CBD for Anxiety
Generally, anxiety refers to feelings of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear about what’s to
come. These feelings occur as the body’s natural response to stress. If you have an eminent
presentation at work or have a crowd to address, it’s normal to feel anxious. However, some
people experience crippling spells of anxiety even when doing something as commonplace as
walking to the store.
In a bid to manage the symptoms of anxiety, many of these people are turning to CBD, the
herbal healer of modern times. Since the decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal and
recreational use, CBD has received a lot of attention. It’s impossible to scroll through the
internet without coming across articles and publications about medical marijuana.
CBD oil is touted to help with a lot of health conditions. These include insomnia, allergies, eating
disorders, neurological issues, and even anxiety. You must be wondering: are these perceived
benefits actually factual? Do CBD oils really help with anxiety? To answer these questions, we’ll
first need to look at CBD and its properties.
What is CBD?
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in marijuana and
industrial hemp plant. The chemical belongs to a class of compounds called cannabinoids- a
blanket term used to refer to THC, CBD, CBG, terpenes, and other compounds present in the
CBD can be consumed in a number of ways, including smoking and vaping high-concentration
strains. CBD is also consumed as oils and tinctures, which are made when CBD is extracted
from industrial hemp and dissolved in carrier oils like grape seed oil and hemp oil. The
cannabinoid can also be consumed in edibles and teas.
As we’ve already mentioned, CBD is thought to contain a number of properties that make it
beneficial for our health and wellness. In the following sections, we’ll look into these properties
and how the body interacts with the cannabinoid.
How Does CBD Oil Work in Our Bodies?
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. This compound is also not
addictive, making it a safe option for many. To understand how CBD works, we’ll need to look at
how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system is a complex system found in the bodies of humans and certain
animal species. This system was discovered by medical researchers sometime in the 1990s;
how it works and what its responsibilities are, therefore, largely remain a mystery.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of endocannabinoids, their receptors, and catalytic
enzymes found throughout the body, therefore playing a hand in various physiological
Endocannabinoids are chemicals released in the body to help keep numerous internal functions
running smoothly. These endocannabinoids bind to their receptors, which also occur throughout
the body. There are two main enzymes in the endocannabinoid system- monoacylglycerol acid
lipase and fatty acid amide hydrolase. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down the
endocannabinoids to help them carry out their functions.
Relationship Between Receptors and Endocannabinoids
There are two types of receptors in the endocannabinoid system, namely CB1 and CB2. CB1
receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and help modulate pain, memory,
mood, appetite, and more. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are primarily found in the
peripheral nervous system, where they help regulate pain and inflammation. Endocannabinoids
are broken down by the enzymes, at which point they bind to their respective receptors.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system helps to maintain a state of internal balance, technically called
homeostasis. When the endocannabinoid system falls out of balance, this translates negatively
to the processes it helps govern. This results in various unpleasant symptoms such as
indigestion, insomnia, and loss of appetite.
When you consume CBD and other cannabinoids, you, therefore, help reinstate balance in the
body. CBD doesn’t bind to the receptors itself; instead, it seems to ‘activate’ them somewhat,
allowing endocannabinoids to bind to them.
Anxiety and the Endocannabinoid System
Since the endocannabinoid system helps regulate mood, researchers have seen it as a window
to easing and providing relief against anxiety. Remember, anxiety is a result of your brain telling
your body to be on high alert, so to speak.
The endocannabinoid signaling system plays a huge role in this as it communicates this
message from your brain to the rest of your body. This results in the negative symptoms of
anxiety, including quickened heart pace, stress, and a churning stomach.
When you take CBD, it alters how cannabinoid receptors work and intercepts this message
before the negative physical symptoms of anxiety manifest. This explains why CBD is being
used today to provide relief against anxiety.
What Research Says About CBD Oil for Anxiety
The industrial hemp and CBD industries are relatively new. With legalization dating back to only
a little over three years ago, there isn’t enough quality research and information on the benefits of using medical marijuana. This makes it difficult to state with certainty what role CBD actually plays in easing anxiety.
That said, some clinical trials suggest CBD is just as helpful as we believe it to be, if not more.
According to this report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), when CBD was
tested on various animals, it helped reduce both behavioral and physiological manifestations of
stress and anxiety. The cannabinoid also showed great potential when used in small human
clinical and laboratory trials.
