Using CBD Oil for Treating Anxiety
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.
Arno Kroner, DAOM, LAc, is a board-certified acupuncturist, as well as an herbalist and integrative medicine doctor. He operates a private practice in Santa Monica, California.
Many Americans are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) oil as a remedy for anxiety. Some people take CBD oil to soothe their everyday worries. Others use it to treat more serious conditions, like generalized anxiety disorder.
Cannabidiol is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Its availability is soaring as cannabis is being legalized in more states across the country.
Cannabidiol is unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This other cannabis compound produces a “high.” CBD oil typically doesn’t contain THC, so it doesn’t have this effect.
A growing number of companies have begun selling supplements, salves, and other products containing CBD oil. They often tout these items as natural remedies for issues like anxiety and pain.
This article will explain why people take CBD oil and some of the side effects they could expect. It also provides an update about some of the fascinating research that has been done on the subject so far.
Anxiety disorders affect more than 18% of American adults ages 18 and older, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) says. These disorders are "highly treatable," the ADAA says, but only about 37% of adults seek professional treatment.
Treatment options can include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Yet many people forgo these traditional approaches and choose to self-treat with CBD oil.
Their goal is clear, according to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: Almost 62% of cannabidiol users say they use CBD to treat pain, anxiety, and depression.
In doing so, they are taking a leap of faith. Scientists say more research is needed to learn how CBD oil might help treat conditions like anxiety.
Why People Take CBD Oil
For people dealing with pain, anxiety, or depression, taking CBD oil may seem like a quick and simple fix.
So far, most of the evidence linked to CBD’s effects on anxiety comes from animal studies and laboratory experiments. But it does show some promise.
For example, scientists reported in Neurotherapeutics that CBD oil might ease some disorders, including generalized anxiety, panic, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Social Anxiety Study
A small study published in Neuropsychopharmacology determined that CBD may help reduce social anxiety. The ADAA defines this disorder as "intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation."
Social anxiety affects about 7% of all adults. And it is as common among men as women.
In the study, 24 people with social anxiety disorder received either 600 milligrams (mg) of CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before a simulated public speaking test.
Twelve other people with social anxiety disorder performed the same test with no CBD treatment.
Results showed that pre-treatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort while participants gave their speech.
The ability of CBD to reduce anxiety may follow what scientists call a "dose-response curve." Simply put, the curve shows the relationship between the size of a dose and the response to it. And the shape of the curve resembles a bell.
A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology suggested that the greater the dose of CBD, the better its ability to lower anxiety.
Researchers gave different dosages of CBD to participants before a public speaking test. They found that subjective anxiety measures dropped with a 300 mg dose of CBD. This drop did not occur with either the 100 or 900 mg CBD dosages.
If you were to plot this result on graph paper, it would form a bell, with 100 and 900 on the ends. Hence, the name of this pharmacology concept literally takes shape.
Paranoid Trait Study
CBD does not appear to ease paranoia, however. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology tested the effects of CBD in people with high paranoid traits.
This study found that CBD had no effect on anxiety, heart rate, or cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as a “fight or flight” hormone.
Similarly, CBD showed no effect on systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) or persecutory ideation. This is a fear that someone is harming you or will in the future.
Anxiety in Healthy Participants Study
Cannabidiol may not reduce anxiety in healthy adults, according to a study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
Researchers concluded this after testing participants' responses to negative images or words and threatening faces after they took oral CBD.
Is CBD Legal?
Harvard Medical School notes that all 50 states have laws on the books that legalize CBD "with varying degrees of restriction."
Using CBD oil may cause a number of side effects. Ironically, one of these side effects can be anxiety. Others may include:
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings
- Dry mouth
Cannabidiol has been found to slightly increase heart rate at a dose of 900 mg. In addition, there is some evidence that using CBD oil may lead to increased levels of liver enzymes. This is a marker of liver damage.
CBD oil may interact with several medications, including benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, and some types of anti-epileptic drugs. If you take any of these medications, consult your healthcare provider before using CBD oil.
Consumers should know that CBD oil may be labeled incorrectly because it is mostly unregulated. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 70% of all CBD products sold online are mislabeled.
At the same time, not only do some products contain THC, a number of them had enough THC to cause symptoms like an increased heart rate. In this way, some CBD products can actually make anxiety worse.
Many people are taking CBD oil to treat anxiety. Research shows it may be helpful for some types of anxiety disorders but not others. And the potential for wide-ranging side effects is very real.
The uncertainty explains why it makes good sense to consult your healthcare provider before taking CBD oil. If your physician cannot recommend a brand, then he or she may be able to warn you off an irreputable brand.
