Cannabinoids for Anxiety: Do They Work?
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
- Cannabinoids interact with special receptors in your body to help support the regulation of processes like mood and sleep.
- While the use of cannabis to deal with anxiety has been floating around, the effects of cannabis are often anxiogenic at higher doses.
- Taking a supplement like fatty15 can help your body produce more of its own natural cannabinoids, which can help regulate your mood.*
People who struggle with constant feelings of worry and stress may turn to cannabis products for relief, but they don’t always find it. Cannabis users can experience increased feelings of worry and paranoia, depending on the products used.
The relief that cannabis may sometimes provide works because of the body’s endocannabinoid system. Interestingly, the body makes its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, that also engage this system.
We’ll talk about how the system works and how taking a supplement could help your body produce more natural cannabinoids, which could give you more relief from stressful feelings compared to other cannabis-related treatments.
Understanding Your Stress
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, dread, uneasiness, or fear. Anxiety symptoms can also have physical manifestations like rapid heartbeat and sweating.
The causes of worrisome feelings can come from external stressors and/or biochemical imbalances in the brain. This may make you feel stressed and worried when there is no apparent reason for these feelings in your life.
Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety that lasts for long periods can mean anxiety-relatedmental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.
Your healthcare provider is the best source of information in helping you find interventions that can help restore you to wellness.
What's Going on in the Body?
Your body collects data from external stimuli. It then sends messages to the brain to specific receptors that control your reactions to these stimuli. The goal of the receptors is to help bring regulation and homeostasis, but sometimes the system doesn’t work as well as it could.
That system is called the endocannabinoid system.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system in the body that regulates homeostatic functions like mood, sleep, appetite, and immunity.
The ECS uses a system of receptors all over the body to collect data and adjust depending on the external environment. This system works on a feedback loop. Receptors take in information and relay it back to the control center. The receptors then signal changes that restore regulation.
Regulation of body temperature is a good example. When the temperature outside drops, the receptors in the body signal to the brain that the body temperature is also dropping. The brain then signals your body to raise its core temperature through mechanisms like shivering and redirecting blood flow to the organs (which is a big reason why your extremities, especially fingers and today, get frostbite or otherwise get really cold before everything else).
There are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 Receptors. These are found in the central nervous system, specifically in the brain and spinal cord.
- CB2 Receptors. These are located in the peripheral nervous system, nerves, and immune tissue.
These receptors are engaged by cannabinoids.
What Do Cannabinoids Do?
Cannabinoids bind and/or interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. There are three different types of cannabinoids: phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and endocannabinoids, which your body makes on its own.
Phytocannabinoids include the cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. There are numerous different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but the two most famous and most widely used are CBD and THC.
- CBD.Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid often used to help lessen feelings of stress and worry, support sleep, and even help with inflammation. CBD does not have a psychoactive effect on the brain, and most users don’t feel any immediate effects, but rather feelings of increased wellness over time.
- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, (also known simply as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) is a cannabinoid that is fully acting but has psychoactive side effects that can cause mental impairment. This is the (only) compound in cannabis that makes a user feel “high.”
It’s important to note that THC is a double-edged sword when used for anxiolytic effects; if a person uses too much THC, it can worsen anxiety, especially in conjunction with other cannabinoids that may promote feelings of drowsiness or muscle relaxation. This is one of the many known adverse effects of THC.
In recent years, the legalization of cannabis and cannabis products for medical use (like the use of medical marijuana) has increased, and each state has unique guidelines on whether or not low doses of these drugs can be administered for the treatment of everything from mood disorders to pain and nausea in a clinical setting under the supervision of a physician.
These cannabinoids are manufactured and similar to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. These can be made for recreational use or created for psychopharmacology use.
These are cannabinoids made by your own body. Until recently, it was believed there were only two:
Only 2-AG is fully activating, which means it can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Now, we are aware of a third, called pentadecanoylcarnitine, or PDC.
Your body’s endocannabinoids act as their own antidepressant system, binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors and helping restore homeostasis. The more we can bind to these receptors, the more we can achieve balance in our bodies and moods.
Why Is PDC Important?
Unlike anandamide or 2-AG, it appears that PDC lasts longer in our bodies. It’s been difficult to harness and understand the full pharmacology potential of anandamide and 2-AG because they have incredibly short half-lives.
PDC is promising because it appears to circulate in the body for longer. Further clinical trials could confirm how we can further engage this endocannabinoid, possibly with supplemental pharmaceuticals.
How Do Our Bodies Make PDC?
PDC is made from an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid called C15:0. Unfortunately, C15:0 is only found in trace amounts in whole dairy products and some fish. Increasing your intake of these foods may not be the best solution because you’d then also be ingesting more calories and some unhealthy, even-chain saturated fat.
A solution? Fatty15.
Fatty15 is the first and only supplement to contain the pure, vegan-friendly version of C15:0 known as FA15™. One capsule per day is enough to restore your circulating levels of C15:0 and help your body make more PDC.* Two out of three people taking fatty15 report near term benefits including an elevated mood, better sleep and less snacking between meals within six weeks.
Wait, Can’t Omega-3 Help With Stress Too?
Fatty15 works by integrating into your cells and helping improve their function, and new studies comparing fatty15 to omega-3s showed that fatty15 was better, broader, and safer than the highest performing, purest form of omega-3 (EPA).*
Omega-3 has been the MVP for fatty acid supplements, and some research indicated it might even help alleviate feelings of stress and worry. Unfortunately, there are multiple reasons why omega-3s may not be the best option.
To gain the benefits of omega-3, you usually need to take between 2,000 to 3,000 mg daily, which can mean taking eight to 10 pills per day.
However, high doses of omega-3 can cause:
- Low blood pressure
- Thinning of blood
- Increased risk of bruising
- Excessive bleeding if an injury were to occur
In addition, a study of omega-3 supplements from 60 large retail brands revealed that 50 percent were rancid and some fish oil supplements had 11 times higher than the recommended limits for oxidation and rancidity. It is essential to ensure you are taking a shelf-stable supplement.
The Fatty15 Solution
Don’t just take our word for it. The study comparing fatty15 to omega-3s revealed how much more effective fatty15 was in supporting our health and being safe for our bodies:*
- Better. Fatty15, compared with omega-3, had 26 more clinically relevant benefits than omega-3, and it also helped stop bad cells from proliferating.
- Broader. During the study, 12 different cell types were studied. Fatty15 could restore and repair 10 of those types, while omega-3 could only safely repair four of them.
- Safer. Not only could omega-3 not repair many of the cell types studied but it was also found to be toxic to ⅓ of them. The cells killed by omega-3 included lung and blood vessel cells.
Fatty15 is a better choice for supplementation, and it also comes without the risk of rancidity and the fishy aftertaste you might experience when taking omega-3.*
Less Stress, More Fatty
Our bodies are designed to balance everything from body temperature to mood. As we age, the body’s ability to maintain that balance may weaken.
You can support your body’s homeostasis by making sure you have the essential nutrients it needs, and when it comes to endocannabinoid support, fatty15 has got you covered.*
Anxiety: MedlinePlus | Medlineplus.gov
Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules | Frontiersin.org
Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation? | PubMed
Pentadecanoylcarnitine is a newly discovered endocannabinoid with pleiotropic activities relevant to supporting physical and mental health | Scientific Reports
Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders | PMC
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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