There are many different types of anxiety-related disorders. Let’s break down a few of them,
their signs and symptoms, and how CBD may help provide relief.
a) Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is one of America’s most common mental illnesses today, affecting people of all ages
and economic classes. We live in stressful times, and it’s normal to feel anxious from time to
time. However, if your anxiety lasts for more than six months and has escalated to a point where
it affects your health, school, or work life, then you may have an anxiety disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one such disorder; its characteristics include severe
worry and anxiety about multiple aspects of your life. This disorder manifests itself in the form of
dizzy spells, palpitations, and shortness of breath. Here are a few more symptoms of
generalized anxiety disorder:
● Feeling edgy
● Inability to fall/stay asleep
● Feeling tense
● Muscle tightness and body aches
CBD Oil for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
In a study geared towards researching the effect of CBD on anxiety and sleep, 72 adults
received regular doses of the cannabinoid. 47 of these had anxiety symptoms while 25 suffered
from poor sleep. Most participants of this study received a 25 mg CBD capsule, once per day. A
few received 50-75 mg per day.
After two months of CBD treatment, almost 80% of the participants showed fewer or less severe
anxiety symptoms. This study shows that CBD can indeed help lighten the load off anxious
people, making it easier for them to lead normal, stress-free lives. CBD helps ease such
symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder as restlessness, rapid heartbeat, and sweating. If you
suffer from GAD and are looking for an organic, quick, and effective solution, you should
probably try CBD oil.
b) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that occurs when one is unable to recover after
witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. PTSD may be chronic, meaning it may last years
after the episode. People suffering from this condition tend to have triggers that can reignite
memories of the event; these flashbacks are often accompanied by intense physical and
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:
● Nightmares and flashbacks
● Situation avoidance
● Inability to fall and stay asleep
● Depressed mood
● Overly intense reactions to stimuli
Although PTSD is common among combat veterans, this disorder may plague civilian citizens
who’ve survived situations like accidents, rape, or even violent robberies. Approximately 3.5% of
adults in America are affected by PTSD each year, negatively impacting their relationships,
work, and school life.
CBD for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
According to a 2019 study, patients who received CBD treatment alongside psychotherapy and
counseling reported a significant reduction in symptoms. Another report, written in 2018,
suggests that PTSD symptoms can be treated effectively using a combination of CBD and THC.
CBD, for example, helps deal with insomnia, making it easier for individuals with PTSD to fall
and stay asleep.
c) Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by regular attacks of panic and fear.
For people suffering from this disorder, these feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety occur
regularly, without warning, and often for no apparent reason.
Panic attacks are a common symptom of panic disorder. These attacks cause intense mental
and physical symptoms, which may include:
● Feeling faint
● Racing heartbeat
● Chest pains
● Short breath
● Churning stomach
● Shaky limbs
● Ringing ears
● Mind going blank
Panic attacks tend to last anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes, although some have been
reported to go on for as long as an hour.
CBD for Panic Disorder
CBD helps with panic disorder by taking care of the feelings of anxiety and fear. Thanks to how
it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, CBD helps alter mood, thus providing relief from
anxiety and its physical and behavioral symptoms.
It’s important to mention that panic disorder can be diagnosed and treated by a mental health
professional just like other anxiety disorders. You should therefore consult your therapist before
incorporating CBD into your treatment plan.
d) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a disorder in which a person has unwanted, recurring
thoughts and fears (obsessions) that drive them to repeatedly engage in specific patterns of
behavior (compulsions). Many people with OCD are preoccupied with an irrational fear of
germs, or the need to arrange objects in a particular way or do certain things (for example,
switching lights off and on before going into a room).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects 2-3% of people in the United States, the majority of them
being women. The symptoms of OCD can be characterized into 2; obsessions and
Obsessions or Compulsions
- Fear of losing important things e.g., keys Excessive hand washing/teeth-brushing/showering
- Fear of germs and contamination Repetitive cleaning of household items
Recurrent disturbing sexual thoughts and images
- Constant approval and reassurance seeking
Concern with precision, symmetry, and order Arranging objects in a precise pattern
CBD for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
The obsessive thoughts that people with OCD have cause feelings of anxiety, which may make
it difficult for them to get through the day. Although CBD hasn’t been cleared to treat OCD, the
cannabinoid is thought to help ease the symptoms of anxiety associated with the disorder. Its
action on the endocannabinoid system- which is known to help regulate fear, anxiety, and
repetitive behaviors- makes it possible to reduce the symptoms of OCD.
e) Social Anxiety Disorder
Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition.
People suffering from this disorder experience irrational anxiety when participating in everyday
social interactions – such interactions may also cause extreme fear, self-consciousness and
Social anxiety disorder embodies a fear of being judged, scrutinized, and perceived negatively,
making it hard for the patient to interact with people. It ultimately also causes avoidance of
social situations, disrupting your work, school, and even relationships. The signs and symptoms
of social anxiety disorder can also be categorized into two: emotional and physical. A few
Emotional Symptoms Physical Symptoms
- Fear, anxiety, avoidance
Irrational fear of embarrassing yourself
Fear of talking with strangers
Fear that your anxiety is visible to others Upset stomach
Avoiding situations in which you’d be the center of attention
Does CBD Help with Social Anxiety Disorder
As we’ve mentioned above, CBD is rather helpful in providing anxiety relief. Therefore, the
compound may play a huge role in quelling the symptoms of social anxiety disorder, especially
stomach upsets, sweating, and muscle tension. A small trial looking into the effectiveness of
CBD on SAD reported that participants showed reduced anxiety and improved comfort, which
made it easier for them to address a crowd of people.
