Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population are affected by anxiety disorders each year, reports the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Though Psychotherapy and/or medication are traditional procedures many adopt when treating this disorder, some – in recent times – opt for CBD oil.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a type of cannabinoid, is a chemical compound found naturally in the marijuana and hemp plants. While some use it as part of their daily routine, this extract can be used in treating pain, epilepsy and, of course, anxiety.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical compound found in marijuana, cannabidiol does not cause feelings of intoxication. However, state laws vary across countries and must be considered before opting for this treatment. If it is acceptable for certain medical purposes in your state, a license from your doctor is advisable.

Now, let’s consider some vital points from the research conducted on this chemical compound, its side effects and some cautions to keep in mind.

First off, how does cannabidiol combat anxiety?

How CBD oil helps anxiety

There are two major factors understood to affect the application of CBD, they are the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the receptors.

The ECS is simply a system that keeps your bodily functions (such as sleep, pain, digestion and immune functions) balanced, while the receptors help receive chemical signals from different stimuli and aids response. So, while the ECS is a system, the receptors are small proteins attached to your cells.

CBD oil is understood to interact with a brain receptor called CBI within the ECS. Further research needs to done to determine how exactly this happens, however, it is suggested that CBD stimulates neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration. Consider this:

  • Serotonin: the condition of these body chemicals has an effect on your mental health. Both extremes – high and low levels – as well as receptor malfunction can cause disorders. Of the 14 receptors of the serotonin, the CBD activates the 5-HT1A Traditional anti-anxiety drugs also work with this receptor.
  • Neural regeneration: the damage caused by chronic stress on the neurons and the brain can be combated by CBD. Studies carried out thus far have shown that CBD can reduce anxiety by stimulating the growth of neurons.

The research and evidence

Due to the cost and legal complications associated with human experiments, research on the effects of CBD is mostly done using animal studies (rodents) and laboratory experiments. Thus far, it has been effective in treating generalized disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Let’s consider three of the few human experiments, highlighting the uses of CBD in anxiety management discovered so far.

Public speaking experiment: Here, 24 individuals with SAD received CBD treatments (600mg) before a public speaking test. Also 12 others with same disorder engaged in the test without treatments. The result, the treated 24 had – by some distance – less anxiety, reduced cognitive impairment and discomfort during the test.

Testing the dosage required for a successful public speaking test, a study published in Frontiers in pharmacology showed that test subjects treated with 300 mg CBD dose recorded success while those treated with 100 mg and 900 mg CBD dosage failed.

High paranoid traits: Cannabidiol had no impact when tested on individuals with high paranoid traits, according to the study published in the Journal of psychopharmacology in 2018. There were no recorded differences on the anxiety, cortisol levels and heart rate on these individuals.

Extinction learning: this is an experiment mostly used for those suffering from PTSD. It is used help samples associate something harmless with something painful. During the experiment, electric shock was used.

Those treated with CBD (32 mg) were ‘less expectant of receiving a shock’ even two days after the treatment.

Important reminders

CBD oil may combine oddly with your medications; hence, it is important to consult your doctor before adopting this form of treatment.

Caution must be applied when purchasing CBD oil and its supplements online as they are mostly unregulated and incorrectly labeled. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that nearly 70 percent of CBD products sold online are mislabeled and contain some amount of THC. This creates a quite ironic effect as THC aggravates anxiety.


When experiencing lack of control over feelings of worry, lack of concentration, irritability and similar anxiety disorder symptoms, speak with a mental health professional for a proper guide.

At all times, avoid the use of cannabidiol without consulting your doctor.

As more resources are plunged into research on CBD and the production of its supplements, more countries will probably legalize the use of cannabis products.

Written by: Karen Stuart