CBD oil has been demonstrated to reduce anxiety in numerous medical research studies. Given its safety, affordability, and lack of intoxication and side effects, CBD oil and other forms of CBD hold great potential in the treatment of general anxiety and specific anxiety disorders.
CBD Oil For Anxiety: The Highlights
- Anxiety disorders are difficult to treat and remain a leading mental health issue worldwide
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is a safe, non-intoxicating cannabis compound with a wide range of health benefits.
- Clinical research suggests that both CBD oil and other forms of CBD can reduce anxiety and treat anxiety disorders.
- CBD can improve anxiety by supporting healthy, calm brain neurochemistry, and by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
- Although all forms of CBD help with anxiety, individuals who suffer from severe anxiety or panic attacks would benefit the most from CBD.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural response to stress characterized by feeling worried, nervous, and apprehensive. Mild to moderate anxiety is perfectly normal and can help improve your focus and motivation.
For example, feeling anxious about an interview can encourage you to prepare and do better.
At the same time, however, anxiety can become severe and debilitating. In such cases, anxious thoughts and feelings can become a serious problem in your life, enough to suggest that you have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting as many as 7.3% of people worldwide. In fact, the average person is estimated to have a 29% chance of suffering from an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
Anxiety disorders can have both physical and mental symptoms, including:
- rapid heartbeat
- clammy hands
- muscle tension
- difficulty concentrating
- fearful and worrisome thoughts
In addition, anxiety disorders often go hand-in-hand with stress and depression. There are many types of anxiety disorders, including:
- panic disorder
- phobias (excessive fears of a specific situation)
- social anxiety disorder
- general anxiety disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
What Are The Traditional Treatments for Anxiety?
There are many ways to treat anxiety because it is not an easy issue to solve. Like most mental health disorders, it requires a holistic, individualized approach. Medical experts have tried everything from medication to cognitive therapy, while anxiety sufferers themselves frequently turn to natural ways of reducing anxiety.
Therapy for Anxiety
From a medical perspective, research shows that therapy is the most effective approach to treating anxiety. This is because therapy addresses the underlying cognitive causes of anxiety instead of only treating its symptoms.
As such, therapy can help people resolve the reasons that are causing the patient to be anxious.
Specifically, one type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely regarded as the gold standard treatment for anxiety disorders because its effectiveness is proven by clinical research studies.
This type of therapy addresses the negative thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
Medications for Anxiety
Although therapy is the most effective method to deal with anxiety, there is a place for prescription medications as well. Common anti-anxiety drugs include:
- SSRIs (antidepressants): Which increase the brain’s serotonin levels
- SNRIs: A similar type of drug that increases both serotonin and another brain chemical called norepinephrine
- Benzodiazepines: Which promote sedation and relaxation
- TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants): Which are an older class of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs
Home Remedies for Anxiety
In addition to prescription medication, many people turn to natural home remedies to deal with anxiety. Some of the most popular ways to reduce anxiety naturally include:
- regular exercise
- increasing sleep time
- eating a healthy diet
- using aromatherapy
- reducing the use of alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes
Reducing coffee intake is a particularly popular solution because caffeine can easily increase anxiety in individuals sensitive to its effects.
In addition, another method that is quickly growing in popularity is meditation — the practice of letting thoughts go and focusing on the present moment. Meditation not only helps with stress, anxiety, and depression but is also backed by a growing volume of medical research.
Finally, some people take marijuana to treat anxiety symptoms, but this method has mixed results depending on how sensitive you are to THC.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 60 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant. These natural substances are responsible for the many health benefits of cannabis.
Most people are familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the cannabinoid associated with the intoxicating effects of marijuana. By comparison, CBD is completely non-psychoactive, which means it does not make you feel high when you take it.
This explains why an increasing number of people across the world are using CBD to support their health and wellbeing. CBD-rich hemp oil is the most popular type of CBD supplement, but it can also be used in many other forms, including capsules, edibles, vape juice, sprays, and even creams.
Although CBD is taken for everything from chronic pain and inflammation to serious conditions such as multiple sclerosis, improving anxiety is one of its most common uses.
CBD: The Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to CBD oil, there are many questions surrounding it.
Does CBD Get You High?
Cannabidiol is completely non-psychoactive, which means it cannot get you high. Considering that intoxication is the biggest reason people tend to avoid marijuana, this is a pretty big deal.
In fact, research evidence suggests that CBD can reduce the psychoactive effects of other substances. Most notably, a 2013 review paper by researchers from the Netherlands highlights how CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC, such as cognitive impairment, anxiety, and paranoia.
Is CBD Safe?
In addition to being non-intoxicating, cannabidiol is also a remarkably safe substance. In fact, research demonstrates that even continuous daily doses as high as 1500 mg of CBD are well-tolerated.
