According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 15 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD), and it generally emerges around the age of thirteen. This social phobia is one of the most common forms of anxiety disorder and often takes patients years to seek help. Social anxiety can cause considerable distress such as panic attacks, isolation, shame, powerlessness, and overwhelming fear in social situations. Social situations can be anything from going on a date, group activities, going to the movies, or even having a meal in public. These distressful issues can impair daily functioning and routine in the life of sufferers, and social anxiety can be triggered by actual events or perceived scrutiny or judgement from others. In recent years, cannabis has been implicated as a potential treatment option for social anxiety, and vaping cannabidiol (CBD) is regarded by some as the best way to achieve the most medicinal value.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
The National Institute of Mental Health characterizes social anxiety disorder as an anxiety disorder in which a person feels symptoms of fear in certain or all social situations. The symptoms of social anxiety disorder includes, rapid heartbeat, sweating, tremble, nausea, rigid body posture, and extreme self-consciousness, among other reactions. The exact cause of social anxiety disorder is unknown, but researchers suggest that several regions of the brain are responsible for fear and anxiety. Treatment approach for social anxiety disorder typically starts with a visit to a mental health specialist who would make a diagnosis and set up a treatment plan that generally includes psychotherapy, medication, or both.
Studies on Social Anxiety Disorder and Cannabidiol (CBD)
In both human and animal studies, cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to have anxiolytic effects. Researchers have done a preliminary study with the objective of comparing the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on healthy patients and SAD patients who were administered a single dose of CBD or placebo. In the study, a total of 24 never-treated patients with SAD were given either 600 mg of CBD liquid oil drops or placebo, and each subject participated in only one experimental session, after which mood, negative self-perception, and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conductance) were measured at six different time points during the SPST. The results indicates that CBD treatment dramatically diminished anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alertness in the participant’s anticipatory speech.
In another study that sought to determine the effects of CBD on human social anxiety and its relationship to brain functioning. An oral dose of 400 mg CBD or placebo was administered to participants in the first session, and the results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in patients with social anxiety and is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas. The study offers some indication of how CBD is believed to specifically cause changes in the brain to enable anti-anxiety effects.
CBD Vaping for Social Anxiety
While there are limited studies supporting CBD vaping for treating social anxiety, the science says that bypassing the first pass metabolism (concentration of the drug is reduced before entering general circulation) of oral administration completely by utilizing vaporization. During CBD vaporization, CBD circumvents the gut and liver and directly enters the bloodstream via the lungs. This enables a larger concentration of CBD- as much as four times higher, allowing maximum bioavailability of CBD for quicker and greater effect in ameliorating SAD. This also means that patients could also use less CBD and achieve the desired effect.
Social anxiety disorder can be a disruptive issue that affects the day-to-day activities in the life of individuals suffering from the condition. The cause of the condition is unknown and treatment can often be difficult. However, in light of the current developments centered on cannabis and its potential medicinal benefits, a new treatment option may be on the horizon. The cannabis compound, CBD, has been shown in studies to have considerable anti-anxiety effects and could play a significant role in treating SAD. It is generally safe, and while oral administration of CBD is the primary method of intake, vaporization of CBD oil appears to have a far greater impact on producing results with less CBD oil being used in treatment. Still, more research is warranted to validate the effects of vaporization in treating SAD.