how much cbd oil for social anxiety

Can Full-Spectrum CBD Cause Anxiety?

In short: yes, full-spectrum CBD can cause anxiety in some susceptible individuals. Although research has shown that pure cannabidiol (CBD) can relieve anxiety, this isn’t necessarily true for full-spectrum CBD.

That’s because full-spectrum CBD extracts contain a small amount (<0.3%) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

If you’re sensitive to THC due to certain risk factors, you can get more anxiety or even a panic attack from taking a large enough dose of a full-spectrum CBD product.

Read on to learn how full-spectrum CBD can cause anxiety and what you can do about it.

Table of Contents

Research on CBD and Anxiety

Unlike its cousin THC, CBD can’t cause anxiety or any other mind-altering effects. On the contrary, multiple human studies have demonstrated that pure CBD can relieve various types of anxiety:

  • In a 2011 Brazilian study, CBD capsules improved anxiety caused by public speaking in people with social anxiety disorder (SAD) (1)
  • In a similar 2019 Japanese study, pure CBD oil improved anxiety in teenagers with SAD and avoidant personality disorder (2)
  • In another 2019 study done in Colorado, CBD capsules improved anxiety scores in almost 80% of the study participants (3)
  • The researchers of a 2020 review paper concluded that “CBD has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders” which include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), SAD, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (4)

Why Full-Spectrum CBD Can Cause Anxiety

If pure CBD has been shown to relieve anxiety, then why is full-spectrum CBD different?

It’s because full-spectrum CBD is a whole-plant hemp extract. Since hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains small amounts (0.3% or less) of THC, this means full-spectrum CBD can have THC.

THC is the main compound responsible for the cannabis high. Its potential side effects include increased anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks.

There’s some evidence that THC has a biphasic effect on anxiety, meaning that low doses can reduce anxiety, while higher ones can make it worse (5). On top of that, multiple factors can influence how you respond to THC.

According to research, some people have a higher chance of getting anxiety from THC due to: (6)

  • Genetics
  • Personality traits
  • Infrequent use
  • History of previous anxiety reactions
  • Presence of anxiety disorders or symptoms
  • Basal anxiety levels
  • Being female
  • The environment and the context in which the THC is consumed

This means that for a minority of people, ingesting even small amounts of THC — such as the kind found in full-spectrum CBD products — can actually cause anxiety, panic attacks, and related side effects.

How Much THC is in Full-Spectrum CBD Products?

Full-spectrum CBD products can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, so roughly speaking, a full-spectrum CBD oil can contain as much as 3 milligrams (mg) of THC per one milliliter (ml) of liquid.

For example, here’s a third-party lab report of a high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil showing that the THC content is about 1.6 mg/ml of oil or about 0.17% (a bit below the 0.3% legal cutoff for hemp).

With this in mind, we can estimate that 1 ml (one full dropper in most cases) of your average full-spectrum CBD oil will contain 1-3 mg of THC. Even if you were to take two full droppers, this would only add up to 2-6 mg. This doesn’t seem like much, and for most people, it isn’t.

But for individuals who are highly sensitive to THC due to the risk factors we discussed earlier, this can be enough to cause or worsen anxiety.

My Experience With Anxiety From Full-Spectrum CBD

I’ve personally experienced an uncomfortable high and anxiety that lasted for 3 hours after taking roughly 80 mg of full-spectrum CBD oil. If I had to estimate, it contained about 3-4 mg of THC.

At first, I was surprised because full-spectrum CBD products had always relieved anxiety for me.

But after doing some research, it made total sense. I’ve smoked cannabis in the past and stopped using it after I began to get anxiety even from a few puffs. I also found many other reports of people who experienced anxiety and even panic attacks from full-spectrum CBD products.

Like other susceptible individuals, I’m so sensitive to THC that even the small amount present in full-spectrum CBD can make me feel anxious.

Using Full-Spectrum CBD for the First Time? Start Low

If you plan on using a full-spectrum CBD product and think it might make you anxious (especially if you have existing anxiety issues), be sure to follow the “start low and go slow” approach to cannabinoids recommended by clinical researchers (7).

Start with a small 5-10 mg dose of CBD and wait for two hours to see the effects. If you don’t notice anything, you can try a higher dose, again stopping for two hours to see if you notice any difference.

Use this method to find the full-spectrum CBD dose that provides you with anxiety relief or whichever benefit you’re looking for.

Alternatives to Full-Spectrum CBD

If you’ve already experienced anxiety from full-spectrum CBD products, you have four options.

First, you can simply lower your dose. In my case, I found that as long as I kept my full-spectrum CBD oil doses below about 70 mg, I still got the calming effects and none of the anxiety.

Another option is to switch to a different brand. After trying various full-spectrum CBD oils I’ve noticed more pronounced THC-related effects from certain brands.

