CBD for Anxiety

Andrew Ward
August 26, 2021

The information is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve readers of their obligation to obtain qualified medical, legal or other professional advice.

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Does using CBD for anxiety work?

Scores of individuals suffering from anxiety and anxiety-related disorders are considering CBD as a possible treatment method. 

Using CBD for anxiety may be the right decision for you. But, before diving in, be sure to understand the basics, from how to use CBD for anxiety to what the perfect method of consumption and dosage is for you. 

Today, CBD shows promise for lots of patients seeking relief from anxiety. Here's what you should know before making any decisions for yourself. 


What is CBD?

CBD is one of the hundreds of compounds found inside the cannabis plant. CBD is considered an essential component of the plant's medical capabilities, with many turning to CBD for anxiety treatment. 

The second most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis, only behind THC, CBD is typically derived from the hemp plant, with additional natural and synthetic sources available in some instances. 

CBD comes in many convenient forms.

Is CBD legal in the US?

While many believe CBD was made legal in the U.S. under the 2018 Farm Bill, that isn't exactly the case. Like THC, CBD remains under the rules of each state and their Controlled Substances Act (CSA). While most state CSAs follow federal guidelines, some states do continue to prohibit hemp.

Yes, CBD is legal in the US, but some states have differing rules.

Types of CBD

Medical cannabis treatment is a largely customizable experience, catering to the needs of each patient. While some may prefer or need the entire plant profile, others may find themselves seeking a more distilled or isolated medical treatment. 

Full spectrum CBD contains some THC. Broad spectrum CBD is THC free.

Full-spectrum

Proponents of the Entourage Effect believe that the optimal consumption experience stems from the combined effects of a strain and all of its compounds. They believe that the various components of the whole flower such as:

  • CBD, 
  • THC (.3% or less in the U.S.), 
  • various other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, and CBC, 
  • terpenes, 
  • essential oils, 

and other compounds affect the medicinal value of the final product. For instance, adherents of the entourage effect believe that finding the right balance of CBD to THC can help treat anxiety or aid sleep.

Full-spectrum CBD extracts as much of the plant profile as possible. Keep in mind that trace amounts of THC will be found in full-spectrum CBD oil, potentially affecting some people with upcoming drug screenings. 

Broad-spectrum

Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil overlap in just about every way, except for THC. It serves as a worthwhile option for anyone seeking the full range of the plant without the THC. 

To be clear: full-spectrum CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC; broad-spectrum CBD oil does not. 

CBD isolate

Isolates sit on the other end of the spectrum. As the name suggests, CBD is isolated to a singular compound, leaving a white powder rather than an oil. CBD isolates might be an option for you if you prefer to focus on a particular compound rather than the whole plant. It's also ideal for on-the-go mixing into edibles or beverages.

CBD isolate is pure CBD in its crystalline form.

What is anxiety, exactly?

Anxiety comes in many forms and can often be mislabeled or thrown into a group with everyday worries we all face. We each have our own struggles, but anxiety disorders disrupt our lives emotionally, physically, and behaviorally so much that we can't function as we typically do. Feelings associated with anxiety disorders include fear, uneasiness and worry. In some cases, the severity can grow into an anxiety (or panic) attack. 

Anxiety disorders disrupt our lives so much that we can't function as we typically do.

Most anxiety sufferers experience general anxiety disorder symptoms. However, some will develop other disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Additional common anxiety symptoms include: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Fear 
  • Headaches 
  • Hot flashes
  • Irritability 
  • Muscle aches or tension 
  • Rapid, racing thoughts 
  • Sweating 
  • Trembling or twitching 
  • Trouble swallowing 

What we know about CBD for anxiety treatment

As millions seek relief, many have found themselves asking if CBD is good for anxiety. Federal prohibitions in the U.S. and beyond stifled research for decades. However, some countries like Israel have pushed on. More have joined the research in recent years, with the U.S. providing insights to some extent as well. 

A 2015 study concluded that CBD interacts with CB1R and 5-HT1A receptors, among other receptors that help regulate a person's fears and behavior when under anxiety.

