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I Took CBD Oil Every Day for My Anxiety—Here’s What Went Down

Dana Myers, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and life coach based in Philadelphia. She has a special interest in how race, sex, gender, ethnicity, social status and competencies impact those in marginalized communities and aims to help her clients find purpose and peace in life.

Michelle Regalado is a seasoned editor, fact-checker, and content strategist with expertise in women’s lifestyle news.

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When I first learned about CBD oil, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. My mind immediately turned to weed and the unnerving experiences I’d had with heightened anxiety in college. For me, a person who’s already predisposed to overthinking, marijuana, no matter what the form, would typically put my mind into overdrive and result in a common yet dreaded side effect: Paranoia. But, let’s back up a bit. What even is CBD?

What is CBD?

A bit of online digging led me to realize that the active ingredient in Charlotte’s Web Everyday Plus Hemp Oil, the product I’d been offered to test, was the chemical compound CBD, which stands for cannabidiol. Unlike THC, the other crucial compound in hemp and marijuana plants, CBD (when derived from the hemp plant) does not produce the psychoactive effects that make you feel “high”; instead, emerging science has hinted that CBD may actually ease anxiety, and therefore, makes you less likely to freak out.  

For example, one study comparing the effects of THC and CBD found that, while THC increased anxiety by activating the neurotransmitters involved in the “fight or flight” response, CBD actually repressed autonomic arousal—or the nervous system response associated with sudden increases in heart rate or respiration.   In other words, CBD may be ideal for people looking to relax and unwind.

While the science behind CBD’s effectiveness for treating anxiety, pain, and insomnia is still in its infancy,   Charlotte Figi’s inspiring story sounds promising. Figi, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare and resistant form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, was placed on hospice care and given a “do not resuscitate” order when her parents, desperate and frustrated with pharmaceutical medication, considered medical marijuana; specifically, a strain low in THC and high in CBD. Charlotte is now nearly seizure-free since she began supplementing with Charlotte Web’s CBD oil, which the brand named after Figi.

Legal and Safety Things To Know About CBD

The current CBD industry is like the internet’s early years. the Wild West. Legally, speaking, a Harvard Medical School blog post reads, “All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it.”   With heightened interest around CBD, it’s important to note that because CBD is currently unregulated, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting (whether that’s a tincture—commonly referred to as CBD oil, which is often combined with a carrier oil like coconut oil—topical products like creams and balms, sprays, or capsules), despite product labels and brand promises, the blog post further reads. It’s also important to note that people experience CBD differently. For the most part, the National Institute of Medicine says that while most people can tolerate CBD, side effects do exist. They might include dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite, among others.  

That said, those interested in exploring the potential benefits of CBD should consult with their doctor (especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or currently taking medication) and be mindful of your dosage, writes Consumer Reports. And before you buy, Megan Villa, co-founder of the hemp-focused website and shop Svn Space, told Shape magazine to seek out a certificate of analysis. “Ask for a COA for the batch number of the product you have, since these products are made in batches,” she said. “You need to match the batch number to the COA that pertains to it.” Then, scan the report for potency (i.e. does the number of milligrams of CBD that the product label touts match the lab report?), contaminants and pesticides, and mold (which should live under the “Microbiological Testing” part of the report). Go a step further and note whether the testing lab is GMP (Good Manufacturing Principles) certified, and whether the lab is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Shape magazine also suggests purchasing CBD products made from domestically-grown hemp, and reading up on the difference between full- and broad-spectrum and CBD isolate.

With that, I threw caution to the wind and asked for a sample. Here’s what happened—including what it feels like—when I took one full dropper of Charlotte’s Web’s Everyday Plus Hemp Oil in the mint chocolate flavor every morning for seven days.

My First Impression

It was actually a bad bout of jet lag after a trip to California that inspired me to finally test out the CBD oil (I’ll admit that my weed-based reservations kept me from trying it for the first few months). Knowing that the oil had also helped people with sleep issues, I squeezed one full dropper of the Everyday Plus oil onto my tongue, per the instructions, and waited.

Thirty minutes later, I was surprised by how subtle the effect was. While I expected a hazy nodding-off effect similar to melatonin’s, the oil simply relaxed my body ever so slightly—my heart stopped pounding against my chest, my legs stopped kicking beneath my sheets, my mind stopped racing. I wasn’t sure if it was the oil or the late hour, but eventually, physical relaxation gave way to mental relaxation, and I drifted off to sleep.