CBD Side Effects
Some people report experiencing minor side effects when they take CBD. These include:
- low blood pressure
- dry mouth
- changes in appetite or weight
Having said that, these side effects are relatively rare and only become likely at higher doses.
How Can CBD Oil Help With Anxiety?
CBD oil is known to have a calming effect on the body and mind. More specifically, CBD can reduce anxiety through a number of research-backed mechanisms.
One such mechanism is CBD’s interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps our bodies maintain homeostasis — a state of balance. This interaction is how CBD is able to reduce the anxiety generated by its psychoactive cousin THC.
Another way CBD can help with anxiety is by interacting with brain receptors for serotonin and GABA — two brain chemicals that regulate our mood, stress, anxiety, and related cognitive functions.
CBD and Anxiety: What The Research Says
Alleviation of anxiety is one of the most research-backed uses of cannabidiol.
According to a 2015 review by researchers from the New York University School of Medicine, CBD has the potential to treat a wide range of anxiety disorders, including:
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- panic disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
This potential is highlighted by several clinical trials.
The most popular is a 2011 study by the University of Sao Paulo, which tested the ability of CBD to reduce anxiety caused by public speaking in people with a social anxiety disorder (SAD).
The participants were given 600 mg of CBD oil before a test of public speaking, resulting in a significant reduction of anxiety.
In addition, a recent 2019 study by researchers in Colorado examined whether CBD can help adults with anxiety and sleep disorders.
The participants were given 25-175 mg of CBD capsules daily. The study found that CBD significantly decreased anxiety in 79% of the patients and improved sleep in 66.7%, leading the researchers to conclude that “Cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders.”
Furthermore, a 2017 British study even showed that CBD can reduce elevated blood pressure, which is a common symptom of anxiety. Finally, many more animal studies report that CBD alleviates anxiety in mice and rats.
Neurochemistry and CBD
The brain’s neurochemistry — the fine balance of key chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine — plays a central role in depression, stress and anxiety levels, and overall cognitive function.
As it turns out, one of the ways that CBD reduces anxiety and provides related benefits is through supporting healthy neurochemistry.
For example, CBD interacts with the receptors for GABA — the major calming neurotransmitter (brain chemical) in the brain. This neurotransmitter reduces the excitation and activity of neurons, acting as a natural calming agent.
In addition, studies show that CBD activates the serotonin receptor, which regulates mood, stress, anxiety, and emotional responses.
CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety
As the case with any health issue people take cannabidiol for, there’s too little research to recommend the optimal dosage of CBD oil for anxiety. The only research we have suggests a wide dosage range of 25-600 mg.
Having said that, the vast majority of people who take CBD oil for anxiety tend to use 15-50 mg doses taken 1-3 times a day. To figure out the ideal dosage that works best for you, start off low and gradually increase until you feel the desired effects.
CBD Products for Anxiety
Most CBD products are made from hemp plants, which have too little THC to cause intoxication. Although CBD-rich hemp oil is the most popular type of CBD product, cannabidiol can be taken in many different forms to relieve anxiety, such as capsules, edibles, and vape juice.
Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages.
CBD oil is the preferred form of CBD for most health concerns because it is cost-effective and easy to use and control the dosage. CBD oil offers anxiety relief about 10-30 minutes after you take it, and if you don’t feel anything, you can always try larger doses.
CBD gummies and other edibles have the advantage of long-lasting effects that can persist for more than six hours.
However, edibles also have the lowest absorption and take the longest to be felt because they have to go through the digestive tract and liver.
In this sense, CBD gummies and edibles are a good option for people who prefer subtle anxiety relief that lasts almost the whole day, but not for those who suffer from severe anxiety attacks.
Much like gummies and edibles, capsules have long-last effects but suffer from poor absorption. Because of this, they are not the ideal option for moderate to severe anxiety.
CBD Vape Juice, Cartridges, and Pens
Vaping CBD by using a vape pen containing CBD e-liquid is ideal for people who require immediate anxiety or pain relief. This is because unlike other ways of taking CBD, the effects of vaping are potent and can be felt right away.
Vaping cannabidiol is especially recommended for people who suffer from sudden panic or anxiety attacks. In such cases, you can immediately reduce your level of anxiety instead of waiting for the effects of CBD oil or edibles to kick in.
CBD For Anxiety: The Last Word
If you want to reduce your anxiety levels or help with a specific anxiety disorder, cannabidiol is a great option. This natural component of cannabis is safe, does not make you high, and can help improve your health in a myriad of other ways.
CBD can be taken in many different forms, but CBD oil is the most popular. However, individuals prone to severe anxiety or panic attacks may be better suited to vaping CBD because of its near-instantaneous effects.
More importantly, the anti-anxiety benefits of CBD are backed by medical research, with an increasing number of medical experts supporting its use in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Considering the long list of side effects associated with prescription medication, cannabidiol holds amazing potential for reducing anxiety in millions of people worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always check with your doctor before starting a new dietary supplement program.