Does CBD oil help with anxiety disorders and panic attacks? Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural cannabis plant extract rich in cannabinoids. It is no surprise that oftentimes, we all find it hard to relax. With the stresses that we all experience on the daily it can be difficult to wind down, shut off and take time for ourselves. But it is so important to find the time, as giving yourself space to release tension from the day is essential for both your phys Here’s what science says regarding CBD’s anxiolytic—or anxiety relief—properties, along with experts’ dosage guidelines and advice on how to take CBD safely.
CBD Oil and Anxiety (Is it Legal? Are There Side Effects? And is it Safe?)
With all the increasing public discussion of the topic, you may have wondered: Does CBD oil help with anxiety disorders and panic attacks? Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural cannabis plant extract rich in cannabinoids (a.k.a. plant-specific chemicals), that bind to certain receptors in the human brain when consumed. The most commonly known cannabinoid is, of course, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is only one of many cannabinoids and is famous for causing people to feel “high” after smoking marijuana.
Cannabidiol, on the other hand, binds to brain receptors like other cannabinoids, but without causing a “high,” and there are many who argue in favor of more mainstream use of CBD oil, arguing that it features many health benefits, that it can improve mental health, and even slow the spread of cancer in the body.
CBD oil is an oil like any other, that can be used for cooking, for adding just a few drops to a beverage, or even for direct consumption. Anyone who tells you it is healthy to smoke CBD oil may be high themselves, as there is no research to back that claim up.
About 20 percent of the population in the United States (that’s one in five) suffers from some form of anxiety or other. If this includes you, you may already be on the lookout for the best ways to calm down and relax.
How does CBD oil work?
Cannabinoids are the “feelin’ good” molecules released by your body when you are relaxed, feeling secure, or in the middle of something that causes you to be happy (e.g. going to bed the night before a long weekend, feeling validated by the positive comments from co-workers about a project you worked hard on and take pride in, etc.). Other times your body releases cannabinoids (the main cannabinoid molecule is known as anandamide) include times when you get enough sleep and awake feeling rested, or when you exercise.
This dynamic of your body releasing cannabinoids helps keep your body and mind in optimal balance. The release of cannabinoids helps your stomach and gastrointestinal system run well, reduces inflammation, and helps you maintain a good mood. There is research that shows that cannabinoids from CBD can stop the deterioration of anandamide in your body, and this means more ongoing “feel goods.”
Is CBD oil legal?
CBD oil, extracted from hemp, is legal all over the U.S., so it can be consumed without the accompanying legal concerns that come with marijuana use.
Does CBD oil make you high?
CBD oil will not give you a high. Supplemental CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant known as hemp, which is closely related to marijuana. But CBD oil is virtually devoid of THC (which WILL get you high). There are trace amounts of THC in CBD oil, but not nearly enough to cause any psychoactive effects. CBD oil has actually been shown to offset the effects of THC use, including the reduction of paranoia, reduction in appetite spike, and mitigating weight gain. CBD oil relaxes the body, relieves pain, and does not suppress breathing centers the way opioids do, which eliminates any concerns regarding overdose.
The main thing CBD oil does is help you relax, reduce anxiety, and it can even help you sleep better.
Can the use of CBD oil make you test positive in a drug test?
As previously mentioned, CBD has hardly any THC worth noting, so there is slim to no chance it will make you test positive for THC in a drug test. When in doubt, it’s better to consult with your employer regarding CBD oil use before taking any drug tests.
Is CBD effective to treat anxiety?
Research on animals and humans has shown that CBD may help lower feelings of isolation, reduce effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), relieve symptoms of autism, panic attacks, and even depression. CBD oil also seems capable of calming the brain and supporting the hippocampus (area of the brain that affects memory and healthy emotion processing).
Conditions that CBD oil has been shown in research to ease include social anxiety, psychosis, negative effects of antipsychotic medications, all without more serious side effects such as paranoia, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and spike in appetite. It is also being studied to see if it can help with childhood epilepsy.
Is CBD oil safe?
CBD seems to be safe to use*. In fact, the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has asserted that CBD oil is safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of CBD oil to treat children for epilepsy. It is worth noting that caution should be taken when approaching CBD use, as it is not regulated, nor has extensive research been done.
Keep in mind that, because of the way your liver works, CBD oil may affect the way other drugs affect your body. Be sure to check with your physician or mental health professional before you use CBD. This is NOT a substance you want to self-medicate on, especially if you have sensitive health conditions or if you’re taking other prescription medications.
How much CBD oil should I take?
It’s recommended to start with about 15mg of CBD oil once or twice daily with food. CBD gummies and beverages may have already started flooding the shelves in the area where you live, but it’s likely that they are made with lower grade CBD. It is important to purchase CBD oil produced by reputable companies.
