Though it’s not fully understood how exactly CBD works yet, medical studies consistently return results that show benefits for everything from anxiety to inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema and women have responded.
Women are taking CBD at higher rates than men but a little known fact is that most of the clinical and pre-clinical trials describing the benefits of CBD for anxiety are actually done on men. Does that make a difference? A new study calling for more CBD trials to be conducted on women says it does, especially when looking for potential anxiety treatments.
What Is Clinical Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are extremely common worldwide. Clinical anxiety is a type of ever-present and excessive fear that is accompanied by emotional and physical responses in the body. Those who struggle with clinical anxiety often start down a path toward negative coping behaviors like increasing isolation from social interactions.
How Do Women Experience Clinical Anxiety Differently Than Men?
While clinical anxiety is a worldwide problem, it is not distributed evenly among men and women. The rates of clinical anxiety among women is approximately double that of men and its often more severely felt. Women experience clinical anxiety with more significant disruption to their sleep, a more internalized coping style including increased rumination, and are at a much higher risk of developing other mental disorders such as clinical depression.
Men, on the other hand, are more likely to experience increased alcohol and substance abuse, strained relationships due to excessive worry, and significant fear of social consequences. So, medical science has found that men and women experience different symptoms of clinical anxiety but do they actually respond differently to the mood-altering effects of cannabinoids like CBD?
Studies Show Cannabinoid Response Can Depend On Gender
Cannabinoids are the natural compounds that come from the cannabis plant. They include well-known compounds like CBD and THC but also lesser-known or minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBC that science is just starting to investigate now.
The more familiar cannabinoids like CBD and THC have mood-altering and wellness effects in humans and, according to medical studies, their effects appear to differ depending on gender. Gender differences have been described in several studies with regard to the rate at which cannabinoids are absorbed into the body, how long they remain in the body, their overall effect on mood, as well as the potential for abuse.
Despite these known differences in how cannabinoids affect men differently than women, the vast majority of medical study participants are male and even animal studies have been conducted almost exclusively on male subjects. With the rates of anxiety disorders already on a sharp rise, the demand for new and equitable research into cannabinoid benefits for anxiety is getting louder.
New Anxiety Treatments Are In High Demand As Isolation Increases
Current pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety were largely developed nearly 40 years ago with few new drugs coming to market in the interim. The two types of pharmaceutical drugs most often prescribed by doctors for anxiety are depression medications like SSRIs and sedatives like benzodiazepines.
Both of these medications have limited efficacy and significant adverse effects including weight gain that cause many patients to stop taking them. The need for new medications that alleviate severe and moderate anxiety is high. CBD is one of the few novel compounds that has emerged in the last 40 years that shows real promise to treat anxiety.
Studies have shown that it is well tolerated with limited to no serious adverse effects. But with a significant need for new anxiety treatments in the female population where the prevalence of clinical anxiety is twice that in men and the demonstrated uneven effects of cannabinoids as a result of gender, more research must be done that specifically analyzes the effects of CBD on anxiety in women.