CBD for panic attacks: How cannabidiol can help managing them

Hot flashes, sweating, and sleep disorders are symptoms people experiencing anxiety disorders and panic attacks are very familiar with. When anxiety becomes a constant companion panic attacks tend to join, making life increasingly difficult. In addition, panic attacks have many different triggers, which makes them extremely difficult to prevent.

On this website, we outline the reason behind panic attacks and anxiety disorders, show why CBD can be useful to manage them, and explain why so many people take it to gain ease in everyday life.

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Table of Contents

Definition - What are panic attacks?

Panic and anxiety disorders are mental illnesses. They should never be underestimated, and it is essential to take rapid measures to manage them. Like depression, anxiety disorders are becoming increasingly common. Anxiety disorders are multifactorial diseases where both genetic predisposition and life circumstances come into play. Scientists suspect an unbalance in the production of neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, glutamine, dopamine, or norepinephrine) is partially responsible for anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

Panic attacks:

Panic attacks are unpredictable and usually accompanied by physical symptoms. These include nausea, increased heart rate, dizziness, and fear of fainting. The fact that panic attacks come unexpectedly adds further anxiety, making it more difficult to cope with them.

  • Depression-related anxiety: Here, anxiety is the direct result of depressive episodes.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: Physical and psychological ailments cause the development of anxiety.

  • Specific phobias: In this case, the fear is focused on a specific object or situation (e.g., fear of snakes or of confined spaces (claustrophobia).

  • Social anxiety: Affected individuals are afraid of social interactions in general

  • Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia implies fear of specific places or circumstances and is often accompanied by panic attacks.

Causes of panic attacks

Panic disorders are often genetically determined. However, traumatic events also trigger anxiety disorders and panic attacks. In addition, lifestyle habits such as stress, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition can be determining factors. Affected individuals live with a sense of insecurity, which often leads to permanent anxiety.

Researchers are trying to determine which regions in the brain are active when we experience fear and anxiety. The amygdala, a complex brain structure, is suspected of favoring the development of anxiety disorders when excessively stimulated. Furthermore, physical causes such as an injury or medical condition are responsible for panic attacks.

Examples of physical causes are:

  • Withdrawal symptoms from drugs
  • Excessive use of stimulants such as caffeine, cocaine, taurine, or methamphetamine
  • Mitral valve prolapse (a heart disease that affects at least one heart valve, which doesn't close properly)

Usually, panic attacks manifest with intense episodes. Those who experience them feel unsafe and vulnerable and are gripped by irrational fear. CBD, or cannabidiol, has been now for several years to reduce anxiety. CBD is a natural compound and seems to be more effective than many conventional medications.

Panic attacks symptoms

Panic attacks are short periods of intense fear. They are usually accompanied by psychological and physical symptoms and cause severe distress to those affected.

The following symptoms are typical of panic attacks:

  • Dizziness or feeling of fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Suffocation
  • Chest pain or tight chest
  • Heart palpitations
  • Formication
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Numbness

Diagnose of panic attacks

When people talk about panic disorders, they usually refer to recurrent panic attacks that occur several times a month. Diagnosing panic attacks can be challenging because the same symptoms accompany other conditions.

The first step is to determine whether the attacks have a physiological cause. This happens through a clinical examination and patient interview. If physical causes can be ruled out, a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist takes care of further investigations. These are usually based on the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

CBD for panic attacks

Pharmacy has been able to develop numerous drugs that improve the health of patients with anxiety. Like most powerful drugs, they often come with unpleasant side effects. Therefore, more and more medical professionals are turning their attention to cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, or CBG.

CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp and doesn't have psychoactive or intoxicating effects. Unlike the universally known THC that is, therefore, not particularly suitable for managing anxiety disorders. Those who consume CBD, on the other hand, don't need to worry.

Researchers have found that CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which includes the 5-HT1A, GPR55, CB1, and CB2 receptors. These receptors ensure a harmonious balance in the body by sending messenger substances such as serotonin and dopamine to the brain. Many people, however, don't have enough messenger substances, so they are more vulnerable to anxiety and panic attacks. CBD stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine.

According to this, enough neurotransmitters reach the brain and can relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. Many users report that CBD gives them a feeling of calm and relaxation. Consequently, the symptoms of anxiety disorders can be kept in check, and panic attacks occur less often.

According to research, CBD positively influences the limbic and paralimbic parts of the brain. This made many medical professionals and research institutes curious and led to numerous other studies. They all attributed great potential to cannabidiol and underlined that it helps manage anxiety disorders and panic attacks. So, we can be excited about further research results.

Benefits of CBD for panic attacks

Panic attacks can be very distressing and have a lasting impact on the quality of life. Often they are treated with conventional drugs such as benzodiazepines. However, these are often accompanied by serious side effects and can cause dependence. An increasingly popular and promising alternative is cannabidiol (CBD).

Below, we explain the benefits of CBD compared to conventional medications:

No severe side effects

One big drawback of traditional medications used to treat panic disorders is that they are often associated with severe side effects. Benzodiazepines can lead to memory problems, mobility impairment, and reduced reaction time, among other things. In addition, the body metabolizes them very slowly. By contrast, no severe side effects are known to accompany the use of CBD. This active ingredient is considered to be extremely safe and well tolerated and is metabolized by the body very quickly. Unlike conventional medications, CBD is not addictive on a psychological or physical level.

Improves sleep quality

There is evidence that CBD can positively influence all sleep phases. Insomnia or insufficient sleep may not be the trigger for panic attacks. However, they can very well fuel a spiral of stress, anxiety, and panic. Accordingly, healthy sleep is a fundamental prerequisite for psychological balance.