A Word From Verywell
If you’re experiencing symptoms like frequent restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, fatigue, lack of control over feelings of worry, and sleep problems, talk to your healthcare provider immediately. You can find the right anxiety treatment plan by working together.
Left untreated, an anxiety disorder can diminish your quality of life. It can also lead to health issues, such as digestive problems.
Rather than self-treat, ask your healthcare provider about whether CBD oil can help you manage your anxiety. A physician is also in the best position to recommend a dosage that will be right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Proponents of cannabidiol (CBD) oil claim that it can help treat many conditions. These include: acne, anorexia, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, drug addiction and withdrawal, epilepsy, glaucoma, high blood pressure, insomnia, muscle spasms, and Parkinson's disease. In addition, CBD may help treat anxiety disorders like panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety. There is little research to support many of these uses, however.
Exactly how CBD oil can help with anxiety isn't fully understood. It's believed that CBD affects opioid receptors in the brain that manage pain, as well as receptors that regulate the neurotransmitter serotonin (which helps nerve cells "communicate"). Some people feel a calming effect when CBD interacts with these receptors.
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Anxiety is a blanket term used to describe a variety of different symptoms. It’s not uncommon to feel butterflies or jitters before an important oral presentation or when meeting someone new on a first date. But for people who deal with anxiety on a more regular basis, even when facing mundane tasks, it can make life feel a lot harder to deal with.
Sometimes anxiety manifests as a physical sensation that turns your stomach into knots and makes you nauseous, even on an empty stomach. Sometimes it causes repetitive thoughts of worst-case scenarios that limit your mental capacity for more fruitful ideas. Often, restlessness and agitation accompany anxiety, particularly when you feel like no one around you understands this invisible condition. And when all is said and done, at the end of the day you may be so fatigued that you can’t find time to engage in activities you enjoy. Despite the tiredness that results from excessively tensed muscles and a mind that won’t get quiet, you may still have trouble getting to sleep! Anxiety shows no mercy.
A life riddled with anxiety can feel extremely limited and along with practicing breathing exercises and calming stretches, you could also benefit from cannabidiol (CBD) to help combat the seemingly endless list of symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. This chemical naturally occurs in the hemp plant and early research is showing just how promising it is when it comes to relieving anxiety.
While some prescription medications may also be helping to treat anxiety, often people feel dissociated and subdued, which limits their ability to enjoy the fullness of all the gifts life has to offer. If you’re looking to try a natural supplement to gain relief from general anxiety disorders or help with specific conditions like post traumatic stress disorder, CBD may just be the answer you’ve been looking for. Below we share our top 10 favorite brands that offer CBD oil – we took our time vetting them and hope you find a product that catches your eye in the details we share below!
Top 10 List of CBD Oils for Anxiety
– Best for Anxiety (Includes CBN) – GHP Cannabis Awards Winner – Best Dose – Packed with Vitamins D3 and B12 – Full Spectrum CBD Benefits with Unique Flavor Profiles – Top-Rated CBD Isolate – Ideal for Experienced CBD Users – Best Water Soluble, Customizable CBD Oil – Pharmacist-Formulated Full Spectrum CBD Oil – Best Lavender Tincture for Relaxation
How Did We Decide Our Top CBD Oils to Help Anxiety Disorders?
We established a framework that focuses on four primary elements in order to compile this list of our 10 preferred companies for CBD oil for anxiety. Our objective is to present you with an educational article that covers various brands and CBD oils so that you can make an educated purchasing decision when you’re ready to try a natural product for combating the effects of anxiety disorders. We’ve identified and examined some clear variables and have explained them below for clarity:
- We included the opinions and reviews of CBD industry specialists. Third-party testing confirms the quality, potency, and purity of all CBD flower strains. When brands implement their commitment to responsibility, their customers gain confidence and become loyal.
- We took the opportunity to validate that the brand’s own descriptions correlate with the user experience described directly by verified shoppers, whether they’re discovered on their official site or on social media pages.
- Firsthand accounts from our in-house team. While there is a wealth of information available on the internet, nothing beats checking goods out for ourselves and sharing our results with you.
- We gave ourselves the time to digest all of the information in the product pages. Reputable brands provide data about the potency of their CBD oil and other CBD products, as well as extra information like typical experiences and reactions, and flavor and effectiveness descriptors.
