Before we answer the question – Do CBD products help with anxiety? We need to understand what is meant by anxiety, and we also need to keep in mind that while anxiety can cause worry and distress, it is not always a medical condition and shouldn’t always be treated as one.
In this article, we’re going to look at various aspects of CBD and the role it plays with regards to anxiety so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Table of Contents
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the way that the body responds to worry and fear. All of us have anxious feelings at some point in our lives. For example, we often feel worried and stressed about sitting an exam, public speaking, social interaction like a job interview or a particular phobia.
But feeling anxious at these times is perfectly normal for most of us. Unfortunately, some people find it difficult to control their worries; their feelings of anxiety are more constant and their condition can often affect their daily lives.
Anxiety is typically the main symptom of several conditions, including
- Panic disorder
- Phobias such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (social phobia)
Anxiety vs. Depression
Often mistaken for depression, it is essential to remember that there is a big difference between anxiety and depression. In a fundamental sense, anxiety is an excessive feeling of worry, where depression is extreme feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. However, it is possible to have both anxiety and depression at the same time.
CBD – what does the research say?
Currently, there are dozens of studies going on worldwide into the benefits of CBD oil for a variety of disorders, including anxiety – where early results are looking promising.
According to one study in the UK, 38% of people who use CBD oil use it for anxiety. In a 2011 study, a test group were given an oral serving of CBD 90 minutes before a simulated public speaking test. Researchers found that this was enough to reduce the speakers’ anxiety significantly versus those who had no CBD. In the same year, a separate UK study found that CBD effectively reduced anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
CBD was also found to be effective in improving a restful nights sleep – something not enjoyed by many anxiety sufferers. Dr Scott Shannon’s 2019 study, Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep, concluded by saying, “In this evaluation, CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications. Furthermore, CBD displays promise as a tool for reducing anxiety in clinical populations.”
In a 2020 study published by Madison Wright, Patricia Di Ciano, and Bruna Brands, Use of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Anxiety, they reported that “Overall, existing pre-clinical and clinical evidence supports a possible role for CBD as a novel treatment for anxiety disorders.”
What are the risks of taking CBD?
Currently, the existing treatments for anxiety include strong medications which, if not controlled, can become habit-forming.
The antidepressants most commonly prescribed as long-term anxiety solutions are considered SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and include Benzodiazepines, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro and Celcan, that come with a whole range of unwanted side effects that often include, among others, drowsiness, agitation and sexual dysfunction.
These drugs can also be highly addictive, so typically, doctors will only try them as a last resort.
However, with CBD, it’s different. Firstly, it’s an all-natural product that doesn’t have dependency potential, which means there is no risk of becoming addicted to it. Furthermore, unlike the prescribed medicines, it’s unlikely you’ll experience any unpleasant side effects if you run out or stop using the product.
Also, it’s challenging to take too much CBD oil. In general, CBD in high doses is very well managed by the body and any unpleasant side effects will be mild and short-lived. These might include dry mouth or lightheadedness and generally wear off within hours.
How should you take CBD?
Typically the most common way to take CBD is to place a few oil drops under the tongue and hold it there for a minute before swallowing. This is because this part of the mouth is a capillary-rich area, and it allows the CBD to enter your bloodstream quicker. So not only is this the most accessible way to use CBD products, but it’s also a straightforward way to manage the dosing.
If you don’t feel comfortable using the oil directly in this way, you could add a few drops of CBD oil to your favourite smoothie or morning coffee. However, if you prefer, you can also find CBD capsules and gummies, which can be taken similar to taking a daily vitamin.
When trying CBD for the first time, many people start with a low-quality, low-potency CBD oil that has little to no effect, which could turn them off CBD and prevent them from enjoying the full benefits. That’s why it is essential to try a high-quality CBD oil from the start.
What should you expect from taking CBD?
When taking CBD to help with your anxiety, you need to understand there’s no significant ‘high’; there is never the experience of it suddenly kicking in like you might get with traditional pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs.
With CBD, the effect is far more subtle. It acts as a stimulant that relaxes the body ever so slightly. CBD is safe, accessible in many countries without a prescription, and is there to help you feel less anxious and more focused.
Do CBD products help with anxiety?
If you’re looking for gentle and effective treatment for anxiety, CBD could offer some relief. If you are looking for ways to improve your health and outlook, it could be well worth adding CBD to your daily routine to see if you experience any relief. Taking a few drops in the morning and then again before bedtime could be all you need to help get your anxiety under control.