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CBD for anxiety: What to know

Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound that may help treat anxiety and various other conditions.

Anxiety disorders are the most prominent mental health conditions in the United States, affecting an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults.

Keep reading to learn more about CBD and anxiety.

Share on Pinterest CBD may be an effective treatment for numerous types of anxiety disorders.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most researched cannabinoids from the Cannabis sativa plant. The other well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Along with CBD and THC, the Cannabis sativa plant contains over 540 chemical compounds.

Cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, bind to special cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

THC produces the famous ‘high’ feeling that people associate with weed. However, CBD does not produce this effect. Instead, it offers a variety of potential health benefits.

Current research suggests that CBD has powerful pharmacological effects. Many scientists and researchers know that CBD has beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. It works by blocking certain enzymes that trigger inflammation in the body.

A 2020 systematic review in CNS Drugs found that treatment with CBD reduced seizures in people with Dravet Syndrome, a drug-resistant seizure disorder.

The growing legalization of medical cannabis in the U.S. has prompted many scientists to carry out studies into the various therapeutic uses of cannabis and CBD.

One major question among healthcare professionals is whether CBD can alleviate anxiety disorders.

According to an article in Dialogues of Clinical Neuroscience, anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimate that 19.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year, and more women experience anxiety than men.

According to the authors of one 2015 review, CBD interacts with the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, and other receptors in the brain that regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviors.

The authors of the review also found preclinical and clinical evidence that established CBD as an effective treatment for numerous types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • 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 evaluated CBD’s effects in 397 adults living in New Zealand. The study participants received medical CBD prescriptions for a variety of ailments, including non-cancer pain, cancer-related symptoms, neurological symptoms, and mental health symptoms.

All groups reported improvements in their overall quality of life after 3 weeks of CBD treatment. The individuals who received CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reportedly experienced improvements in their ability to perform daily functions and reduce pain and anxiety or depression symptoms.

70% of study participants reported some level of satisfaction with CBD treatment, ranging from good to excellent. Only 9.9% of participants experienced adverse side effects, such as sedation and vivid dreams. An even smaller portion of the study population (0.8%) reported worsening symptoms.

In a retrospective study, researchers evaluated the effects of CBD treatment in 72 adults with either anxiety or sleep problems.

The majority of study participants received one 25 milligram capsule of CBD once a day (mg/d). A few participants received 50 or 75 mg/d. One individual with a history of trauma and schizoaffective disorder received up to 175 mg/d.

After the first 2 months of CBD treatment, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms. However, 15.3–19.5% of participants developed worse symptoms after CBD treatment.

The authors of one 2020 article reviewed eight studies investigating CBD’s role in treating various anxiety disorders.

The authors found evidence to support the use of CBD as an effective monotherapy or complementary therapy for treating generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, the studies showed considerable variation in CBD doses, ranging from 6-400 mg per dose. This variation highlights the need for more high-quality, large-scale clinical trials to help establish standardized dosing and clinical usage guidelines for CBD therapy.

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound that may help to treat anxiety.