Our Top CBD Oils for Anxiety Reviewed
1. CBDistillery – Best for Anxiety (Includes CBN)
- 20% off your orders when you subscribe
- Extra strength formula for better results
- CBD + the benefits of CBN
- 60-day money back guarantee
- Natural hemp flavor may taste slightly unpleasant for some users
Product: Extra Strength CBN + CBD Sleep Tincture 1:3 (300MG of CBN + 900MG of CBD)
If ever you’ve struggled with getting enough sleep through the night, you know just how much you need a good night’s rest to function well in your day to day and handle all your responsibilities with focused attention. When you’re tired, your regular responsibilities feel more daunting and more confusing, whereas when you wake from a good night’s sleep, you can tackle whatever comes your way with ease.
This extra strength formula developed by CBDistillery helps you get to sleep and stay asleep so you can be your best self throughout your waking hours. Whether you’ve been dealing with insomnia for a long time now or you’ve found yourself stuck in a cycle of poor sleep recently, this tincture can help you regulate your sleep cycle.
2. Absolute Nature – GHP Cannabis Awards Winner
- Certified USDA organic
- Three concentrations available
- Made in the USA
- Non-GMO Hemp
- Limited product variety
Product: Absolute Nature CBG & CBD Oil Drops
When stress has become a regular part of your life and tension has built up in your muscles, it’s time for some soothing relief. These organic CBD oil drops are ideal when you’re ready to invest in yourself and revel in fast, natural stress relief. This 1000MG full spectrum tincture stands out among other brands as a pure, nature-intended option.
3. CBDfx – Best High Dose
- Made in the USA
- Solvent free
- 60-day money back guarantee
- CBN infused for stronger effects
- Consumers have requested a flavored version
Product: CBD + CBN Oil Calming Tincture (500 – 6000MG of CBD)
When your mind needs a break, this CBD + CBN tincture can give you a floating feeling unlike no other. CBN is known as the “relaxation cannabinoid”, and when combined with CBDfx’s special terpene combination, you’ll feel as though you’ve fallen into a bed full of pillows that envelop you with warmth and unconditional care.
CBN is a minor cannabinoid and a cousin of THC that many hemp consumers are unaware of – to keep it simple, THC transforms into CBN as it matures. CBN is a non-psychoactive chemical component that has been shown to have a relaxing impact on both the body and the mind. One of the key reasons why CBN is swiftly becoming one of the most popular cannabinoids for sleep is because of its ability to promote extreme relaxation.
Choose from five concentrations of CBD oil: 500MH, 1000MG, 2000MG, 4000MG, up to 6000MG to experience unparalleled relaxation. These tinctures are vegan and gluten-free and their potency is verified by third party labs.
4. Sunday Scaries – Packed with Vitamins D3 and B12
- Free shipping on orders over $59
- Cancel your subscription anytime without hassle
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Tasty fruit punch flavor
- Free shipping applies to US customers only
Product: Unwind CBD Oil
Sunday Scaries is committed to giving you reasons to smile, and their CBD oils help you do just that with 100% gluten and GMO free CBD that’s carefully combined with 400 IU of Vitamin D3 and 11mcg of Vitamin B12 to relax your body and move you into a super chill mindset. If you could do without the earthy, natural flavor of many CBD oil options, you’re in luck because Sunday Scaries offers their product in a palatable fruity format.
5. Five CBD – Full Spectrum CBD Benefits with Unique Flavor Profiles
- Three flavors available
- Multiple extra strength concentrations to select from
- Save 30% when you subscribe
- 100% natural ingredients
- Unflavored option not available
Product: Full Spectrum CBD+THC Oil
Five CBD offers unique tinctures that combine CBD oil extracted from hemp (not hemp seed oil which is a different animal) with organic MCT oil to create a potent combo. Natural extracts are used to bring fun flavors into their specialized formulas, which makes dosing fun and easy. You can take one dropper full at any time of the day to enjoy the benefits of their 5:1 formula. Consume with a meal to increase bioavailability, and if you feel like you could do with a stronger dose for more noticeable effects, you can take up to three servings of this CBD oil in one full day.
You can pick from three CBD concentrations: 1500MG, 3000MG, or 6000MG. And you also have the freedom to choose between three tasty flavors: lavender, mint chocolate, or citrus. They carefully covered a wide variety of flavor profiles so you could have a product that’s easy to administer and easy to love.
6. Extract Labs – Top-Rated CBD Isolate
- American grown hemp
- Lab tested by a third party to confirm quality
- High concentration of CBD (66 MG per mL)
- 60-day money back guarantee
- Their pure CBD isolate product does not come in other flavors
Product: Pure CBD Isolate Tincture (2000 MG of CBD per 20 mL bottle)
This powerful CBD isolate contains only pure CBD, without any THC traces and is mixed with organic coconut oil to make absorption easy. Extract Labs has a simple goal: to make high-quality tinctures affordable and available for anyone seeking the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. Each one of their formulas is carefully put together, and you can rest assured this CBD Isolate Tincture is free of preservatives, fillers, and artificial colors.