Reflecting the next morning, I was most surprised by the fact that I never felt “high” in any way—there was never a moment of It’s kicking in; I can feel it now like with pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs. Considering it takes time, consistency, and the right dosage to experience the full effect, I continued taking the oil once a day for the next six days. Here’s what went down.

It Made Me Less Anxious and Edgy

Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go.

While normally I’d be slightly tripped up by little things like an overly crowded subway car or a full inbox at work, the CBD oil seems to have taken the edge off of my anxiety a bit. Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go. In some ways, I feel more like myself. With that said, I’ve still experienced some social anxiety when meeting new groups of people—I’d be interested to see what taking the full recommended dose would do.

I’m More Focused At Work

I work well under pressure, but being extremely busy at work has almost made me less productive—I’m constantly distracted by email, Slack, and the people around me, to the point where getting my work done becomes difficult. This week, however, I’ve found it easier to put my blinders on, block out all distractions (especially social distractions), and focus on one task at a time. I think this is partly related to the lessened anxiety—I feel more frazzled and off task when my anxiety is running high. It almost feels like a newfound sense of clarity and calm that enables me to focus.

I’m Falling Asleep Faster

I assume this is also a side effect of feeling less anxious, but I seem to fall asleep faster; within the 20-30-minute range rather than my normal 45 minutes to one hour (or longer). Not only do I seem to be skipping or at least shortening the whole tossing-and-turning phase of my sleep cycle, but I’m able to snap out of the overthinking that often keeps me up at night. Of course, there’s no telling whether a big life event would disrupt this newfound bliss, but I’d like to think it’s helped on a day-to-day basis.

My Experience With CBD

Would I say that CBD oil has fundamentally changed my life? No. But per the Charlotte’s Web website, this is the typical first experience. “Anyone who has ever started a new vitamin or supplement routine knows the short answer to how long it takes to kick in is—’it depends.’ For many newcomers, they’re not sure what to imagine, or some anticipate a huge change right away. For most of us, though, dietary supplements take time.”

With that said, I’m definitely intrigued enough by the subtle effects to continue taking the oil and to possibly up the dosage to the recommended two full droppers of the 30mL bottle per day. Plus, I take comfort in knowing that it’s an all-natural product that’s responsibly grown on family farms in Colorado. Something that’s safe, legal, requires no prescription, and makes me less anxious, less scatterbrained, and more focused? I’m definitely on board.

Explore the World of CBD

Looking to learn more about CBD? These are some of my favorite products to help get you started.

For those new to CBD, Charlotte’s Web recommends this hemp oil. Containing 17mg of CBD per 1mL serving, this CBD oil is also U.S. Hemp Authority Certified. Choose from four different flavors including Lemon Twist, Mint Chocolate, Orange Blossom, and Olive Oil.

Go deep on the subject of CBD with this book that includes case studies, interviews with doctors, an overview of the latest cannabis research, and how scientists are exploring cannabis for various medical uses. There is also an explainer about the difference between CBD products made from industrial hemp versus in a lab, and products made from the whole marijuana plant.

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Charlotte’s Web inaugural CBD oil product comes in two flavors; Olive Oil and Mint Chocolate. It’s also its most potent. According to its website, its Original Formula Hemp Extract Oil comes with 50mg CBD per mL.

Gretchen Lidicker puts a lifestyle spin on the world of CBD as the author draws on the “knowledge of leaders in the health and wellness world” to explain why CBD has become a top beauty and wellness trend for top athletes and celebrities. The book also includes recipes and recommendations for how to choose a top-quality CBD product.

This travel-friendly roll-on is packed with CBD and fragrant essential oils, including lavender, bergamot, and chamomile, for an easy de-stress quick fix. The result? “That elusive feeling of wakeful calm,” reads the Sagely Naturals website.

With this book, CBD is explained from A to Z and breaks down the good, bad, and ugly of a fledgling industry that is poised for rapid growth. CBD: 101 Things You Need to Know About CBD Oil covers what it is, why people take it, who it’s for (and who it isn’t for), its myriad forms, and more.

Lord Jones’ High CBD Formula Body Oil combines CBD with organic avocado, jojoba and safflower oils for smooth, hydrated skin. Each bottle has 100mg of CBD.

