At VAAY, we’re more than impressed at how far CBD, also known as cannabidiol, has come- from starting out as a niche part of subculture to becoming a huge part of the health and wellness community. We’re even more impressed at the variety of different ways one can take CBD. From oils to topicals and vape pens, CBD is as versatile as it is helpful for the system in a range of ways. However, today, we’re going to narrow CBD’s benefits by focusing on one question: how valuable can a CBD vape be for soothing anxiety symptoms quickly and effectively?
Because, where there’s anxiety, there tends to be an onslaught of worry, fear, paranoia, and other unpleasant symptoms. We know that an anxiety attack can be hard to manage without a quick, efficient fix. It’s easy to let heart palpitations, nausea, and fear of failure get to you- with panic attacks often made worse with the fact that it can be hard to determine when or where an anxiety attack can hit you- so, at VAAY, we’ve found a CBD-infused supplement to get your anxiety in order whenever you feel you need it. Not only is a CBD vape perfect for transporting around, but it is also fast-acting and can be infused with a range of flavours. The perfect solution for those who want to combat their anxiety quickly.
And, as it turns out, a CBD vape is the quickest, most effective way to get CBD working in your system. There’s very little waste, very high bioavailability, and, overall, little to no fuss. With a CBD vape, you know you’re going to feel CBD’s potential therapeutic effects sooner, not later. At VAAY, we love an effective product- which is why we have a fantastic selection of vape pens for you to choose from, to intensify flavour, promote the CBD’s strength, and, above all, provide a method that prioritises more efficiency and less waste.
The Benefits of Vaping
A CBD vape can be an incredibly quick way to potentially curb any rising symptoms of anxiety. This is because, when we inhale CBD (in its vapourised form), our lungs pretty much ensure the CBD goes directly into our bloodstream with little fuss.
This differs significantly from when we ingest CBD in the form of oils, capsules, or edibles- because when we swallow anything, we’re taking it all the way into our digestive tract to be, subsequently, metabolised by the liver. This can result in slower, less intense results- and very little bioavailability.
The Importance of Bioavailability
What is bioavailability? Well, when we talk about CBD’s bioavailability, what we really mean is: how much of the CBD enters our bloodstream, in proportion to how much we took? Bioavailability could also refer to how effective a method of taking CBD is when it comes to getting the most CBD into our bloodstream, with little to no waste. To answer that question simply: a CBD vape has the highest bioavailability, when compared with even the best CBD oils. There’s more than one way to take CBD- and every single method has its pros and cons. But, if we’re concerned with getting the CBD into our system quickly and effectively, vaping is the way forward.
CBD Absorption and The ‘First-Pass Effect’
When we orally take CBD, the cannabidiol ends up in our liver, where it gets metabolised. Not only does the process of digestion usually take 1-2 hours, when CBD does enter the liver, it undergoes something known as the ‘first-pass effect’. In a nutshell, this is when the CBD is metabolised (by the liver) which then results in a lower concentration by the time it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The CBD then takes action less intensely due to lower overall levels reaching the bloodstream post-digestion.
Another reason why CBD has a lower bioavailability when we take it orally is due to CBD being hydrophobic- meaning, CBD oil and water (in the body) don’t really mix. So, when we ingest CBD, it tends to escape the blood and accumulate in the fatty tissues of our muscles- less CBD can actually be transported by the blood to our ECS receptors, where therapeutic action can take place.
While the intensity of the ‘first-pass effect’ can vary from person to person, with some individuals even preferring their CBD concentration to be lower and more ‘slow-acting’ with longer results, the general consensus remains: the ‘first-pass effect’ happens to a lesser degree when the CBD is inhaled. Meaning that, when you vape, more CBD is absorbed with less waste and purportedly better effects.
In fact, vaping CBD has a high enough bioavailability of 50-60%, which is more than enough to significantly affect therapeutic change. This is because of a process known as diffusion- which is when a substance, such as vapourised CBD, is inhaled into the lungs and can absorb into the bloodstream with ease, due to a concentration gradient. Due to the fact that the concentration of CBD is significantly less, just outside of the lungs, the CBD can quickly diffuse into the blood with little hassle, as any gas will tend to move from a high to low concentration, or down the concentration gradient.
Because the lungs are so permeable, with a wide surface area, they’re more used to letting gaseous molecules in and out than worrying about metabolising anything. For one, when we inhale anything into our lungs, as long as it’s gaseous, more of that substance will enter the bloodstream in one go. Studies tell us that, when vaped, CBD’s possible effects on the system can be felt within 30-60 minutes. For another, CBD becomes more hydrophilic (water-soluble) when it is vapourised, allowing it to absorb into the bloodstream with ease- without you having to worry about the CBD lodging into the fatty tissues of the muscles, where it is less likely to be quickly ‘used’ by the body.
