By Dr. Doug Fryday, D.C.
Blogger for InsideOut Lifestyle Soulutions
Research in CBD is still very much in it`s early years, but, there is a growing wave of solid scientific research that is suggesting that a large number of people and pets are getting relief from anxiety and other anxiety related disorders with out the horrible side effects related to taking prescription drugs.
Before we look at the mechanism on how CBD helps the body deal with anxiety and anxiety related disorders I think it behooves us to look at what is causing the anxiety in the first place. A close friend and mentor of mine Dr Bob Hoffman says it so poignantly; "No one is immune to stress. Modern day stress has catapulted us into the early stages of the worst epidemic of all time; “The Neurologic Epidemic”. More than 2 billion people worldwide are now suffering from brain based health challenges such as; PTSD, Post concussion syndrome, vertigo and balance issues, sensory processing issues, learning and behavioral issues, OCD, ADD/ADHD ,Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Autism, insomnia, Lupus, MS, acid reflux, IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, depression, ANXIETY and many other brain based health challenges."
We all know what stress is and most of us are under a lot of it in this high-paced, frenzied, pressure-cooker world we live in. Medical experts are saying chronic stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system from chemical, physical, emotional and, increasingly, electromagnetic stress is the cause of Dysautonomia – the dysfunction of our autonomic nervous system. They go on to say, unequivocally, this is the cause of all physical and emotional disease and disorders. In reality, all sickness, disease and behavioural problems begin with brain imbalance as a result of chronic stress.
All forms of stress are ‘brain stress.’
Chronic repetitive brain stress causes an imbalance in our autonomic nervous system, creating a neurological cascade of events putting our body into hyper-overdrive. I describe the autonomic nervous system as the part of the brain that runs the show in the background or "Houston control" if you will. It has a gas pedal, which is called the sympathetic nervous system, and a brake, which is called the parasympathetic nervous system. The gas pedal is our survival nervous system and is referred to as our ‘fight or flight’ nervous system. The brake is the ‘rest and digest’ relaxation response part of the nervous system, where all healing takes place.
When your body (the car) is running smoothly and optimally, the gas pedal comes on when it needs to speed up and the brake is applied when it needs to slow down. When the gas and brake are working in harmony we have optimal function, which is health. Anything less has the potential for disease. The problem occurs when the gas pedal (sympathetic nervous system) gets ‘stuck’ because of chronic recurrent stress. This requires the brain to respond as if every external stimulus in life was a threat you see fear and anxiety are adaptive responses essential to coping with threats to survival. This becomes a habit and I call this ‘Pedal to the Metal Syndrome’™.
Your body innately or automatically responds by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, respiration rate, sweat glands and your pupils dilate. Secretion of stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and epinephrine are turned on and up. This response can be lifesaving for short periods of time, but if prolonged without the appropriate relaxation, it will cause a weakening of the heart, shrinkage of the brain and chronic inflammation, which prevents the formation of new neurons in your brain.
As you can appreciate, driving at full speed for an indefinite period of time will have destructive effects on the internal structure of a car’s engine, and in the body we call this anxiety, a natural internal response to the external stimuli of stress that serves a purpose. This is good for short periods of time because it puts us in a heightened sense of awareness so we’re prepared for potential threats, but it’s bad if prolonged. Our goal is not to dismiss stress entirely, just make it a healthy, manageable part of our lives.
This is where CBD can help bring the nervous system back into homeostasis or harmony by activating the receptors that are involved with producing the neurotransmitters that apply the brakes to our over active system and by inhibiting the production of the stress hormones that are responsible for tromping on the gas.
Unlike THC found in the marijuana plant which is psychoactive and produces the" high" that can make you freak out and anxious, CBD produces a feeling of calm and relaxation. CBD does this by attaching to the receptors in the brain that are responsible for producing anxiety and turning them off and at the same time turns on the receptors that produce our happy hormones like serotonin.