by Dr. Bill Rawls
CBD oil from hemp has a reputation for easing symptoms of stress and anxiety — but does it really work? Dr. Bill Rawls weighs in and explains how the herbal extract works in the brain.
Question: Can CBD ease anxiety and stress?
We all have a chemical inside our body called anandamide. It’s like a hormone, but this system that we call the endocannabinoid system oversees our neurotransmitters and our hormones and everything. It’s kind of like a control center, and anandamide has to do with our feeling of well-being.
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is actually touching the same receptors, it’s affecting the same receptors in the body that anandamide does. But interestingly, it doesn’t bind as tightly as anandamide, so it actually causes us to up-regulate or increase our receptors. Not only do we get a little bit of a mood-elevating effect from the CBD, we also get more receptors, so we are more sensitive to our anandamide, which gives us that feeling of well-being — a feeling of feeling good.
Now, the other chemical that you hear about and find in other species of cannabis, called THC, binds to that same receptor, but it does so very tightly, so you get an exaggerated or euphoric response. CBD doesn’t do that. It gives you a normal response.
CBD is helping your anandamide work better so you don’t feel as anxious, you handle stress better, you’re more balanced through the day. But you don’t get an exaggerated response at all, so you don’t get that euphoria that can be problematic. It basically makes you feel like a better version of yourself. You feel normal, and that’s the kind of effect that you really want to have from a medicinal herb like that.