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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound that may help treat anxiety and various other conditions.
Anxiety disorders are the most prominent mental health conditions in the United States, affecting an estimated
Keep reading to learn about the relationship between CBD and anxiety, including research into benefits, how to use, risks and safety, and CBD products to try for different anxiety symptoms.
- Best for generalized anxiety: Brown Girl Jane Balance Wellness Drops
- Best stress: Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies: Calm
- Best for anxiety and depression: Foria Wellness Bath Salts with CBD & Lavender
- Best for daily use: Joy Organics Broad Spectrum CBD Softgels
- Best for sleep: Calm by Wellness Lavender Lotion
- Best for physical symptoms: Social CBD Infused Patch
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most researched cannabinoids from the Cannabis sativa plant. The other well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Along with CBD and THC, the Cannabis sativa plant contains
Cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, bind to specific cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
THC produces the famous ‘high‘ feeling that people associate with cannabis. However, CBD does not produce this effect. Instead, it offers a variety of potential health benefits.
Learn about the similarities and differences between CBD and THC here.
A 2020 systematic review found that treatment with CBD reduced seizures in people with Dravet Syndrome, a drug-resistant seizure disorder.
Learn more about the potential health benefits of CBD here.
The growing legalization of medical cannabis in the U.S. has prompted many scientists to study the various therapeutic uses of cannabis and CBD, including in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
According to an article in
According to a
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
All groups reported improvements in their overall quality of life after 3 weeks of CBD treatment. The individuals who received CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reportedly experienced improvements in their ability to perform daily functions and reduce pain and anxiety or depression symptoms.
Learn more about using CBD for depression here.
70% of study participants reported some level of satisfaction with CBD treatment, ranging from good to excellent. Only 9.9% of participants experienced adverse side effects, such as sedation and vivid dreams. A smaller portion of the study population (0.8%) reported worsening symptoms.
Most study participants received one 25-milligram capsule of CBD once a day (mg/d). A few participants received 50 or 75 mg/d. One individual with a history of trauma and schizoaffective disorder received up to 175 mg/d.
After the first 2 months of CBD treatment, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms. However, 15.3–19.5% of participants developed worse symptoms after CBD treatment.
The authors of one 2020 article reviewed eight studies investigating CBD’s role in treating various anxiety disorders.
The authors found evidence to support the use of CBD as an effective monotherapy or complementary therapy for treating generalized anxiety, SAD, and PTSD.
Learn more about using CBD for PTSD here.
However, the studies showed considerable variation in CBD doses, ranging from 6-400 mg per dose. This variation highlights the need for more high quality, large-scale clinical trials to help establish standardized dosing and clinical usage guidelines for CBD therapy.
Researchers and healthcare professionals have yet to establish standardized dosing recommendations for CBD therapy.
In a 2019 study, researchers found 300–600 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in 57 adult males.
The ideal dosage for an individual to relieve anxiety depends on the CBD product, how they administer it, and personal health factors.
CBD administration methods include:
The administration method determines how quickly cannabinoids begin taking effect.
The effects of orally administered CBD, such as oils, edibles (such as gummies), or capsules, generally begin working within 30 minutes to 2 hours. Smoking or vaping CBD oil or cannabis buds results in more immediate effects.
People can use oral CBD products to relieve anxiety throughout the day. It may help to take these products in the morning with some food.
Smoking or vaping CBD oil can provide immediate relaxation that may help people during especially stressful events, such as giving a speech.
Learn more about safe CBD dosage here.
The table below outlines some key terminology that may help people considering using CBD for anxiety:
|CBD||A compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the high sensation individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.|
|THC||A compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation from cannabis use.|
|Full-spectrum||A full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.|
|Broad-spectrum||Broad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.|
|CBD isolate||This is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.|
|Cannabinoids||The compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are |
|Terpenes||Another compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.|
|Certificate of analysis (COA)||Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products will have a scannable smartphone code that directs people to the COA online.|
Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.
CBD is relatively safe and well-tolerated by the majority of people.
The authors of a
There are some side effects associated with CBD. These include:
- decreased appetite
- changes in weight
- dry mouth
Before taking CBD products, individuals should consult with their doctor.
CBD is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding people. There is also a risk with certain medications and supplements, such as blood thinners and liver medication. It’s important to check with a healthcare professional before taking any CBD.
People should note that the
Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:
- Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality, clearly labeled ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
- Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage and THC content.
- Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage and how to take it.
- Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
- Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) after receiving its third-party lab results.
The following are examples of CBD products that people may use to manage and treat anxiety symptoms.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for generalized anxiety: Brown Girl Jane Balance Drops
- Price: $68.00
- Product size: 1 fl oz / 30 millilitres (ml)
- CBD dosage: 750 mg per bottle/25 mg per dose
- Key ingredients: Broad-spectrum hemp extract, MCT oil from coconut, orange essential oil.
