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According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Cannabidiol’s anti-panic properties may provide a safe alternative to prescription medicines that cause more harm than good. Panic is often a consequence of an underlying illness, loss, uncertainty, and thoughts about mortality. 

The symptoms of panic include chest pain, nausea, racing/rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath, and it can feel like you are having a heart attack. We all experience these symptoms at some point, the question is, how can CBD oil help reduce or prevent panic?

  • The FDA allows teens and minors to use a synthetic version of CBD as a prescription medicine.
  • CBD offers user anxiolytic and anti-panic properties.  
  • Identifying and accepting the source of anxiety or panic can aid treatment.
  • CBD can help the mind and body relax during a panic attack. 
  • CBD products that contain high levels of THC may trigger panic attacks. 
  • At high doses, CBD has a sedative effect, meaning the chemical can help users sleep better. 

References 

Does CBD Cause or Reduce Panic?

In rare cases, CBD in high doses is said to cause mild cases of panic. The majority of users report improvement after a good night’s rest. To the FDA, CBD is a dietary supplement, the only form of it that the administration has approved for medical use is epidiolex, a synthetic form of CBD used in the treatment of epilepsy. 

What you need to remember is the FDA does not approve dietary supplements, but it plays a role in regulating them.

Considering that due to its newfound fame, there are hundreds of different oils, tinctures, sprays, pills, gummies, and other products that contain CBD.  We must ask, how does CBD trigger panic attacks?

Impure CBD and full spectrum CBD contain chemicals that may trigger a short-lived panic attack. Often the culprit is THC.

THC is the psychoactive chemical found in the cannabis plant. Consuming it causes a high effect. Acute psychiatric reactions one may experience after consuming THC include derealization, panic, and anxiety. 

Consequently, if you experience anxiety or panic attacks after consuming CBD products, the first thing you should do is check product quality. If the THC content is above 0.3 percent, it may trigger a high and by extension, panic, and anxiety. 

According to a clinical study published in the National Library of Medicine, consuming cannabis, or full spectrum cannabis products, may quote:

Cannabis has been reported to produce acute psychiatric reactions, among these panic, anxiety, and derealization, which are self-limited. We report on three patients who experienced an initial panic attack during cannabis intake. Anxiety attacks reoccurred after the cessation of intake.”

 In short:

  • CBD in its purest form is non-psychoactive and has anti-panic properties.
  • Full spectrum CBD may contain THC, the chemical compound in cannabis that causes a high and temporary anxiety or panic. 
  • A panic attack may feel like a heart attack, relaxing your mind and body may relieve the symptoms. Take deep breaths and realize that it is all in your head. 

What Causes Panic Disorders, and How can CBD Help?

Episodic Paroxysmal anxiety or panic disorders are a consequence of a chemical imbalance in the brain. The trigger could be internal or the product of the environment you are in. for instance, if you hear sirens while smoking weed, you could suffer a panic attack. 

What you need to remember is your brain is home to hundreds of different neurotransmitters. If there is an imbalance, you are more likely to suffer a panic attack. That raises the question:

What neurotransmitters are affected by cannabinoids?

A single dose of CBD, according to studies, is said to shift levels of the human brain’s excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Neurologically, the chemical protects neurons from degeneration, keeping your brain “younger” and lessening panic. 

What is important to remember is that there are multiple theories on the causes of panic. It could be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. 

You know that you are having a panic attack if you experience symptoms including:

  • Fear or a feeling of impending doom or danger.
  • Sweating, trembling or shaking.
  • Nausea.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Lightheadedness, faintness, and dizziness. 
  • Feelings of detachment or derealization
  • Abdominal cramping. 
  • Rapid heart rate. 
  • Chest heaviness.

The symptoms, as mentioned, may resemble a heart attack. Without treatment, panic disorders can get worse and will impact every facet of your life.

Is CBD a safe treatment for anxiety and panic attacks?

The issue with prescription panic medications is they often cause more problems than they solve. The side effects could be headaches, migraines, abdominal pain, drowsiness, fatigue, and loss of memory, and some may cause dependence or addiction. 

Unlike traditional anxiety or panic medication, according to the World Health Organization, CBD does not appear to have an abuse potential or cause harm. The side effects are mild and go away if the user discontinues use. 

In short, all evidence point to the fact that CBD is a safe treatment for stress, anxiety, and panic disorders. 

Can you use CBD to treat PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is often the consequence of a stressful, frightening, or distressing event. It may also be triggered by a prolonged traumatic experience. The condition is common in war veterans and persons who had a troublesome upbringing or underwent a traumatizing experience.

Flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety are the symptoms.

How does CBD treat PTSD?

Clinical studies have made the following discoveries:

  • CBD helps prevent the formation of negative memories. A study published on the NCBI concluded, quote “The effects of CBD on the different stages of aversive memory processing make this compound a candidate pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies for PTSD. CBD also shows an action profile with fewer side effects than the pharmacological therapy currently used to treat this type of disorder.”
  • CBD can ease PTSD symptoms. Through interactions with the human endocannabinoid system, CBD has shown potential in reducing anxiety, modulating memory related processes, and improving rest and sleep.
  • CBD may affect the hippocampus and amygdala in the human brain. The benefit of that is by reducing amygdala hyperactivity, CBD can reduce PTSD symptoms. 

Can CBD Calm a Panic Attack?

CBD is an anxiolytic, which means it can be used to treat and prevent anxiety and panic attacks. Like some commercial anxiolytic drugs, at high doses, CBD has a sedative effect. Meaning it has uses in treating insomnia and helping users relax.

However, if you are experiencing a panic attack, it is advisable to establish the cause. If you know the cause, it becomes easier to solve the issue. According to psychologists, to treat a panic attack, you should combine CBD consumption with the following actions. 

  • Stop fighting it. Accept that some issues have solutions and some do not. If a situation is beyond your control, it is easier to accept it.
  • Avoid acting out of anger or panic. Slow down, breathe slowly, and do not act without thinking.
  • Look toward the future. A panic attack will not kill you; it will only make you uncomfortable for as long as you entertain the thought. So, remind yourself that your current situation is temporary.
  • Focus on the positives. 

Panic attacks, when to see a doctor.

If you experience multiple panic attacks in a day, it could be time to see a specialist.

Remember, panic attacks could be a sign of an underlying condition, so get yourself checked out if the triggers are not environmental. 

Does CBD oil Help with Anxiety in Teens?

Multiple clinical studies claim that teenagers who use CBD have lower levels of anxiety than non-users. Unlike THC, CBD’s effect on the teenage brain is positive. Meaning it is less likely to lead to addiction or dependence, and it has neurogenesis/neuroprotective benefits. 

At what age can you start using CBD for anxiety?

In the US, CBD remains a controlled substance. Consequently, depending on state law, you may need proper identification and be at least 18 years of age. If you are below that, you need a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.

If you intend to give CBD to a child, you should (1) consult with a physician. (2) source the product from trustable sources. That means avoiding full spectrum CBD products or products that may contain THC or other harmful chemicals.

Pure CBD, as mentioned, is safe for adults, teens, and pets. 

What types of anxiety and panic attacks is CBD good for?

Multiple studies have concluded that CBD is good for anxiety disorders, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  • Panic disorders.
  • Social anxiety disorder.