CBD Oil For Anxiety: The Ultimate Guide
Anxiety is a crippling mental disorder that affects more and more people every day. Even though this condition originates in the brain, it can have profound effects on the body as well. Anxiety can result in:
- Sleep problems.
- Numb or tingling hands.
- Decreased blood flow.
And that’s just the tip of the anxiety-induced iceberg. Thankfully, treatments do exist for this crippling disease. But to add insult to serious injury, many of the treatments for anxiety produce side effects that are worse than the disorder itself.
Now, though, researchers are finding a treatment from an unlikely source: the marijuana plant. Certain chemicals in the marijuana plant can offer some seriously profound medical benefits when taken in the right way.
In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana will introduce you to the chief chemical compound, known as CBD, that’s responsible for treating the many forms of anxiety. Along the way, we’ll answer such questions as:
- What is CBD?
- What is CBD oil?
- Why use CBD oil for anxiety?
- Is CBD oil addictive?
We’ll also investigate whether CBD oil gets you high and which CBD oil is right for treating anxiety. Let’s get started.
What Is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation for the word cannabidiol (pronounced can-uh-BIH-dee-all), which is a member of a larger group of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids (pronounced CAN-uh-bih-noids).
Though you may have never heard of CBD or cannabinoids before, you’ve likely heard of CBD’s close relative THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid most responsible (and most famous) for getting you high. Other cannabinoids include:
- Cannabinol ( CBN )
- Cannabicitran (CBT)
- Cannabigerol ( CBG )
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabigerovarin (CBGV)
All in all, 113 cannabinoids have been isolated from the three species of Cannabis plant ( indica, sativa, and ruderalis ). Though THC usually gets most of the press, CBD is quickly growing in popularity because of its myriad medical benefits.
What Are The Medical Benefits Of CBD?
CBD can be used to treat:
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels)
- Nervous system degeneration
- Artery blockage
- Bacterial growth
- Cancer cell growth
- Bone degeneration
- Muscle spasms
- Chronic pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low appetite
As you can see, the list of medical benefits that CBD has to offer is long and varied. And as scientists continue to study the cannabinoid chemical compounds—and CBD specifically—more benefits are discovered every day.
For the rest of this article, we’re going to focus on one disorder—anxiety—and see how CBD can be used to treat this overwhelming affliction. But before we do that, we need to investigate the means for getting CBD into your body. More to the point, we’re going to talk about CBD oil.
What Is CBD Oil?
There are numerous ways to get CBD into your body. The most common include:
But one of the best, and most effective, ways to achieve the benefits of CBD is with CBD oil.
CBD oil is most often produced through a process called CO2 extraction. Using the proper equipment, CO2 is exposed to high pressure and low temperature.
The CO2 is then forced through the marijuana plant where it strips off the cannabinoids, terpenes , trichomes , and other beneficial chemical compounds. After the CO2 travels through the plant matter, it evaporates and leaves behind an oily, honey-like material that’s packed full of canna-goodness.
We don’t recommend trying CO2 extraction at home unless you have the right equipment and the proper training. CO2 extraction is a very technical process and can be dangerous if performed incorrectly. Purchase a professionally made product rather than trying to do it yourself.
Now that we know what CBD is and what CBD oil is, it’s time to discover why CBD and CBD oil are effective treatments for anxiety.
Why Use CBD Oil For Anxiety?
We can look at this question in two ways:
- How is the cannabinoid CBD good at treating anxiety?
- Why is getting CBD in oil form ideal for those suffering from anxiety?
Let’s answer each one in turn.
How Is CBD Good At Treating Anxiety?
“Anxiety” is a blanket term for more specific disorders, including:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social phobia
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
All of these disorders can be mitigated and treated with CBD because of what that cannabinoid does in the brain: it boosts signaling through serotonin receptors and increases generation of neurons in the hippocampus.
Clinical studies in animals have revealed that CBD may act like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac and Zoloft, to prevent the brain from reabsorbing the chemical. Because more serotonin is available in the brain, more neurons are activated. And when those neurons are active, anxiety is reduced and mood is improved.
