How To Use CBD To Help Alleviate Anxiety
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi is an integrative medicine physician with expertise in functional and holistic medicine based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- CBD for Anxiety
- How to Use CBD for Anxiety
- CBD Dosage for Anxiety
- Potential Risks and Side Effects
While delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can have a bad rap for being intoxicating and anxiety-inducing, cannabidiol (CBD) can actually be used to relieve anxiety. Research supports this benefit, with several studies reinforcing the positive effects CBD can have on various anxiety conditions. In fact, 51% of U.S. adults who use CBD do so to help alleviate their anxiety, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll.
CBD isn’t yet legally cleared as an anxiolytic, or anxiety relief medication. Therefore, it’s up to you—and, ideally, a doctor who specializes in cannabis administration—to determine whether CBD is a safe treatment for your anxiety.
Here’s what the science says regarding CBD’s anxiolytic properties, along with experts’ dosage guidelines and advice on how to take CBD safely.
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CBD for Anxiety
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any CBD-based medications for anxiety. However, many studies indicate the substance can be an effective anxiolytic.
CBD for Generalized Anxiety
In 2011, a small trial-tested CBD on participants with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) and healthy control patients undergoing a simulated public speaking test (SPST), which is a common anxiety testing method  Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226. . Compared to a placebo, CBD significantly reduced anxiety and discomfort in the participants with SAD. In fact, their reduced anxiety levels were comparable to those of the control participants.
Eight years later, a 2019 test compared the efficacy of three CBD doses (150 milligrams, 300 milligrams and 600 milligrams) and a placebo in men taking an SPST  Linares IM, Zuardi AW, Pereira LC, et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). 2019;41(1):9-14. . Compared to a placebo, 300 milligrams of CBD significantly reduced participants’ anxiety during the speech, but the 150-milligram and 600-milligram doses did not. These results highlight how dosage can be highly variable and that more CBD isn’t necessarily more effective.
Meanwhile, another 2019 study tested CBD in much lower doses than most other clinical studies—some participants consumed 25 milligrams a day while others consumed 50 milligrams or 75 milligrams a day  Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. . Researchers thought higher doses might be too expensive for participants to maintain in their normal lives and that low doses would still prove effective. Indeed, anxiety decreased within the first month for most participants and remained low. Sleep quality also improved, although it fluctuated more than anxiety. Only three patients reported side effects.
CBD for Anxiety and Depression
In 2020, researchers tested the effects of CBD oil at varying doses across 397 patients with a variety of ailments  Gulbransen G, Xu W, Arroll B. Cannabidiol prescription in clinical practice: an audit on the first 400 patients in New Zealand. BJGP Open. 2020;4(1):bjgpopen20X101010. . Participants with non-cancer pain or mental health-related symptoms experienced significant improvement in anxiety and depression, as well as in their abilities to complete their usual activities. The use of CBD oil suggested significant pain relief in these groups as well.
CBD for PTSD and Phobia Therapy
A small 2019 study of 11 patients found that, when consumed orally and administered alongside routine psychiatric care, CBD decreased patients’ posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity  Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392-397. .
Other studies suggest CBD can reduce PTSD symptoms when consumed with THC  Bitencourt RM, Takahashi RN. Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:502. . When taken together, the two compounds create what’s known as the “entourage effect,” where THC enhances the effects of CBD as CBD tempers the effects of THC, resulting in a more well-rounded experience  Ferber SG, Namdar D, Hen-Shoval D, et al. The “Entourage Effect”. Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2020;18(2):87-96. .
Some studies also suggest CBD can enhance the effects of exposure therapy—which assists patients in dissociating certain cues with a fear response—and cognitive behavioral therapy  Das RK, Kamboj SK, Ramadas M, et al. Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;226(4):781-792.  Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. .
How to Use CBD for Anxiety
Without clear FDA guidance, optimal CBD use for anxiety varies from person to person. You may find one method works better for you over another. You can consume CBD in the following forms:
- Oils and tinctures, which come in dropper bottles and are consumed by mouth
- Gummies, which are chewable, sweet and often fruit-flavored
- Sprays, which come in bottles with a nozzle to be sprayed in the mouth
- Capsules, softgels or tablets, which are taken individually by mouth like a pill
- Vapes, which heat CBD oil without igniting it, resulting in an inhalable vapor
- Flowers, which are dried hemp plants that are typically ignited and smoked
- Creams and gels, which introduce CBD topically (through the skin) as a more localized treatment
You may have to try different forms to determine what works best in addressing your anxiety. For instance, when it comes to the absorption of CBD in your bloodstream, vaping and smoking are more effective than edibles like gummies.