7. Charlotte’s Web – Ideal for Experienced CBD Users
- Supports a calm mood
- Assists with sleep cycles
- Reduces exercise-induced inflammation
- USA grown hemp
- Unflavored option is not available
Product: CBD Oil: 60MG of CBD per 1 ML
Charlotte’s Web offers several CBD oil tinctures, but nothing quite like this high serving size option. This formula contains the most CBD per serving they offer, and they’ve made it available in three flavors for your choosing. You can either indulge with a mint chocolate flavor, a lemon twist flavor, or an orange blossom flavor. Not only do you get to choose how your high CBD serving product should taste, but you’re also able to decide if you’d prefer a standard amount of 30 mL or if you’d like to commit to a full 100 mL right off the bat.
These high CBD servings aren’t exactly recommended for beginners – you should probably have some previous experience with CBD products before you venture further into these high CBD products. But when you’re ready, Charlotte’s Web can deliver. For best results, take this supplement regularly and be sure you store it at room temperature in a dark place. Plus, enjoy the freedom of use – some may be able to drop the CBD oil right into their mouths while others prefer to mix the oil with their morning drink or breakfast item.
8. CBD American Shaman – Best Water Soluble, Customizable CBD Oil
- Easily choose THC content
- Extra strength and water soluble
- Batch tested for potency and purity
- Fast acting delivery system
- Special promotions and discounts not currently available
Product: CBD Extra Strength Water Soluble
CBD American Shaman has created a water soluble CBD hemp oil supplement that’s not only extra strength, but that can also be easily added to any beverage and is extremely fast acting – all thanks to their ultra-performance convergence chromatography. You can pick between two sizes – a 15 mL bottle or a 40 mL bottle and can also designate your preferred THC content. Most brands either make their tinctures with a full spectrum CBD or isolate CBD for zero THC content. CBD American Shaman gives you the power to decide what you’d prefer within this water soluble formula – this customization process sets them apart from other brands and makes them even more competitive within the CBD oil market.
9. Green Roads – Pharmacist-Formulated Full Spectrum CBD Oil
- American grown hemp
- Gluten free and vegan friendly
- Full spectrum CBD oil (up to 0.3% THC)
- Independent lab certified
- Flavored options not available; expect product to have a natural taste
Product: Full Spectrum CBD oil (750MG or 1500MG of CBD)
This full-spectrum CBD oil promotes overall health and wellness. It contains up to 0.3% THC as permitted by federal law and is synthesized from a variety of therapeutic compounds found in hemp plants. You can either take 1 mL increments, which contain roughly 50mg of CBD or you can manage the amount of CBD you consume by lowering or increasing the recommended dose using the provided dropper. This blend contains MCT oil, hemp seed oil, and other beneficial ingredients. Their full-spectrum CBD oil is tested for quality by an outside lab, and you can view the test results easily by locating the QR code on the packaging and scanning it for access.
Green Roads has made their mark within the CBD industry because their products are made with premium CBD that’s carefully formulated using the knowledge and input of a pharmacist. The two full spectrum options they offer are both hot sellers and can be described as either moderate or mighty in terms of strength. Consumers report the taste is significantly more pleasant than other CBD oils on the market today.
10. Receptra Naturals – Best Lavender Tincture for Relaxation
- Three sizes available
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
- Third party lab tested
- Easy COA lookup
- Limited flavor selection
Product: Seriously Relax + Lavender Tincture (25MG of CBD per dose)
Receptra Naturals’ Seriously Relax + Lavender CBD tincture is made with a combination of naturally derived components that support good physical and mental health that set you up with a solid foundation on a daily basis.
This CBD tincture incorporates MCT oil, lavender, limonene, passionflower, lime, and ginger to help you stay positive and peaceful while also offering real protection against life’s pressures. Adulting isn’t easy and with the many critical decisions you’re constantly having to make, your brain could use a break from the overdrive state. Invite a cool, calm, and collected state into your life so you can handle whatever you’re facing with better poise and ease.
How Can CBD Oil Help with Anxiety?
First, a little background. Your body has a lot of different receptors – these receptors are attached to your cells and their job is to receive signals from different sources of stimulation. CBD is believed to communicate within both your CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are primarily located within your central nervous system – this is the system that sounds all the alarms that trigger your anxiety.
