Anxiety

Discover supporting research and information on how cannabidiol (CBD) relates to the treatment of Anxiety.


The APA defines Anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of nervousness, fear, apprehension, tension, and worrying. People who suffer from anxiety may experience physical symptoms depending on the severity of the condition. Changes include increased blood pressure, sweating, trembling, high heart rate and/or dizziness.

Normal Anxiety Response

Experiencing anxiety is a normal part of the human range of emotions that are necessary for survival. These feelings arise when humans are faced with potential danger or other triggers that cause one to worry. This emotional response is noted by a rise in heart rate, sweating, and an overall increased sensitivity to stimuli. Accompanied by a rush of adrenaline, this 'flight-or-fight' response is designed to alert a human to confront or run from a potential threat.

While these responses still play a large part in our physical safety, these responses are complicated by the advances in our society. Today, it is common for people to experience anxiety due to triggers that are not immediate threats to personal safety. Examples include work, relationships, health, and money.

Anxiety Disorders

When someone experiences an anxiety response that is out of proportion to the original stressor or trigger, anxiety can be classified as an anxiety disorder. These disorders vary in severity and fall into various types covered below.

Anxiety disorders affect up to 40 million people in the United States of America. This group is the most common mental illness in the country. Despite its common occurrence less than half of people who experience anxiety receive treatment for the illness.


Types

Causes

General causes for anxiety include:

Treating Anxiety with CBD


Cannabis has had a mixed review when it comes to anxiety due to lack of separation between the two primary compounds in the plant: THC & CBD. It is known that THC can actually be anxiety-causing and generalized studies of marijuana use have pointed to a high prevalence of anxiety disorders. Because of this, it is important to look for studies specific to CBD which has been observed to have anti-anxiety effects.

Traditional anti-anxiety medications often result in several adverse side effects. These negative effects have pushed researchers to find safer, naturally sourced medicines. There is a growing volume of CBD-specific supporting research pointing to cannabidiol's effective use as an anxiolytic (a drug used to reduce anxiety). The compound has been observed to treat a wide range of social anxiety disorders via administration of high doses of CBD.

Positive interaction between cannabidiol and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor is often cited as the source for the anti-anxiety function. While many early results point to the positive impact of CBD on anxiety, some more recent studies have questioned the anxiolytic effects and require further investigation of the stressors required for CBD to function.

Despite these contradictions, anecdotal evidence gathered via an online survey pointed to CBD's widespread use to treat pain, anxiety & depression and that over 1/3rd of those surveyed said that CBD treats their condition 'very well by itself'.

Notable Research Summary

Dosages


While standard CBD dosages range in the 10-25mg / oral dose range, most studies resulting in positive CBD use for the treatment of anxiety cite much higher dosages used. Published research cites oral doses in the 300-600mg range. This data may suggest that a higher than normal dose may be appropriate for the use of CBD to treat anxiety.

For more information, see our dosage guidelines for CBD.

Supporting Research


  1. Effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on regional cerebral blood flow. (2004) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14583744
  2. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. (January 2011) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20829306
  3. The anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol injected into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis are mediated by 5-HT1A receptors. (Feburary 2011) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20945065
  4. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. (May 2011) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846
  5. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. (June 2012) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729452
  6. Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. (2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23653088
  7. The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system. (July 2013) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23298518
  8. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. (2014) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339
  9. Central anandamide deficiency predicts stress-induced anxiety: behavioral reversal through endocannabinoid augmentation. (July 2014) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25004388
  10. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders (October 2015) – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
  11. A Systematic Review of Plant-Derived Natural Compounds for Anxiety Disorders. (2016) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26845556
  12. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. (Fall 2016) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27768570
  13. The Endocannabinoid System and Anxiety. (2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28061971
  14. Cannabidiol Does Not Dampen Responses to Emotional Stimuli in Healthy Adults. (June 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861510
  15. Effect of prior foot shock stress and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiolic acid, and cannabidiol on anxiety-like responding in the light-dark emergence test in rats. (July 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28424834
  16. Cannabidiol regulation of emotion and emotional memory processing: relevance for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders. (October 2017) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28268256
  17. The anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol in chronically stressed mice are mediated by the endocannabinoid system: Role of neurogenesis and dendritic remodeling. (June 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29510186
  18. A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users. (July 2018) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30014038

The contents of this page are not medical advice. Please seek professional medical assistance for any condition and before starting, stoping, or changing medication or supplements.