How Does CBD Help With Anxiety?
So, with us establishing that CBD’s possible therapeutic benefits can be felt at faster, more intense levels when vaped, let’s see how CBD may curb symptoms of anxiety.
There are a few ways to categorise anxiety. While anxiety disorders tend to branch out into different levels and types, we can label the main types of anxiety as such:
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Social disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
These four categories are umbrella terms for a broader range of issues surrounding anxiety. They can also vary in intensity and require different types of treatment, from medication to therapy. However, for the most part, anxiety is usually understood to stem from a response to feeling in some type of danger (which can be anything from physical to emotional, like an upcoming meeting with your boss). When a person begins to express anxiety over smaller triggers (like going outside or meeting with friends), this is usually diagnosed as an anxiety disorder.
So, how might CBD help your anxiety symptoms?
CBD and The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
CBD has been known to indirectly affect the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex system which we all have, and is responsible for balancing processes in the body (also known as ‘homeostasis’, if you want to get scientific). In other words, the ECS keeps everything in good working order- from keeping our mood balanced, our appetite in moderation, and even ensuring that our cognitive processes (such as memory and perception) run smoothly. Even without outside help from CBD, our ECS can work on its own- by using our body’s natural endocannabinoids and ECS receptors.
Endocannabinoids, which are produced by the body, work by binding to ECS receptors, which are dotted around our whole body (particularly throughout our nervous system). Typically, ECS receptors are split into two types- CB1 and CB2; which control different processes. Where CB1 receptors tend to sit in the brain and along the central nervous system (CNS), CB2 receptors tend to line the gut and modulate the peripheral nervous system (PNS) alongside our immunity.
Cannabinoids, such as CBD, have the potential to stimulate the ECS into action. Where CBD isn’t thought to directly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, it may promote higher levels of certain endocannabinoids, which do work well with these receptors, and turn can help to modulate processes such as our anxiety responses (via the CNS). When endocannabinoids alone, can’t help to promote higher levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, GABA, and even dopamine in our system, taking CBD has shown to raise these neurotransmitters without any chance of psychotropic effects.
CBD: Potentially Decreasing Anxiety
CBD promotes the release of two endocannabinoids, in particular: 2-AG and anandamide. So, unlike THC, it doesn’t ‘flood’ the CB1 and CB2 receptors or cause psychotropic effects. Instead, by impacting levels of already-existing endocannabinoids, CBD may increase the therapeutic benefits of our natural ECS. This is because both anandamide and 2-AG are known for their beneficial qualities- one major quality is significantly reducing the symptoms of anxiety in high enough doses (anandamide is even known as a ‘bliss’ compound in some circles!)
Studies have shown that higher levels of CBD can instantaneously help to modulate your fear response, typically associated with anxiety, which is a response to a trigger that a person imagines (even subconsciously) as a threat to their wellbeing or survival. In one 2019 study, researchers found that 300 mg to 600 mg a day was enough to significantly lower anxiety levels (in a group of 57 males).
It makes sense why a vape might be best, especially if you’re prone to high levels of anxiety which hit at inopportune moments. CBD e-liquids tend to vary in concentration- but you can be assured that very little of that concentration will be wasted in the metabolic process. With a vape, bioavailability is high enough that the CBD can absorb into the system fairly quickly, and change can occur.
Anandamide, also known as the ‘bliss molecule’, promotes an overall therapeutic response in the system. According to some studies, those who are ‘happier’ tend to have naturally higher levels of anandamide in their system. Typically, without the presence of CBD, anandamide is reabsorbed quickly by a protein called fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). With CBD in the picture, FAAH’s activity is severely limited, meaning that anandamide can exist in the system for longer amounts of time.
High levels of anandamide can do all sorts of things for the body- from decreasing pain levels to reducing how much fear we perceive. Not only does anandamide bind to the CB1 receptors in the brain, which can promote higher levels of feel-good neurotransmitters (more on this later), but anandamide can also bind to TRPV1 receptors. When anandamide binds to these receptors, it tends to help lower our perception of pain and fear as well as increase wellbeing. A study conducted on rodents, shows us that, when FAAH is inhibited from reuptaking anandamide, it tends to bind to TRPV1, affecting a host of therapeutic benefits, from the regulation of body temperature to lowering our fear levels.
TRPV1 receptors tend to be located in the regions of the brain which control emotional and stress responses, which suggests why binding to them might help modulate things like pain and fear. These locations include the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, and dorsolateral periaqueductal grey areas of the brain- and scientists hypothesise that TRPV1 might have such anxiolytic effects, because of where they’re situated in the brain.