CBD Dosage for Anxiety
You also have to find the right CBD dosage for your anxiety. Experts suggest starting small and working your way up depending on how your body reacts.
Many clinical trials jump right to testing high doses. Successful doses evaluated for anxiety relief specifically include:
- 600 milligrams in patients with SAD in a speech simulation  Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226.
- 300 milligrams in male patients in a speech simulation  Linares IM, Zuardi AW, Pereira LC, et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). 2019;41(1):9-14.
However, other trials suggest much lower doses are also quite effective in treating anxiety.
- 25 to 75 milligrams for generalized anxiety and/or sleep problems  Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041.
- 33 to 49 milligrams a day for PTSD, in addition to routine psychiatric treatment  Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392-397.
Another study involving hundreds of patients noted success with doses from 40 milligrams to 300 milligrams a day, further supporting the idea that CBD dosage varies significantly, depending on a person’s symptoms and physiology.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
The World Health Organization deems CBD a safe and generally well-tolerated substance. Studies report very few adverse effects, if any.
However, taking CBD while on other medications may pose a risk, as these substances may interact and cause unwanted effects, such as weight gain, drowsiness, upset stomach and change in appetite.
Cheryl Bugailiskis, M.D., a cannabis specialist at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine, also warns people with preexisting liver injuries and people taking medications that can cause liver injuries should practice caution when using CBD.
CBD Oil UK – Best CBD Oils for Pain, Anxiety & Sleep (2022)
What is the best CBD oil in the UK ? We’re here to answer this for you in our newly updated buyer’s guide to the best CBD oil products in the UK for 2022.
Post Covid-19, CBD oil is rapidly becoming a popular self-care alternative to traditional pills and doctor visits. With the selection of CBD oil products in the UK rising in the last few years, choosing the best one can be very difficult. CBD products are now available online or you can even get them in stores if you search for them on the UK high street.
Whether you enjoy CBD as a general relaxant, take it for a specific health purpose, or just want to try it for the first time, we’re confident that there’s a great oil for you waiting just below.
In this CBD oil UK buyer’s guide, we review the best CBD oil brands in the United Kingdom.
First, what is CBD?
Although it’s just one of over 100 compounds (also known as cannabinoids) found in the hemp plant, CBD oil (sometimes referred to as hemp CBD oil) is one of the most important. The name “CBD” is short for cannabidiol, and it’s derived mainly from the flowers, leaves, stem and stalks of the hemp plant. The raw form of CBD is extracted from the plant, and then diluted sharply with a carrier oil, like hemp seed oil or coconut oil.
CBD is said to have a therapeutic property that helps in various health conditions such as inflammation, sleep disorders, depression, pain, and anxiety.
So what exactly are the best CBD oils to try in the UK for 2022?
Best CBD Oil UK – Top 7 CBD Oils for 2022
1. Blessed CBD
Our top pick for the #1 premium CBD brand in the UK for 2022!
The team at Blessed CBD cares about crafting and extracting the best, cleanest CBD. Their reputation and products earn our number one rating yet again. Voted the best CBD oil in the UK by dozens of leading publications, Blessed CBD is the must try CBD oil in the UK for 2022.
Blessed CBD produces a full spectrum, organic, high quality hemp CBD product with an enhanced terpene profile. Their current award-winning product range consists of CBD oils , CBD cream , CBD gummies , and CBD capsules .
Blessed CBD was founded by a family who couldn’t find trusted brands that made consistently good products in the UK market. Blessed CBD instead establishes trust by informing and educating their customers. They found many CBD products in the UK to be unbalanced with not enough cannabinoids, lack of transparency, or otherwise potentially unsafe CBD products that produced psychoactive effects.
The company remains focused less on profit and making a big name for themselves versus helping and benefiting the people of the United Kingdom. Blessed CBD only produces full spectrum CBD oil, grown in Colorado where farms are held to the highest regulations and standards without pesticides or herbicides. Full spectrum products are the highest quality as they’re said to help you achieve the “entourage effect” and contain the most potential health benefits.
