Meeting new people, expressing your opinion, going to a party are common situations that most of us experience many times in our lives. Although this is not a problem for most people, many individuals experience anxiety when they must face these situations. Social anxiety is a common problem that can affect people’s lives very negatively. And, in many cases, people who suffer from social anxiety don’t seek medical advice.
In recent times, CBD has experienced a rise in popularity. Recent research has shown promising results in the use of CBD to treat or alleviate many conditions, including social anxiety. In this article, we’ll explore the potential of the use of CBD for social anxiety and if it can be a solution. Keep reading below to discover what we found out.
Anxiety vs. Social Anxiety
Although they share the name, anxiety, and social anxiety are not the same problem. However, both conditions share common features. People who suffer from these disorders typically experience excessive or disproportionate anxiety to an actual threat. The difference between the 2 disorders is what patients perceive as a threat.
People who suffer from general anxiety disorder (GAD) typically worry about life issues and daily stresses. This disorder usually appears in adulthood (average onset age is 31).
Conversely, those who suffer from social anxiety or social phobia typically worry about meeting new people, social gatherings, being observed, or perform in front of others. This disorder usually starts after puberty.
Although anxiety and social anxiety are different disorders, they can co-occur. So, it is not uncommon that individuals who suffer from social anxiety end up developing a general anxiety disorder. On the other hand, both conditions can trigger other psychiatric conditions, such as depression.
On the other hand, treatments for GAD and social anxiety are usually the same. So, since CBD has been found to work well for anxiety, it has the potential to alleviate social anxiety too.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety
People who suffer from social anxiety experience an irrational fear when they must interact with others. They typically act nervously in social situations and, many of them, create a life based on avoidance. This condition can have a devastating impact on their personal relationships, professional careers, and financial independence. And, on many occasions, it results in depression.
On the other hand, social anxiety disorder is often mistaken with extreme shyness. For this reason, many people don’t seek help for this condition.
People with social anxiety disorder experience anxiety and fear in daily social situations. And they may experience fear and anxiety days or even weeks before they must confront a troubling situation, i.e.: speaking in public, or going to a party.
People who suffer from SAD may experience the following physical symptoms:
- Dry mouth
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Difficulty to speak
- Shortness of breath
- Lack of concentration
- Difficulty to think clearly
People who suffer from this condition may also experience panic attacks.
When to Seek Treatment
You should seek treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fear to interact with people outside of your family.
- Anxiety or fear in social situations.
- You feel that your fear is irrational.
- Feeling anxious days or weeks before social situations.
- You usually avoid social situations.
The good news about this condition is that most patients respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy. In extreme cases, medication may be needed.
CBD for Social Anxiety
CBD or cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound of the cannabis plant. As its name suggests, cannabidiol is a cannabinoid and, as such, it interacts with our endocannabinoid system when we use it. Our endocannabinoid system is responsible for many functions, including the perception of anxiety and stress. This suggests the potential of CBD to treat both general anxiety and social anxiety disorders.
Additionally, a study performed by the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, investigated the action of CBD in 10 patients with SAD. Using a double-blind procedure, the patients were given a 400 mg oral dose of CBD or placebo in 2 sessions. Functional neuroimaging showed significantly decreased subjective anxiety after CBD was administered. Although more studies are necessary, this research suggests that CBD reduces anxiety in social anxiety disorders.
Is CBD for Social Anxiety Safe?
Since CBD is a compound of the cannabis plant, you might wonder if CBD for social anxiety is safe to use. The first thing that you should know, is that CBD does not hold any psychoactive properties. So, contrary to THC (which is the other main cannabinoid of the cannabis plant) it won’t make you high. Moreover, CBD does not show up in most drug tests, as they are typically only looking for THC. However, if you are planning to use CBD for social anxiety and must undergo drug tests, you must make sure that you only use CBD isolate products, since full-spectrum products may contain traces of THC.
On the other hand, CBD has little to no side effects even at large doses. So, most people can benefit from this cannabinoid without experiencing any issues.
How to Use CBD for Social Anxiety?
Because of its popularity, you can find many CBD products in the market. So, before buying CBD, you must determine if you want to use isolate CBD or full-spectrum CBD. As we said, isolate CBD contains only cannabidiol and no other compounds. Conversely, full-spectrum products contain many other compounds of the cannabis plant, including traces of THC.
On the other hand, there are various formats of CBD in the market:
- CBD oils
- Gels and creams
- CBD drinks
CBD gels and creams won’t be suitable to ease social anxiety. On the other hand, CBD drinks and edibles are not easy to dose. So, the best product to ease social anxiety would be CBD oils.
Typically, CBD oils come with a dropper that you can use to measure your dose. Regarding the dosage, unfortunately, there’s no general recommendation. So, the best thing to do would be to administer a few drops under your tongue before you face a situation that would normally trigger your social anxiety. It is recommended to start on a low dose and adjust accordingly.