Social anxiety is one of the most common mental health afflictions on the planet. As much as 7% of the population lives with some form of social anxiety in any given year, and 75% of those people begin developing symptoms of the condition as far back as childhood.
There are several methods used by trained physicians to treat patients with social anxiety. But as the demand for more organic remedies rises alongside a growing insistence on treatments that support health and wellness, many people are questioning if CBD oil can be used for social anxiety and provide greater relief to people who live with the condition.
Is there an opportunity for CBD oil to improve social anxiety symptoms? What are the benefits and potential side effects of using this type of therapy? Let’s look into those questions and provide some helpful answers.
What are the common symptoms of social anxiety disorder?
According to the Mayo Clinic, social anxiety can cause people to fear everyday interactions with friends, co-workers, romantic interests, and especially large groups of people. There are several telling signs and symptoms of the disorder that people should be aware of should they feel nervous or uncomfortable in those types of situations.
Some of the emotional and behavioural triggers of the condition include:
- Fear of embarrassment or judgement
- Intense fear of interacting with strangers
- Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
- Avoidance of situations where you might be the centre of attention
- Anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or social event
- Overthinking your interactions after a social situation and expecting the worst possible outcomes from those interactions
Several physiological symptoms point to social anxiety disorder. These signs can include any of the following:
- Increased heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
If you’re experiencing a multitude of both behavioural and physical symptoms of social anxiety, you likely have some form of the condition.
Can CBD oil help with social anxiety?
While there are still definitive clinical trials necessary to validate CBD’s effectiveness as a form of treatment, there are pre-clinical results that indicate CBD can alleviate symptoms of anxiety for many people. It’s already recommended for people who suffer from PTSD, a common trigger for social anxiety symptoms.
Researchers have determined that CBD interacts with and stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network of communication between the brain and the body’s nerve cells. This enables your body to manage reactions to pain or bodily injury. However, the endocannabinoid system also contains two distinct cannabinoid-like receptors known as CB1 and CB2.
The CB1 receptor interacts with a serotonin receptor and other receptors in the brain that regulate how you respond to fear and anxiety. CBD can be used to manage the CB1 receptor and help control the signals from the brain that stimulate those feelings. People who use CBD effectively should notice an improvement in their quality of life through reduced social anxiety.
How to use CBD oil for social anxiety
There are several ways you can take CBD oil for social anxiety. As CBD has become more affiliated with the health and wellness space, it’s been made readily available in the form of several different products that are all designed to help alleviate pain and reduce anxiousness within the minds of consumers.
CBD oils are some of the easiest ways to administer treatment into your body. With a small bottle of CBD oil, you can apply a few droplets onto the back of your tongue and swallow the remedy to let it begin working in your favour. Additionally, you can apply those same drops into a drink of your choice and stir the contents into the liquid. This will make it easy to sip your CBD treatment as you enjoy your daily beverage.
You can also use things like edibles and gummies to indulge your sweet tooth while treating your social anxiety. There are also things like CBD balms and creams that you can apply directly to your skin. Your skin cells will absorb the CBD within those products, allowing the oil to enter your bloodstream and connect with the endocannabinoid system to go to work.
Safety and side effects of CBD for social anxiety
To date, there are few safety or side effect concerns about using CBD oil for social anxiety or any condition. More clinical studies are necessary to validate those claims, but most practitioners of CBD stand by the idea that there is very little risk, if any, to use those types of products.
The biggest potential risk when using CBD is if you already use other forms of medication to treat your anxiety. CBD does have the potential to interact with those other medications and make them ineffective. If you are currently taking prescribed medication, speak with your doctor about the possible ramifications of taking CBD oil for social anxiety. Your doctor will be able to confirm if your other medication will be impacted by the CBD oil.
Additionally, keep yourself alert about physical symptoms like dry mouth or extreme fatigue and drowsiness. These are potential side effects of CBD usage that may come about depending on the strength of your immune system. If you do experience any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor about whether you should continue using CBD oil.