Blessed CBD also has a third party lab test every batch of CBD oil they produce. The lab verifies the CBD content and that the CBD oil is free of chemicals or heavy metals. Aside from being grown in Colorado, Blessed CBD is only available to customers in the UK and often have a waiting list for their well verified CBD oil products.
If you want to try the best CBD oil in the UK for 2022, buy from Blessed CBD.
2. Vibes CBD
A newcomer to the UK’s CBD industry, Vibes CBD is a brand certainly worth trying in 2022. With a broad spectrum range of CBD oils , CBD gummies , and CBD capsules , Vibes CBD is quickly proving popular with UK consumers for their high quality CBD products.
Vibes CBD’s quality CBD oil emphasizes their use of a supercritical CO2 extraction process that removes chemicals and fertilizers that can impact the overall quality of the hemp extracts. Like Blessed CBD, their batches are tested by a third party lab to ensure they have the correct amount of cannabinoids. The end result? Customers receive 100% organic and pure CBD oil.
Vibes CBD also offers a range of products in a range of strengths and flavours. Their broad-spectrum CBD oils include a mix of cannabinoids such as CBDa, CBG, etc, and come in strengths from 1000-2000mg to help with a variety of customer’s needs. Their CBD oil drops are visually noticeable with a golden yellow color which tells you its high purity.
Despite being new to the UK’s growing CBD market, Vibes CBD has done well asking for reviews, and they have plenty ( Reader’s Digest , Men’s Journal , The Scotsman , Worthing Herald , Herald Scotland ). Given their outstanding manufacturing process and product range, some customers have said they wish Vibes CBD made even more options (such as a gluten-free CBD skincare range).
3. Nutra CBD
Based in the Netherlands, Nutra CBD is fairly new to the CBD oil industry (known as “ CBD olie ” in Dutch), starting only in 2020. They don’t offer UK shipping yet, but we’ve been told this is coming very soon.
Nutra CBD’s hemp is grown in Europe and carries under the legal limit of THC content. They offer CBD oil tinctures of 10ml size with a variety of strengths from 250 to 1000mg. Nutra CBD takes extra effort to educate their customers with a downloadable PDF which offers customers everything they need to know about CBD oil.
Nutra CBD offers a larger range of full spectrum and broad spectrum products with capsules, edibles, and vaping oils, also known as CBD e-liquid for use in CBD vape pens. They have a five star average review rating from multiple CBD comparison sites and are affordable compared to competitors in Europe.
In the USA, Elixinol has a well known founder in hemp activist Paul Benhaim. They are already quite well known as a result. Elixinol have now expanded to the UK region.
Elixinol offers more flavor variety with cinnamint and natural flavors. Their offerings also include the full spectrum of cannabidiol products. They offer a range of potent CBD oils starting at 300mg and they are fairly affordable, although you have to pay extra for shipping.
Elixinol’s CBD oils are sent in glass vials to keep their CBD fresh and effective, like a gallon of milk with an opaque container. Coconut oil and MCT oil (which acts as the carrier oil) is also added to help their CBD oil enter your bloodstream faster.
5. Exotics CBD
Exotic CBD’s name and slogan are self explanatory, as they claim to be “Just Hemp and Love.”
They offer a super regulated extraction method of CBD which produces no solvents, pesticides, or harsh chemicals. They also genetically select their hemp strains and can replicate any cultivator’s natural phytochemical process.
Exotics CBD also has one of the most potent CBD oils in the UK market. 40% in a CBD tincture that also stays under the legal amount of THC, all verified by a third party lab and their lab reports!
The company offers a larger than normal array of products including CBD gummies, liquid terpenes and CBD water , which the company spent months perfecting – making it taste like normal mineral water . It’s also more subtle, as some people don’t want their CBD consumption to be clear and obvious to others.
6. CBD Life UK
CBD Life UK is part of the Cannabis Trades Association with the intent of becoming a leader in CBD products while making the world a better place.