Charlotte’s Web’s Extra Strength Capsules feature 25 mg of CBD per capsule. The website offers capsules as a convenient and precise way to take CBD—on the go, stash them in your gym bag, pocket, etc.

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1

Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041

Cannabidiol Oil for Anxiety: Does it Work?

This article contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Cannabidiol oil is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions. Recently, it has been gaining popularity as a treatment for anxiety.

Does cannabidiol oil work for anxiety? The answer is yes! In this blog post, we will discuss the evidence that supports the use of cannabidiol oil for anxiety and how it can help you manage your symptoms. We’ll also feature information about the top brands out there to help you get anxiety relief with cannabidiol oil for anxiety.

What is Cannabidiol Oil?

Cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD oil, is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions. It is made from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is also known as marijuana.

However, unlike marijuana, cannabidiol oil does not contain THC, the compound that causes the “high” associated with marijuana use. Instead, cannabidiol oil is made up of CBD and other beneficial compounds, including terpenes and flavonoids.

CBD oil has a variety of benefits, including the ability to reduce anxiety. In fact, a growing number of people are using CBD oil to manage their anxiety symptoms.

How Does Cannabidiol Oil Work for Anxiety?

The mechanism by which CBD oil reduces anxiety is not fully understood, but it is thought to work in several ways. First, CBD oil may interact with the serotonin receptor system in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood and emotional regulation.

CBD oil may also interact with other receptors in the brain that are involved in anxiety, including the cannabinoid receptor system. The cannabinoid receptor system is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Finally, CBD oil may also reduce inflammation in the brain. Inflammation has been linked to a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety.

What Does the Research Say About CBD Oil and Anxiety?

The evidence that supports the use of cannabidiol oil for anxiety is growing. A number of studies have found that CBD oil is effective in reducing anxiety symptoms.

One study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD oil was superior to placebo in reducing anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder. The participants in the study were given either 600 mg of CBD oil or a placebo before they gave a public speech. The results showed that those who received the CBD oil had significantly reduced anxiety symptoms compared to those who received the placebo.

Another study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that CBD oil was effective in reducing anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. The participants in the study were given either 600 mg of CBD oil or a placebo for six weeks. The results showed that those who received the CBD oil had reduced anxiety symptoms compared to those who received the placebo.

Finally, a meta-analysis published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics found that CBD oil was effective in reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with various mental health disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

What are the different types of cannabidiol oil?

Cannabidiol oil is a natural product that is derived from the cannabis plant. There are different types of cannabidiol oil, each with its own unique properties. Some types of cannabidiol oil are better for treating anxiety than others.

Some people prefer to use CBD oil that is made from hemp plants, while others prefer to use CBD oil that is made from cannabis plants. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, while cannabis-derived CBD oil is only legal in certain states.

Which type of cannabidiol oil should you use?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including your location and the type of anxiety you are trying to treat.

If you live in a state where cannabis-derived CBD oil is legal, then you may want to consider using cannabis-derived CBD oil. If you live in a state where hemp-derived CBD oil is legal, then you may want to consider using hemp-derived CBD oil.

Both types of CBD oil have been shown to be effective in treating anxiety. However, cannabis-derived CBD oil may be more effective in some cases.

How to know which brand to buy?

When purchasing cannabidiol oil, it is important to do your research and find a reputable brand. There are many brands of CBD oil on the market, and not all of them are created equal.

Make sure to read reviews from other consumers before making a purchase. It is also important to contact the company if you have any questions about their products.

When purchasing cannabidiol oil, it is also important to look for the purity of the oil. Some brands of CBD oil are purer than others. You can always read the label and contact the company if you have any questions about the purity of their products.

Lastly, be sure the cannabidiol oil you purchase has been tested by a third-party lab. This will ensure that the product is of high quality and contains the correct levels of CBD.

How to Use CBD Oil for Anxiety

If you are considering using CBD oil for anxiety, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting CBD oil therapy. He or she can help you determine if CBD oil is the right treatment for you and can also advise you on the best dosage to use.

Second, it is important to find a high-quality CBD oil product. Not all CBD oils are created equal, and some products may contain contaminants or other compounds that could interfere with the effectiveness of the CBD oil.

