Does CBD Oil Help with Anxiety?
CBD oil is quickly gaining a reputation as a treatment for a range of symptoms, including anxiety.
As those with anxiety know, it can be debilitating, and any reduction in symptoms could do wonders for the lives of many. But does CBD oil actually work for anxiety?
We’ve broken down everything you need to know about CBD oil for anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, with an estimated 3.8% to 25% of adults experiencing some kind of anxiety disorder (1).
We’ve all likely experienced anxiety at some stage in our lives. Anxiety often manifests itself as feelings of dread, worry, or fear. Secondary symptoms typically include nausea, insomnia, lack of appetite, and depression. So that nauseous feeling you got before an exam or that restless sleep before a big presentation – anxiety is likely the culprit.
Of course, while anxiety is commonly experienced in times of high stress or pressure, for people with anxiety disorders, anxiety is ever-present. There is not just one type of anxiety disorder; some people may have a panic disorder, separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, or a specific type of phobia. Anxiety disorders come in many shapes and sizes.
Conventional Treatments for Anxiety
Because anxiety can significantly impact your quality of life and even your ability to function at your normal level, medication is often required for people suffering from anxiety and anxiety disorders to help manage their symptoms.
SSRIs, also known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are one treatment option often prescribed to patients with anxiety. SSRIs are a type of antidepressant and help to relieve the symptoms of depression that often accompany anxiety disorders. SSRIs can be effective; however, they come with possible side effects such as sexual dysfunction, nausea, and insomnia (2).
Other medication options, such as pregabalin, opipramol, buspirone, or benzodiazepines, can be effective but also come with risks of dizziness, memory problems, nausea, and dependency (3).
Does CBD Oil Work for Anxiety?
Some significant side effects are possible from conventional anxiety treatment options, but can CBD oil do any better? Can it even treat anxiety at all?
First, we need to start with the basics.
CBD oil is one of the more common forms of CBD, also known as cannabidiol. CBD is one of the major cannabinoids and can be found in both hemp and cannabis plants.
CBD is not just a plant compound. Research tells us that it interacts with our bodies by acting on non-cannabinoid receptors and other receptor pathways. By doing this, CBD is able to induce a range of effects, with research indicating that CBD can:
Reduce pain (4)
Improve skin conditions (5)
Reduce inflammation (6)
Act as an anti-bacterial (7)
Improve sleep (8)
Most important for patients with anxiety, there is also evidence that CBD oil has significant anxiety-reducing properties.
A recent study highlights the potential of CBD oil for anxiety. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology investigated the effects of CBD oil on 37 teenagers with social anxiety disorder.
The study found that CBD oil managed to significantly decrease anxiety levels for the teenagers, on both the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale and the Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire. The subjects of this study took 300 mg of CBD daily for four weeks, and the researchers concluded that CBD oil shows promise as a treatment for social anxiety (9).
Serotonin plays an important role in our moods and in the development of mental health disorders like anxiety disorders. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is often used to treat depression and anxiety thanks to its mood-boosting and happiness-inducing results (10).
One way that CBD may be able to reduce anxiety levels is by increasing serotonin levels. Research tells us that CBD is able to activate certain serotonin receptors, like 5HT1a, leading to an increase in serotonin (11). In fact, a direct correlation between CBD, serotonin receptors, and anxiety levels was seen in a 2019 study of mice. This study found that CBD activated serotonin receptors, directly resulting in the mice demonstrating reduced levels of anxiety (12).
When it comes to CBD’s anxiety-reducing effects, another compound you have to know about is cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that plays an important role in stress and anxiety. Essentially, higher levels of cortisol are likely to result in higher levels of anxiety. Patients with anxiety have been found to have elevated levels of cortisol (13), and this is where CBD oil comes in. Research tells us that CBD can decrease cortisol levels by interrupting cortisol secretion, possibly resulting in the anxiolytic effects we see with CBD oil (14).
Will CBD Oil Make You High?
While CBD oil can be derived from cannabis plants, it isn’t able to induce a high. The infamous effects of cannabis are instead the result of THC, another major cannabinoid.
So, as long as you consume only CBD oil, you won’t experience any of the psychotropic effects of cannabis that could be detrimental to your anxiety.
CBD Oil Side Effects for Anxiety
One of the best things about CBD oil as a potential treatment for anxiety is its safety and relatively mild side effects.
CBD oil is generally considered to be well-tolerated, even to doses as high as 1,500 mg (15). Side effects from CBD oil are rare and when they do occur, mild (16). Some side effects that have been reported include mild cases of fatigue, diarrhea, and increased temperature (17).
So, you can rest assured knowing that CBD oil is unlikely to result in any serious or anxiety-inducing side effects.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to CBD oil for anxiety, the early indications are promising. Further research is needed before we can fully understand just how effective CBD’s anxiolytic properties are, but for now, it is certainly something to get excited about.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**