 million adults at or above the age of 18, or 18% of the
total population. More specifically, social anxiety affects 15 million
Americans, or 6.8% of the U.S. population. A 2007 ADAA survey found that 36% of
sufferers wait 10 years or more before seeking help or treatment.
Anxiety disorders can develop for a number of
reasons, the most likely ones being genetics, brain chemistry, life
experiences, and personality, according to the Anxiety and Depression
Association of America (ADAA). People who suffer from social anxiety have an
extreme fear of being judged or scrutinized in social situations. Some people
become triggered by certain situations, while others feel anxious in all types
of social encounters.
While this fear is an irrational one, many people
feel completely powerless and debilitated in the face of their anxiety, and
have no idea what coping mechanisms to use in order to overcome social anxiety.
However, a new study performed by Brazilian
researchers could offer the breakthrough that those with social anxiety have
been searching for. They wanted to see how those with social anxiety would
react to cannabidiol (CBD), found in cannabis. CBD accounts for around 40% of
the extract from cannabis, and unlike THC, it doesn’t have psychoactive effects
on the brain.
The team of researchers asked ten people with a
diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder to participate in the study, and used
neuroimaging to monitor the amount of bloodflow in different parts of the brain
as a result of the CBD.
They halved the study into two different sessions; in
the first, half of the participants received an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD, and
the other half were given placebos. In the second session, the group that
didn’t receive CBD in the first session was treated with cannabidiol, and the
other half had placebos this time.
The results of the study confirmed that the
cannabidiol reduced the participants’ subjective anxiety significantly. After
being treated with CBD, the researchers noted an anti-anxiety, or anxiolitic,
effect in the parts of the brain that control emotions.
Dr. J. A. Crippa, who led the Brazilian research
team, said, “These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that
this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain
Even though the sample size was far too small in this
study for doctors to begin treating patients with CBD, it does offer a lot of
promise for the future of social anxiety treatment.
In another study that tested the effects of CBD on
social anxiety, the researchers gave a simulation public speaking test (SPST)
to participants before and after taking CBD and compared the findings. The
speaking test basically aims to provoke a response in the individual being
tested similar to one they would give if they were giving a public speech.
The findings showed that the individuals treated with
CBD had a significant decrease in anxiety, while the placebo group had much
higher levels of anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort. Even more
promising, the findings showed that just a single dose of CBD can significantly
reduce social anxiety and improve cognitive functions and speech delivery.
Because of the improvements in the speaker’s performances, the audience showed
increased levels of participation and alertness, as well. Those who were given
CBD before delivering speeches had an overall more successful and productive
performance than those who did not take any CBD.
So, not only did the CBD eliminate the most
debilitating symptom of social anxiety, fear of public speaking, it also
virtually wiped out the negative self-talk and degrading thoughts that most
sufferers of social anxiety experience. Many of them reported much higher
levels of self-confidence, and did not feel trapped by their own minds when
giving their speeches.
If you do suffer from social anxiety, some vape shops
carry CBD oil, so you don’t have to wait for doctors to prescribe it as a
treatment option. If you prefer to take it in tablet form, you can order those here. They can be shipped to all 50 states in the U.S., since the tablets do
not contain THC and are imported legally from Europe.
Social anxiety does not have to cripple you or your
life anymore, as CBD is becoming more widely available all across the world.
These studies show, once again, the incredible benefits of cannabis as a
therapeutic plant capable of healing a wide variety of ailments.