The connection between CBD and anxiety is a complex and interesting one. First, studies regarding CBD and anxiety are still on-going. While it’s been shown to have a positive effect on anxiety and depression (and there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence), you should always talk to a medical professional before engaging in any type of self-treatment. That being said, there are some fairly compelling reasons why CBD may treat anxiety.
What is CBD?
Marijuana contains a number of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. Most people think of THC because it is what makes marijuana a “mind altering substance.” But CBD is important, too. Today, there are many “high THC” or “high CBD” strains of marijuana. CBD can also be isolated from hemp. Either way, CBD can be isolated and distilled separately from THC.
CBD alone does not have any mind-altering effects. But it may play a role in soothing anxiety.
Many people report some level of anxiety with high THC strains. It’s believed that CBD may reduce anxiety caused by THC — and, separately, may reduce anxiety overall. CBD reacts with receptors in the brain and nervous system, potentially in a way that reduces the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Are There Side Effects to CBD?
CBD doesn’t have any major proven side effects, though some have reported lethargy and loss of appetite using high doses of CBD. CBD is an uncontrolled substance in most areas, but it should be noted that it’s also not strictly regulated. That means that even though a CBD tincture might say that it has a certain percentage of CBD in it, that may not be entirely accurate. You should always go through reputable sources for your CBD for this reason.
As with all medications, you should be conscientious when taking CBD to identify any potential symptoms you experience. If you do experience issues such as fatigue or loss of appetite, you should consult with your doctor and discontinue use.
Has CBD Been Proven to be Effective?
Unfortunately, there haven’t been many in-depth studies of CBD. Consequently, we aren’t sure whether CBD is truly effective when it comes to anxiety. What we have is primarily anecdotal reports. But we aren’t completely absent of reports, only that we don’t have a significant body of definitive work.
- A study within The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, published in February 2019, found that use of CBD was “promising but not proven.“
- A research article published September 2010 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology stated that CBD was associated with “significantly decreased subjective anxiety.“
- An article published September 2015, Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders, said it found “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Thus, though CBD hasn’t yet been proven to be effective, there are very promising studies. Since science does require some time, and CBD has not been studied extensively, it may take time to learn more about whether CBD is truly effective for anxiety. In the mean time, CBD has been studied for negative effects, and very few negative side effects have been discovered.