Now that CBD products have been legalized in North America, there are now many researchers & users advocating for the positive effects of CBD. 

Besides relieving pain and stress, CBD oils are slowly becoming a popular pick for tackling anxiety.

So, if you want to try CBD oil for anxiety or just want to learn more, you’re in the right place!

CBD Oil For Anxiety

Let’s start with understanding what CBD is and how it helps reduce anxiety.

CBD, short-form for Cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in hemp. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause any long-term psychoactive side effects. In fact, compared to THC, onsuming CBD will alleviate stress and anxiety by relaxing your nerves all while not making you “high”.

Our body natural produces CBD, so ingesting CBD causes interactions with our CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD also works to boost our serotonin levels.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, the levels of which affect our mental health. Usually, people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders are found to have low serotonin levels. 

Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like fluoxetine (Prozac) or sertraline (Zoloft) are the most common medication for low serotonin, one cannot use them without a prescription. Many of these prescription drugs also come with terrible side-effects. Thus, people opt for easily accessible CBD oils as a safer and more natural way to manage their anxiety. However, it’s always best to consult a doctor before altering your treatment.

Anxiety & Its Different Forms

Anxiety comes with stress which can wear you down in your day-to-day life. According to data from the National Comorbidity Study Replication (NCS-R), there’s a 31.1% chance for adults to experience an anxiety disorder. 

Various anxiety disorders have different symptoms and treatments. Some of the most common symptoms include but are not limited to palpitations, shortness of breath, muscle tension, confusion, and more.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is a condition when a person worries excessively, and his/ her emotions are often out of control. Symptoms include rumination and worrying about the future or anything that may never even happen.

While these may be common for anyone going through a rough patch, if the symptoms persist for six months, you should seek medical help.

2. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)/ Social Phobia

If a person experiences extreme pressure and fear in a social setting, he/ she may be suffering from SAD or social phobia. Such people tend to fear judgment, criticism, and humiliation, and avoid meeting people or visiting places that trigger these emotions.

3. Panic Disorder

A person suffering from panic disorder experiences repetitive and sudden panic attacks, which usually last for less than 20 minutes. 

During such an episode, he/ she may feel chest pain, sweating, breathlessness, dizziness, and more. A feeling of disassociation and depression further heightens these emotions.

4. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is often developed among those who experience panic attacks. It is the fear of a potential attack or something happening in a certain place or time.

Usually, those who have agoraphobia confine themselves to their homes and avoid socializing and visiting feared places.

5. Separation Anxiety Disorder

This type of anxiety is commonly diagnosed among children, especially those separated from their parents or loved ones. Additionally, some adults may also experience extreme fear of separation or something terrible happening to a closed one.

6. Phobias

Phobias like acrophobia (fear of heights), hydrophobia (fear of water), claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces), hemophobia (fear of blood), and so on may also be a result of anxiety disorder. 

CBD & Anxiety: What Do The Researchers Say?

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), CBD oil reduces stress levels and stabilizes heart rate in rats. Other behavioral symptoms of anxiety are also scaled down. However, due to a lack of research on humans and GAD, the results have only been able to point at potential benefits.

2. Other Types Of Anxiety Disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder (SAD) are some common forms of anxiety that can be treated with CBD oils. 

To understand how CBD treats SAD, a study was conducted in 2011 wherein some participants received 400 mg of CBD while the rest were given a placebo. As a result, those who consumed CBD were found to have lesser symptoms of anxiety. 

Furthermore, recent studies show the benefits of CBD for PTSD patients. By using CBD as a standalone treatment or a supplement, many people with PTSD experienced reduced nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, fearful memories, and so on. 

3. Other Neurological Disorders

In 2017, a literature review on CBD and its effects on psychiatric disorders suggested a lack of evidence on the therapeutic effects of CBD. This is because past studies were not conducted in a controlled environment, i.e., participants may or may not have received any treatment at all.

Hence, there is no doubt that more human tests are required to analyze the effects of CBD on humans and mental disorders. However, a study in 2016 found a positive correlation between the drug and people with schizophrenia. 

How CBD Treats These Anxiety Issues?

Although there isn’t enough research to prove the positive effects of CBD, with the right dosage and consumption method, it is found to boost serotonin levels. Increased serotonin, in turn, helps reduce anxiety which implies that the effects of CBD are similar to those of anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. 

Additionally, CBD may help relieve depression too as it improves serotonin levels. However, there isn’t enough research to back this assumption. So, if you plan to use CBD oil for depression, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about its effects and dosage.

Although there isn’t enough research to prove the positive effects of CBD, with the right dosage and consumption method, it is found to boost serotonin levels. Increased serotonin, in turn, helps reduce anxiety which implies that the effects of CBD are similar to those of anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. 

Additionally, CBD may help relieve depression too as it improves serotonin levels. However, there isn’t enough research to back this assumption. So, if you plan to use CBD oil for depression, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about its effects and dosage.

Different ways of taking CBD Oil

CBD oil for anxiety is available in different forms, so it is best to choose one that suits your symptoms and preferences. From lotions to oils to edible gummies and vape, you are sure to find a form of CBD that can be incorporated into your routine to ward off stress and anxiety.

1. CBD Oil and Oral Sprays

Using sublingual CBD oils is slowly becoming the norm for treating anxiety. In this method, CBD oils or oral sprays are dropped or sprayed under the tongue for the mucous membranes to absorb the chemical into the bloodstream directly.

Another way to take CBD orally is by pouring it right in your favorite beverage. It is an easier alternative for those who cannot swallow capsules.

Usually, taking CBD oil twice a day (depending on the dosage) is sufficient for relieving anxiety. But, you can all just use it when you feel overwhelmed with anxious thoughts.

