CBD For Phobias

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Phobias can keep people from following their dreams, landing successful jobs, or even going outside. The good news about phobias is that they are completely treatable through therapy and sometimes medicine. CBD oil may be able to help with phobias because of its anti-anxiety effects and may be a better option than some medications because of its milder and less common side-effects.

What Are Phobias

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder that cause extreme and irrational fears of something that doesn’t really pose any real danger. There can be specific phobias known as simple phobias, and there are also complex phobias.

When exposed to the phobia, you may experience:

  • A sense of panic and fear
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shaking or trembling
  • A strong eagerness to escape

Everyone experiences phobias differently, and some may have mild reactions while others may experience severe anxiety and panic attacks.

What Is A Simple Phobia?

A simple phobia is having a fear about a specific situation, activity, object, or animal. Things like:

  • Spiders
  • Enclosed spaces
  • Flying
  • Snakes
  • Heights

What Are Complex Phobias?

Complex phobias are generally more disabling than simple phobias. These phobias are associated with deep-rooted anxiety about a certain circumstance or situation. The two most common complex phobias are agoraphobia and social phobia.

Agoraphobia is being afraid of finding yourself in a situation where you can’t escape or wouldn’t be able to receive help if anything went wrong. You may be scared of:

  • Public transportation
  • Shopping malls
  • Leaving your house

Social phobia is having a fear of most social situations like public speaking or going to a party. If you have social phobia, you may have the constant fear that you will be humiliated in public.

How Do You Get Phobias?

Phobias usually start when you are a child or teen, and it continues into adulthood. The cause of specific phobias isn’t really known, but scientists believe that they can run in families.

How Do You get Simple Phobias?

Simple or specific phobias usually start in childhood. These phobias can be linked to an early negative experience like being bit by a dog when you’re a child making you fear dogs when you are older. Some believe that phobias can be learned from an early age. If someone in your family is afraid of heights, you might also develop that fear as well. There are also other factors that can contribute to developing a phobia like family environment or having anxious parents.

How Do You Get Complex Phobias?

Researchers haven’t pinpointed the cause of complex phobias like agoraphobia or social phobia. But they do believe that genetics, brain chemistry, and life experiences all play a key role in these phobias. If someone in your family has an anxiety disorder or if you have anxiety at a young age, you may be more at risk of developing a phobia.

How Do You Treat Phobias?

Phobias can range from causing mild anxiety to being debilitating. If you are someone who can’t leave your house, get on a plane, or be in public, this can really get in the way of your life. Doctors usually recommend that people who have phobias get treated with therapy, medicine, or both.

Therapy Treatments For Phobias

Talking Treatments

Talking treatments, like counseling, are usually very effective for people who have phobias. The most successful and common therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT. CBT can help you manage your phobia by changing the way that you behave and think. Your therapist can work with you to develop practical ways of dealing with your phobias.

Exposure Therapy

Some therapies like CBT involve gradual exposures to your fears to help you become less anxious about them. By giving you the control of the situation, exposure therapy helps to gain control over your phobias as well. If you were afraid of dogs, you might be taken to a pet store and eventually work your way up to petting and playing with a dog.

Medication For Phobias

Medication isn’t commonly recommended for phobia treatment because therapies have shown to be more effective without side-effects. But there are some cases where you might be prescribed medicine short term to help with the effects of the phobia like anxiety.

Types Of Medication Used For Anxiety

Antidepressants

SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant for anxiety, social phobia, or panic disorder. Possible side-effects of commonly prescribed anti-depressants:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Upset stomach
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Increased anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tremors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are usually used to help with heart conditions like high blood pressure by slowing down your heart rate and decreasing your blood pressure. They can also be used to reduce symptoms of anxiety like irregular heartbeats. Possible symptoms of commonly prescribe beta-blockers include:

  • Stomach problems
  • Cold fingers
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep problems

Tranquilizers

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are categorized as minor tranquilizers. These are supposed to be used short-term and at the lowest dose needed for severe anxiety. Both anti-depressants and tranquilizers should be stopped gradually because they can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. Possible side effects of commonly prescribed tranquilizers for phobias are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Impaired coordination
  • Problems with vision
  • Feeling groggy
  • Feelings of depression
  • Headaches

While the side-effects may be a deterrent, some people just need that type of assistance for their phobias. If you feel that you need help to get through therapy, you might want to consider taking CBD oil for your phobia.

What Is CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical that comes from the cannabis plant. Unlike the popular THC, this cannabinoid doesn’t get you high. While THC directly binds to cannabinoid receptors, CBD elevates chemicals that our brain produces to help make our endocannabinoid system more efficient.

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is your body’s regulator. It controls many aspects of your body like your immune system, digestion, nervous system, skeletal system, and more. One way that it works is by using cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids to help control what happens throughout your body.

Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids

There are two cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptor is in control of regulating your neurological system, mediating all of the activity that has to do with your nerves like pain, appetite, sleep cycle, and your mood. It mainly binds to the endocannabinoid anandamide. The CB2 receptor mainly binds with the endocannabinoid 2-AG and mainly controls your immune functions.

How Can CBD Help With Phobias

Phobias And Your Brain

To understand how CBD oil can help with phobias, you first need to understand what is happening in the brain. When you are in a stressful or fearful situation, your brain reacts. You come with a built-in alarm system.

We may be apex predators, but that is just because of the tools that we have. Our brains still are set to fight or flight mode when danger is near. The way your brain makes you ready for an escape or attack is by stimulating your amygdala. The amygdala goes off and gets your body ready for survival by elevating your heart rate to get blood into your muscles and have you ready for action.

When you have an anxiety disorder like a phobia, your amygdala is overactive. Your built-in alarm system that is always on the lookout becomes trigger happy, sending the sense of intense fear in seemingly safe situations.

Your amygdala is very closely related to your hippocampus where your memories are stored, which is one of the main regions of the brain that is affected by PTSD. The instilled memory from trauma may also contribute to developing phobias.

CBD For Anxiety

CBD hemp oil may be able to help with conquering phobias by reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Studies have shown that CBD oil can help reduce the overactivity of the amygdala, which can help reduce the impending feeling of doom.

The way that it works is through a process called retrograde signaling. When you ingest CBD oil, the endocannabinoid anandamide is elevated. This chemical travels backward through the synapse to the cannabinoid receptor on the outside of the neuron that is sending panic signals. The endocannabinoid tells the cell to stop sending out so many transmissions, reducing the feeling of anxiety and activity of overactive regions in the brain.

Talk With Your Doctor

If you have a phobia and it is ruining aspects of your life, get in touch with a doctor. They can help you find the right treatment plan that can help you break free of the discomfort. If you would like to try using CBD oil for your anxiety, be sure to let your doctor know. If you are taking any medication like anti-depressants or tranquilizers, it’s important to not suddenly stop taking them. It can cause withdrawal symptoms that can make your treatment plan worse. Your doctor can also monitor your progress to make sure that this is the best route for you to take.

How Do You Take CBD For Phobias?

If you want to start taking CBD for your phobia, it is always a good idea to start at a low dose to see how your body reacts to the medication. Side-effects are rare and mild, but it is always a good idea to know how your body is going to react to medicine.

Using tinctures or vapes can help you at the moment. These methods work fast and can help calm you down in the middle of a panic if CBD oil is effective for you. The pills or edibles are a great way to get relief throughout the day, though it does take longer to kick in. If you’re ready to kick the phobias out of your life, stop by our shop today!

 

Sarah Potts

Sarah Potts has been writing about the wonderful benefits of cannabis for CBD Instead since 2017. Medical cannabis has changed her life and her goal is to show others how it might help them as well.

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