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In recent years, CBD has gotten a lot of buzz and attention, becoming one of the biggest wellness trends, and is being touted as some sort of cure-all, magic elixir. It can be found almost everywhere, from health food stores, to CBD retails stores, to coffee shops adding it to lattes, to gas stations. CBD producers are saying CBD can be helpful for a laundry list of health conditions, including anxiety. And, many people that suffer from anxiety are turning to CBD looking for a natural alternative. There are thousands of reviews and testimonials online, such as on reddit, where people swear by how well CBD has helped their anxiety. So, is there any science to back them up?
Today, we will examine the evidence on CBD for anxiety.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of over 100 different plant compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant, a plant species which includes both marijuana and hemp. Another compound found in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is what causes the “high” associated with marijuana. The difference between marijuana and hemp is how much THC the plant contains. Hemp has very low levels of THC, and is defined as having less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. If the plant contains more than 0.3% THC, then it is considered to be marijuana. CBD can be derived by both marijuana and hemp, but marijuana derived CBD must be bought at a marijuana dispensary, whereas hemp-derived CBD can be bout in both online and brick-and-mortar retails stores, without the need for a marijuana card.
CBD is being marketed as being beneficial in a number of health conditions, some of which include:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammation and inflammatory conditions
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Poor sleep
- And many more
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a medical condition where people may feel a sense of nervousness, worry, unease, or feel that something bad and terrible is going to happen, for little or no reason. It can be a very debilitating and disabling disorder, and can disrupt the lives of those living with anxiety.
Can CBD help with anxiety?
Although studies are limited and the exact mechanism of how CBD might help with anxiety is unknown, research is suggesting that affecting serotonin levels is what helps with anxiety. Serotonin is a chemical that plays a role in sleep, mood, digestion and behavior. CBD may also help with anxiety by interacting with GABA and adenosine receptors.
What is the research behind CBD for anxiety?
There have been several studies done testing CBD for anxiety, however, most of them are preclinical and studied in animals. Fortunately, with the growing interest in CBD, there have been several clinical, human studies.
- In 2011, a study  testing CBD in a public speaking situation showed it reduced anxiety and discomfort in people with social anxiety disorder related to public speaking.
- Another study in 2011  on social anxiety disorder showed CBD was effective at reducing anxiety symptoms.
- In 2015, a review  of 49 studies concluded that there was “strongly supported” evidence for CBD as a treatment of social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- A study in 2017  on CBD used for anxiety or paranoia found CBD to not be effective, and in fact, some people actually had increased anxiety.
- Another study in 2018  also suggested that CBD could increase anxiety. However, it only included a small number of participants with paranoid traits and found that CBD increased the anxiety in some of the participants.
- In 2019, a retrospective case study  of 47 outpatient clinic patients given 25 mg of CBD daily in addition to treatment found that 79.2% of patients had improved anxiety in the first month. After 2 months, 78.1% of patients reported having further improvement in anxiety compared to the previous month. However, there were some people who reported increased anxiety: 15.3% felt anxiety increased after the first month, and 19.5% had further worsening in the second month.
- Another study in 2019  where CBD was used to treat anxiety and sleep found almost 80% of participants’ anxiety improved, and almost 70% reported improved sleep in the first month, although the results for sleep was varied over time.
Although most of the studies had positive results, there are some contradictory findings. Some reasons for the differing results may be due to many of the studies having small sample sizes, variations in CBD doses that were used in the studies, and that the studies did not look at the long-term effects of taking CBD for anxiety.
How to use CBD for anxiety
You may be curious about using CBD for anxiety and actually want to try it. You definitely want to educate yourself in the various ways available to take CBD, to understand the pros and cons of each method. You also want to make sure you get your CBD products from a source that has high quality products, such as from CBD Oil of Dayton.
Tincture and Oils
CBD tinctures are oils are the most popular and widely used way take CBD. They are a quick and easy way to take CBD, and allows you to accurately measure out how much CBD you are taking. Most tinctures contain CBD mixed in an alcohol base. CBD oils contain CBD extracts mixed in a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Tinctures and oils are taken using a dropper, which allows you to easily measure how much you take. The tincture or oil is placed under the tongue and held there for a couple of minutes. This sublingual route allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream quickly, and people can start seeing effects as soon as 10 minutes, and can last several hours.
Many people take CBD by adding it to many foods and drinks, and even be cook with it. This is a very easy and convenient way of taking CBD, such as in the form of gummies or cookies or smoothies. A drawback is that it can take longer to be absorbed through the intestines and take 1 hour or longer to start having an effect. Being absorbed through the intestines also decreases the availability of CBD, with some studies showing only about 6% of the ingested CBD is eventually available to work in the body.
Importantly, the FDA is prohibiting the introduction of food or supplements containing CBD and has deemed food containing CBD as illegal.
CBD oil can be vaped using a special pen that vaporizes the oil and allows for quick onset of effects. However, given the number of vaping related lung injuries in 2019 that had let to over 2,000 people being hospitalized, and over 40 deaths, the safety of vaping has come in to questioning. An investigation by the Centers of Disease Control has found that most cases have been linked to THC vape cartridges that were tainted with vitamin E oil.
Another consideration is that there are potentially other inhaled substances that could be harmful to the lungs and/or body, some of which could be cancer causing. Proceed with caution with considering using any vaping product.
CBD flower can also be smoked for very quick effects. When smoked, the CBD enters the lungs and is immediately absorbed, entering the blood stream. However, it is very difficult to measure/know exactly how much CBD you are actually getting since how deep the inhalation is, how long the inhaled smoke is held in the lungs, and the rate of the flower burning are all potential factors that may influence how much CBD you get. Also, when smoking, you could be inhaling potentially harmful substances.
CBD dosing for anxiety
If you read the studies on CBD for anxiety, you will notice that the doses used vary widely between studies, some ranges from 25 mg to 600 mg. The large discrepancy is partly due to the fact that there is no universally recommended dosage for CBD. What is needed are large-scale clinical trials to help provide information that can be used to develop CBD dosing guidelines.
Real life people using CBD will report doses being used as low as 1-2 mg per day to several hundred milligrams per day. Everyone is different. The mantra of start low and go slow should be followed for dosing CBD. CBD Oil of Dayton customers typically start out at 25 mg per day and adjust the dose, either up or down, only after being on the dose for about 1 week, giving it a chance to start working.
While there are many small studies that are promising for using CBD oil for anxiety, we still need large, long-term clinical trials testing both efficacy and dosing of CBD for treating anxiety. But, do keep in mind that just because there aren’t large studies currently available, that is not the same as saying CBD does not work for anxiety. Rather, it means that no one has yet put the effort, time and money into doing a large research study. There are thousands of people out there using CBD for anxiety that swear by it. CBD seems to be mostly safe for humans, but its effect can vary greatly between individuals, as well as the dose needed to provide benefit. If you decide to try CBD, talk to your doctor before starting it, and make sure it is from a reputable source, such as CBD Oil of Dayton.