CBD for Anxiety:  Is The Popular Compound a Viable Treatment for Pre-Surgery Nerves?

CBD for Anxiety: Is The Popular Compound a Viable Treatment for Pre-Surgery Nerves?

If you’re getting ready to go under the knife, you might find yourself a little (or more than a little)  anxious. After all, fear of the unknown—especially when that unknown involves being unconscious—is extremely common and completely valid. So what, exactly, can you do to help calm the uneasiness you’re feeling as your procedure approaches? Today at Mend Well, we’re looking at CBD for anxiety. Read on for all you need to know about the increasingly popular compound.

What is CBD?

Let’s start with the basics. CBD—or Cannabidiol—is a cannabis compound thought to have significant medical and therapeutic benefits. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t cause the feeling of being “high” or in an altered state of mind. (CBD-dominant strains of marijuana are often used to treat children with epilepsy—as it’s able to provide medical benefits without causing young patients to experience the psychoactive effects they would from a THC-dominant strain). CBD comes in oils, isolates, wax, crystals, capsules, lotions, creams, and many more forms—but the most popular tends to be CBD oil.  

CBD for anxiety

What does the research on CBD for anxiety say?

CBD is still new to the medical world, so the research surrounding CBD for anxiety isn’t entirely conclusive—and most research that does exist comes from lab experiments and studies performed on animals—but there have been a number of studies that show CBD has potential to alleviate stress and anxiety. We know, from a PubMed Central study, that, “CBD potently reduces experimentally induced anxiety or fear. CBD reduced anxiety associated with a simulated public speaking test in healthy subjects.” CBD has also shown promise when it comes to helping prevent the formulation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to VeryWellHealth, scientists who analyzed the current body of available research surrounding CBD for anxiety found that “CBD oil shows promise in the acute treatment of conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.” This same Neurotherapeutics report states, “We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely; however, few studies have investigated chronic CBD dosing.” In other words, CBD for anxiety shows promise when it comes to acute, one-time dosing—but there isn’t enough research yet to make any conclusive statements about long-term CBD dosing.

CBD for anxiety

Would using CBD for anxiety help me?

According to a 2018 survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, “Almost 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat a medical condition. The top three medical conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression.” But, does the popularity of CBD as a treatment for anxiety mean it’s right for you? It all depends. It’s important to note the side effects and risks associated with CBD (which we break down below) as well as to have a clear understanding of the laws surrounding CBD in your particular state. We recommend talking to a physician or wellness coach about the potential of using CBD for anxiety—particularly if it’s something you’re brand new to and a bit nervous about. But, because there’s no potential for overdosing or dependency, if you’re comfortable with the idea of using CBD oil to reduce anxiety as your procedure approaches, it’s worth a try.

Does CBD show up on drug tests?

Most drug tests that are testing for cannabis use are testing for THC specifically, and not CBD. So, it’s overall very unlikely that CBD would show up on a drug test if you’re solely using CBD products and not those that contain larger amounts of the psychoactive compound THC. In an interview given to Tonic (VICE Media’s health-focused publication), Brenda Gannon, a toxicologist and laboratory director, said, “because CBD is chemically distinct from THC, it is unlikely that pure CBD would be detected in these types of drug tests. However, hemp-based CBD products often contain trace amounts of THC.” If your CBD oil does contain THC, it likely only contains a trace amount (.3% is standard)—making it highly unlikely that it would show up on a drug test. If you’re concerned about failing a drug test, your best bet is to look for a CBD oil that doesn’t contain any THC. The problem, though? Because CBD isn’t regulated, it’s hard to know exactly what’s in the bottle you’re buying (more on this below.)

CBD for anxiety

Are there risks of using CBD for anxiety?

While CBD oil is non-habit-forming and can’t produce any overdose effects, there are still a number of side effects to consider, including: low blood pressure, changes in mood, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. The other main risk with CBD is that, because it’s not federally regulated, products can be mislabeled. In fact, a 2017 study published in JAMA found that 42.85% of products were under-labeled, 26.19% were over-labeled; with only 30.95% of products tested being accurately labeled.

Overall, when it comes to CBD for anxiety, current signs point to the fact that it can be helpful—but, ultimately, the medical field needs to continue to learn more about it as more thorough studies and tests are performed. Want even more pre-surgery tips? Browse the rest of our blog for empowering pre-op information, helpful nutrition advice, and pro medical tips for ensuring your procedure—and recovery—are the best they can be.