Although the exact communication between CBD and your CB1 and CB2 receptors isn’t fully understood just yet, researchers believe this communication may adjust serotonin signals. If you’re not familiar with serotonin, here’s the scoop: it’s a neurotransmitter that basically keeps you happy. When your serotonin levels are low, that’s when depression comes crashing in like an uninvited house guest. Some people swear by the best CBD oils and other CBD products, while others choose prescription medications like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to help them manage their mental health.
Though you should always consult with your medical provider before trying CBD to assist or treat anxiety, below we present some clinical studies that show extremely promising results for the future of some mental health treatments.
Generalized anxiety disorders are often accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, feelings of restlessness, and irritability, to name a few of the associated symptoms. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD has been studied in animals and has been confirmed to reduce their stress levels. Though more research is required, these results give hope for many.
CBD has been demonstrated in several recent studies to help with PTSD symptoms such as nightmares and repeating painful experiences via intrusive memories. CBD has been studied as a single PTSD treatment as well as an addition to established PTSD treatments, like standard medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy in these studies (CBT).
Research on CBD Oil for Anxiety
The effects of CBD on human volunteers with generalized social anxiety disorder were investigated in a 2011 study published in Neuropsychopharmacology (SAD). A simulated public speaking examination was administered to 24 participants in a double-blind study. Volunteers struggling with social anxiety disorder noted a positive effect right around the 300MG dose.
Another study conducted in 2015 sought to understand CBD’s potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders through the careful evaluation of preclinical, human experimental, and clinical studies. Researchers discovered that preclinical evidence for CBD is overwhelmingly promising and can be a helpful medicinal supplement for a variety of anxiety-related disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
Lastly, the encouraging outcomes of a case study examining CBD as a remedy for sleep and anxiety issues was presented in a 2019 article published in The Permanente Journal. The case study comprised 47 people who went to a mental health clinic with a confirmed anxiety disorder that presented active symptoms. The bulk of the subjects were given 25MG of CBD oil in capsule form every day. Participants with more acute anxiety were given 50 or 75MG doses.
Researchers continue working with participants to discover the anxiety-relieving and neuroprotective properties of CBD – these studies are just the beginning and they have paved a solid path for the future of CBD oil as a beneficial supplement for anxiety-related symptoms.
How to Use CBD Oil for Anxiety
Currently, there are no standardized dosing recommendations available for CBD oil products. However, product manufacturers provide you with their own recommendations, depending on how potent the CBD oil is they’ve formulated. Plus, the way you administer the CBD oil also affects how quickly the effects come through.
Within 30 minutes to 2 hours, the benefits of orally taken CBD, such as oils under the tongue or mixed in with drinks or food begin to work. Oral CBD oils can be used to alleviate anxiety at different times throughout the day, so long as you don’t exceed the recommended maximum dose. If you do, you’ll probably experience a bit of stomach upset and maybe some drowsiness – these side effects serve as signs for you to be more mindful with your next dose.
How Much Shall I Take?
Your best bet is to follow the instructions on the packaging. You may look at a recommended dose and think it’s not enough and you can handle more, but don’t deceive yourself. Start slow and easy and let your body adjust to a new CBD supplement. Until you allow yourself a trial period, you won’t know what dose is best for you.
Some people are extremely sensitive to CBD, which means they require a much lower dose and may be prone to experiencing the side effects most people don’t notice. On the other hand, some may not feel even a tinge of difference after a recommended dose and may need to increase the dose to almost double what they thought they needed.
Does CBD Help with Depression?
CBD may assist with depression, according to some studies. However, there haven’t been many human investigations. To be certain of CBDs possibilities when it comes to depression, more investigation is required. CBD may relieve depression and anxiety by modifying serotonin levels, which makes it a promising alternative to existing treatments. Although CBD may be safe to combine with some antidepressants, you should consult your doctor first to be sure.
Are There Side Effects to CBD?
CBD oils and other CBD products do have some reported side effects but they’re rare and when experienced are relatively minor. You may experience some drowsiness, depending on the dose you’re taking. Double check labels because if you’re taking a CBD product meant to promote better sleep, then you’re likely going to feel your eyes closing while your bed tries to call you closer.
Some users may also experience changes to their appetite and for those with sensitive stomachs, CBD oil may cause diarrhea or digestive discomfort. If this sounds like you, just eat a small meal with healthy fats and complex carbs before you dose. That should prevent any uncomfortable side effects.
Also, if you’re taking any kind of psychiatric medication to help with treating anxiety symptoms, you should first consult your doctor, as drug interactions may occur with some antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics.