These two options are ideal because full-spectrum CBD provides the greatest benefits thanks to the “entourage effect” produced by all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other active compounds working in synergy (8).

So even though THC is the issue, it’s nice to have a little bit for that extra boost to the entourage effect.

But if you want to play things safe, you can also go with broad-spectrum CBD products.

This type of extract contains the same ingredients as full-spectrum CBD but removes THC (small, undetectable traces might remain). This way, you can maximize the entourage effect while avoiding THC.

The last option is to use CBD isolate products, which contain only pure CBD and nothing else.

However, this isn’t ideal since you won’t be getting the synergistic benefits of all the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in full and broad-spectrum CBD.

Summing Up

Pure CBD can’t cause anxiety because it’s a non-intoxicating compound that has anxiety-relieving effects. However, full-spectrum CBD can potentially cause or worsen anxiety symptoms, depending on your sensitivity to THC.

While most people will be fine, some are so sensitive to THC that even a small amount is enough to trigger anxiety.

That’s why you should always check the third-party lab test reports (called Certificates of Analysis) to see the precise levels of THC in your product.

Keep in mind that although THC comes in two forms, delta-9 and delta-8, we’re mostly concerned about delta-9 because delta-8 is less psychoactive and naturally found in much smaller quantities (unless you’re using delta-8 products).

An example of a third-party Certificate of Analysis (CoA) showing that a full-spectrum CBD oil contains 1.6 mg of THC per ml.

There’s little regulation in the CBD industry, so it’s common for products to contain more or less CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids than advertised on the label.

You should never buy CBD from companies that fail to provide third-party test reports since they help you confirm that the CBD and THC levels are accurate and you’re getting your money’s worth.

Besides, these tests can also verify that there are no contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.


Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.

Hate Public Speaking? 300 mg of CBD Can Make the Jitters Go Away

Do you love public speaking and thrive under the pressure of standing before large crowds? Good for you.

For those of us who aren’t quite so gifted in the art of public speaking without getting some kind of performance anxiety jitters, there’s a cannabis compound to help with that: cannabidiol (CBD). Or, to be precise, 300 milligrams of it.

According to a study published in the February 2019 Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry , 300 milligrams may be the optimal dose of CBD for treating socially motivated anxiety, such as the immediate anxiety of a public speaking experience.

The study involved a simulated public speaking test where subjects were given doses of CBD from 150 to 600 milligrams. The control group was given a placebo. After measuring blood pressure and heart rates, as well as subject ratings on the Visual Analogue Mood Scale , a test for measuring specific mood states, the study concluded that 300 milligrams of CBD were most effective in reducing anxiety associated with public speaking.

A study published in the February issue of the Journal of Psychiatry found that 300 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) was effective in reducing public speaking anxiety. (Photo by Teemu Paananen/Unsplash)

For both patients and physicians, knowing how to properly dose cannabis for medicinal use is still fairly cloudy territory due to the lack of available data, and legal roadblocks that have prevented cannabis research on human test subjects. The effects of various CBD consumption methods (smoking, vaping, and sublingual sprays) and of CBD itself from person to person also make it difficult to pinpoint the most effective doses.

Previous studies have demonstrated CBD’s general efficacy in treating social anxiety (also by using SPSTs), and animal studies have shown similar doses of CBD to be effective in treating anxiety symptoms. Not only does this most recent study provide further evidence that CBD is an effective anti-anxiety medicine, it also gives us a much better idea of how much CBD we should take next time we have a speaking engagement and need help to take the edge off, immediately.

Cannabis Dosing Not an Exact Science Yet

While this study identified the effective dose for public speaking anxiety among its participants, it’s important to note everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different. What works for one patient may not work the same way for another.

@kellysikkema Cannabidiol (CBD) products have shown promise in addressing anxiety in many people, though the exact effects depend on the makeup of a person’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). (Weedmaps News File Photo)

CBD interacts with our bodies through our endocannabinoid system (ECS) , which regulates our bodies, returns us to a state of internal balance, and triggers our responses to cannabis compounds, or cannabinoids . The ECS is present throughout the entire body, consisting of three main components : cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (or internal cannabinoids), and the enzymes that break them down. CBD sets off a response in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors. Genetic mutations of these receptors may cause the body’s response to CBD to vary from person to person.

For example, scientists have identified nine variations of the human CB1 receptor gene. CB1 is one of two cannabinoid receptors with which CBD interacts. If you’re walking around with one of nine variations of the CB1 receptor, your body’s response to CBD may differ from that of your friend with a different variation. Such variables in the ECS make it impossible to guarantee 300 milligrams of CBD will effectively treat your public speaking anxiety. But given the extremely low risk associated with consuming CBD , even in large amounts, it may be worth a shot to experiment with moderate doses and see what works for you.

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