Today, you’re going to learn EVERYTHING about CBD oil and anxiety.
We analyzed over 100 scientific papers on the medical effects of CBD and tested over 30 CBD oils on their general effectiveness (keep in mind the results of our tests are our subjective experiences).
The results we found are a MUST-read for anyone suffering from anxiety.
The best part?
You’re going to learn exactly what method of consumption of CBD fits best with your lifestyle.
Sounds good? Keep reading!
The Endocannabinoid System and Its Role in Anxiety
The endocannabinoid system exists in all humans (and most animals). It’s the system that regulates essential functions like:
- Sleep, and
According to researchers, the endocannabinoid system has a significant role in the prevention, causes, and management of anxiety.
This comes as no surprise because cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system interact with various parts of the brain including:
- The medial prefrontal cortex;
- The amygdaloid complex, and;
- The hippocampus.
Why does this matter?
Well, since all these different brain parts have been linked to anxiety in one way or the other, we can see how researchers have concluded, “There are considerable encouraging preclinical data to suggest that endocannabinoid-targeted therapeutics for anxiety disorders should continue.”
One of the most incredible things about cannabis is that it contains the cannabinoids that target and regulate our endocannabinoid system.
Keeping this in mind, you can quickly see how anything derived from cannabis or hemp that contains exactly these cannabinoids has massive potential to treat anxiety.
Research done over the decades has proven that there’s especially 1 cannabinoid extremely effective in reducing anxiety: CBD.
CBD and the Anxious Brain: What Science Has to Say
CBD and Serotonin Receptors
CBD has been shown to act as an agonist of the 5-HT1a receptor (a serotonin-subtype receptor). In pharmacology, the term ‘agonist' means ‘activator'. What this means is that CBD activates the 5-HT1a receptor.
There's scientific research showing that activation of the 5-HT1a receptor can have positive effects:
- Anxiolytic (anxiety decreasing) effects;
- Prosocial effects;
- Decreased aggression;
- Decreased impulsivity;
- Analgesic (painkilling) effects.
Although traditional anti-anxiety medication, SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft increase extracellular 5-HT levels over time as well and have been shown effective in treating depression and anxiety, they come with countless negative side-effects.
CBD, on the other hand, has a much better side-effect profile. Here we see again: nature usually does it better.
Scientific example specifically related to CBD:
Studies that have examined the serotonin receptors of mice when exposed to CBD have concluded, “CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects,” and that, “CBD could represent a novel fast antidepressant drug, via enhancing both serotonergic and cortical glutamate signaling through a 5-HT1A receptor-dependent mechanism”.
Depression isn't the same as anxiety, but their symptoms, causes, and treatments often overlap.
That's why activating your serotonin neurotransmitters is so effective in treating both.
When your serotonin system is activated, your mood is boosted, and symptoms of depression and anxiety are relieved.
CBD and Neuro-genesis
CBD may provide the brain with what it needs to repair itself literally. Preliminary studies in mice looked at hippocampal neuroregeneration, which is a production and repair of the brain cells of the hippocampus.
The studies showed the CBD “promotes progenitor proliferation and cell cycle progression and mimics the proliferative effect of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor activation”, meaning that cells in the hippocampus begin to repair themselves while activating the crucial parts of the endocannabinoid system that regulate mood.
How does this relate to anxiety?
Researchers agree that mental disorders like depression and anxiety cause measurable changes in critical areas of the brain like the hippocampus (associated with memory).
While mental disorders have the potential to interfere with healthy growth and maturation of your brain cells, CBD has the potential to regenerate any lost brain cells. Note that this my theoretical assumption based on examining the research, further research should point out to what extent anxiety destroys brain cells and to what extent CBD can re-generate those exact brain cells.
CBD and Fear-Based Response and Adaptations
Cannabis is gaining ground in the psychiatric community towards the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A big reason for this is CBD.
When you introduce CBD into the endocannabinoid system, it is shown to alter the human “normal fear-extinction” response.
CBD interrupts signals in the amygdala-hippocampal-cortico-striatal circuit, which is the primary brain function that coordinates fear-related memories and brings one’s body to respond to fear-related behaviors.
By interrupting these signals is my theory, CBD can help alter conditioned and ingrained fear-responses in your brain, body and nervous system. Further research should point out whether this really is the case.
CBD and Social Anxiety
Ever felt afraid of going out of your home and into social situations?
CBD has shown to be powerful in helping to combat the effects of social anxiety,
A 2011 study looked at what happened to people in public speaking situations when administered CBD, with another group receiving a placebo.