Can You Take CBD If You’re Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
The effects of CBD on pregnant and breastfeeding women are currently unclear, and studies are needed to evaluate whether using CBD products is safe for women who may be pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Does CBD Produce a High or Inebriated Feeling?
So long as you’re consuming CBD products with 0.3% or less of THC, you should not experience any kind of high or feelings of impairment. Sensitive users may notice some drowsiness and unless that’s an intended outcome, the dose should be reduced to avoid this feeling.
Why is CBD Oil the Most Optimal Solution for Alleviating Anxiety Symptoms?
Since it is so unobtrusive, taking CBD oil is one of the most ideal ways to get a daily dose of CBD. You can put a dropper full directly into your mouth for maximum absorption. Or if you want to get creative, you can easily mix the CBD oil with your favorite drink or snack.
The best part is how discreet CBD is. This makes it ideal for those who want to seek healing without alerting others to the fact that they are trying a new, medicinal supplement.
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
This is highly dependent on the amount of THC in the CBD you’re taking. THC is detected in the majority of drug tests and you will get a positive result if the concentration in your system exceeds the test’s cutoff. However, these tests do not look for CBD. You should be alright if the stuff you’re using is of good quality and pure. Even if the product contains trace levels of THC, as many of them do, they are very unlikely to cause you to fail a drug test.
Can You Become Addicted to CBD?
CBD oil is not addictive in any way. This is because CBD oil, unlike THC, does not activate the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. It’s these cannabinoid receptors that produce the high that keeps people chasing the original high or sensation. CBD oil isn’t addictive because it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects.
The symptoms of anxiety, when left untreated, can manifest into more physical symptoms like digestive issues and can impact your relationships with friends and loved ones, may cause you to isolate and avoid triggers altogether, and slowly rob you of a fulfilled, connected life you’re meant to and deserve to experience.
CBD supplements should not replace the plans with your medical provider for treating anxiety, and you should consult with your doctor if you’re interested in trying CBD to ease the symptoms related to anxiety. Though CBD is easy to find and also easy to purchase, you should always do your research to be sure you’re purchasing the best CBD oils possible. Follow the guidelines we outlined above to secure your chance of finding a reputable brand and a product you’ll love.
Dealing with anxiety is difficult. When you need support, stop at nothing to find it. If you’ve never tried CBD, you may find its effects life changing. If you’re already enjoying the benefits of CBD, you know what makes a good CBD oil for anxiety. Stick with your favorites or try new brands – and don’t forget to leave an honest review! People like you are looking to active users to help them make a decision – guide them by detailing your experience.
Does CBD Oil Work for Anxiety? I Tried It to Find Out
A compound in cannabis is my newest tool to stay cool.
Anxiety is not literally my middle name (it’s Alexandra) but it could be. Like my name, anxiety has been with me always. And until I had kids, everyone — including me — thought that I was simply a really good planner, a hyper-conscientious worker, and one of those 10-steps-ahead people who wards off problems before they occur.
No one tells you this, but having children can ratchet up the mind-grind exponentially, turning it into a major liability. When my twins came along 16 years ago, my constant mind-grind became a liability — it was hard to simply enjoy their adorableness, because I was so distracted by the next thing I urgently needed to make happen or that could go horribly, catastrophically wrong.
For those who are not anxious puppies: Anxiety physically feels like fear, except that what you’re afraid of isn’t actually happening. Let’s say the pediatrician sat you down and told you that your kid had a serious illness. Understandably, you’d freak — your heart would beat faster, your face would flush or go pale and your chest might tighten, making it hard to breathe. Perhaps your brain would even glitch briefly, making you feel far away. That’s how it is to have anxiety, except that you’re reacting to the idea that your child could conceivably become sick one day in the future, and it’s hard to shake the thought — it feels as bad as if it were happening in that moment. Anxiety can be triggered by some-thing obvious, like reading a news report, or seemingly nothing at all.
For me, anxiety drained a lot of the pleasure out of being a mom. When my kids were little and ran out giggling ahead of me in the playground, I’d flash to the thought of them splatting out and permanently marring their wee soft faces. If our food didn’t arrive quicklyat a restaurant, I’d sit, braced for a screaming melt down and the wrath of other diners — even as the kids sat bliss-fully coloring. Now that they’re older, my anxiety swirls around what could happen to them if they do the dumbass, risk-taking things I did as a teenager. Never mind that they have decent judgment and most teens survive into adulthood — I obviously did. Tell that to my anxiety.