Similarly, brain scans of individuals suffering from anxiety and depression show a smaller hippocampus (a part of the brain responsible for emotions and memory formation). Scientists have long understood that creating new neurons in the hippocampus (thereby increasing its size) is an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
CBD has been shown to encourage neurogenesis in the hippocampus and, as a result, improve overall mood and reduce depression and anxiety.
Why Is Getting CBD In Oil Form Ideal For Those Suffering From Anxiety?
CBD oil is one of the best choices for getting a daily dose of CBD because it’s discreet. You can administer a drop or two directly in your mouth. You can mix it with your favorite drink. You can even mix it with food.
Best of all, it doesn’t have any telltale signs like smoking, dabbing, and vaporizing. That makes it great for those who are looking for healing without letting everyone around them know that there is a problem.
Will CBD Oil Get You High?
No, CBD oil will not get you high. That’s because CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it doesn’t change your perception. In fact, CBD is the chemical compound that keeps you from getting too high when you consume whole-plant marijuana (through a joint or a bong, for example).
It does this by plugging itself into the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. When CBD is there, the receptors stay off and the trip is less trippy. Without the presence of CBD, THC would dock with every single one of the cannabinoid receptors in your brain and turn them all on at 100 percent, creating a very powerful psychoactive high that could result in a bad trip.
Even if you isolate the CBD into a concentrated form (like CBD oil), it won’t affect you in the way THC does. Instead, it will give you all the medical benefits mentioned earlier without the associated high that marijuana is best known for. That’s great news for people looking to treat anxiety without having to take time out of their day to wait for the high to wear off.
What Are The Side Effects Of CBD Oil For Anxiety?
Unlike THC, CBD produces no serious side effects. The worst thing you can expect from using high-CBD products is dry mouth. Most individuals who take CBD products for medicinal purposes don’t even consider that a side effect. The dry mouth they experience is a small price to pay for a reduction in their symptoms.
Plus, other treatments often produce a long list of side effects that almost make it worse than the original ailment. CBD products do none of that.
In addition to dry mouth, CBD products can have one other side effect: they can interfere with your liver’s ability to process other medications. That means that the CBD products you take for your anxiety may negate the effects of the medications you take for your heart condition.
This could have unintended consequences if the CBD you’re taking isn’t meant to completely replace a certain medication. Be sure to talk to your doctor before adding a CBD product to your daily regimen.
Is CBD Oil For Anxiety Addictive?
No, CBD oil is not addictive. This is because CBD oil doesn’t turn on the cannabinoid receptors in your brain like THC does.
It’s those cannabinoid receptors that are responsible for creating the high that people keep coming back for. So because CBD oil doesn’t produce any kind of psychoactive effect, it isn’t addictive.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
At the state level, CBD oil is, for the most part, completely legal. Forty-five of the 50 states have approved CBD for medical use. Only Idaho, South Dakota, Kansas, West Virginia, and Nebraska have yet to make CBD products legal.
The federal government still classifies CBD as an illegal substance because it is derived from the marijuana plant. Even though CBD has no negative side effects and is not addictive, the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States lumps CBD products in with the likes of heroin, LSD, mescaline, and ecstasy. Silly, isn’t it?
Which CBD Oil Should You Use For Anxiety?
CBD oil of any kind is beneficial for alleviating the effects of anxiety. But CBD oil made from high-CBD strains is even better because the concentration will be higher, meaning that you won’t have to use as much oil to experience the medical benefits.
If you have a choice of which CBD oil you buy, look for products made from the following strains:
- Grand Daddy Purple.
- Jack Herer.
- Girl Scout Cookies.
- Northern Lights.
- Purple Urkle.
- Blackberry Kush.
- Strawberry Cough.
Keep in mind that the specific strain is less important than the fact that the CBD has been isolated away from the psychoactive THC.
