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CBD for anxiety: What to know

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant, and it is one of numerous cannabinoids present in the plant. It is a non-psychoactive chemical that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety and a variety of other ailments.

A recent study found that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues in the United States, impacting an estimated 31.1 percent of adults in the country.

Continue reading to learn more about cannabidiol (CBD) and anxiety.

Is Cannabidiol (CBD) legal? CBD products derived from hemp that contain less than 0.3 percent THC are allowed under federal law, but they are still banned under several state regulations. CBD-derived products manufactured from cannabis, on the other hand, are prohibited under federal law but allowed under some state regulations. When travelling, especially in foreign countries, always sure to check local legislation. It’s also important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be labelled incorrectly.

What is CBD?

CBD has the potential to be a successful treatment for a wide range of anxiety conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis sativa plant that has received the most attention in recent years. The other cannabinoid that is well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The Cannabis sativa plant, in addition to CBD and THC, has about 540 other chemical components.

Cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, attach to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which are responsible for their effects.

THC is responsible for the well-known “high” sensation that many people associate with marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, does not have this effect. Instead, it has a wide range of possible health benefits to provide.

The current state of research indicates that CBD has significant pharmacological effects. Many scientists and researchers are aware that CBD contains anti-inflammatory qualities that are useful. It works by inhibiting the activity of specific enzymes that cause inflammation in the body.

A systematic analysis published in CNS Drugs in 2020 indicated that treatment with CBD reduced seizures in people with Dravet Syndrome, a drug-resistant seizure condition that was previously thought to be incurable.

The increasing legalisation of medical cannabis in the United States has motivated a large number of scientists to do research into the different therapeutic applications of cannabis and CBD.

One of the most often asked questions among healthcare experts is if CBD can be used to treat anxiety problems.

The journal Dialogues of Clinical Neuroscience published an article in which it said that anxiety disorders are among the most frequent psychiatric diseases. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 19.1 percent of individuals in the United States had experienced an anxiety disorder in the previous year, with women experiencing anxiety at a higher rate than men.

More information on the potential health advantages of CBD may be found here.


One review published in 2015 found that CBD interacts with the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, and other brain receptors that govern fear and anxiety-induced behaviour.

Aside from that, the authors of the review discovered preclinical and clinical evidence that confirmed CBD as an effective treatment for a variety of anxiety disorders, including the following:

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • panic disorder (PD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • social anxiety disorder (SAD)

In a more recent 2020 study, researchers examined the effects of CBD on 397 adults who lived in New Zealand at the time of the study. A wide range of diseases, including non-cancer pain, cancer-related symptoms, neurological symptoms, and mental health symptoms, were treated with medical CBD prescriptions for the participants in the study.

After three weeks of CBD treatment, participants in all groups reported an improvement in their overall quality of life. Individuals who got CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reported increases in their ability to complete everyday tasks, as well as a reduction in pain and anxiety or depression symptoms, according to the paper.

Seventy percent of study participants expressed some level of pleasure with CBD treatment, with ratings ranging from satisfactory to extremely satisfied. Participants reported experiencing only 9.9 percent of the negative side effects, which included drowsiness and vivid nightmares. Even a lower proportion of the study population (0.8 percent) claimed that their symptoms were getting worse.

An evaluation of the effects of CBD treatment on 72 persons with anxiety or sleep issues was carried out in a retrospective study by the researchers.

Each participant got one 25 milligramme capsule of CBD once a day (mg/d), which was taken once per 24 hours. Only a few subjects received 50 or 75 mg/d of the medication. One patient with a history of trauma and schizoaffective disorder was given up to 175 mg/d for a period of time.

After two months of CBD treatment, 78.1–79.2 percent of subjects reported a reduction in their anxiety symptoms, according to the study. However, 15.3–19.5 percent of those who took part in the study experienced worse symptoms as a result of CBD medication.

According to the authors of a 2020 paper, they analysed eight research that looked into the impact of CBD in the treatment of various anxiety disorders.

The authors discovered evidence to support the use of CBD as a monotherapy or supplemental therapy for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as for other conditions.

There was a significant amount of diversity in CBD doses among the studies, ranging from 6-400 mg per dose in some cases. This discrepancy underlines the need for more high-quality, large-scale clinical trials to aid in the development of standardised dose and clinical usage recommendations for CBD therapy, which are currently lacking.

How to use

Researchers and healthcare practitioners have not yet established standardised dose recommendations for CBD therapy, as previously mentioned.

The researchers discovered that 300–600 mg of CBD considerably reduced anxiety symptoms in 57 adult males, according to a 2019 study.

The amount of CBD that a person needs to consume to ease anxiety is determined by the CBD product that they are using and how they are administering it.

The following are examples of CBD administration methods:

  • oil
  • sublingual spray
  • capsules
  • edibles
  • vaporized oil or cannabis flowers

The method of administration has an impact on how quickly cannabinoids begin to work their effect.

The benefits of CBD taken orally, whether in the form of oils, edibles, or capsules, begin to operate between 30 minutes to 2 hours of consumption. Smoking or vaping CBD oil or cannabis buds has more immediate effects than ingesting the substance orally.

People might utilise CBD products that are taken orally to reduce anxiety throughout the day. It may be beneficial to take these products first thing in the morning with a meal.

Smoking or vaping CBD oil can provide rapid relaxation, which may be beneficial for persons who are facing a stressful situation such as presenting a presentation.

More information about CBD dose can be found here.

Risks and side effects

The authors of this 2019 review concluded that persons could tolerate CBD at doses as high as 1,500 mg/day without experiencing any adverse effects. There is a paucity of information on the long-term safety of CBD. The following are some of the adverse effects of CBD use:

  • drowsiness
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • changes in weight

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD’s use in the treatment of anxiety or other mental health issues. When it comes to acquiring CBD products, people should use their best judgement. Ensure that the things you purchase are from respected manufacturers and distributors.


An ever-growing body of studies suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, the most common mental health disease in the world.

The FDA, on the other hand, does not regulate CBD for the treatment of anxiety. This means that the quality and dosage of a product can differ significantly between different manufacturers and products.

People who are currently taking prescription medications or taking nutritional supplements may wish to talk with their doctor before experimenting with CBD.



Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.