Cannabidiol, often abbreviated as CBD, is one of the various components that naturally occur in the cannabis and hemp plants. CBD is a cannabinoid, and early research shows that it has promise in helping those with anxiety. We still need more research to confirm that this is the case, but because CBD is legal and has minimal side effects, most people with anxiety do not have any reason not to try it.
Before you start to use CBD for anxiety, you should take a few seconds to make sure you understand what it is.
As mentioned, CBD occurs naturally in cannabis and hemp. It is one of the main cannabinoids in both of these plants, meaning that it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Importantly, CBD is NOT psychoactive. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, so as long as a CBD product does not contain THC, it will not be psychoactive.
THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that is illegal at the federal level, and that drug tests check for. As such, if you choose a pure CBD product without any THC, it will be completely legal at the federal level and should not show up on a drug test.
CBD Products May Contain THC
Just keep in mind that some CBD products may contain THC. From a legal standpoint, a product can have up to 0.3 percent THC and still be considered hemp, which makes it legal at the federal level.
Decide If You Want THC in Your CBD Product
Ideally, you will know whether or not you want to choose a CBD product for your anxiety that has THC. Products with trace quantities of THC will benefit from the entourage effect, which is how the various components in hemp and cannabis increase each other’s effects. In other words, CBD products with THC can produce more significant results than those without THC, even with the same amount of CBD. If, however, you do not want to risk any psychoactive effects or need to pass a drug test, you should opt for CBD products without THC.
Most CBD products that have THC will have less than 0.3 percent of the latter, as this makes them legal at the federal level and, therefore, easier to sell. If you live somewhere with legal marijuana, then you could find a product with higher levels of THC, but this is a personal decision.
Understanding Research Into CBD and Anxiety
When you take CBD for your anxiety, you will want to have a grasp of the research done on the connection between the two so far. This can help you understand what to expect.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research shows that CBD can reduce behavioral symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in rats. There was also improvement in physiological symptoms, like an increased heart rate.
Social Anxiety Disorder
A 2011 study gave participants with social anxiety disorder 400 milligrams of CBD or a placebo. The participants who took the CBD experienced reduced overall anxiety levels.
A 2018 study with only male participants used an oral dose of 300 milligrams CBD and found that this amount reduced speaking anxiety significantly. It was, however, a small sample size.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Research has looked into anxiety from PTSD. This research has also included looking at replaying negative memories and nightmares that are typically associated with PTSD. These studies show promise.
How Much CBD to Take for Anxiety
The biggest question when taking CBD for anxiety is how much you should take. Unfortunately, you will not find an official recommendation because there is not enough research yet. The general advice is to start with a lower dose and work your way up. This not only saves you money, but it also reduces the chances of experiencing adverse side effects.
You could look at studies to get an idea of what CBD dosage to take, but you will still find varying levels. For example, the previously mentioned study on public speaking and anxiety found that 300 milligrams were sufficient, but the study on social anxiety disorder from 2011 used 400 milligrams.
In the realm of what is considered a “small” dose, both of these figures are large. Most experts suggest you start with a much smaller dose, such as five or 10 milligrams at the most. You can then increase the dose over time if you need to.
Everyone Is Different
The issue with dosing is that everyone is different, in addition to the lack of sufficient research. Your ideal dose will depend on the severity of your anxiety, your body chemistry, and your body weight.
Potential Side Effects
As mentioned, if you take a higher dose of CBD, you will have an increased risk of side effects, although they are not common. Some people may notice changes in weight or appetite, diarrhea, or fatigue.
CBD can also negatively interact with certain medications, so confirm with your doctor or pharmacist before using it.
How to Take CBD for Anxiety
When it comes to taking CBD for anxiety, the sky’s the limit. You can choose from tinctures or oils, capsules, and edibles. There are also CBD topicals, but these are typically targeted to those dealing with pain or localized problems, not anxiety.
Oils and Tinctures
Oils and tinctures are simple to use. Most tinctures will have an alcohol base while oils have a carrier oil. They typically come in a dropper, and you can place a few drops under your tongue and let your body absorb them. Alternatively, you can stir them into food or drink.
You can also find powdered versions of CBD that you can easily mix into food or drinks.
You can also opt for vaping CBD, in which case you need CBD vape oils. Only use oils that are labeled as safe for vaping for this purpose, as not all CBD oils are safe to vape.
Pills and capsules give you a simple, pre-dosed method of taking CBD. They are also very discreet and highly portable.
You can also take edibles with CBD. Gummies are incredibly popular, but you can also find baked goods and other edibles.
Smoking CBD Flowers
If you do not mind consuming a little bit of THC and are somewhere that it is legal to do so, you could also find a high-CBD strain of cannabis and smoke that.