According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a staggering 40 million adults in America suffer from some form of anxiety. To put it into perspective, that’s roughly 18% of the population! Those who have dealt with anxiety know that it can at times feel crippling, making it difficult to fully enjoy your life and it can even affect your job or loved ones.

While many people have found success treating anxiety with traditional means, such as prescription anti-anxiety medications or regular therapy sessions, anxiety effects everyone differently and there is no one size fits all cure. Some experience adverse reactions to medications, or just find the side effects interfere too much with their livelihoods. And though therapy is often a great way to get to the root of what’s causing an anxiety disorder, it's often quite expensive and therefore out of reach of many Americans.  

So how do you handle anxiety when traditional methods aren’t an option? For this, more and more Americans are looking toward natural and holistic approaches such as meditation, mindfulness, and herbal remedies and supplements. One of the natural methods of relieving the symptoms of anxiety that’s shown the most promise in recent years has been cannabis or hemp derived CBD oil.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD or cannabidiol oil has been making a big splash lately for its numerous health benefits, but what exactly is this new wonder supplement? Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flowers of hemp and cannabis plants. Unlike the more well-known THC found in cannabis, CBD has no psychoactive properties, meaning it won’t leave you feeling high or stoned and making it safe to take while you are going about your daily tasks.

CBD oil is considered a safe, non-addictive substance, and the science community has been researching its effects as a treatment for numerous conditions and ailments, including pain relief, epilepsy, insomnia, cancer, and of course, anxiety and stress disorders.

Though much of the research being conducted on CBD as a treatment for anxiety is still relatively new, many have already been using CBD to great success.

Is CBD oil legal in the US?

Like most things related to cannabis in today’s society, the answer is a bit complicated. Currently, there are two forms of CBD oil available in the US market, hemp derived CBD oil and cannabis-derived CBD oil. Luckily, thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp products (including hemp derived CBD oil) are now legal in all 50 states! Cannabis-derived CBD oil, on the other hand, is only legal in states that have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes. If in doubt about the laws in your state, search for hemp derived CDB oil to be on the safe side.  

How does CBD Oil Work in Relation to Anxiety and Other Mental Health Disorders?

Though research has been conducted for years on the use of medical marijuana for mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, the research on CBD oil alone for anxiety disorders is still in its infancy. However, the research which has been conducted so far has shown great promise. These studies have mainly revolved around social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

CBD oil works by interacting with your brain’s endocannabinoid neurotransmitters, which can in turn help regulate naturally occurring chemicals in your brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Often, imbalances in such chemicals are a contributing factor in feelings of stress, anxiety, or even depression.

Types of Anxiety Disorders that May Benefit From CBD Oil Treatments

There are many different types of anxiety and stress disorders, some more severe and crippling than others. CBD oil has been found by many to help ease the symptoms of several types of anxiety including:

Stress: Though not technically a disorder, most of us will experience stress to different degrees at some point or another in our lives. While some small amounts of stress can be normal, high levels of stress can lead to bigger issues down the road. Lower doses of CBD oil can help manage and relieve stress before it has the opportunity to grow into a more serious problem.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Studies carried out in 2010 and 2011 found great success in treating the symptoms of social anxiety with CBD oil. During the studies, brain scans of the participants revealed changes in blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with anxiety.

General Anxiety Disorder: Research published in 2014 found that CBD oil had anti-anxiety effects on animals in a study performed.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Studies in 2015 found that CBD oil showed promise for several types of anxiety including obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A promising 2016 case study studied the effects of CBD in treating PTSD and sleep disorder symptoms in a child who had suffered from trauma.

How much should you take?

Everyone’s brain chemistry is different, and the right dosage for one person may not work in the same way for another. Because of this, it’s always best to start will a lower dosage until you can determine how your brain reacts to CBD.

Potential Side Effects

Though most side effects are usually mild, some individuals have reported experiencing the following:

  •    Dry mouth
  •    Increased or decreased appetite
  •    Low blood pressure
  •    Dizziness
  •    Changes in mood
  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Diarrhea

Closing Thoughts About CBD and Anxiety

As more research comes out, we’re gaining a deeper understanding of how CBD interacts with our own natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) to elicit certain anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. Clinical and research studies conducted to date highlight CBD as a potential aid in the fight against chronic anxiety, PTSD and even depression.

However, those considering using CBD should proceed with caution. While CBD is considered generally safe for human consumption by the World Health Organization, it is not a “replacement” for any current medications you may be on, and its use should always be discussed with your doctor or primary care physician.

That said, the future of CBD as an anti-anxiety aid certainly looks bright.