Anandamide proves useful in many areas of our life- much like the happiness it creates- as we can clearly see the benefits of having the endocannabinoid in greater amounts within our system. Not only does anandamide help to lower anandamide levels by boosting our serotonin levels, but it can also activate homeostasis in the body by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors all over the body.
One of the ways anandamide can be particularly useful for anxiety is down to new research, which tells us that higher levels of anandamide in the system have been linked to more nerve cells. The process, known as neurogenesis, essentially allows for better memory, learning, and cognition (clearer thoughts, basically). When it comes to helping your anxiety, anandamide’s potential to help promote neurogenesis in the body may prove valuable. Better cognition, perception, and memory could be one of the key ways to combat mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety- since the two disorders often go hand in hand (they’re typically caused by the same chemical imbalances in the body) this makes sense.
Likewise, CBD levels have been shown to potentially promote the activity of the endocannabinoid 2-AG, which has a high affinity for CB1 receptors in the CNS. It is said to do this by inhibiting the enzyme, monoacylglycerol lipase, which tends to degrade 2-AG.
Studies have shown that higher levels of 2-AG in the system help to decrease inflammation, protect neurons, and increase feel-good neurotransmitter levels. More than a few studies have concluded that higher levels of 2-AG have helped reduce anxiety-like behaviours in animal models, reduce PTSD symptoms, and reduce the symptoms of depression.
While these studies didn’t categorically state that anxiety could be curbed by higher levels of 2-AG in the system, one did conclude that low levels of 2-AG (where the 2-AG pathway was disrupted in some way or another) meant the mice displayed higher levels of anxiety- suggesting that a relationship between 2-AG and anxiety does exist, though further testing is needed. The same study suggests that 2-AG activity in the amygdala region of the brain could play a key role in improving mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety and fear in the long term.
Higher levels of 2-AG have also been shown to curb stress; in particular, mice with higher levels of 2-AG in their amygdala were shown to be more resilient to stress.
As you might already know, higher levels of serotonin have been linked to lower cases of depression and anxiety disorders- as well as regulating our sleep schedule, appetite and even digestion. Serotonin predominantly resides in our brain, bowels, and blood platelets- playing a significant role in many of our central nervous system processes.
CBD and Serotonin
Luckily for us, CBD may, in fact, work with the serotonergic receptors in the brain, purportedly improving mood and lowering anxiety levels by a significant amount. Not only have studies posited that anandamide and 2-AG could play a role in helping to modulate serotonin levels in the brain, by activating CB1 receptors- it has also been confirmed that CBD may potentially have an influence on how the 5-HT pathway (through which serotonin travels) works.
5-HT receptors bind to serotonin (also known as the molecule, 5-HT), and this allows therapeutic change to affect the system. The 5-HT pathway can be a tricky one to modulate- since the overactivation of CB1 receptors in the brain has been shown to inhibit 5-HT receptors, preventing serotonin from doing its job. With anandamide and 2-AG in the system, there is a gentle activation of CB1 receptors in the brain, which allows the 5-HT pathway to regulate itself at an optimal level- promoting the secretion of serotonin in the body, without upsetting this precarious balance.
According to some studies, CBD may affect the way your system responds to already-existing levels of serotonin. This is because CBD may potentially bind to 5-HT receptors in the brain and stimulate therapeutic change before serotonin even enters the picture. Since the brain believes that the 5-HT receptors are activated, serotonin’s ‘feel-good’ pathway is in a great state of balance. This may affect positive change in the body- helping to lower anxiety levels, curb depression, and boost wellbeing.
According to other studies, anandamide and 2-AG’s potential to promote activity in TRPV1 receptors, as well as the 5-HT pathway, can potentially overstimulate the system. This suggests that your CBD dose needs to be moderate to high- but not overwhelming. Luckily, it’s rare for CBD to overwhelm the system since CBD itself doesn’t have a massive affinity for ECS receptors. There’s very little chance (as in, few instances have ever been recorded) for the system to become overloaded and start to skew perception, memory, and mood in the same way that a THC overdose (also known as a THC ‘high”) can do.
Before we begin, we do recommend that any beginner suffering from any chronic anxiety disorder refer to a medical professional before embarking on their CBD vape journey. While CBD supplements tend not to have as many side effects as standard medication, everyone’s body is unique and tends to react differently- even to the most natural of substances. Likewise, vaping isn’t always suitable for everyone- it can be potentially dangerous for people with weak lungs or asthma. It is important to consult and consider the advice of a medical professional before you choose to vape.