It’s never a good idea to take supplements for anxiety without making appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes, including stress relief practices like meditation, to get the full benefit out of them.
*Note: Solara Mental Health makes no official endorsement of CBD oil.
What do you use to relax? Leave a comment below!
Have you considered trying out CBD oil to help treat depression and/or anxiety? If so, do so responsibly by consulting with a professional, rather than self-medicate. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.
/wp-content/uploads/sol-logo-2.jpg 0 0 Staff Writer /wp-content/uploads/sol-logo-2.jpg Staff Writer 2019-04-06 20:24:49 2022-07-01 15:22:35 CBD Oil and Anxiety (Is it Legal? Are There Side Effects? And is it Safe?)
Does CBD relax you?
It is no surprise that oftentimes, we all find it hard to relax. With the stresses that we all experience on the daily it can be difficult to wind down, shut off and take time for ourselves.
But it is so important to find the time, as giving yourself space to release tension from the day is essential for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Relaxation looks different for everyone, but whether it is crashing on the sofa after a long day, grabbing drinks with a friend or taking your dog for a walk, it is essential for our mental wellbeing.
With the last year having been more stressful than ever, it is evermore essential to find time to relax. In TRIP’s 2021 Survey it was found that 7 out of 10 people had the most stressful year of their life, with 70% of people indicating that they had the worst sleep of their lives. Many people found it hard to relax due to the stresses of everyday life, such as financial issues, not seeing friends and spending too much time on screens.
Now more than ever people are looking for easy ways to relax and shake off the day (and the year!). There are so many different strategies that we can take to relax, from finding time to meditate, doing some exercise and moving our bodies to journaling and spending time in nature.
You may have been hearing aboutCBD everywhere and anywhere for a while now, and the hype around it is still growing. Hailed for its calming properties, many users of CBD integrate into their daily rituals to help them de-stress and find their calm. Whether it is a few drops of CBD oilto start your day, a CBD Drink before a big meeting or a can of TRIP to wind down in the evening, many use CBD daily to help them relax.
CBD is short for Cannabidiol, and is one of the many active compounds found in hemp plants. Unlike THC it is not psychoactive, so can’t get you high and is mostly known for its calming effects. Used commonly in the wellness world for its wide range of benefits.
Many CBD fans rave about CBD’s calming effects and claim that it helps them relax. Whether they are feeling anxious, wound up from the day or just looking to find some calm in the everyday chaos.
CBD (Canndabidiol) is well known for its calming properties, but how does it work?
CBD works with a system in our body called our Endocannabinoid system (our ECS), a system of nerves and receptors that works to help our body stay in balance. CBD helps to regulate this system, which can affect our levels of stress and anxiety, can help to alleviate pain, soothe inflammation and even support our immune systems. It has also been said that CBD can help promote better sleep, reduce fatigue and improve focus!
When trying to relax, we need to soothe stress, release tension and rest. Everyday stress, long hours at the desk staring at screens and trouble sleeping can be big barriers to relaxation.
When trying to restore this balance, CBD can be a very helpful tool, helping us to reduce anxiety, inflammation and tension that we may have in our body, while also helping us to wind down ahead of bedtime and gain a good night’s sleep – essential for wellbeing.
If you are struggling to relax, CBD may be for you. Whether that is with a CBD oil, a CBD drink or even CBD capsules you can create your own ritual. The process of taking CBD can itself become relaxing, for example when you place a few drops of Wild Mint CBD Oil under your tongue and hold for a minute, that minute gives you a moment of headspace and calmness to reflect and take a moment for yourself.
Or perhaps you might grab an Elderflower Mint CBD drink in the evening instead of a glass of wine, and as you are sipping on it find some time to breathe, relax and take a break.
How To Use CBD To Help Alleviate Anxiety
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an integrative medicine physician with expertise in functional and holistic medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- CBD for Anxiety
- How to Use CBD for Anxiety
- CBD Dosage for Anxiety
- Potential Risks and Side Effects
While delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can have a bad rap for being intoxicating and anxiety-inducing, cannabidiol (CBD) can actually be used to relieve anxiety. Research supports this benefit, with several studies reinforcing the positive effects CBD can have on various anxiety conditions. In fact, 51% of U.S. adults who use CBD do so to help alleviate their anxiety, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll.
CBD isn’t yet legally cleared as an anxiolytic, or anxiety relief medication. Therefore, it’s up to you—and, ideally, a doctor who specializes in cannabis administration—to determine whether CBD is a safe treatment for your anxiety.
Here’s what the science says regarding CBD’s anxiolytic properties, along with experts’ dosage guidelines and advice on how to take CBD safely.
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CBD for Anxiety
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any CBD-based medications for anxiety. However, many studies indicate the substance can be an effective anxiolytic.