That said, the strain you choose can provide other beneficial chemical compounds, such as terpenes and trichomes that work together with CBD to produce some unique effects (this is known as the entourage effect ).
How To Find The Best CBD Oil Dose
Here’s a step-by-step process for finding just the right CBD oil dose for your anxiety.
Find A Baseline Dosage
First, rank your anxiety from mild to medium to severe. Then find where your anxiety rank crosses your weight in the table below.
Regardless of the product you purchase, look on the label and find these two pieces of information:
Calculate Your Dosage
- Serving size
- Amount per serving
Serving size will usually be listed in drops (e.g., 1 serving = 10 drops). Amount per serving will usually be listed in milligrams (e.g., 25 milligrams). So if 10 drops equal 25 milligrams, one drop equals 2.5 milligrams.
Armed with that information, you can calculate how many drops it would take to give you the number of milligrams recommended as a starting dose.
Should You Try CBD Oil?
Yes, we strongly recommend that you try CBD oil if you suffer from anxiety. That’s the only way you’ll know for sure if it’s right for you.
The first step is to talk to someone at your local dispensary. Explain your situation and the relief you’re looking for from a CBD product. They can point you to a CBD oil that’s appropriate for your symptoms. Then we suggest starting with a small dose to see how you feel after taking it. You can always increase the dosage once you know what it does for your anxiety.
It’s important to remember that CBD oil isn’t a recreational product. It’s not going to get you high like THC products will. So if you don’t suffer from anxiety, nausea, or any of the other disorders mentioned above, you may not feel anything at all when you take CBD oil (other than possibly the dry mouth).
To begin taking advantage of the numerous benefits of CBD oil, talk to a professional who can direct you to a product like Hemp Theory Hemp Extract Oil that will best meet your needs.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.
Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis. It does not appear to alter consciousness or trigger a “high.” A recent surge in scientific publications has found preclinical and clinical evidence documenting value for CBD in some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system. Interest in CBD as a treatment of a wide range of disorders has exploded, yet few clinical studies of CBD exist in the psychiatric literature.
To determine whether CBD helps improve sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population.
A large retrospective case series at a psychiatric clinic involving clinical application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints as an adjunct to usual treatment. The retrospective chart review included monthly documentation of anxiety and sleep quality in 103 adult patients.
Main Outcome Measures
Sleep and anxiety scores, using validated instruments, at baseline and after CBD treatment.
The final sample consisted of 72 adults presenting with primary concerns of anxiety (n = 47) or poor sleep (n = 25). Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but 3 patients.
Cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders. Controlled clinical studies are needed.
The Cannabis plant has been cultivated and used for its medicinal and industrial benefits dating back to ancient times. Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are the 2 main species.1 The Cannabis plant contains more than 80 different chemicals known as cannabinoids. The most abundant cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is well known for its psychoactive properties, whereas cannabidiol (CBD) is the second-most abundant and is nonpsychoactive. Different strains of the plant are grown containing varying amounts of THC and CBD. Hemp plants are grown for their fibers and high levels of CBD that can be extracted to make oil, but marijuana plants grown for recreational use have higher concentrations of THC compared with CBD.2 Industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC to be considered legal, and it is from this plant that CBD oil is extracted.3
Many different cultures have used the Cannabis plant to treat a plethora of ailments. Practitioners in ancient China targeted malaria, menstrual symptoms, gout, and constipation. During medieval times, cannabis was used for pain, epilepsy, nausea, and vomiting, and in Western medicine it was commonly used as an analgesic.4,5 In the US, physicians prescribed Cannabis sativa for a multitude of illnesses until restrictions were put in place in the 1930s and then finally stopped using it in 1970 when the federal government listed marijuana as a Schedule I substance, claiming it an illegal substance with no medical value. California was the first state to go against the federal ban and legalize medical marijuana in 1996.6 As of June 2018, 9 states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational marijuana, and 30 states and Washington, DC, allow for use of medical marijuana.7 The purpose of the present study is to describe the effects of CBD on anxiety and sleep among patients in a clinic presenting with anxiety or sleep as a primary concern.