Although these participants showed improvements upon receiving a dose of CBD, it’s worth
noting that CBD treatment is most effective when administered alongside talk therapy.
f) CBD for Neurological Disorders
Neurological disorders are medical conditions that affect the brain and nerves found in the
spinal cord and throughout the body. These disorders occur due to structural, electric, or
biochemical irregularities in the central and peripheral nervous systems, causing a wide range
Some of the most common neurological disorders include:
● Alzheimer’s disease
● Parkinson’s disease
● Brain tumors
● Epilepsy and seizures
● Cerebral aneurysms
● Bell’s Palsy
For a while now, CBD has been known to reduce the number of seizures that epileptic people
suffer, sometimes even stopping them altogether. The FDA has even approved Epidiolex, a
CBD-based medication for epilepsy.
In light of this, many researchers and experts believe that CBD may be the solution we need to
deal with other neurological disorders. The compound does this by not only altering dopamine
promotion but also providing brain-protective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
These properties make CBD effective in managing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s
Can CBD Replace Anxiety Prescription Medications?
Anxiety disorders affect a large portion of the population. They are the most common mental
illness in America, affecting 40 million adults each year. This translates to about 18.1% of the
entire American population. Despite anxiety disorders being highly treatable, numbers show that
only 36.9% of people in this demographic seek professional help.
For the longest time, anxiety disorders have been treated using SSRI (selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors) and benzodiazepine antidepressants. These include Xanax, Prozac, and
Zoloft. Although these prescription medications are effective in managing anxiety, they are
known to cause a number of side effects. These include:
● Agitation and moodiness
● Weight gain
● Sexual dysfunction
● Excessive sweating
Anti-anxiety medication has also been found to be addictive and dependence-forming. This, in
addition to their costs and side effects, has created the necessity for an alternative solution. And
if online publications are anything to go by, CBD may just be this solution. The cannabinoid is
affordable, accessible, effective, non-psychoactive, and non habit-forming. It is, however,
important that CBD treatment should only be commenced after consulting a mental health
What’s the Best Way to Use CBD for Anxiety?
CBD can be consumed in a variety of ways, from smoking and vaping to eating gummies and
edibles to taking drops of CBD oils and tinctures. Each of these methods is effective in its own
If you’re looking for a quick solution for your anxiety, you should try vaping or smoking. These
methods allow you to inhale CBD into your lungs and directly into your bloodstream. This makes
them a faster way of using CBD for anxiety. It is possible to vape wax, dried flower, and even
CBD oil tinctures are also a great way of dealing with anxiety. After purchasing a product of your
choice, place one oil drop or two under your tongue. Keep it in place for 30 seconds to a minute.
The CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream via your sublingual capillaries, thereby providing
Edibles are another common way of consuming CBD. There are different types of edibles,
including gummies, pastries, and drinks. These go to the stomach, digested, and then to the
liver, where they are metabolized. Because edibles go through these processes, they may take
a longer time to kick in.
To choose the method that works best for you, you’ll need to consider the condition being
treated, plus your personal preferences.
CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety
CBD oil is a quick and effective way of dealing with anxiety. Due to its quick absorption, you’ll
feel the effects as soon as 15 minutes later. The question is, though: how much CBD oil should
you take for anxiety?
A good place to start would be to consult your therapist. Since they understand your history and
the scale of your anxiety, they’d be better suited to prescribe a dosage to you. However, if that
isn’t feasible for you, we’ll suggest a CBD oil dosage you could follow. However, it is essential to
note that since CBD oil for anxiety hasn’t been approved by the FDA, these doses aren’t set in
In a study with 57 male participants, some subjects received 300 mg of CBD about one and a
half hours before making a speech. They found that their anxiety was manageable, and in some
cases, absent altogether. Others who received 150 mg, 600 mg, and placebos didn’t report a
significant decrease in their anxiety. This suggests that 300 mg would be a good starting dose.
What are the Side Effects of Using CBD Oil for Anxiety?
Although CBD is an organic and natural compound that many people’s bodies tolerate rather
easily, some people have reported various side effects, especially after using it long term. The
severity of these side effects varies from one person to another, considering how relative
tolerance is. Some of the common side effects of CBD oil include:
● Changes in appetite
● Mood swings
● Dry mouth
Aside from these physical symptoms, CBD has also been reported to increase liver enzymes.
Since the liver is where CBD is metabolized, this is a potential indicator of inflammation. People with liver complications are therefore advised to consult their specialist before taking a dose of CBD oil.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, medical professionals would advise staying away from CBD.
