Please note: the use of CBD products for medial or recreational purposes may be illegal in your country. Healthiack.com does not encourage the use of this substance.
The more scientists study mental health, the more obvious it becomes that conditions such as anxiety, depression, and chronic stress are far more common than we imagined. According to a 2017 study, a whopping 284 million people from all over the world struggle with anxiety disorders, which takes a toll not just on their health, but also on their careers and personal lives.
Despite increased awareness, the world is battling a mental health epidemic and one of the biggest challenges in solving it is that too few people seek treatment.
Data from the National Institute of Mental Health shows that 34% of US adults diagnosed with mental health conditions did not receive treatment and the percentage is even higher for young adults (43%).
There are many reasons for this worrying state of events. Some are afraid of the social stigma of mental health and don’t want to open up about their problems, while others are afraid that their insurance plan doesn’t cover the high cost of treatment. Side effects and drug interactions are also a common concern.
In this sensitive context, CBD has made a major impact and showed that the management of mental health conditions can be simpler than we thought.
Some insights into the booming CBD industry
Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in the Cannabis sativa plant, has emerged as one of the most popular treatments for mental health issues such as stress and anxiety because it promotes a sense of calm and relief without the “high” that marijuana is known for.
Initially just a niche trend, CBD has rapidly gained the trust of medical experts and research so far backs up the positive claims. Whether they come in the form of drops and tinctures, CBD products can ease social anxiety, improve focus, and even help people cope with their fear of speaking in public.
Apart from all the encouraging scientific research, CBD is also enjoying a huge surge in popularity. Powered by social media and public endorsements from celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jennifer Aniston, CBD has become one of the hottest symbols of 2019. Social media mentions mostly abound in the younger demographic (people aged 15-35), which is precisely the one that benefits from it the most. Other age groups also talk about CBD online but mostly for its inflammation and pain-reducing properties.
The online popularity of CBD grew by 260% and this interest is naturally reflected in CBD sales. More people than ever before are buying CBD products such as oils, tinctures, and organic CBD nugs for personal consumption, and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
As a result, the CBD industry is gaining incredible momentum. By the latest estimates, it will have a compound annual growth rate of 49% by 2024, which means that it could reach $20 billion.
In 2018, people spent more than $500 million on CBD products, but here’s another interesting finding: one study has shown that 41% of cannabis users replaced their usual medication with CBD and 40% of those who did, reported better results.
CBD shows that mental health treatments needn’t be expensive or inaccessible
Before delving to the impact of CBD products on mental health treatments, it’s important to point out that each diagnosis is different and that patients may experience varying effects depending on the type and severity of their condition. For example, when talking of mild cases of chronic stress, the treatment is more straightforward than cases of severe social anxiety or other serious mental illnesses. Despite the popularity of CBD, it’s still a relatively new treatment, so more research is needed to discover the extent of its power.
Back to the matter at hand, CBD has offered a much-needed alternative to people who cannot afford the high cost of mental health support, especially in the US, where many healthcare insurers don’t cover essential anti-anxiety medications. Researchers even found that Americans with health insurance are spending more out of their pockets on mental health services than on heart disease and diabetes. Then, there are the people from low-income families, who don’t even have health insurance coverage although they’re statistically the most likely to struggle with mental health.
Even more affordable treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which cost around $100/hour, are still expensive for a person who is struggling to cover the daily necessities. In comparison, CBD products are much more reasonably priced and people who have heard about them online or know someone who has tried them are happy to give them a chance. A 2019 poll showed that around 37% of Americans regularly use CBD products for anxiety and 63% of these are extremely happy with the results, especially when it comes to the lack of side effects.
Although effective, medication for anxiety or depression has been linked with side effects such as insomnia, mood swings, restlessness, and lack of libido. Meanwhile, CBD has no known long-term side-effects. In 2017, the World Health Organization declared CBD as generally safe, pointing out the consumers still have to check with their healthcare provider about possible interactions with other drugs.
In addition to being affordable and safe, CBD is also accessible. First, it’s available in four formulations that people can choose from, depending on their lifestyle and preferences:
- Oral products such as oils, sprays, capsules, and tinctures. They can be consumed as such or mixed with smoothies and other drinks.
- Vaping products that can be smoked
- Edible products such as gummies, biscuits, and chocolates
- Topical treatments such as creams and lotions (although these are rather used for pain management, not mental health).
Also, high-quality CBD products are easy to come by. In addition to stand-alone land-based stores, many dispensaries and health food stores have brought CBD products on their shelves. Then there are online stores, of course. No matter the form in which you prefer to consume CBD, there are many reliable online stores that sell organic products and a quick search will reveal dozens of good options.