CBD for Generalized Anxiety
In 2011, a small trial-tested CBD on participants with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) and healthy control patients undergoing a simulated public speaking test (SPST), which is a common anxiety testing method  Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226. . Compared to a placebo, CBD significantly reduced anxiety and discomfort in the participants with SAD. In fact, their reduced anxiety levels were comparable to those of the control participants.
Eight years later, a 2019 test compared the efficacy of three CBD doses (150 milligrams, 300 milligrams and 600 milligrams) and a placebo in men taking an SPST  Linares IM, Zuardi AW, Pereira LC, et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). 2019;41(1):9-14. . Compared to a placebo, 300 milligrams of CBD significantly reduced participants’ anxiety during the speech, but the 150-milligram and 600-milligram doses did not. These results highlight how dosage can be highly variable and that more CBD isn’t necessarily more effective.
Meanwhile, another 2019 study tested CBD in much lower doses than most other clinical studies—some participants consumed 25 milligrams a day while others consumed 50 milligrams or 75 milligrams a day  Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. . Researchers thought higher doses might be too expensive for participants to maintain in their normal lives and that low doses would still prove effective. Indeed, anxiety decreased within the first month for most participants and remained low. Sleep quality also improved, although it fluctuated more than anxiety. Only three patients reported side effects.
CBD for Anxiety and Depression
In 2020, researchers tested the effects of CBD oil at varying doses across 397 patients with a variety of ailments  Gulbransen G, Xu W, Arroll B. Cannabidiol prescription in clinical practice: an audit on the first 400 patients in New Zealand. BJGP Open. 2020;4(1):bjgpopen20X101010. . Participants with non-cancer pain or mental health-related symptoms experienced significant improvement in anxiety and depression, as well as in their abilities to complete their usual activities. The use of CBD oil suggested significant pain relief in these groups as well.
CBD for PTSD and Phobia Therapy
A small 2019 study of 11 patients found that, when consumed orally and administered alongside routine psychiatric care, CBD decreased patients’ posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity  Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392-397. .
Other studies suggest CBD can reduce PTSD symptoms when consumed with THC  Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:502. . When taken together, the two compounds create what’s known as the “entourage effect,” where THC enhances the effects of CBD as CBD tempers the effects of THC, resulting in a more well-rounded experience  Ferber SG, Namdar D, Hen-Shoval D, et al. The “Entourage Effect”. Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2020;18(2):87-96. .
Some studies also suggest CBD can enhance the effects of exposure therapy—which assists patients in dissociating certain cues with a fear response—and cognitive behavioral therapy  Das RK, Kamboj SK, Ramadas M, et al. Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;226(4):781-792.  Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. .
How to Use CBD for Anxiety
Without clear FDA guidance, optimal CBD use for anxiety varies from person to person. You may find one method works better for you over another. You can consume CBD in the following forms:
- Oils and tinctures, which come in dropper bottles and are consumed by mouth
- Gummies, which are chewable, sweet and often fruit-flavored
- Sprays, which come in bottles with a nozzle to be sprayed in the mouth
- Capsules, softgels or tablets, which are taken individually by mouth like a pill
- Vapes, which heat CBD oil without igniting it, resulting in an inhalable vapor
- Flowers, which are dried hemp plants that are typically ignited and smoked
- Creams and gels, which introduce CBD topically (through the skin) as a more localized treatment
You may have to try different forms to determine what works best in addressing your anxiety. For instance, when it comes to the absorption of CBD in your bloodstream, vaping and smoking are more effective than edibles like gummies.
CBD Dosage for Anxiety
You also have to find the right CBD dosage for your anxiety. Experts suggest starting small and working your way up depending on how your body reacts.
Many clinical trials jump right to testing high doses. Successful doses evaluated for anxiety relief specifically include:
- 600 milligrams in patients with SAD in a speech simulation  Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226.
- 300 milligrams in male patients in a speech simulation  Linares IM, Zuardi AW, Pereira LC, et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). 2019;41(1):9-14.
However, other trials suggest much lower doses are also quite effective in treating anxiety.
- 25 to 75 milligrams for generalized anxiety and/or sleep problems  Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041.
- 33 to 49 milligrams a day for PTSD, in addition to routine psychiatric treatment  Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392-397.
Another study involving hundreds of patients noted success with doses from 40 milligrams to 300 milligrams a day, further supporting the idea that CBD dosage varies significantly, depending on a person’s symptoms and physiology.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
The World Health Organization deems CBD a safe and generally well-tolerated substance. Studies report very few adverse effects, if any.
However, taking CBD while on other medications may pose a risk, as these substances may interact and cause unwanted effects, such as weight gain, drowsiness, upset stomach and change in appetite.
Cheryl Bugailiskis, M.D., a cannabis specialist at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine, also warns people with preexisting liver injuries and people taking medications that can cause liver injuries should practice caution when using CBD.