This is because CBD is known to pass through the placenta to the fetus- this isn’t a good thing,
considering we don’t really know the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids on a developing
Will CBD Get You High?
This is another question that most people would like answers to before they try CBD out for the
first time. As we’ve mentioned before, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that, unlike THC,
the compound will not get you high.
This makes CBD perfect for people looking to enjoy the benefits of marijuana without feeling the
heady rush that comes with taking THC. If you’re looking for something you can use daily, say
before going to the gym, work, or school, CBD is for you.
Is CBD Legal in All States?
Although marijuana was legalized just a few years ago, different states have different rules and
regulations regarding the plant. CBD, therefore, lives in some sort of a grey area, with some
states fully embracing it, while others like Idaho and Nebraska continue to classify it as a
Schedule 1 substance- just like marijuana itself. Virginia, on the other hand, only allows people
with prescriptions to buy CBD. It, therefore, makes sense to wonder exactly where CBD lies in
the legal spectrum.
That said, most states have similar laws regarding the cannabinoid. According to the Farm Bill
of 2018, which provided the rules and stipulations under which the legal cannabis market would
operate, CBD is considered legal as long as it is derived from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp
contains less than 0.3% of THC and is thus non-psychotropic. This is, however, only true at the
For you to know whether or not CBD is legal where you live, make sure to check your state’s
Controlled Substances Act.
Will CBD Show Up in Drug Tests?
According to one study, pure CBD won’t show up on a drug test. After trying out different
commercially available drug tests, the researchers in this study reported that CBD was
unidentified. Most drug tests screen for cannabis and, more specifically, THC, meaning pure
CBD (isolate) would probably go unnoticed.
That said, it’s hard to find products that contain 100% CBD. Cross-contamination often occurs in
factories that handle both THC and CBD, implying that THC may find itself in your CBD oil. The
best drug tests are designed to identify even the slightest traces of THC in your system. You
should therefore be wary of using them, especially if your employer or school requires
mandatory drug testing.
Alternatively, you could show your employer proof that your therapist actually prescribed the
CBD you use to help control your anxiety.
How to Buy the Best CBD Oil for Anxiety
CBD oil has become quite ubiquitous since the Farm Bill was passed. It is, therefore, impossible
to coast through a legal marijuana shop without finding a wide selection of CBD oils and other
CBD-related products. Due to the sheer number of products available in the market, it’s easy to
feel spoilt for choice.
To make your purchases easier, we’ve compiled the factors you should consider when buying
the best CBD oil for anxiety.
1. Consider the Source of the CBD Oil
CBD oil products can be extracted from both marijuana and industrial hemp. As we’ve
mentioned before, only CBD that’s been extracted from industrial hemp is considered legal by
the federal government. This is because it tends to have fewer impurities and also fewer traces
Before choosing CBD oil, it’s important to read through its ingredients and marketing copy to
make sure it is derived from hemp plants.
2. How was the CBD Extracted?
CBD is commonly extracted from hemp plants in three ways. One is the alcohol method, where
alcohol is used to dissolve the wax in the plant. Another is the olive oil method, during which
olive oil is mixed with the plants and heated to a certain temperature before CBD is extracted.
Finally, CBD can also be extracted using carbon dioxide.
The alcohol method is considered by the industry to be the best way of extracting CBD and
results in high-quality CBD. When looking for CBD oil, you should probably ask for something
that was processed in this way.
3. Why Do You Need CBD Oil?
The reason you’ve decided to try CBD oil and other related products is important in picking out
the products you should use. Some CBD oils tend to be more concentrated than others, making
them best suited for higher levels of anxiety and even other medical conditions with painful
symptoms. Understanding the scale of your anxiety or other issues will guide you in choosing
the best CBD oils for your needs.
4. Make Sure the Product has had Third Party Testing
The CBD market is not regulated by the FDA, meaning it’s hard to know which products actually
reach the set standards for human consumption. This gave rise to independent third-party
testers, who ensure products are of a certain quality and have no impurities before going onto
Before buying CBD oil online or in a store, make sure the product has been tested by a third-
party lab. This gives such a product more credibility than it would have had if the CBD brands
tested it themselves.
With the many CBD brands available today, it’s easy to buy CBD online today. Most
dispensaries offer curbside pickup and delivery, providing more convenient ways to shop.
We hope this information will make it easier for you to decide whether or not to include CBD oil in
your treatment plan for anxiety.
That said, it’s important to mention that CBD is in no way a replacement to traditional therapy,
especially as far as treatment is concerned.
While CBD does help with the symptoms, talking to a therapist will help you understand the root course of your anxiety. They will also guide you and equip you with tools to help you become more confident and less nervous in social settings. After all, we could all use some therapy after this past year.