CBD has demonstrated preliminary efficacy for a range of physical and mental health care problems. In the decade before 2012, there were only 9 published studies on the use of cannabinoids for medicinal treatment of pain; since then, 30 articles have been published on this topic, according to a PubMed search conducted in December 2017. Most notable was a study conducted at the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research that showed cannabis cigarettes reduced pain by 34% to 40% compared with placebo (17% to 20% decrease in pain).8 In particular, CBD appears to hold benefits for a wide range of neurologic disorders, including decreasing major seizures. A recent large, well-controlled study of pediatric epilepsy documented a beneficial effect of CBD in reducing seizure frequency by more than 50%.9 In addition to endorphin release, the “runner’s high” experience after exercise has been shown to be induced in part by anandamide acting on CB1 receptors, eliciting anxiolytic effects on the body.10 The activity of CBD at 5-HT1A receptors may drive its neuroprotective, antidepressive, and anxiolytic benefits, although the mechanism of action by which CBD decreases anxiety is still unclear.11 CBD was shown to be helpful for decreasing anxiety through a simulated public speaking test at doses of 300 mg to 600 mg in single-dose studies.12–14 Other studies suggest lower doses of 10 mg/kg having a more anxiolytic effect than higher doses of 100 mg/kg in rats.15 A crossover study comparing CBD with nitrazepam found that high-dose CBD at 160 mg increased the duration of sleep.16 Another crossover study showed that plasma cortisol levels decreased more significantly when given oral CBD, 300 to 600 mg, but these patients experienced a sedative effect.17 The higher doses of CBD that studies suggest are therapeutic for anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy may also increase mental sedation.16 Administration of CBD via different routes and long-term use of 10 mg/d to 400 mg/d did not create a toxic effect on patients. Doses up to 1500 mg/d have been well tolerated in the literature.18 Most of the research done has been in animal models and has shown potential benefit, but clinical data from randomized controlled experiments remain limited.
Finally, the most notable benefit of cannabis as a form of treatment is safety. There have been no reports of lethal overdose with either of the cannabinoids and, outside of concerns over abuse, major complications are very limited.19 Current research indicates that cannabis has a low overall risk with short-term use, but more research is needed to clarify possible long-term risks and harms.
Given the promising biochemical, physiologic, and preclinical data on CBD, a remarkable lack of randomized clinical trials and other formal clinical studies exist in the psychiatric arena. The present study describes a series of patients using CBD for treatment of anxiety or sleep disturbances in a clinical practice setting. Given the paucity of data in this area, clinical observations can be quite useful to advance the knowledge base and to offer questions for further investigation. This study aimed to determine whether CBD is helpful for improving sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population. Given the novel nature of this treatment, our study also focused on tolerability and safety concerns. As a part of the evolving legal status of cannabis, our investigation also looked at patient acceptance.
Design and Procedures
A retrospective chart review was conducted of adult psychiatric patients treated with CBD for anxiety or sleep as an adjunct to treatment as usual at a large psychiatric outpatient clinic. Any current psychiatric patient with a diagnosis by a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) of a sleep or anxiety disorder was considered. Diagnosis was made by clinical evaluation followed by baseline psychologic measures. These measures were repeated monthly. Comorbid psychiatric illnesses were not a basis for exclusion. Accordingly, other psychiatric medications were administered as per routine patient care. Selection for the case series was contingent on informed consent to be treated with CBD for 1 of these 2 disorders and at least 1 month of active treatment with CBD. Patients treated with CBD were provided with psychiatric care and medications as usual. Most patients continued to receive their psychiatric medications. The patient population mirrored the clinic population at large with the exception that it was younger.
Nearly all patients were given CBD 25 mg/d in capsule form. If anxiety complaints predominated, the dosing was every morning, after breakfast. If sleep complaints predominated, the dosing was every evening, after dinner. A handful of patients were given CBD 50 mg/d or 75 mg/d. One patient with a trauma history and schizoaffective disorder received a CBD dosage that was gradually increased to 175 mg/d.
