Anecdotal and scientific evidence abounds for the usefulness of CBD and how it stops an anxiety attack. However, the discussion around the best type of CBD for anxiety is an ongoing one. A key aspect missing from the conversation is DNA. 

While it’s still an emerging concept, research does prove that a CBD consumer’s genetics should dictate which CBD product he or she uses to stop an anxiety attack. Genetics plays a crucial role in how specific types of cannabinoids and terpenes affect a user, and without understanding how phytocannabinoids respond to different genetic variations, a consumer with anxiety will not know how to stop an attack once it starts. 

How does genetics affect anxiety?

Anxiety always manifests as anxious behavior, but the underlying cause of that anxiety can vary from person to person. An individual’s anxiety could be a result of neuroticism, stress from a disability, or social anxiety. There are many reasons why someone might be showcasing anxious behavior, making it imperative for consumers to find CBD products that are geared toward a specific cause of anxiety, not the anxious behavior in and of itself. 

However, to begin this process, consumers have to understand which root causes of anxiety they’re genetically predisposed to experiencing. For example, specific gene variations can predict the risk factor of developing neuroticism or having stress susceptibility. It’s also possible for a person to have a genetic predisposition for PTSD, which is encoded on the CNR-1 gene and the FAAH gene. Both of these genes are accountable for helping to encode CB-1 receptors, an integral part of the endocannabinoid system. 

In addition, some gene variations can determine whether a person is predisposed to having anxiety disorders. A recent study supervised by Academy Research Fellow Iiris Hovatta focused on genes that impact human behavior, and some of those genes showed a direct relationship to anxiety disorders. What’s more interesting is that the evidence showed that different genes could lead to specific types of anxiety disorders like panic disorder, social phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder. 

a woman who doesn't know how to stop an anxiety attack

As a result of this link between anxiety and genetics, people now have to grasp the concept that combatting the root cause of their anxiety is how they will stop an anxiety attack. It’s not the other way around. People have to know what makes them anxious before they try to prevent an attack from occurring. As genetic research shows, consumers’ DNA can reveal a lot about why they are having an anxiety attack — but what’s also interesting is that neuroscience theories can also predict the root causes of anxiety. 

Neuroscience theories that suggest the root causes of anxiety

There is a catch-all category for anxiety, which researchers coin as generalized anxiety disorder, a condition that’s the result of excessive and persistent worry about a number of things. However, while that category is valid, there is a popular theory in neuroscience: most mental health conditions boil down to the “self versus other” thinking pattern, whereby someone continually compares themselves to others. 

In the case of depression, a central factor is feeling different from other people. This outsider perspective can lead to negative self-evaluations, making depression sound like: I’m not as good as that other person, or I’m not as good as the status-quo. In the case of OCD, it could look like I didn’t close this door as best as I could, so I need to do it again, or I didn’t wash my hands as well as I could, so I need to do it again. This constant comparison and berating of one’s self can easily trigger an anxiety attack because a person is failing to believe that he or she is good enough. 

But the “self versus other” mentality isn’t the only major root cause of anxiety. Another reason for the condition could be an increased arousal sensitivity system in social situations. The body is flooded with different neurotransmitters that can make a person anxious. If someone is in a seemingly uncomfortable social setting, then those neurotransmitters will respond in full force, leading to the inevitable: an anxiety attack. 

As neuroscience theories suggest, the umbrella condition “anxiety” might feel the same for many people, and the panic attack that results might look the same as well. But again, the root causes and neurochemicals that lead to anxiety can differ in different people. These theories back up the research that links specific gene variations to conditions that manifest as anxious behavior, further proving that attacking the root cause of anxiety is the first step to stopping an anxiety attack. 

But if someone wants to use CBD to mitigate their specific genetic predispositions and avoid the possibility of becoming a case study for neuroscience theories, what phytonutrients should the person have in their CBD product? 

phytonutrients that can help stop an anxiety attack

CBD blends that stop the underlying causes of an anxiety attack

Different causes associated with anxiety fall into two different categories: high energy states and low energy states. 

Low energy states include:

  • Introversion
  • Depression

High energy states include:

  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Neuroticism
  • Stress susceptibility
  • PTSD

Depending on the category the underlying causes fall in, the blend of cannabinoids and terpenes will vary. For example, with a low energy state condition like introversion, the genes to consider are HTR2A and GRS2. Introverts, more often than not, feel anxious towards the inside. They are worried because of a “self versus other” comparison, which is very similar to depression. To stop an anxiety attack that happens because of these low energy states, a person should buy a CBD product that has limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and linalool, CBD, THC, and CBC. 

This recommendation is vastly different than the one that’s geared towards anxiety attacks that stem from high energy states. For conditions like PTSD, anger, and neuroticism, different cannabinoid and terpene blends are required. If consumers are genetically predisposed to developing a condition that’s categorized as a high-energy state, then they should purchase CBD products that include THC, CBD, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and nerolidol. 

How to stop an anxiety attack by making an informed decision

While anxiety attacks look similar for most people, anxiety is not the same for everyone. For consumers who want to use CBD to help treat their anxiety, they need to dig deeper to figure out the root cause of their anxiety attacks. Once they ascertain the underlying cause, consumers can then make an informed decision about what blend of cannabinoids and terpenes would be best suited to their root cause of anxiety. 

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