Third, it is important to start with a low dose of CBD oil and increase gradually as needed. Too much CBD oil can cause side effects, such as drowsiness and dizziness.

What to do if cannabidiol oil for anxiety makes me dizzy?

If you find that CBD oil makes you dizzy, start with a lower dose and work your way up gradually. You may also want to try a different brand or product until you find one that doesn’t cause this side effect.

One potential reason why CBD oil may cause dizziness is because it contains a high concentration of THC. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis and can cause drowsiness and dizziness. Some CBD oils may also contain other compounds that could interact with the CBD oil and cause these side effects.

If you are using CBD oil to treat anxiety, it is important to find a product that contains low levels of THC. Look for products that have been tested by a third party and have a certificate of analysis that shows the levels of THC and other compounds in the product.

If you experience any side effects from CBD oil, such as drowsiness or dizziness, start with a lower dose and work your way up gradually. You may also want to try a different brand or product until you find one that doesn’t cause these side effects.

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What are the other side effects of taking cannabidiol oil for anxiety?

Less common side effects include dry mouth, nausea, and changes in appetite. Rare but serious side effects include changes in heart rate, confusion, and hallucinations.

It is important to note that cannabidiol oil may interact with other medications you are taking. Be sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before starting CBD oil therapy if you are taking any other medications.

CBD oil is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety, but it may not be right for everyone. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting CBD oil therapy to determine if it is the right treatment for you.

Now that we got all that information out, it’s time to share the top two cannabidiol oil for anxiety options:

1. Penguin CBD Oil

Image courtesy Penguin CBD

Penguin CBD oil is a supplement that helps to improve your body and mind. Each batch is created from a refined broad-spectrum extract.

You may pick between their most popular mint, citrus, natural, strawberry, and cookies & cream flavors.

This broad-spectrum oil comes in four strengths (250 mg, 600 mg, 1,000 mg, and 2,500 mg). It’s always made to order. That implies that when you buy CBD oil from Penguin CBD, you know it will be fresh.

The hemp used in their products is organically cultivated on our farms in Oregon. The plants are grown carefully without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers because they prefer to employ only sustainable and ecologically friendly farming practices. The hemp is then transported to their laboratories, where the CBD may be extracted, distilled, and turned into oil. In order to guarantee that their oil has the cleanest, purest CBD extract possible, they utilize a CO2 extraction method.

Penguin CBD utilizes a broad-spectrum CBD extract for their CBD oil. It retains many beneficial compounds (terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) when compared to CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD.

2. Everest CBD Oil

Image courtesy Everest

The highest concentration possible of CBD in the natural extract format is known as “full-spectrum.” Everest’s full-spectrum CBD oil is non-GMO and vegan friendly. A single 30 mL bottle contains 750 mg of CBD and 60 mg of THC.

Each 1 mL dose provides 25 mg CBD and 2 mg THC. Blueberry is the only flavor option with this brand.

Everest’s Full Spectrum Oil is a blueberry-flavored hemp oil manufactured in the United States of America from the highest-grade hemp grown there.

What does full spectrum CBD do for you?

Full spectrum CBD oil is known to provide a variety of potential health benefits. Some of the key benefits include reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and improving sleep quality. Full spectrum CBD oil is also known to help improve mental clarity and focus.

Both full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil are known to help reduce anxiety symptoms. Full spectrum CBD oil is also known to provide a variety of other potential health benefits, while broad spectrum CBD oil is known to be more effective in reducing anxiety symptoms.

How will I know if I have anxiety?

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. He or she can help you determine if you do indeed have anxiety and can provide advice on the best treatment options.

Most symptoms of anxiety include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

● Irritability or anger

● Fear, worry, or panic attacks

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, or unease. It is normal to feel anxious in certain situations, such as before an exam or during a job interview. However, if you are feeling anxious all the time or the anxiety is interfering with your day-to-day activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Each type of anxiety disorder has its own unique symptoms.

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. He or she can help you determine if you have anxiety and can provide advice on the best treatment options. Treatment for anxiety may include therapy, medication, or both.

Cannabidiol oil is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety, but it may not be right for everyone. Again, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting CBD oil therapy to determine if it is the right treatment for you.

What is the best spectrum cannabidiol oil for anxiety?

