Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the US, affecting an estimated 31.1% of individuals in the country.
CBD is one of several cannabinoids present in the hemp plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound that can help treat the effects of anxiety and a number of other ailments.
This benefit is supported by research, with multiple studies confirming the positive effects CBD can have on various anxiety problems.
According to research conducted in April 2020, 49% of US adults using CBD take it to relieve the effects of anxiety and stress.
It’s important to note that CBD has not yet been officially approved as an anxiolytic or anxiety-relieving drug. As a result, it’s up to you and your healthcare provider to evaluate if CBD is a suitable treatment for your anxiety.
Continue reading to find out more about how this incredible compound can help you beat anxiety.
How CBD can help alleviate the effects of anxiety
What is Anxiety?
It is natural to feel anxious from time to time. However, people with anxiety disorders usually experience intense, overwhelming, and persistent concern and fear about ordinary events.
Anxiety disorders sometimes feature recurring bouts of acute anxiety, dread, or terror that peak within minutes (panic attacks).
Anxiety and panic disrupt everyday activities, are difficult to regulate, are not proportional to the actual risk, and can linger for an extended period. Symptoms can appear in childhood or adolescence and continue throughout adulthood.
Among the most common anxiety signs and symptoms are:
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- Feelings of imminent danger, panic, or dread
- Having a faster heart rate
- Rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Feeling tired or weak
- Having difficulty controlling anxiety
- Experiencing difficulty concentrating or thinking about anything other than the particular worry
- Having gastrointestinal (GI) issues
- Urge to avoid things that could trigger anxiety
How does CBD work to help relieve anxiety symptoms?
CBD interacts with receptors in your brain to help regulate your mood. The compound does not get you high like THC does (it’s non-psychoactive), but it can still help relieve anxiety.
CBD works by activating receptors called CB1 receptors, the serotonin 5-HT in1A receptor, and other receptors in the brain that regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviors in your body.
Preclinical and clinical evidence has indicated that CBD may be an effective treatment for several types of anxiety disorders, such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder (PD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
CBD-based medications for anxiety have yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many studies, however, show that the compound can be an effective anxiolytic.
GAD is a psychiatric condition characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry that lasts for at least six months. GAD can cause significant distress and impairment in daily life, so it’s important to seek treatment if you have this mental disorder.
Doctors may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants for GAD, but these drugs aren’t always effective or safe.
If you’d like to try an alternative approach, CBD oil could be the right choice for you. The compound has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in some people with GAD—but it’s important to remember that not everyone’s anxiety will respond in the same way to CBD oil.
A trial using CBD to treat individuals with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) and healthy control patients performing a simulated public speaking test (SPST), a typical anxiety assessment procedure, was conducted in 2011.
CBD substantially decreased anxiety and pain in SAD individuals compared to a placebo. In fact, their anxiety levels were comparable to those of the control group.
A 2019 study examined the effectiveness of three CBD dosages (150 milligrams, 300 milligrams, and 600 milligrams) and a placebo in males undergoing an SPST.
Compared to a placebo, 300 milligrams of CBD considerably lowered participants’ anxiety throughout the speech, although 150 and 600 mg dosages did not. These findings demonstrate how dose can vary greatly.
These findings demonstrate how dose can vary greatly. In another experiment conducted in 2019, researchers looked at CBD at levels far lower than most earlier clinical trials, with some participants taking 25 milligrams a day and the others either 50 or 75 mg a day.
Researchers reasoned that bigger dosages could be too costly for participants to sustain in their daily lives, but smaller amounts might still be helpful. Most individuals’ anxiety dropped during the first month and stayed low.
Sleep quality improved as well, though it varied more than anxiety did. Only three patients complained of negative effects.
How to Use CBD for Anxiety
There’s no right or wrong way to use CBD for anxiety. There are many different ways to consume CBD, and they all have their benefits and uses.
Also, since there are no clear FDA guidelines, the optimal CBD dosage for anxiety differs from person to person. You may notice that one method works better for you than another.
CBD can be taken in the following forms:
- Oils and tinctures are taken by mouth and come in dropper bottles.
- Gummies are chewy, sweet, and typically fruit-flavored
- Capsules, soft gels, or tablets are administered orally like pills
- Vapes that heat CBD oil without igniting it, producing inhalable vapor
- Flowers are dried hemp plants that are often smoked after being lit
- Creams and gels deliver CBD topically (through the skin) as a more targeted therapy
You may need to experiment with several forms to determine which one works best for you. When it comes to CBD absorption in your bloodstream, vaping and smoking are more effective than edibles like gummies.
CBD Dosage for Anxiety
You’ll also need to find the appropriate CBD dosage for your anxiety. Experts advise starting small and working your way up based on how your body responds.
Many clinical studies begin with high-dose testing. Successful dosages examined particularly for anxiety treatment include:
- 600 milligrams in SAD patients during a speech simulation
- 300 milligrams in male patients participating in a speech simulation
Other trials, however, indicate that far smaller dosages are also highly useful in reducing anxiety.
- 25 to 75 mg for generalized anxiety and insomnia
- In addition to standard psychiatric care, 33 to 49 milligrams per day for PTSD
Another study, including hundreds of patients, found benefits with dosages ranging from 40 milligrams to 300 milligrams per day, lending credence to the idea that CBD dosage varies greatly depending on a person’s symptoms and physiology.
Side Effects and Potential Risks
The World Health Organization regards CBD to be a safe and well-tolerated substance. Studies have shown relatively few, if any, adverse effects.
Taking CBD while taking other medications, on the other hand, can pose a risk since these drugs may interact and cause unwanted side effects.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, a growing body of evidence shows that CBD may help treat anxiety, the most frequent mental health issue.
However, the FDA does not regulate CBD as an anxiety treatment. This is important because the quality and dosage of goods and manufacturers may vary significantly.
It is strongly advised that if you take prescription medications or other supplements, visit a doctor before starting any new treatments or supplements so they can help determine whether CBD oil is right for your needs.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to text, images, graphics, and other material contained in this article, are for informational and educational purposes, solely intended to be used as a self-help tool.
No information in this article or on this website is intended to substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, always seek guidance and advice from a qualified healthcare provider.