Natural alternative

CBD is a plant compound extracted from Cannabis Sativa. Generally, CBD products are free of chemical additives of any kind. However, it is important to find trustworthy manufacturers who do not add anything synthetic to the precious active ingredients of the hemp plant.

How to take CBD for panic attacks

When it comes to taking CBD for panic attacks, hemp oil is the most popular product. CBD oil is taken orally using a dropper. While dropping the oil under your tongue, it is best to stand in front of a mirror. After you reach the desired number of drops, keep the CBD oil in your mouth for about one minute before swallowing it. If you choose CBD oil, you'll get maximum flexibility with regard to dosage. No other CBD product allows dosing with such precision.

CBD capsules are an alternative to the oil. To take them, you need just a sip of water, so they are optimal if you're traveling. However, they do not allow for individual dosage, and it takes up to an hour before the effect of CBD starts to kick in. CBD crystals are the purest form of cannabidiol available.

Like CBD oil, you place the white powder under your tongue and let it melt. Since they are highly concentrated, we recommend them to those who have experience with cannabinoids.

How to dose CBD for panic attacks

At the moment, it is impossible to give well-founded general recommendations on the optimal dosage. Further studies are required to understand what the perfect CBD dosage for individual people can look like. CBD has almost no side effects and can be taken without hesitation.

It is up to you to determine your own feel-good dose. We recommend starting with a low dosage, which you can increase if you don't experience the desired effect. Those who are beginning to approach CBD oil for panic attacks should choose one with a low CBD content and take it in moderation.

Side effects of CBD for panic attacks

Studies consistently show that CBD does not cause any threatening side effects. In 2017, for example, researchers found that even a daily dose of 1500 mg of CBD did not result in noteworthy side effects. However, in rare cases, CBD might cause the following adverse effects: Dry mouth, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue.

In these cases, we advise reducing the dosage since they disappear once the body gets used to CBD. If they persist, it is recommended to stop taking cannabidiol. Also, we advise against using CBD if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are taking medication, you should discuss the use of CBD with your physician in advance.


Testimonials and studies on CBD against panic attacks

Most studies on CBD's effectiveness against panic attacks involved healthy individuals. Accordingly, we need more clinical trials to determine how effective the constant intake of CBD is. In September 2018, Frontiers in Immunology published a study on the therapeutic potential of CBD. The authors found that CBD can have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), antipsychotic, and neuroprotective effects. All of which are known to be very helpful in managing panic attacks.

In addition, numerous studies have concluded that CBD is a promising compound for managing mental disorders such as insomnia, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, and social phobia. Most researchers studying CBD describe it as a valuable active ingredient with great potential. Some users reported that already a single dose of 300 mg of CBD could massively reduce social anxiety.

FAQ about CBD for panic attacks

CBD is still a relatively new product. Accordingly, there is still some skepticism, especially in the beginning. Those who are unfamiliar with CBD tend to have many questions.

We will gladly answer the most frequently asked questions about CBD for panic attacks in the section below. If your question is not included, please feel free to contact our CBD experts.

Many confuse CBD with THC in this context. Both cannabinoids come from the cannabis plant. However, only THC has a psychoactive effect and triggers the well-known intoxication. This way, it often causes anxiety, especially when consumed regularly. By contrast, CBD doesn't have a psychoactive effect, and you will not get high even taking massive doses.

Accordingly, we can rule out that CBD triggers anxiety. On the contrary, CBD stimulates the production of certain messenger substances that tell the brain to release happy hormones. Those who take CBD have no reason to worry about anxiety disorders developing or worsening.

Besides CBD and conventional medications, a healthy lifestyle can be helpful to prevent or manage anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Those who want to improve their lifestyle habits should pay special attention to a healthy diet. Healthy food ensures that the body always has enough vitamins and minerals.

Furthermore, restful sleep plays a central role, especially in preventing panic attacks. Our brain is exposed to different stimuli throughout the day, and sleeping well is necessary to process them properly. In addition, physical activity makes a significant contribution to keeping anxiety and panic attacks at bay. When you're physically active, your body produces neurotransmitters that stimulate the release of happy hormones.

It is not necessary to become a competitive athlete. If you manage to work up a sweat for 30-60 minutes a day, you already do a lot to boost your general well-being.

CBD can help with panic attacks in two ways: In specific situations Various studies suggest that CBD can have an anxiety-relieving and calming effect thanks to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. Thus, it can help keep concrete panic attacks at bay.

Over a prolonged period of time when taken regularly, CBD can help combat some of the causes of panic attacks, such as stress and insomnia. This also helps to increase overall well-being, which also contributes to preventing panic attacks.

Whether CBD alone can treat anxiety disorders has not yet been scientifically clarified. At the moment, the best that can be determined is that CBD can provide positive support for the typical symptoms of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. At the moment, the most that can be said is that CBD can support the body's reaction to the typical symptoms of anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

Like with conventional drug therapies, you'll need more than just one remedy to manage the condition adequately. For the success of drug treatments or even natural methods, a person's general living conditions must also improve.

If you maintain a healthy lifestyle that helps you stay mentally and physically fit, the chances to successfully manage this disorder significantly increase. By themselves, medicines or natural active ingredients like CBD are not enough in most cases.

In 2023 CBD can be purchased without a medical prescription in a great number of countries, including the USA, the UK, and the majority of EU countries. However, there are exceptions, like Portugal, Finland, or Belgium, where you need a doctor's prescription.

If you are abroad and don't want to abstain from CBD, we recommend checking its legal status in advance.

The time it takes to notice the beneficial effects of CBD depends on several factors. On the one hand, the size, age, weight, and metabolism of those who take CBD. On the other hand, the form in which CBD is taken shouldn't be underestimated.

For panic attacks, we generally recommend using CBD oil or CBD crystals, as they have the highest bioavailability among all CBD products.