The group that was given CBD demonstrated “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech” while those who received a placebo “presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.”
But there are more studies.
For example, a 2011 study compared 2 groups of Social Anxiety Disorder patients on anxiety levels. The first group was given an oral dose of CBD, while the second group was given a placebo. The researchers found that the group that was given CBD had a significant decrease in anxiety levels.
The bottom line?
We can see that science supports CBD as a tool to reduce anxiety (among countless other benefits), and is slowly starting to understand the exact mechanisms at play for this beneficial effect.
How to Use CBD for Your Anxiety
If you're interested in using cannabis and CBD to help with anxiety, you should understand exactly what you are using and what you can expect from your CBD experience.
There are many different CBD products that come with different potencies and ingredients.
Similarly, it should be noted that it can take you a few tries to find your perfect method of consumption and consumption schedule.
Here are the most essential tips on taking CBD for anxiety:
Choose the Right Method of Consumption
Cannabis and Hemp are incredibly versatile plants because you can consume them in many ways.
But if you’re looking to reduce your anxiety, it’s crucial that you consume therapeutic amounts of CBD.
And there are only 3 ways to do precisely that:
- Take CBD oil orally/sublingually;
- Vape CBD vape oil, or;
- Smoke/vape high-CBD strains;
Taking CBD Oil Orally/Sublingually
This is the easiest and most straightforward way to consume therapeutic amounts of CBD.
It's also the most effective way because only among edible CBD oils will you ever find ‘full-spectrum CBD oils.'
Why does this matter?
If you take CBD oil orally/sublingually, your oil will take some time to take effect (can take 30 minutes to an hour). But the effects will last longer than with smoking or vaping CBD-products (2-5 hours vs 1-2 hours).
It’s essential when you take it orally, that you keep the drops of CBD oil under your tongue for at least 60 seconds and THEN swallow it. This way the CBD oil will get directly absorbed into your bloodstream (this is called sublingual consumption).
When using edible CBD oil, NEVER try to vape it. Edible CBD oils are not suited for vaping!
Look here for the highest-quality CBD oils:
And if you're looking for a high-quality CBD (vape) oil, check out this article:
Although the oral method is very effective, pulling out a tube and dropping drops of CBD oil under your tongue isn't the most discreet method to consume CBD…
If you're looking for a more discreet method, next up we have…
Vaping CBD Vape-Oil
First of all:
When using CBD oil through a vaporizer, you will want to ensure that you use a CBD oil that is designated for vaping.
Again: edible CBD oils should NEVER be vaped!
How you recognize CBD vape oils is by making sure that the manufacturer clearly states that it is vape oil.
CBD vape oils usually contain:
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG), and/or;
- Propylene Glycol (PG).
Vaping CBD oil will have immediate effects, but the effects won’t last as long as when you would consume it orally/sublingually.
If you want to be discreet, this is the most discreet method to consume therapeutic amounts of CBD.
Vaping has become so widespread, and such a widely and socially accepted behavior, that anyone seeing you with a vaporizer would never associate it with CBD.
CBD vape oil also has no specific smell that makes it easy for anyone to recognize.
If you're looking for a vaporizer to vape CBD vape oils, check out this article:
And if you're looking for a high-quality CBD vape oil, check out this article:
If you don't want to be messing around with oils, next up we have…
Smoking or Vaping High-CBD Strains
If you really like the act of smoking or vaping dry herb…
You have a great option as well: vaping/smoking high-CBD strains.
It's critical that when you're looking to treat the symptoms of anxiety with Cannabis (dry herb), always go for a high CBD strain. High-CBD means there's at least as much CBD as THC in it (AT LEAST a 1:1 ratio).
High amounts of THC can exacerbate feelings of paranoia or restlessness, while CBD inhibits exactly these symptoms.
Cannabis strains like Harlequin boast a higher CBD ratio than THC, with a CBD:THC ratio of 5:2. ACDC has a 20:1 CBD:THC ratio, making it one of the most potent CBD flowers available. Cannatonic has a low THC content (below 6%) with a CBD content as high as 17%.
Although the most common way to use is cannabis is to smoke it in a joint, or through a pipe or a bong…
Vaping your dry herb is a more health-conscious choice. When you vape, the THC and CBD, as well as the terpenes (what gives cannabis its aroma and flavor) are heated to a point before they start burning but do get extracted from the plant material.
