CBD, Anxiety Relief, and Your Next Flight
Most people love airports and flying. However, if your palms get sweaty simply when imagining yourself boarding an airplane, you may be experiencing fear-induced anxiety. The good news is that with cannabidiol (CBD), anxiety relief may be just around the corner. So, read on for more about CBD, anxiety, and what studies say.
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CBD, Anxiety, and What Research Says
CBD has a very favorable side effect profile and is generally considered safe for use. It is not addictive, it won't alter the user's mind (the other cannabinoid is guilty of this—read on), and hemp-extracted CBD is now federally legal in the U.S.
So, CBD may just be the darling remedy to help curb anxiety that everyone's been waiting for. A lot more well-designed clinical research is needed on especially its long-term toxicology as well as its long-term effects on the endocrine system. Yet the available data for its anxiolytic effects is very promising so far. While CBD medication for anxiety is not FDA approved (that's been granted only for one intractable epilepsy CBD drug so far), it may very well be the direction this molecule is heading.
Let's take a look at the medical research so far in humans.
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1. THC, CBD, Anxiety, and the First Human Study
The first indication of CBD's anxiolytic effects was discovered in a study looking at the interaction between CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the other major cannabinoid, which has a bad reputation. THC is the compound in cannabis that causes feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and well-being, but it can also induce psychosis and cause severe anxiety and fear reactions in some people. So, the idea was to examine the effect CBD and THC have on each other. The small study, published in 1982, had somewhat surprising outcomes.
According to a review published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry (2012):
"The study sample consisted of eight volunteers with a mean age of 27 years, no health problems and who had not used Cannabis sativa in the previous 15 days. In a double-blind procedure, the volunteers received CBD, THC, THC + CBD, diazepam, and placebo in different sequences and days. The results showed that the increased anxiety following the administration of THC was significantly attenuated with the simultaneous administration of CBD (THC + CBD)."
Plainly, this means that CBD can bring even THC-induced anxiety down, and it worked as well as diazepine. This was demonstrated in another study with healthy subjects. 
2. CBD and Anxiety in Healthy Subjects
This small, double-blind, placebo study, performed circa 1993, is a favorite to quote for good reason. A small group of healthy volunteers was asked to perform public speaking, an activity commonly associated with anxiety even in those with titanium nerves. This is significant because the fear of speaking in public is considered a central feature in social anxiety disorder, or SAD.
In this study, three hundred milligrams of CBD proved as effective an anxiolytic as ipsapirone, and even more effective than diazepine in volunteers under stress. 
Using the same stress-inducing model, similar results were obtained in patients with social phobia. In this 2011 study, twenty-four patients diagnosed with SAD (of which social phobia was a prominent feature) showed marked relief on 600mg CBD. This was compared to the two control groups of healthy volunteers and SAD patients who didn't receive any treatment. 
So, these are but a few studies that comprise a growing body of clinical evidence pointing to CBD's anxiety-busting superpowers.
3. But How?
Pinning down CBD's mode of action in attenuating anxiety is an ongoing quest, though.
Looking at cerebral blood flow, one group of researchers used functional neuroimaging in 10 healthy volunteers to see how CBD's effects are mediated in the brain. They concluded that the compound's calming effect was conferred via action on limbic and paralimbic brain areas. The latter is associated with emotional regulation and anxiety. 
So, using CBD oil before stepping onto a plane could well have the same—perhaps even more—calming effects than prescription drugs. The research shows that CBD and anxiolytics can be taken together with good effect. However, this good news does come with a cautionary note.
Don't Mix CBD with Other Drugs without Visiting a Physician
Always seek medical advice before taking CBD with any prescription drug. Even though, as mentioned, cannabidiol is generally considered safe for consumption, it's never a good idea to change a medical regimen without consulting a doctor.
Although limited research on the subject exists, it’s possible that a high dose of CBD could trigger toxic levels of certain drugs in the bloodstream. Some anticoagulants, for instance, use the same metabolic pathway as CBD in the body. This could lead, at least in theory, to an increased serum level of the drug, which could prove fatal. Theoretically, CBD could also increase serum levels of antipsychotics such as olanzapine, haloperidol, and chlorpromazine.
CBD has furthermore been shown to interact with antidepressants such as SSRIs, tricyclics, beta-blockers, and opioids (including codeine and oxycodone). If carefully monitored, this could be a good thing, as cannabidiol can potentiate the drugs' effects. With benzodiazepine, for instance, CBD has been shown to increase sedation. However, only a qualified medical professional will know whether this possible CBD-drug interaction is advantageous. 
So, when taking CBD, anxiety relief could very well be a possibility for many. Also consider other natural nerve-soothers that don't involve taking anything, such as meditation—a worthy activity to while away a long, scary flight.