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Can CBD Help Panic Attacks?
Can CBD Help Panic Attacks?
For sufferers, panic attacks are a regular, upsetting and often painful experience. So it’s no wonder that those who are familiar with the onset of an attack are always on the lookout for a fast-working, safe and effective treatment. And with everything that’s been written about depression and anxiety, it should come as no surprise to hear that they’re asking if CBD can help panic attacks.
In this latest entry in our series on CBD as a treatment, we look at the medical evidence and the word-of-mouth advocation that’s trying to get to the bottom of CBD’s effectiveness treating the symptoms of a panic attack.
What are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is an incredibly unsettling and upsetting experience for sufferers, even though it’s rare that they cause physical harm. Some symptoms can be so severe that sufferers believe they’re about to have a heart attack, which leads to more panic and a worse attack. Even so, a panic attack usually lasts for fewer than ten minutes, and may include the following symptoms:
- A sense of panic, terror or impending doom
- A racing pulse and fast heartbeat
- Dizziness, faintness and weakness
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or fingers
- Chills, or sweating
- Chest pains
- Difficulty catching your breath
Just reading these symptoms is an uncomfortable experience, so the fear and anxiety that accompanies a real panic attack can have lasting effects on a person. Which is why so much research is being done to find fast-acting, reliable treatments.
Let’s see what the research suggests.
What do the Experts Say?
As you might expect, panic attacks and anxiety share symptoms and causes, so much of the research done into CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety (which we mentioned in an earlier post) do cover whether or not a cannabidiol-based supplement or medication could treat the symptoms of an attack. We’ve examined the following research papers:
Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol (Published 2017)
As with the other entries in our series, we recommend that you should read the research if you have time in order to make your own informed decision before trying a cannabidiol-based supplement. However we’ve summarised some key findings here:
- CBD helps to suppress panic responses in both animal and human testing
- CBD taken before an event which normally triggers anxiety was shown to reduce anxiety and prevent panic
- Brain scans show CBD effecting the panic-causing centres of the brain
- CBD is believed to be a “promising” treatment for panic disorder, with testing needed to confirm the safe and ideal doses of cannabidiol as a panic attack suppressant.
Both of these studies seem to agree that CBD can help with a panic attack, although they do disagree on some key points. One suggests CBD supplements are preventative and should be used to stop an attack from occurring, while others say it can dull the effects of a panic attack in progress. Until scientists can be sure which of these theories is correct, and determine the best dose and delivery method for CBD, we could be years away from doctors prescribing a cannabidiol medicine to panic attack sufferers.
What do CBD Advocates Say?
While researchers argue, advocates of CBD use have undertaken their own investigations (read our deep dive into medicinal CBD post to see why they’re faster than medical professionals – link to deep dive), and are sharing anecdotal evidence about using cannabidiol as a panic attack treatment. As always, these are personal opinions, which haven’t been backed up by testing. That said, they should provide you with food for thought.
Here’s some feedback we’ve found:
"It helps my anxiety and helps my insomnia in ways I cannot put into words."
“Jessie Gill, a registered nurse and cannabis advocate, uses CBD for her anxiety.
Vaping is arguably one of the quickest ways to feel the effects of CBD, which is important in an acute anxiety situation.”
“In recent years, CBD has generated a lot of interest in recent years among scientists clinicians, and people looking for non-intoxicating holistic treatments.
There are anecdotal reports and some evidence that suggests CBD has powerful calming properties.
People are using CBD oil for panic disorders because it's generally regarded as safe and well-tolerated.”
While these anecdotes aren’t as well researched as the medical research we’ve shared above, many sufferers of anxiety or panic disorders might feel that there’s enough being written about CBD and panic attacks to make adding CBD supplements to their diet worth a try.
Can CBD Help Panic Attacks?
As we say on all of these posts, we can’t give you a straight yes or no answer because we’re not doctors. But doctors, and people suffering from panic disorders seem to be leaning towards the opinion that CBD can help panic attacks. Although it might be some time until there is definitive proof.
Until then, it’s important to make up your own mind and do your own research on cannabidiol supplements. If you’d like to try CBD products, we’ll be more than happy to help you. And please do share your experiences with us.
Please note: If you are being treated for panic attacks, anxiety or a panic disorder, please talk to your GP before taking new supplements or reducing your existing medication.What do you think? Can CBD help panic attacks? Share your experiences with us either in the comments section, or via social media.