As the father of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard used to say, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” But boy, it’s also the dizziness that affects modern society as well. In America alone, studies estimate that 19.1% of the adult population suffers from anxiety problems. Therefore, it is no surprise that our society has such a pronounced problem of addiction to opioids and other anti-anxiety drugs. Ultimately, these prescribed drugs carry so many adverse effects that it is already difficult to determine if they are a solution or part of the problem. This is why many people search for alternative, natural, gentler, and less problematic methods to deal with anxiety and its related symptoms, such as sleep problems. This is where CBD and valerian root comes to the rescue.
On the one hand, people have been using valerian root since the second century AD. to deal with different conditions associated with anxiety, stress, and sleep problems, among other conditions such as stomach cramps. On the other hand, CBD, although it does not have such a long history of therapeutic use, continues to become more and more popular today due to the wide range of potential therapeutic applications that it carries, including the reduction of generalized anxiety, relief of pain, and inflammation.
Both valerian and CBD seem to carry the medical potential to help us deal with anxiety. But which of these substances is more effective in winning the battle against anxiety? Many people ask this question, and if you are one of those people, you have come to the right post! In the following article, we will make a comparison of CBD vs valerian root for anxiety so that you can determine which of the two might be better for you or even if the answer lies in combining both substances. Let’s start by reviewing some fundamental concepts.
What is valerian root?
Valeriana Officinalis, commonly known as valerian, is a type of perennial shrub with a long history of medicinal use as a sedative in different cultures. Valerian can grow up to six feet tall, exudes a strong aroma, and is a plant native to Europe and some parts of Asia, part of the Valerianaceae family but later reclassified as part of the Caprifoliaceae family. Valerian has been popular as a natural medicine to treat various conditions since ancient Greek and Roman times, probably due to its effects on the brain and nervous system, with the root of this plant carrying the most significant therapeutic burden.
People often use valerian root to treat sleep disorders, insomnia, calm nerves, anxiety, stress, and other conditions. Nevertheless, we still need more scientific studies to thoroughly verify valerian and its roots’ potential therapeutic qualities and effectiveness in dealing with many of the conditions people commonly use it for.
Valerian root benefits for anxiety
Scientists still need to learn what valerian’s mechanism of action is. Still, they believe it increases the amount of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, in the brain. This increase in the amount of GABA in the brain could have benefits in terms of anxiety since the chemical GABA helps regulate nerve cells and generates calming effects that could reduce anxiety. Scientists substantiate this belief about valerian’s mechanism of action in that commonly prescribed anxiety drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) also work by increasing the chemical GABA in the brain.
Many people also believe that valerian root extract could help better deal with other anxiety-related symptoms such as insomnia; it could help one to fall asleep faster and have better sleep quality. This suggests that valerian root could possibly provide relief from restlessness without generating the hangover or drowsy feeling that other drugs prescribed for anxiety and sleep usually cause the day after taking them since the effects of valerian are milder and gentler. But both experts and anecdotal reports recommend taking valerian close to bedtime and in lower doses than those used to treat insomnia. Otherwise, valerian could cause daytime sleepiness in some cases, making it very difficult to participate in your daily activities as you would regularly.
We must also stress that we still need more concrete evidence to make any definitive claims as to whether valerian root could be a substitute for other medications prescribed for anxiety or sleep problems.
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids identified in cannabis plants and is the 2nd most abundant naturally occurring cannabinoid. The hemp plants produce CBD naturally in the greatest quantities. This cannabinoid has the peculiarity that it can provide its consumers with most of the potential therapeutic benefits attributed to cannabis without generating intoxicating or psychoactive effects or the distinctive “high” that many people associate with cannabis use.
Although CBD was identified by Harvard-trained chemist Roger Adams in 1940, it is only in the last few years that this revolutionary cannabinoid has been increasing in popularity among cannabis users. CBD has a very similar chemical structure to its cousin THC, the predominant cannabinoid in cannabis. THC is also responsible for generating the controversial high with which many people associate cannabis. These slight differences in the chemical structure cause CBD to interact with our endocannabinoid system differently, causing this cannabinoid to be non-intoxicating, making it a viable alternative for all who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis but want to avoid the psychoactive effects generated by THC.
CBD benefits for anxiety
Several studies point to CBD as a potentially beneficial organic compound for anxiety. The National Institute for Drug Abuse, or NIDA, says that in their research on generalized anxiety syndrome, or GAD, CBD was shown to reduce signs of stress in rodents, as well as psychological symptoms of anxiety such as increased heart rate. But, we still need more specific studies on humans with GAD.
There is also some evidence to suggest that CBD may help with other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder, anxiety-induced insomnia, and post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD.
A 2011 study on the effects of CBD on people with SAD or social anxiety disorder showed that participants who received CBD significantly reduced anxiety symptoms compared to those who received a placebo.
Other recent studies indicate that CBD may be beneficial as a possible adjunctive treatment for PTSD symptoms such as recurring nightmares and replaying of negative memories. These studies looked at CBD both on its own as a complementary treatment to traditional medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy, demonstrating promising results in both ways.
