I’ve always struggled with anxiety. It affects every part of my life and has been especially brutal since I graduated from college. My therapist reassures me this uptick in my anxiety is a growing pain of adulthood and recommends exercise, meditation, socialization, and of course, therapy to ease the symptoms.
These tools are all important aspects of my mental health arsenal.
Recently, though, I added one more practice into my mental health routine—CBD massage. These have been incredibly helpful in my daily struggles with anxiety, and I try to get one whenever I can afford it.
If you’ve never considered CBD massage for anxiety, here’s the lowdown.
How CBD Works
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp. It’s not the same as THC, which is the psychoactive component in cannabis associated with “getting high.”
CBD doesn’t get you high or impact your cognitive function but does attach to certain receptors in our bodies and to produce therapeutic physical and mental effects.
Our bodies naturally create certain cannabinoids that are similar to CBD. As a result, we have two types of cannabis receptors: CB1 and CB2.
The CB1 receptors are primarily in the brain and nerves of the spinal cord and the CB2 receptors are found in the nerves of your extremities, digestive system, and immune system.
Researchers once believed CBD worked by attaching directly to these receptors.
However, more recent research suggests CBD works by directing your body to produce more of its own cannabinoids, resulting in an increased therapeutic effect.
How CBD Worked for My Anxiety
I live in the congested heart of Los Angeles, where CBD and cannabis are as ubiquitous as Uber drivers.
Naturally, CBD’s ability to help fight anxiety is well-known in these parts, and I had been curious for quite some time to see if it might help me with mine.
I came across a trendy boutique that offered CBD massages and booked an appointment.
When the day came I laid down on the massage table and was soon awash in soothing scents, dim lighting, and white noise.
Then, of course, as often happens when it’s calm and distractions are minimal, came the familiar barrage of anxiety-inducing worries to flood my mind. Body insecurities, health concerns, and relationship issues all rushed into the forefront of my mind.
I focused on the calm kneading on my tight muscles, and when the massage therapist tenderly applied the CBD balm, I felt all tension dissipate.
Before I knew it, my hour was up, yet it felt as if mere minutes had passed.
I got dressed and instantly felt lighter.
This was different from a typical massage. Both types of massage leave me feeling relaxed. However, the CBD massage left me mentally de-stressed and feeling just, well, chilled out.
And I noticed that my anxiety afterward was so much easier to deal with.
Instead of an angry swarm of bees, my anxiety felt like a pesky fly I could easily swat away.
The Health Benefits of CBD
Researchers are still uncovering all the therapeutic effects of CBD. Scientific literature has discovered over 65 ways CBD works in the body molecularly so far.
Here are just a few of the therapeutic effects of CBD researchers have uncovered:
Skin and Body Care
CBD has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to relieve joint pain, muscle aches, and swelling. You can also apply CBD on your acne, where it may calm redness and promote healing.
CBD shampoos, conditioners, and scalp treatments? Why not?
CBD promotes blood circulation, which may boost hair growth and prevent breakage. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may also reduce inflammatory cytokines on the scalp, which could improve dandruff, eczema, and flaky skin.
CBD is also abundant in essential fatty acids that provide nourishment and hydration for hair and scalp.
Stress and Anxiety
In the scientific arena of mental health, research suggests CBD may have anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects.
CBD may lower feelings of isolation, reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and relieve social anxiety.
Since I began incorporating CBD massages into my self-care routine, it has made a world of difference. It’s not a cure-all for my anxiety. Nothing is. But it centers me in a less-scary reality. Researchers may still be uncovering the hows-and-whys of CBD and anxiety, but for me, the results are clear. CBD will continue to remain an effective tool for my anxiety management.