The best spectrum of cannabidiol oil for anxiety may vary depending on the person. Some of the best CBD oils for anxiety include Penguin CBD oil and Everest CBD oil. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is known to be more effective in reducing anxiety symptoms than CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD oil.

What is Cannabidiol Oil Used for?

Cannabidiol oil is a natural extract from the cannabis plant that has been shown to have therapeutic benefits for a variety of medical conditions. It is non-addictive and does not cause psychoactive effects, making it a safe and effective treatment for many medical conditions.

Cannabidiol oil is most commonly used to treat anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy. It is also being studied for its potential benefits in the treatment of other conditions, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Will cannabidiol oil get me high?

No, cannabidiol oil will not get you high. It is non-addictive and does not cause psychoactive effects, making it a safe and effective treatment for many medical conditions.

Is cannabidiol oil legal in the United States?

Yes, cannabidiol oil is legal in the United States.

Do I need a prescription to take cannabidiol oil for anxiety?

No, a prescription is not needed to take cannabidiol oil for anxiety. As with most supplements, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting CBD oil therapy to determine if it is the right treatment for you.

How to Take Cannabidiol Oil for Anxiety

Cannabidiol oil can be ingested in a number of ways. You can ingest it orally by putting it under your tongue, swallowing it, or mixing it with food or drink. You can also apply it to the skin. It’s important to start slowly when you’re taking cannabidiol oil for anxiety and gradually increase the dose. You may also want to try different methods of taking cannabidiol oil to see which one works best for you.

Some people find that they get relief from anxiety by taking cannabidiol oil orally, while others find that applying it to the skin is more effective. You may need to experiment a bit to figure out what works best for you.

Remember to start slowly when taking cannabidiol oil and increase the dose gradually. And, as with any new treatment, talk to your doctor before starting cannabidiol oil for anxiety.

Benefits of cannabidiol oil for anxiety:

Now that you know how to take cannabidiol oil for anxiety, let’s look at some of the benefits it may offer.

Help relieve anxiety symptoms

Cannabidiol oil may help relieve anxiety symptoms by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors in the brain that interact with cannabinoids. These receptors are responsible for many functions, including neurotransmission, pain perception, and inflammation.

Help reduce inflammation

Cannabidiol oil may help reduce inflammation by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors in the brain that interact with cannabinoids. These receptors are responsible for many functions, including neurotransmission, pain perception, and inflammation.

Has anti-cancer properties

One of the main functions of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Cannabidiol oil has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It may help kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. It’s important to note that more research is needed to confirm these findings.

How should I store cannabidiol oil for anxiety?

Cannabidiol oil should be stored in a cool, dark place. Keep it away from heat and direct sunlight. You may also want to store it in a childproof container.

If cannabidiol oil has been stored in a cool, dark place and kept away from heat and direct sunlight, it should be safe to use for up to two years. If it has been exposed to heat or direct sunlight, it may have gone bad and should not be used. You can tell if cannabidiol oil has gone bad if it has a sour smell or if it’s been discolored. If it has either of these symptoms, it should be discarded.

How do I calculate a cannabidiol oil for anxiety dose?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the dosage of cannabidiol oil for anxiety will vary depending on the individual. However, a general guideline to follow is to start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you experience the desired results.

How will I know that cannabidiol oil for anxiety is working?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, you may notice a decrease in your anxiety symptoms after starting to take cannabidiol oil. Keep track of how you feel and adjust your dosage as needed.

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Final Thoughts on Cannabidiol Oil for Anxiety: Does it work?

Cannabidiol oil is used for a variety of reasons, including anxiety. But does it work?

There is some evidence that cannabidiol oil can help reduce anxiety. For example, one study found that cannabidiol oil was effective for social anxiety disorder. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Overall, cannabidiol oil appears to be safe and effective for anxiety. But it’s important to note that not everyone responds to cannabidiol oil.

So, does cannabidiol oil work for anxiety? The evidence suggests that it may be helpful for some people. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. If you’re interested in trying cannabidiol oil, talk to your doctor first.

As soon as you have the okay to move forward, consider buying Penguin CBD or Everest Full-Spectrum CBD for anxiety today!

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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] 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 [6] 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 [7] 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 [8] Das RK, Kamboj SK, Ramadas M, et al. Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;226(4):781-792. [9] 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 [10] 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 [11] 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 [12] 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 [13] 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.