Can CBD Really Help With Anxiety?

Can CBD Really Help With Anxiety?

Posted by Meghan Gregory on 17th May 2022

Let's Talk About Anxiety and CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, products have become increasingly popular throughout the last couple of years. Many CBD users claim they use CBD to help with a wide variety of ailments, like using CBD for stress relief and sleep.

Products like full-spectrum CBD oil, CBD gummies, topicals, bath bombs, and more have been associated with helping everything from post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, PTSD symptoms, blood pressure, and of course, stress. CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, respectively.

The exact way CBD affects CB1 receptors in the brain isn’t fully understood. However, it may alter serotonin signals. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays an important role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression. In some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety.

The conventional treatment for low serotonin is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as sertraline (Zoloft) or fluoxetine (Prozac). SSRIs are only available by prescription. Some people with anxiety may be able to manage their condition with CBD instead of an SSRI. However, you should talk to your doctor.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)Trusted Source says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats. Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioral signs of anxiety. Their physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, also improved.

Anxiety affects an estimated 1 in 5 adults, and less than half seek professional help, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. This may bear some relationship to the wild popularity of CBD (cannabidiol), one of the primary compounds in cannabis (marijuana). 

A survey of 5,000 people conducted by the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm, found that more than 60 percent of CBD users have taken it to treat anxiety symptoms. Brightfield also reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety was the No. 1 reason for using CBD; more than one-third of CBD users with anxiety surveyed said they used it five or more times a week to manage their symptoms.

2015 reviewTrusted Source, CBD interacts with the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, and other receptors in the brain that regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviors.

The authors of the review also found preclinical and clinical evidence that established CBD as an effective treatment for numerous types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • panic disorder (PD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • social anxiety disorder (SAD)

In a more recent 2020 studyTrusted Source, researchers evaluated CBD’s effects in 397 adults living in New Zealand. The study participants received medical CBD prescriptions for a variety of ailments, including non-cancer pain, cancer-related symptoms, neurological symptoms, and mental health symptoms.

An ever-growing body of research suggests that CBD may help relieve anxiety, the most common mental health disorder.

However, the FDA do not regulate CBD for treating anxiety. This means that the quality and dosage can vary widely between products and manufacturers.

People who currently use prescription medication or supplements may want to consult a doctor before using CBD.