Often CBD was employed as a method to avoid or to reduce psychiatric medications. The CBD selection and dosing reflected the individual practitioner’s clinical preference. Informed consent was obtained for each patient who was treated and considered for this study. Monthly visits included clinical evaluation and documentation of patients’ anxiety and sleep status using validated measures. CBD was added to care, dropped from care, or refused as per individual patient and practitioner preference. The Western Institutional Review Board, Puyallup, WA, approved this retrospective chart review.
Setting and Sample
Wholeness Center is a large mental health clinic in Fort Collins, CO, that focuses on integrative medicine and psychiatry. Practitioners from a range of disciplines (psychiatry, naturopathy, acupuncture, neurofeedback, yoga, etc) work together in a collaborative and cross-disciplinary environment. CBD had been widely incorporated into clinical care at Wholeness Center a few years before this study, on the basis of existing research and patient experience.
The sampling frame consisted of 103 adult patients who were consecutively treated with CBD at our psychiatric outpatient clinic. Eighty-two (79.6%) of the 103 adult patients had a documented anxiety or sleep disorder diagnosis. Patients with sole or primary diagnoses of schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and agitated depression were excluded. Ten patients were further excluded because they had only 1 documented visit, with no follow-up assessment. The final sample consisted of 72 adult patients presenting with primary concerns of anxiety (65.3%; n = 47) or poor sleep (34.7%; n = 25) and who had at least 1 follow-up visit after CBD was prescribed.
Main Outcome Measures
Sleep and anxiety were the targets of this descriptive report. Sleep concerns were tracked at monthly visits using the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index. Anxiety levels were monitored at monthly visits using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. Both scales are nonproprietary. The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale is a widely used and validated anxiety measure with 14 individual questions. It was first used in 1959 and covers a wide range of anxiety-related concerns. The score ranges from 0 to 56. A score under 17 indicates mild anxiety, and a score above 25 indicates severe anxiety. The Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index is a self-report measure that assesses the quality of sleep during a 1-month period. It consists of 19 items that have been found to be reliable and valid in the assessment of a range of sleep-related problems. Each item is rated 0 to 3 and yields a total score from 0 to 21. A higher number indicates more sleep-related concerns. A score of 5 or greater indicates a “poor sleeper.”
Side effects and tolerability of CBD treatment were assessed through spontaneous patient self-reports and were documented in case records. Any other spontaneous comments or complaints of patients were also documented in case records and included in this analysis.
Deidentified patient data were evaluated using descriptive statistics and plotted graphically for visual analysis and interpretation of trends.
The average age for patients with anxiety was 34 years (range = 18–70 years) and age 36.5 years for patients with sleep disorders (range = 18–72 years). Most patients with an anxiety diagnosis were men (59.6%, 28/47), whereas more sleep-disordered patients were women (64.0%, 16/25). All 72 patients completed sleep and anxiety assessments at the onset of CBD treatment and at the first monthly follow-up. By the second monthly follow-up, 41 patients (56.9%) remained on CBD treatment and completed assessments; 27 patients (37.5%) remained on CBD treatment at the third monthly assessment.
Table 1 provides means and standard deviations for sleep and anxiety scores at baseline and during the follow-up period for adults taking CBD. Figure 1 graphically displays the trend in anxiety and sleep scores over the study period. On average, anxiety and sleep improved for most patients, and these improvements were sustained over time. At the first monthly assessment after the start of CBD treatment, 79.2% (57/72) and 66.7% (48/72) of all patients experienced an improvement in anxiety and sleep, respectively; 15.3% (11/72) and 25.0% (18/72) experienced worsening symptoms in anxiety and sleep, respectively. Two months after the start of CBD treatment, 78.1% (32/41) and 56.1% (23/41) of patients reported improvement in anxiety and sleep, respectively, compared with the prior monthly visit; again, 19.5% (8/41) and 26.8% (11/41), respectively, reported worsening problems as compared with the prior month.