Scientists believe CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. Although researchers do not yet fully understand how CBD affects these receptors, it appears that it may alter serotonin signals in our brains. It is vital to note that serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a leading role in our mental health since deficient serotonin levels have a direct link with depression and anxiety in some cases. The traditional treatment for low serotonin levels is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI, such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac). But, it seems that some people might be able to manage their anxiety efficiently with CBD. Nonetheless, it is crucial to consult with an expert before considering including CBD or making changes to your regular anxiety treatment.
Can CBD be mixed with valerian?
The evidence found so far suggests that you can combine CBD with valerian, but always in moderation.
We know that because CBD and valerian have similar calming and potentially anxiolytic effects, many have questions about whether they can combine these two substances to treat anxiety.
There may still be many people who wonder if they can get high from CBD, and the answer is a simple “no” since CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. But, although research shows that combining CBD with valerian is generally safe and effective, some people may experience some mild side effects such as difficulty concentrating, dizziness, drowsiness, and in some cases, confusion.
Is CBD or Valerian root better for anxiety?
Giving a single universal answer that works the same for all people can be difficult as the results of taking CBD and valerian root extract can differ for each person. For most, both CBD and valerian can work well when it comes to anxiety, so what can make CBD or valerian better for treating anxiety would include other factors such as dosage required, price, side effects, and the specific needs and preferences of each user.
In this sense, and starting with the price, we could say that valerian is cheaper than CBD, considering that many users report that CBD can be effective for anxiety from doses of 50mg. Valerian may be effective in reducing anxiety at doses of 120mg to 200mg, but the price/dose ratio of valerian is still lower than that of CBD. However, some users report slightly sedative effects of valerian that could cause drowsiness or affect energy levels when taken during the day. In contrast, CBD does not report adverse effects regarding alertness levels and does not interrupt your daily activities.
On the other hand, other users might choose CBD over valerian to treat their anxiety because valerian is a GABAergic substance, just like other prescription drugs for anxiety. Similar to other GABAergic substances, some people may develop a tolerance or even experience rebound anxiety effects with valerian. These effects do not seem to appear when using CBD to treat anxiety. Therefore, to determine if CBD or valerian are better for anxiety, it would be necessary to evaluate the specific effects and the effectiveness of each substance in each particular case.
How to take CBD for improved sleep
Although we still need more specific studies to determine the effectiveness of CBD in reducing anxiety and improving sleep, many anecdotal user reports and preliminary study results support the potential benefits of CBD in dealing with these conditions and their symptoms. Apart from smoking CBD directly from hemp flowers, there are other ways to take CBD that can vary the bioavailability, timing, and range of action of this cannabinoid. This is why some ways of taking CBD may be more convenient for treating anxiety than others. The most commonly used methods to take CBD to promote sleep are sublingually and orally.
If your CBD type of choice is CBD oil, taking it sublingually involves using an eyedropper to place the oil under your tongue. When taken this way, the sublingual gland, a vessel found under the tongue, absorbs the CBD allowing the CBD to enter the bloodstream more directly than if it were swallowed. If swallowed, the digestive system would have to process the CBD oil to reap its benefits. It is enough to place the CBD oil under the tongue between 60 to 90 seconds so it can enter the sublingual gland and then into our bloodstream.
Some CBD edibles, such as candies, chocolates, or gummies, can also work sublingually. When the CBD chocolate or candy is sucked or melted in our mouth, the Cannabidiol also passes through our sublingual gland and enters our system.
If smoking is not among your options to consider and you don’t like the taste or texture of CBD oils, another efficient way to take this cannabinoid can be CBD capsules. CBD capsules are also a convenient way to take to better control the dose of CBD you want to ingest.
By taking CBD in this way, the capsules will take a little longer to work because they have to pass through our digestive system and liver before being available in our bloodstream. Furthermore, the journey that CBD must take through the digestive system also considerably reduces its final bioavailability. Existing data on the bioavailability of orally ingested CBD indicates that CBD products ingested in this way offer less than 20% bioavailability. This means that to get the same level of relief, the dose or concentration of the CBD products you ingest this way must be higher than the dose needed when taking the CBD sublingually.
Another important factor we must highlight is that it is more challenging to calculate the exact dose of CBD you will get when eating an edible or taking a CBD capsule. This is because each person’s metabolism is unique, and therefore the amount of CBD finally becomes available in our bloodstream.
CBD gummies with valerian root
As we already mentioned, one of the most effective ways to take CBD to deal with anxiety and sleep problems can be through CBD edibles. One of our users’ most sought-after and favorite edibles is CBD gummies. If you are still wondering what CBD gummies are, the answer is simple; they are nothing more than gummies that contain CBD extract as part of their recipe, making them a delicious therapeutic candy treat. You can take these gummies by themselves to treat your anxiety or sleep problems related to different anxiety disorders, inflammation, or chronic or acute pain.
No doubt, you can also find different valerian root products on the market, as this plant has a long history of therapeutic use to deal with symptoms of stress and lack of sleep. You could take a dose of CBD gummy and your valerian extract separately and still get the benefits of both substances. However, we know how popular the powerful and effective blend of CBD with Valerian has become for dealing with anxiety and sleep problems and how practical it can be to simply take a single product that contains both substances. This is why, at Botany Farms, we are working hard to develop a new, delicious, and practical product that contains CBD with Valerian in order to give our users a new potential tool to deal with anxiety symptoms that can hopefully also be helpful to get a better night’s sleep.
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