Millions of people in Canada and around the world have had their lives disrupted by the current public health crisis. For many, the impact of social isolation, economic uncertainty, and other stressors related to the pandemic have increased feelings of anxiety and depression.
During this unprecedented crisis, National Mental Health Week provides an important opportunity to discuss the misconceptions and taboos surrounding medical CBD and mental health, particularly in the context of its growing popularity and new regulatory frameworks.
Indeed, health care professionals and their patients are increasingly turning to medical CBD as an option when conventional approaches to treating anxiety have proven ineffective.
Yet the use of medical CBD as a mental health treatment is particularly complex, and high-quality clinical evidence is still limited and sometimes conflicting. In addition, its effects are often misunderstood by patients, some of whom have unrealistic expectations about the potential therapeutic benefits.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORT AND FOLLOW-UP
In Santé CBD’s experience, the effects of cannabinoids are highly individualized. Clinical approaches to different mental health conditions also rely on very specific compounds, dosages, and administration methods.
The integration of individualized education and supervised access to CBD treatments is crucial to ensure that patients seeking effective treatments receive the support they need to make safe and informed decisions.
In regulatory environments such as Canada and some U.S. states, where CBD is legal and readily available, integration into health care models can help mitigate the risks of unsupervised use.
Any decision to use medical CBD to treat a mental health problem should be made with the close support of a health care professional and a mental health expert.
SUFFERING FROM ANXIETY? YOU ARE NOT ALONE
According to a 2016 study by the Public Health Agency of Canada, more than three and a half million Canadians live with anxiety or a mood disorder. Anxiety disorders encompass a range of conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and other conditions characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear.
Although cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy is often recommended as a non-pharmacological treatment option, only about 20% of Canadians with anxiety or mood disorders report having received psychological counseling to help them manage their condition. In contrast, more than 90% report using or having used prescription medications to treat their disorder.
Serotonin inhibitors, traditional anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines, and antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety. Although these treatments have been shown to be effective, unwanted and harmful side effects are often reported following their use.
When patients do not respond well to these pharmaceutical treatments, the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) products may be a safe alternative.
CBD AS A COMPLEMENTARY TREATMENT: DEVELOPING TREATMENT PLANS WITH CBD HEALTH
CBD is generally well tolerated, has a good safety profile, and demonstrated efficacy as an anxiolytic, making it the cannabinoid of choice for treating anxiety.
After assessment of medical history, pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, and screening for potential risk factors, anxiety treatments for CBD Health patients are typically initiated by ingestion of the Best 10% CBD Oils, administered with a dropper, in capsules, or in an atomizer.
Medical CBD treatments start with low doses but slowly increase over a titration period. Quebec physicians who wish to learn more about dosing and titration recommendations can enroll in the Physician Education Program.