When you’re anxious about something, your brain fires off a load of fear signals across what is called the synapse, which helps you feel more alert. This would be great if a bear was chasing you, but not when you’re about to stand up in front of a load of people and speak or perform.
But, like it or not, chances are you will have to give a speech at some point - whether it’s for a class, a presentation at work, or your best friend’s wedding. If the very thought of it makes your palms clammy and your heart beat faster, you’ll be ultra-relieved to hear that CBD oil could be your new best friend.
Researchers have been studying the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of CBD for years now. Scientists first became interested in CBD for anxiety when they noticed that CBD was decreasing the high brought on by the psychoactive compound, THC. After all, if CBD calms the psychoactive effects of THC, maybe it could counteract the increased psychoactivity of people suffering from anxiety. Plus, CBD has far fewer negative side effects than most commonly-prescribed anti-anxiety medications.
Volunteers were told to prepare a 4-minute speech on a topic from a course they had taken that year. They were randomly given one of four drugs: 300 mg of CBD,5 mg of isapirone (used for depression and anxiety), 10 mg of diazepam (Valium), or a placebo.
Each volunteer gave the speech while viewing themselves on a video monitor. Their anxiety levels were measured using something called the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS). The VAMS test measures anxiety, physical sensation, mental sedation, and feelings of interest. These factors were tested at five distinct time points: before the start of the speech, just before instructions were given, immediately before giving the speech, in the middle of the speech, and immediately after the speech. Researchers also measured the heart rate and blood pressure of the volunteers.
Volunteers who received CBD, diazepam (Valium), and isapirone all showed a decrease in anxiety and systolic blood pressure.
Volunteers who got the diazepam (Valium) experienced feeling physical sedation.
Volunteers who got CBD and isapirone did not experience physical sedation, mental sedation, or other negative side effects.
So, taking CBD oil a few minutes before you speak or present can help calm your brain and ensure fear isn’t in control of your mind. This is thought to be because cannabidiol elevates an endocannabinoid called anandamide which helps reduce the overactivity in your brain causing the anxiety.
When we break that process down, it goes like this: Anandamide works through a process called retrograde signalling. It travels backward from the receiving cell to the sending cell with its own type of message. This message is telling the sending cell to either stop sending so many signals, or to send more because there isn’t enough activity. With anxiety, anandamide tells the sending cell to calm down, so your receiving cell doesn’t get overwhelmed.
So, if you suffer from nerves or anxiety related to public speaking or presenting, we recommend you give it a try – with one small caveat. The volunteers who participated in the study were given a 300 mg oral dose of CBD. (remember the UK recommended daily max is 200mg- so it was a very large dose. Most of us take it at much lower levels) While CBD has been proven to be safe in very high doses, we always recommend that you start low and work your way up.
Also, make sure you get your CBD from a quality source. Choose full-spectrum CBD oil, which is made from the high resin flowers of a hemp plant grown specifically for CBD extraction. That means that as well as the CBD, you’ll get all the other beneficial cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes from the plant.