If you're waiting for conclusive lab findings to confirm if you should use CBD oil, gummies or otherwise for anxiety, you'll need to hold off. But for scores of patients, they're using the growing foundation of studies to support their CBD use.

A substantial study from U.S. and Spanish researchers in 2015 concluded that CBD interacted with CB1R and 5-HT1A receptors, among other receptors that help regulate a person's fears and behavior when under anxiety. Researchers found that preclinical evidence "strongly supports" CBD's potential for anxiety treatment. 

The study indicated that CBD might serve as an effective treatment for other anxiety disorders. Their trials also showed promise in treating:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder (P.D.)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The results began to increase as CBD acceptance grew. A 2019 study found that over 79% of patients analyzed saw a reduction in anxiety symptoms in the first month of use. 

The following year, an audit of 400 New Zealanders prescribed CBD reported improvements in non-cancer and mental health patients' pain, depression and anxiety symptoms. Analysts reported no adverse effects during the study. In another 2020 examination, researchers concluded that CBD shows promise for anxiety treatment, saying it had an encouraging role as an alternative option for anxiety disorder management. 


How to use CBD for anxiety

Patients can choose how fast their CBD takes effect depending on how they consume their products.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is often administered sublingually to aid absorbtion.

CBD oil is administered using a dropper. Oil is administered either under the tongue (sublingually) or ingested through the digestive system. Sublingual application may be best for anyone seeking rapid results, with onset times typically taking just a few minutes, with results lasting two to six hours. 

CBD oil traveling through the digestive tract will instead take effect like an edible, with onset times varying between 30 minutes and over two hours. However, its results can last between three and eight hours or more, depending on the dosage.  

CBD Gummies

CBD gummies are a favorite for anxiety.

People using edibles, like CBD gummies, for anxiety aren't likely seeking immediate results. Rather, they are typically more interested in longer-lasting, more substantial results. Patients may wait 30 minutes to two hours to see their effects set in, but those effects can be almost three times the strength after traveling through the digestive system, as mentioned above.  

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are slower to set in and last much longer than other consumption methods.

Capsules follow a similar path to traditional edibles. These longer-lasting, slower to set-in options should begin taking effect in 30 to 120 minutes, with the effects lasting six to eight hours in most instances. 

Sublingual spray

Unlike CBD oil, sublingual sprays do not provide patients the option of how they want to consume their CBD. Instead, a sublingual spray offers one application method, which should provide effects in just a few minutes. However, results typically last just two to three hours. 

Sublingual spray works like sublingual drops, but may be easier for some to dose.

Cannabis Flower

Smoked and vaped cannabis products are another choice for those seeking near-instant effects. Once consumed, patients should begin to experience results in a matter of minutes, with effects lasting between one to three hours depending on the cultivar and dosage. In some cases, effects can last several hours. 

CBD flower can be smoked or vaped, just like THC containing flower.

CBD dosage for anxiety

The previously mentioned 2015 study serves as a pivotal piece of information. Not only did it delve into the ways CBD interacted with our receptors, researchers also concluded that an orally administered dose between 300 mg and 600 mg could reduce anxiety symptoms, including those with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). In 2019, researchers concluded that the same dosage was a way to reduce anxiety symptoms in 57 males subjects. 

Keep in mind that dosage will alter depending on the product and the consumption method chosen.


Risks and side effects of using CBD for anxiety

At this point, CBD is considered relatively safe for most consumers, with few experiencing any adverse side effects. That said, a number of individuals can experience adverse reactions, including:  

  • Appetite changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes

Speak with your trusted medical professional before using CBD. This is especially true if you take any other medications, as CBD may interact with enzymes critical to metabolizing your medications. NuggMD's physicians are always happy to help! Just head over to NuggMD.com and start your new account today! You can talk to a physician from the comfort of home between 8AM and 10PM daily, including weekends.

Andrew Ward
Andrew is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer with a degree in Creative Writing from Montclair State University in New Jersey. After years of working in freelance and offices, he embraced the future of work and re-entered the independent workforce. Today, he provides creative solutions to Nugg and other respected cannabis companies.

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