And then, three years ago, my unquiet mind — which I had learned to manage fairly well through exercise, meditation, an antidepressant, and therapy — really turned up the volume. What’s going on in the news, especially politics, can send me into a state, and all the #MeToo stories roused some sleeping PTSD around events that I’d shoved into the recesses of my brain. I slept poorly, which kept me on edge during the day. My doctor prescribed lorazepam, the generic form of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan, and that helped in a pinch, but it also made me spacey. So I asked her what she knew about cannabidiol (CBD), one of hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant
What is CBD oil, and is it legal?
The answer: not much. This was just over a year ago, before CBD was being sold everywhere from the organic manicurist’s office to the local bodega. But she did know a fair amount about marijuana, CBD’s more famous cousin: She said some patients found that pot helped their anxiety, allowing them to relax and sleep better, but others said it made their anxiety much worse. Having tried it decades ago (see “dumbass teenage antics” mentioned earlier), I knew it turned me into a giant Oreo-sucking slug who panicked that she’d drown if she didn’t swallow her saliva faster. So fun.
THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the best-known compound in cannabis — the one that makes you high (and, in my case, paranoid). But straight CBD oil, I’d read, does not. It was said to provide only the chill factor, and for some a sense of alertness, with none of the disorientation.
I decided to do some research. I called a friend of a friend, Lynn Parodneck, MD, a former OB/GYN in Bedford, New York, who now exclusively treats medical marijuana patients for things like chronic pain, Parkinson’s, and PTSD. She explained that CBD is found in both marijuana (illegal on a federal level, but legal in certain states) and hemp (now legal everywhere on a federal level, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill; but there are some grey areas, which I’ll explain in a sec).
Whichever type of cannabis plant it comes from, generally speaking, “if it has less than 0.3% THC, it’s considered hemp-derived CBD, and in general it is being sold over the counter,” Dr. Parodneck explains. It can also be shipped to all 50 states if ordered online. But there is a caveat: There are still areas in which CBD is not considered legal, as it is taking time for local laws to catch up with federal law, so be aware of the rules where you live. In some areas, folks have occasionally been busted for having CBD products, either because it comes from a species of the cannabis plant, which remains illegal in some places, or because even the tiniest amounts of THC are entirely illegal — so check the rules where you live and travel. (Aaaannnd. as if that’s not complicated enough, now that the FDA has approved the first CBD-based prescription medication for rare forms of epilepsy, CBD is considered a drug and — guess what? — it’s illegal to sell food products containing drugs, such as CBD-infused coffee or juice shots. How strictly that’s enforced can also be wonky, depending on where you live.) Oh, and you should know that it’s possible for CBD to show up on drug tests for up to 30 days, because even if it says “pure CBD” on the label, it may still contain a teensy-tiny bit of THC.
In any case, CBD derived from pot, she says, contains other compounds that are thought to enhance the effectiveness of the CBD, something known as “the entourage effect.” But CBD from hemp can also be effective, she says.
How does CBD oil work?
Effective for what, you ask? Research is preliminary, but CBD seems to help with pain and certain neurological conditions. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and more, says Joseph Cohen, D.O., a cannabis doctor in Boulder, CO. Taken orally — as a tincture, in a capsule or vaped — some find that it can also alleviate anxiety and depression by working on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in self-regulation, mood and relaxation.
Here’s the deal with the endocannabinoid system: Our bodies produce endocannabinoids every day, says JosephMaroon, M.D., clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. These bind to receptors all over our bodies, says Dr. Parodneck; it may be that people who don’t produce enough cannabinoids themselves are the ones who benefit from exogenous phytocannabinoids — i.e., taking CBD from plants — which then bind to those receptors. Another theory is that taking CBD allows our bodies’ naturally produced cannabinoids to stick around longer, prolonging the calming effect, says Dr. Maroon.
The thing is, there is not a lot of clinical data on CBD, because until the Farm Bill was passed last year, all cannabis (whether it contained lots of THC or not) was classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency, along with heroin and Ecstasy, as a Schedule 1 drug — the most restrictive classification. That made it hard for medical researchers to study it (though the FDA recently approved the first CBD-based drug for rare forms of epilepsy).
But doctors in states where cannabis is legal are hearing positive reports from their patients about CBD helping with anxiety, and scientists feel confident that it is not dangerous: It won’t damage vital organs even at doses as high as 5,000 mg a day, says Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., director of experimental pharmacology and behavioral research at the International Research Center on Cannabis and Mental Health in New York City, and nobody has died simply from overdosing on a cannabis product, including marijuana.
Are there side effects to CBD oil?
That information convinced me to at least try it, but I wanted to know what side effects to look out for. While CBD is tolerated well by most people, Dr. Parodneck advised me to “start low and go slow.” “Everybody is different and what kind of effects they’ll see depends on what their underlying condition is, as well as their tolerance,” she says.