Their high-quality products are met with top-notch customer service that meets customer’s needs. Their main offers are the liquid aqua drops and hemp seed oil spray. Totals of 400 mg of cbd are offered on average in their products. CBD Life UK offers a wide range of products in a large number of flavors, with potent and inexpensive eligibles packing 25mg of CBD.
If you want to try an entry-level, affordable CBD brand, go with CBD Life UK.
7. Holistic Hemp Scotland
Holistic Hemp Scotland’s CBD plant extracts are grown across the EU on a variety of small farms. The farms they work with take care to hand pick hemp and dry the hemp plant naturally.
Holistic Hemp Scotland uses low heat and low pressure (ethanol extraction) to extract the cannabinoids, unusually in an industry that normally uses high heat and high pressure.
Holistic Hemp Scotland offers mostly 10ml bottles with 500mg of cannabinoids as well as hemp paste and topical CBD creams. Hemp paste is unique in its ability to be spread on food or taken under the tongue. The paste allows for flexible dosing and could be added to your own home-made capsules as well.
What can CBD oil help with?
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- General Skincare
- Does the brand have good reviews and a solid reputation from previous users?
- How did the company extract the CBD oil?
- Is the CBD oil THC free? How much THC is in the oil? Is it a CBD isolate?
- Is the amount of CBD oil certified by third-party lab results? Do they discover any additives? Are there any fatty acids present?
- Was the product grown as a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) or organic hemp (Non-GMO)?
- Is the oil full-spectrum CBD hemp oil?
- What part of the cannabis plant was used (Sativa or Indica)?
- Does the company offer reliable customer service?
- What kind of phytocannabinoids and flavonoids do the products have?
Is CBD oil legal in the UK for 2022?
As of 2022, CBD is currently legal in the UK.
In order for CBD to be sold as a medicine, businesses must acquire a license. These businesses must pass a strict and expensive process in order to earn this medical license, and currently only a single company has obtained this.
However, these restrictions can be avoided by selling CBD as a food or wellness food supplement, which are still useful for medical purposes.
Cannabis oil, which contains a high THC content, is still illegal in the UK.
Is CBD the same as marijuana?
One commonly asked question is, how is CBD different from marijuana?
The easy answer is that CBD won’t get you high (non-psychoactive) because it does not have tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. CBD is said to produce relaxation, not a high. By comparison, marijuana is not legal in most countries and has stronger effects.
How do I know I’m buying the best CBD oil in the UK?
Here are a few pointers to consider when buying the UK’s best CBD oil for 2022.
While customer reviews were discussed, having a customer service phone number, chat, or email prominently on the company’s website is a sign a company is ready to answer any questions you have about CBD. Use their contact methods to ask questions about their methods. Do they get back to you quickly? Are they friendly?
Expect the same customer service you would get at your favorite retailer or service. All company’s you do your business with will have to compete with better service.
Third-Party Lab Testing
CBD companies should submit their batches to third-party labs to certify the correct amount of cannabinoid is in the product as well as having a lower than legal amount of THC. Brands should make the test results available to anyone purchasing their products. Offering a breakdown per batch has become more common and offers the transparency needed.
Location of Hemp Grown
Location and land matter. Hemp, like most other plants, should be grown in contaminant free soil. Toxins, metals, and minerals can be harmful for the plant and you. Does the company say anything about the soil in which their hemp is grown?
Hemp Extraction Method
The company farming hemp should make additional efforts to reduce any harmful toxins that might be in the soil, and thus in the plant. Blessed CBD, our #1 ranked CBD oil in the UK, uses a ‘supercritical’ carbon dioxide method which removes anything unnatural from the result. Some companies use butane (instead of the safely regarded ethanol), or other harmful substances as a cheaper process, but can be toxic.
It’s important to follow the dosing instructions on your product. You can also use a minimal amount by using a dropper, which is effectively like an eyedropper to serve yourself only a small amount. It’s also important to remember that CBD may interact with other medications, and can cause unwanted side effects, including dry mouth, fatigue, reduced appetite and drowsiness.
You should always spend some time researching the CBD brand you’re considering buying from. Look out for reviews posted online by customers and other publications, blogs and magazines. For example, take a look at Blessed CBD’s reviews by clicking here .
CBD Oil UK 2022 – Takeaway
For the best CBD oils in the UK CBD industry, we recommend Blessed CBD and Vibes CBD .