In technical jargon, cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical constituent of Cannabis sativa that’s a pharmacologically broad-spectrum drug. In simpler terms, CBD has a wide array of potential therapeutic and medicinal effects, and cannabis (and hemp!) plants produce it naturally. For decades, CBD has drawn increasing interest for its effects on the nervous system. We tend to hear a lot about CBD in the context of treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain. But there’s also the potential for treating a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, from trauma and depression to stress and anxiety. In this guide, we lay out the case for using CBD for anxiety. We also discuss how to dial in the best CBD oil dosage for anxiety symptoms, and explore the best CBD oil for anxiety relief.
How Can CBD Help With Anxiety?
Anxiety is a broad term that covers a whole spectrum of feelings and experiences, from everyday worries and fears about life’s many challenges to the crippling apprehension of triggering situations. Left over from our evolutionary past, anxiety responses are hardwired into our neurons, as part of the adaptive systems that kept our ancestors alive. Transplanted into the complexities of social and civic life, those responses find all kinds of new outlets. And for many, those responses can quickly tip over into a disorder.
Anxiety disorders can lead to panic attacks, cause obsessive-compulsive behavior and trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress. In addition to these psychiatric conditions, there’s generalized anxiety, social anxiety and stress, which we all deal with at certain points in our lives.
What Does CBD Have in Common With Prescription Anxiety Drugs?
Fortunately, numerous scientific studies—mostly on animals, but some on humans—have demonstrated that CBD can produce anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing effects. That’s because CBD appears to modulate the same systems in the brain as prescription anti-anxiety medications like Prozac and Xanax.
Currently, treatments for anxiety do two things. First, they can help increase serotonin levels in the brain by inhibiting the brain’s ability to reabsorb serotonin. This improves mood. Or, they can stimulate the brain to produce new neurons in the hippocampus, where neurogenesis has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.
A 2013 study in Current Neuropharmacology demonstrated the link between cannabidiol and neurogenesis in humans. And a 2016 animal study showed that CBD can produce a fast-acting antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect by stimulating serotonin transmission in the brain.
So there’s ample reason to have confidence in your use of CBD to treat anxiety. But how you use CBD oil for anxiety will depend on the kind of anxiety you want to treat. Read on to find out how to find the best CBD oil for anxiety specifically. Then, take a look at our rundown of the dosages to try for different types of anxiety.
How to Find The Best CBD Oil for Anxiety
To treat anxiety, finding high-quality, well-manufactured CBD oil is key. How you consume your CBD oil is up to you. You can eat it, drink or drop it, or vape it. But different consumption methods work better for different types of anxiety. We’ll cover that in our dosing section. For now, here’s how to make sure you’re using the best CBD oil for anxiety.
The most important thing is to remember that the best CBD oil for anxiety contains no THC. Regardless of your sensitivity to THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, if you’re trying to treat anxiety, could take you in the wrong direction.
So check out high-quality CBD oils derived from hemp. Hemp plants produce exceptionally high quantities of cannabidiol with negligible (and often legal) levels of THC.
You can also take advantage of the calming properties of various essential oils in your CBD oil. Many CBD products contain infusions of other plant oils for fragrance and flavor. Some of the best CBD oil for anxiety, therefore, also contains lavender, cinnamon, spearmint, or other calming essences that can increase the anxiety-reducing effects of your CBD product.
Finding The Right CBD Oil Dosage For Anxiety
Anxiety exists on a spectrum, from everyday anxiousness and apprehension at major events or challenges to debilitating disorders. For this reason, no single CBD dose can address all anxieties. Furthermore, the studies on using CBD oil for anxiety have exclusively looked at “acute” dosing or dosing as needed. Unfortunately, that means there isn’t much data on using CBD oil daily or regularly to treat anxiety.
Try A Low CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety Caused By Everyday Social Interactions
If you’re looking for relief from generalized anxiety or social anxiety that’s not interfering with your normal activities, using a low CBD dose is likely all you’ll need. To quickly achieve the anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol, take a few breaths off a CBD vape cartridge. If you’ve got a long day of stresses ahead, choosing a CBD edible might be a better choice, as the effects are usually less short-lived than vaping.
Use a Medium to High CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety Disorders Like OCD and Panic Attacks
For more severe, acute attacks of anxiety and panic, take a larger dose of CBD. This will ensure that the cannabidiol will both inhibit serotonin absorption and increase serotonin signaling. CBD’s bodily effects will also kick in more noticeably. Often, bodily symptoms like tightness or soreness can trigger or exacerbate anxiety and panic. The overall calming effect of CBD can help eliminate this stress in the body, too.
Take More Frequent, High CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety Related to PTSD
For extreme anxiety disorders, like PTSD, more frequent CBD oil doses may be helpful. Start with a medium to high CBD oil dosage for anxiety of this kind and work up to achieve your desired results. Fortunately, the safety profile of cannabidiol is very good, and much lower than prescription anti-anxiety drugs.
Using CBD Oil for Anxiety Caused By THC
Finally, one of the most potent ways to use CBD oil for anxiety is as an “antidote” to the sometimes anxiety-inducing effects of THC. At high levels of consumption, THC can trigger negative responses like anxiety, paranoia and stress. The body becomes overstimulated by the effects of THC, producing these responses.
However, CBD functions as an antagonist to THC when both are present in the body. In other words, CBD can help counteract and balance the effects of THC, helping calm your body and restore you to a more enjoyable high.
To sum up, CBD is broadly useful for treating a variety of neuropsychiatric problems. And the best CBD oil for anxiety offers a safe and effective alternative medicine for treating many kinds of anxiety. Experiment with different CBD products and CBD oil dosage for anxiety relief tailored to your needs.