If you have a history of smoking marijuana, some strains of which are relatively high in CBD, you may develop a tolerance, meaning you have to ingest more to get the same effect.
“When the body gets used to CBD, it makes fewer endogenous cannabinoids,” so you may need more CBD to feel anything. Too much, however, can give you stomach upset or make you tired. Some people feel a big fat nothing.
For me, a non-pothead, and for most adults, “10 milligrams is fine to start,” says Dr. Parodneck. If that amount doesn’t help, she advised, I was to increase my dose in a week. “If it’s too much, you’ll feel sleepy or have diarrhea, which means you should go back to where you were the week before.” She recommended I write down what I took when and how I felt, to see if it was working. (If you are going to try CBD, be sure to tell your doctor, because it may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners.)
What form of CBD is best and how much should I take?
So off I went, first trying a brand a friend recommended. I took 10mg of a CBD tincture at around 11 a.m., held it under my tongue for a minute as advised, and then waited to feel like the secretly chill person I know I am deep down inside. Nada. I did this every day for a week and didn’t notice a difference.
The next week I tried the same thing, but also bit a 10mg CBD gummy in half, bringing my dosage up to 15mg. After a week of this, I thought maybe I felt a bit calmer an hour or two after taking it. but I couldn’t be sure.
Then one day the following week, another friend gave me a hit from a CBD-oil vape pen at a moment when I was starting to panic about being late to our movie. Within less than a minute, I felt a de-escalation, and after a few minutes, I felt noticeably, appreciably calmer. I reported back to Dr. Parodneck. “That makes sense,” she said. “When you vape, 50% of the product gets utilized. With edibles, it’s between 10 and 20%, and it takes longer to kick in because your body must metabolize it.”
Does CBD work for anxiety?
Since then, I’ve been vaping between one and three hits each morning, which helps me feel subtly but noticeably calmer as I organize and set out for my day, and I also keep my vape pen on hand for emergencies. If something happens that amplifies my panic, I step outside and take a hit. The CBD also seems to help me with the dramatic, intrusive thoughts that come with my PTSD, and it lets me be more in the moment, because I’m not constantly anticipating what might go terribly, horribly wrong. I still meditate and do all the other stuff, but CBD is one more thing that helps me.
Where can I find CBD oil?
But here’s the thing: It’s not for everyone and all CBD products are not created equal — not by a long shot. I get my vape cartridges from a small vendor Dr. Parodneck recommended, but she cautions that because CBD quality varies wildly depending on the manufacturer, it’s buyer beware. A 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association study found 43% of the CBD products that the researchers ordered online had more CBD than indicated, while 26% had less. Some even had more than a trace of THC.
“There’s a 75% chance of getting a product ordered or available online where the CBD is mislabeled,” says Marcu, one of the study’s coauthors. Adds Dr. Maroon, “Buying from a reputable manufacturer is crucial, because it matters how the plant is cultivated and processed.” One clue is cost: If it’s too cheap, it may not be the real deal. My half-gram vape cartridge is $50, but it lasts a long while, and for me that’s a very small price to pay to be able to enjoy my kiddos.
The wisest thing to do is to buy CBD made from American-grown hemp, ideally from a state such as California or Colorado (Dr. Parodneck likes this one). Why? If you purchase CBD oil in the U.S. from one of the 10 states where both recreational and medical cannabis use is legal, there’s a better chance you’ll get a higher-quality product than if you buy one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research on CBD.
Also note the amount of CBD and THC per dose. There’s no definitive amount that’s appropriate for everyone, but the ratio of CBD to THC will indicate how psychoactive the product is and if it’s legal in your state. The more CBD compared with THC, the less of a high, and vice versa. “Managing psychoactivity is key to successful cannabis therapy,” says Lee, author of Smoke Signals. “Amounts should be made clear on the label and lab-certified so people know what’s helping them and what’s not.” Finally, look for “full-spectrum” or “broad-spectrum.” These terms mean that all or most of the components that can be extracted from the hemp plant are in the oil. The wider the range included, versus just CBD, the greater the potential medicinal benefit of the product, says Lee.
In no way would a few hits of CBD from my vape pen be enough to manage my world-class worrying on its own, but I’m grateful to have another figurative chill pill in my figurative medicine cabinet. I’m still a little self-conscious about taking a toke in front of other people — I’m a health editor and don’t want anyone to think I vape anything harmful! — so I step outside my office and skulk in the doorway feeling like a sneaky teenager. At some point, however, I predict that CBD-using anxious puppies like yours truly will be able to live out loud and proud.