Additionally, if you don’t want to take CBD orally, topical oils and creams are also a great option.

2. Vaporized CBD Oil 

Jessie Gill is a registered nurse who promotes the therapeutic effects of CBD after experiencing it herself. After her spinal cord injury, she started incorporating CBD through medical cannabis. Later, she tried her hands at a vaping pen for inhaling vaporized CBD oil for anxiety. 

According to Gill, vaping CBD is a quick and easy way to ease anxiety, and inhaling small amounts (microdosing) throughout the day does not cause any intoxication. For her acute anxiety situation, using a high-CBD, low-THC strain worked wonders. It even helped tackle her THC-induced anxiety that came with the high-THC oil prescribed for her spinal pain.

However, using vaporized CBD oil is costly in the long run, so she converted to the under-the-tongue method of consuming CBD. Moreover, despite the instant relief, the vaporizer may carry chemical liquids and toxic heating coils that can cause long-term damage to lungs.

3. CBD Gummies

No one is going to judge you for having candies in public. So, if you’re looking for a discreet way of incorporating CBD in your diet, try the gummies, which are available in various flavors and colors. 

Beau Schmitt, a restaurateur, prefers taking CBD gummies over other methods to avoid looks in public. After all, you don’t want curious coworkers and judgemental looks to aggravate your anxiety further.

Plus, gummies are more convenient since you don’t have to measure the dosage. According to your needs, just pop a gummy or two every day, and you’ll be good to go.

But, keep in mind that CBD gummies do not provide instant relief, but take a few minutes to kick in!

Who should not consume CBD & Dosage Guide

Although CBD oils for anxiety are not known to carry any major side-effects, we recommend consulting your doctor and understanding the precautions carefully. This is all the more important because of the lack of research on humans.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Vaping is the trendiest method of taking CBD for anxiety. However, concentrated oils can have contaminants from the ingredients and cheaply made vaporizers, making them unfit for people suffering from breathing problems.

Because of this reason, vaping CBD is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The ingredients or contaminants may reach the developing baby, so we suggest avoiding any CBD products for the time being. Alternatively, you can consult a doctor regarding the effects of CBD on your child’s health. 

Additionally, controlled doses of CBD are possibly safe for children – but generally in lower dosages.

Any Side-Effects?

Although CBD is a safe and natural compound (already produced in our bodies), its interaction with other medications or supplements may cause a change in weight and appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. Thus, it is highly recommended that you consult the doctor before incorporating CBD into your medication routine. 

Sudden changes in oral or topical medication are known to cause side effects. Consequently, you may experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea and dizziness if you stop a particular medication while taking CBD oil for anxiety. 

Other Uses of CBD Oil

Since CBD is known as an effective serotonin booster and pain relief agent, it carries many potential medical benefits. Despite the controversy that surrounds its usage, here are some other ways in which CBD oil can be beneficial for your health:

1. Pain Relief

Studies show that CBD oil is effective in alleviating pain after chemotherapy. Motivated by this fact, the National Institutes of Health are researching the effects of cannabis in relieving arthritis, muscle pain, chronic pain, spinal cord injuries, and more.

In Canada and the United Kingdom, Nabiximols (Sativex), containing both TCH and CBD, is prescribed for MS pain. As a result, researchers argue that while CBD may not have direct medical benefits, its anti-inflammatory properties contribute towards pain relief.

2. Cancer Treatment

As mentioned before, CBD oil helps relieve pain and side effects from chemotherapy. Since it can reduce inflammation, it is assumed to control cell reproduction. However, due to a lack of well-researched information, it is still too early to decide whether it can be used for cancer treatment. 

3. Anti-acne

When CBD comes in contact with the immune system, it decreases inflammation, sparking possible anti-acne properties. 

The Journal of Clinical Investigation published the results of a human study wherein CBD oil prevented the sebaceous glands from producing excess sebum. Less sebum production results in less acne on oily skin. However, you must note that sebum production is a necessary natural process for maintaining your skin’s moisture.

Thus, discuss the effects of CBD oil with your dermatologist before including it in your skincare routine.

4. Neuroprotective

As of now, CBD is assumed to reduce inflammation that triggers neurodegenerative disorders. However, researchers are still locating the CB1 receptor to understand the correlation between CBD and its effects on the brain and its nerves.

Currently, researchers are studying how CBD oil can treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and stroke.

5. Anti-seizure 

While researchers are still gathering enough evidence, the American Epilepsy Society is hopeful about using CBD as a treatment for epilepsy and seizure.

A study conducted in 2016 added oral CBD of 2-5 mg to the existing medication of 214 epilepsy patients. After monitoring the participants for 12 weeks, most of them showed a drop in the number of seizures per month by 36.5%. However, 12% of participants suffered from uncommon side effects of the medication.

FAQs- Everything You Should Know Before Using CBD Oil For Anxiety 

Q. Do you need a doctor’s prescription for buying CBD oil?

Although not mandatory, we encourage you to consult your doctor to be on the safer side. For instance, if you’re allergic to certain ingredients or take other medicines, it is best to get a second opinion from an expert. 

Q. How much CBD oil is sufficient for treating anxiety?

If you choose to use CBD oil without professional intervention, we suggest starting from a low or mild dosage.

While gummies and oil droppers remove the guesswork in dosage, using the correct dose of vaporized oils, creams, and lotions can be tricky. Thus, start small and slowly increase the dosage as and when required.

Final Thoughts

Due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties, CBD has become quite the rage for treating anxiety and other health problems. 

However, it’s always best to consult the doctor to understand what’s best for you and your health conditions.

That said, we’ll be taking your leave. Stay tuned for more informative guides on CBD products.

Until then, stay safe!

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