Reduce Anxiety & Stress,  Diet & Nutrition

Does CBD Oil for Anxiety Work?

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If you struggle with anxiety (like many of us in the U.S), you’ve likely already read the self-help advice and tried the most common options available. If you haven’t already, giving CBD oil for anxiety just might be worth a try.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants. This differs from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid in marijuana that gets you high. CBD oil is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause any of the intoxication feelings associated with cannabis. As long as the CBD product doesn’t contain THC, you can take without getting high.

Early research suggests it may help with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, cancer-related symptoms, may reduce acne, can benefit heart health, and it might even have neuroprotective properties.

Does CBD Work for Anxiety?

Anxiety is the leading mental disorder in the U.S, impacting over 40 million adults (over the age of 18). Worse than that, only a ⅓ of those struggling with anxiety seek treatment, even though many treatment option are available. CBD is a newer option that might be more approachable than some of the other options out there.

The research on CBD is young, but there are a handful of small studies that suggest numerous health benefits, including reducing anxiety.

Animal studies and small-scale human studies suggest CBD can be beneficial for treating anxiety based on it’s anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties.

One study on individuals struggling with Social Anxiety Disorder were part of a double-blind randomized test. The test group was given 600 mg of CBD one hour before a public speaking test.  The group that received the CBD had significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.

While researchers are still working to figure out exactly how CBD impacts the brain, it is believed that CBD acts on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.

Many have self-reported the relaxing effects of marijuana without the impairment. Given its range of benefits and spike in popularity, the way it’s handled by government organizations is starting to change.

Personally, I’ve found taking a drop or two before an event or spending time with friends has helped tremendously for my social anxiety.

Looking for other options for reducing anxiety? Consider trying Ashwagandha for anxiety. 

Is CBD Oil Illegal?

It is technically legal in all 50 states, but only if the CBD oils are derived from hemp. Hemp has been used for years in many industries. Hemp is legal in the U.S since it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. Marijuana-derived CBD is a different story though. When it comes to marijuana-derived CBD, it comes down to states that have approved marijuana for recreational or medical use.  

As of 2018, there are 8 states that allow cannabis for recreational use. If you’re in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington you can enjoy marijuana-based CBD oil without needing a prescription.

Does CBD Have Side Effects?

Similar to the benefits, with limited formal research it’s hard to know if there are side effects that have to be identified. Everyone could tolerate CBD oil differently, so the way it affects you might be different than what has been identified so far.

Some of the more common side effects (based on studies completed) are sedation, GI problems, and changes in appetite (you may still get the munchies).

One study on using CBD for epilepsy found the following side effects:

  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite & weight
  • May interact with other medication

It’s also been reported to potentially interact with other medication you are taking. Some combinations could be dangerous and if you’re taking any medication, the impacts may not be known.

Be sure to inform your doctor before giving a try and do your research!

Marc is the creator of Mindful Searching, a content site dedicated to providing actionable, unbiased tips to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve cognitive performance. He's struggled with social anxiety for many years. Over the last 5 years, Marc has been researching and testing lifestyle changes, products, and techniques to build a happier, healthier, anxiety-free life.