Vaping marijuana is less harsh on the lungs and significantly reduces harmful compounds that are present in marijuana smoke.
To vape your dry herb, you will want to get a quality dry herb vaporizer, like the ones in this post:
If you want to release ‘therapeutic amounts’ of CBD from your high-CBD dry herb, it’s crucial that you vape at temperatures of 365°F (180°C) and above.
Microdosing has become an important lifestyle practice when using cannabis-based products or CBD to treat the symptoms of anxiety.
Microdosing refers to ingesting small amounts of cannabinoids. This can be only THC, CBD or a full spectrum product containing all cannabinoids. When you micro-dose, you get modest but constant effects from your product (if you micro-dose continuously throughout the day).
If you want to micro-dose CBD, you should consume between 2.5-20mg CBD per dose. IF micro-dosing works for you, it's a cost-effective way to feel the effects of your CBD constantly.
Vaping CBD vape oil is the easiest way to micro-dose CBD.
Connecting CBD to Lifestyle
Although CBD can work wonders for your anxiety…
It's even more critical that you have a strong foundation regarding lifestyle choices that help you reduce your anxiety.
The best part about CBD?
It can help you adopt these healthy lifestyle choices.
How CBD Can Help You with Exercise and Yoga
Quite often it’s difficult to find motivation when it’s time to exercise, yet we all know that exercise is part of a healthy and balanced routine.
Because CBD can have such a calming effect on you, it can also help you with motivation. Think about it: when you feel calm and relaxed, it's much easier to push yourself to do things that you might feel initial resistance to.
But there's more to CBD and exercise…
Using CBD to support fitness has become a growing practice in the athletic communities, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. People use CBD both pre- and post- workout to help the body with inflammation and recovery.
And if you're into yoga:
You may find that CBD can help get you into a relaxed and meditative state, helping to bring calm to your racing mind and help you get the best from your practice.
Stress and anxiety are strongly correlated with insomnia: the inability to get a restful night’s sleep.
Although correlation doesn't mean causation, we don't need scientific research to understand how stress caused by anxiety has can interfere with sleep. Just look at your own life: when you're stressed it's harder to fall asleep, and harder to get deep sleep.
CBD has been shown useful in blocking anxiety-induced REM sleep suppression in rats
It’s warned, however, that too much THC at bedtime could inhibit your ability to fall into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep; the type of sleep which is thought to contribute to the regeneration process of your body highly.
If you want to avoid this, go for a CBD rich strain or even better: go for CBD oil.
Those suffering from social anxiety don’t have to succumb to their fear of going out in public. People need human connection. We are wired that way. Social interactions are just right for your mental health.
CBD products like CBD oil can be used for a night out. Also, high-CBD strains where there’s just the right amount of THC for a slight elevation, and the perfect amount of CBD to induce calm, can be an excellent choice for a night out.
Call me crazy, but I think it’s a much healthier, and safer option than high alcohol, sugar-filled drinks!
CBD is a Support for Treating Anxiety
While CBD is support for anxiety, it is not a cure-all for times of high stress or anxiety.
Science is showing CBD to be effective regarding how it works with parts of the brain and endocannabinoid system. But it can only be effective in reducing anxiety long term if undertaken as part of other healthy activities.
If you take CBD oil, you should see it as a part of a more holistic approach to improving your anxiety.
Many people with anxiety engage in Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (abbreviation: CBD, no pun intended) to help understand their anxiety better.
What’s the bottom line?
If you’re not interested in the route of pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms of anxiety, CBD oil may be a promising option, that is natural, safe and has many singing its praises…
But it should be part of a more holistic approach, where you make sure you have a strong foundation based on healthy lifestyle choices!
Check the article below to find the best CBD oils:
Quick Note on THC and Anxiety
We mentioned that the discussion around cannabis and anxiety can be a complicated one, and that is because of the role of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the component in marijuana that creates the psychoactive effect or the “high.”
Quite often, medical doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists will warn patients about the use of high-potency THC strains. For those who are susceptible to paranoia or anxious thoughts, THC can only act as an exacerbator.
Generally, for people with anxiety, CBD-rich strains, or pure CBD flower and oils are recommended to get the benefits of CBD on mood without the feelings of paranoia under an intense high.
Interestingly enough, CBD and THC have a great way of working together. While it’s recommended that people with anxiety stay away from high levels of THC, small or trace levels of THC can help elevate the effectiveness of CBD. On the other hand, CBD can help someone to be “brought down to earth” if feeling the effects of a too-powerful high.