The endocannabinoid system can regulate mood, emotion and stress response
Besides its role in regulating metabolic processes, the endocannabinoid system has also been shown to be involved in managing emotions, mood, and response to external stress.
Cannabis receptors are present all throughout the body. Especially high concentrations of CB1 receptors are found in key areas of the brain involved in managing stress, emotion, mood, anxiety and our response to fear. Animal-based studies have shown that by stimulating receptors in the brain, the endocannabinoid system can help reduce stress, anxiety, and fear.
A study from the 2008 European Journal of Pharmacology showed that anandamide (an endocannabinoid) helped reduce anxiety in rats. Other studies have also shown that plant-based cannabinoids can produce anxiolytic effects (Lisboa, S., F., et al., 2008).
Due to its involvement in managing fear and emotional responses, the endocannabinoid system has also become a possible target for treating patients suffering from depression, clinical anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Generalised Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety conditions with impairment in social life. Cannabidiol (CBD) has shown anxiolytic effects both in humans and in animals.
In a study aimed to assess the effects of a simulation public speaking test (SPST) on treatment-naı¨ve SAD patients who received a single dose of CBD, pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech (Bergamaschi, M., M., et al., 2011).
Lisboa, S., F., et al. (2008). Activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray induces anxiolytic effects in rats submitted to the Vogel conflict test. European Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 593, 73–78.
Bergamaschi, M., M., et al. (2011). Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-nai¨ve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 36, 1219–1226.