It’s hard to put a finger on what the correct dosage of CBD is for you. This is because, as so many studies out there have shown, there’s a great discrepancy when it comes to how much CBD it may take to impact your anxiety symptoms. Although the general consensus is 300mg-600mg, it can be hard to determine what’s right for you. There are several factors to consider when you’re dosing your CBD:
- Your metabolism
- Your body weight
- The concentration of CBD
- What type of anxiety disorder you have/ the severity of your disorder
A particularly important factor, and one that often gets missed in the dosing debate, is: what type of method are you using. With a CBD vape, as we’ve established, the bioavailability of CBD is pretty high- which means you’ll be getting a higher concentration of CBD, quickly and effectively, than if you took cannabidiol orally or sublingually.
Another thing to consider is what spectrum of e-liquid you want. As a rule of thumb, the more cannabinoids there are present, the more potent and effective your e-liquid will be.
‘Whole Plant’ CBD Vape Liquid
‘Whole plant’ e-liquid is the most potent type of vape juice out there- it essentially combines every single cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. This means that low, legal levels of THC are present in ‘whole plant’ liquid- which is nothing to worry about, because, according to UK law, the THC can’t exceed 0.2% concentration levels. That’s not enough to get you high, but it is enough to promote the ‘entourage effect’. This is when trace amounts of THC, alongside other cannabinoids which are typically found in the hemp plant, work together with CBD to make the product more effective.
‘Whole plant’ e-liquid typically contains natural waxes and lipids (found in the hemp plant, itself) which further promotes the ‘entourage effect’. Since any CBD product which can naturally mimic the ratio of cannabinoids and molecules found in the original hemp plant tends to be a lot more potent, a ‘whole plant’ e-liquid is considered highly potent and effective.
Combining the potency of ‘whole plant’ e-liquids with the high bioavailability of vaping, and ‘whole plant’ vape juice’s potency can be considered an excellent therapy against strong anxiety disorders, with many results anecdotally reported quickly and effectively.
Full Spectrum E-Liquid
Full-spectrum e-liquids also take advantage of the ‘entourage effect’, much like ‘whole plant’. However, unlike ‘whole plant’ e-liquids, full-spectrum doesn’t contain the lipids and wax found in the original hemp plant. This is because a full spectrum e-liquid won’t contain hemp paste.
Otherwise, full-spectrum e-liquids still contain legal levels of THC, with a mixture of cannabinoids- including terpenes, flavonoids, and phytocannabinoids to provide a rich CBD experience.
Broad Spectrum E-Liquid
Broad-spectrum e-liquids contain all the cannabinoids- except THC.
While broad-spectrum is still potent in its own right, drawing on the ‘entourage effect’, its lack of THC, even in trace amounts, means the e-liquid is less potent than ‘whole plant’ or full spectrum.
Since THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis Sativa plant, a broad spectrum e-liquid can’t quite capture the same ratio of the original hemp plant- meaning that the potency of the other cannabinoids is reduced (though not by much).
Nonetheless, broad-spectrum is perfect for those who want to avoid THC’s psychoactive properties altogether.
VAAY’s Selection of CBD Vape Pens
At VAAY, we believe that no CBD product is quite as effective, is it is without the ‘entourage effect’. Which is why we have a selection of vape diffuser pens with added terpenes- from mint and citrus (to uplift and elevate your mood) to pinene (to help you relax). A wealth of research can tell you that terpenes are extremely valuable for the system- not just to promote the strength of CBD, but for additional possible benefits.
Our lemon-infused pen contains limonene, among other terpenes, to potentially prevent oxidative stress, lift the mood, protect against gastrointestinal diseases, promote antimicrobial benefits, and more.
Our mint-infused pen has additional terpenes, such as beta-caryophyllene and linalool, to purportedly stimulate wellbeing and help modulate GABA receptors in the brain- essential for lowering anxiety and promoting wellness. Menthol’s potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce pain and inflammation also gives it a therapeutic reputation.
Our herbal pen has pinene, limonene, and linalool to help prevent oxidative stress, decrease anxiety and stress, and improve cognition.
And lastly, our fruit-infused pen has a cocktail of terpenes, including geraniol, which has properties as a neuroprotective agent, as well as helping to ease inflammation, protect the heart, and promote better cognition.
Whether you suffer from anxiety or simply want to try CBD to promote your own wellbeing, the beauty of cannabidiol lies in its versatility. One of the most efficient methods for taking CBD is by vaping it- which allows the body to absorb CBD at quicker, more effective rates. This can be perfect for those of us who might need a quick way to combat rising symptoms of anxiety.
So, if you’re the type of person that values portability, comfort, ease, and effectiveness, why not pick up a CBD vape pen from VAAY, and see what all the fuss is about?