Panic attacks refer to sudden feelings of intense anxiety resulting from unfounded fears of impending doom or danger. Victims of panic attacks may think they’re having a heart attack or dying. The phrase ‘panic attacks’ may often be used interchangeably with ‘panic disorder’ and ‘anxiety attacks.’
Panic disorder is one of the five fundamental anxiety disorders, which could result from frequent panic attacks. In other words, panic attacks might escalate into panic disorder if the condition isn’t treated with the urgency it deserves.
Anxiety attacks are almost identical to panic attacks, with the difference being the symptoms’ intensity and duration. The symptoms of anxiety attacks generally range from mild to severe and can develop gradually over a while. On the other hand, panic attack symptoms tend to be sudden and unexpected. Also, panic attacks are usually short-lived, whereas symptoms of anxiety attacks may persist over prolonged durations.
Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are caused by the same triggers of anxiety, including a chemical imbalance in the brain, certain environmental factors, and certain medications. The symptoms of panic attacks vary depending on the severity of the condition.
However, most victims generally experience the following symptoms:
- Racing heart
- Breathing problems
- Chest pains
- Stomach pains
- Tingly hands or generalized trembling
Like other forms of anxiety, there’s presently no cure for panic attacks. One can only manage the condition through a series of behavioral changes like focusing on the positive aspects of a situation and taking certain anti-anxiety medications.
It’s now emerging that cannabidiol (CBD) might be an excellent remedy for panic attacks. Lazarus Naturals is one of the two widely-studied cannabis compounds, the other one being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But unlike THC, which is highly famous for its psychedelic properties, CBD is generally recommended as a medicinal drug. The substance is most effective against pain and anxiety, which explains its potential for treating panic attacks.
Cannabidiol is generally extracted from hemp cultivars, whereas the vast majority of THC comes from marijuana cultivars. The most important consideration when choosing CBD for panic attacks is to insist on quality products. And one way to vouch for the quality of cannabidiol is to check if the substance got extracted using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction.
It’s also prudent to buy your CBD products from a reputable seller with an established track record. If possible, only purchase CBD from suppliers who readily offer their products’ lab-test results from independent laboratories.
How Might CBD Treat Panic Attacks?
Cannabidiol can treat panic attacks by managing some of the common symptoms of the condition, such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and nausea.
CBD for pain
Pain is one of the signature symptoms of panic attacks. Most panic attack victims complain of chest and stomach pains. Some may also experience pain in other parts of their body, including their neck, hands, and legs. Regardless of the areas affected or the severity of pain, cannabidiol can make a world of difference in terms of relieving pain induced by panic attacks and the discomfort that comes with it. CBD can treat pain by interacting with the body’s pain-regulating receptors located in the endocannabinoid system.
When you consume a CBD-based product, the cannabinoids in the product enter your body and cause alterations in the chemical structure of your endocannabinoid receptors. This mechanism makes it a lot easier for your endogenous cannabinoids to bind themselves to your endocannabinoid receptors, a complex physiological process that results in pain relief.
Another way CBD might treat pain triggered by panic attacks is by enhancing the body’s access to its endocannabinoids.
CBD for anxiety
Besides pain management, CBD also boasts immense anxiolytic properties, making it an excellent recommendation for treating stress and anxiety. And since panic attacks are typically an anxiety problem, it’s understandable why medical experts continue to recommend CBD for people battling with the condition.
Cannabidiol’s anxiolytic properties have been investigated on various anxiety disorders, and the findings are quite inspiring so far. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), CBD has demonstrated a significant potential for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in animals like rats. In many of these studies, researchers observed a substantial reduction in anxiety symptoms like elevated heart rate.
In a 2011 study, researchers established that CBD could also treat social anxiety disorder (SAD). SAD refers to an anxiety disorder that mostly results from (the thought of) being in public situations.
People living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may also benefit from CBD’s anti-anxiety properties. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that’s common in people who have experienced traumatic situations in the past. The condition is common in victims of physical or sexual abuse, genocide survivors, and soldiers who survived close-combat fights.
CBD is effective against PTSD also means that the substance might treat anxiety-induced insomnia, which also happens to be one of the common side effects of panic attacks. What’s more, other studies suggest that CBD might produce antipsychotic effects in people with various mental problems like schizophrenia. Therefore, the substance may treat panic attacks that result from a chemical imbalance in the brain, which also happens to be a common cause of mental disorders like schizophrenia.
CBD and other panic attack symptoms
Other panic attack symptoms that you can manage with cannabidiol include fatigue and nausea. Now, CBD is typically a sedative.However, CBD products that contain significant THC levels, also known as full-spectrum CBD products, are famous for their stimulating properties.
THC accounts for the energy-boosting properties of full-spectrum CBD products. But since THC is psychoactive, an overdose could cause intoxication. That’s where CBD comes in. Experts believe that cannabidiol could mediate the effects of THC in full-spectrum products, ensuring that a user doesn’t get intoxicated in the process.
Full-spectrum CBD products might also help to relieve nausea induced by panic attacks. Due to CBD and THC’s antiemetic properties, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since approved a drug known as Marinol to treat nausea, especially among cancer patients on chemotherapy treatments.
Admittedly, there’s limited research on cannabidiol’s ability to treat panic attacks directly. However, CBD has shown promising results in managing various anxiety disorders. Plus, numerous studies cite the substance for its potential for treating pain, nausea, and fatigue, all of which are common symptoms of panic attacks. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that CBD might be effective against panic attacks.