- Suggested use: Apply topically on skin, or 1 drop under the tongue with food.
Brown Girl Jane claims these orange-flavored drops may help people manage general anxiety and daily stress.
This tincture solution contains broad-spectrum CBD alongside supporting cannabinoids known as CBG, CBC, and CBN.
Learn more about CBD tinctures here.
People can apply drops under the tongue or add them to food and drink. They are also suitable to apply on the skin to help with joint pain and uncomfortable skin conditions.
Learn more about using CBD for joint pain here.
Best for stress: Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies: Calm
- Price: $29.99-56.99
- Product size: 30, 60, or 90 gummies in a pot.
- CBD dosage: 150, 300, or 450 mg per pot/10 mg per 2 gummy serving
- Key ingredients: Full-spectrum hemp, lemon balm.
- Suggested use: Take 2 gummies orally daily.
Charlotte’s Web claims these gummies may help with managing everyday stress and occasional anxiety.
Learn about the best CBD gummies here.
Alongside full-spectrum CBD, they contain melatonin, which aids with sleep. They also include lemon balm and ginger, which may support relaxation. This product is gluten-free, vegan, and formulated with natural ingredients.
Customer reviews claim that the gummies have a pleasant taste and help individuals wind down in the evening.
Read our review of Charlotte’s Web here.
Best for anxiety and depression: Foria Wellness Bath Salts with CBD & Lavender
- Price: $38
- Product size: 240 g / 9 ounce (oz.) jar
- CBD dosage: 200 mg per jar
- Key ingredients: Broad-spectrum hemp extract, kava, lavender, lemon balm, calendula, ginger.
- Suggested use: Add 1/4 of the jar into a bath.
Foria claims these CBD bath salts can soothe physical and emotional discomfort, and improve circulation.
Bathing may offer therapeutic benefits that can help treat low mood and physical discomfort.
Learn about more CBD bath products here.
Ingredients include organic lavender, calendula, ginger, and kava. This product is vegan and free from gluten, pesticides, alcohol, phthalates, parabens, dyes, and heavy metals.
Reviews state that the salts have a notably relaxing scent and praise the recyclable jar.
Best for daily use: Joy Organics Premium CBD Softgels
- Price: $39.95-69.95
- Product size: 30 softgels per bottle
- CBD dosage: 10-25 mg per softgel / 300-750 mg per bottle
- Key ingredients: Broad-spectrum hemp extract, Bovine-derived gelatin,
- Suggested use: Take one softgel daily
These softgels contain broad-spectrum CBD and are intended for daily use. Customers can choose between a dosage strength of 10 mg or 25 mg per softgel.
Joy Organics recommends taking one softgel daily in the morning or after a workout. Softgels may suit people who want a convenient and regular source of CBD.
Learn more about CBD softgel capsules here.
The formula of these softgels uses water-soluble nanoemulsion technology, which Joy Organics claims may help improve absorption.
These softgel are not suitable for vegetarians or people with tree nut allergies.
Read our review of Joy Organics here.
Best for sleep: Calm by Wellness Lavender Lotion
- Price: $35.99
- Product size: 4-fluid ounce (fl oz.) bottle
- CBD dosage: 200 mg per bottle
- Key ingredients: Broad-spectrum hemp extract blend, lavender flower oil, aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and vitamin E.
- Suggested use: Apply a dime-sized amount topically on the skin.
This CBD lotion may suit people looking for a topical solution to help them unwind before bed.
Learn more about CBD lotions and creams here.
This CBD lotion contains 100% organic ingredients, including aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, and 200 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle.
Calm by Wellness claims these ingredients helps soothe and protect irritable and sunburnt skin.
Customer reviews claim the lavender scent is relaxing, and the lotion helps with joint pain and skin conditions.
Best for physical symptoms: Social CBD Infused Patch
- Price: $9.99
- Product size: 1 patch
- CBD dosage: 100 mg
- Key ingredients: Polymer blend and CBD hemp extract
- Suggested use: Apply patch to the target area and leave for 24 hours.
These CBD patches provide a steady release of CBD, which may help provide continuous relief from physical tension, a possible symptom of anxiety.
They are sweat-proof and water-proof, making them suitable for use during physical activity.
Learn about CBD products for athletes here.
Social CBD recommends wearing a patch for 24 hours, including throughout the night. This means CBD is delivered topically before bed, which may help individuals sleep.
Customer reviews claim these patches are versatile, helping with joint pain and menstrual cramps.
The following are common questions and answers about using CBD for anxiety:
Do CBD gummies help anxiety?
There is currently limited research on using CBD gummies specifically for treating anxiety.
However, some studies suggest that CBD may help with managing anxiety symptoms.
CBD gummies are a convenient and easy way for people to take CBD and may be useful for people who want a travel-friendly CBD product.
Learn more about CBD gummies here.
What does it feel like to take CBD for anxiety?
CBD may help individuals feel calmer and more relaxed without the feeling of intoxication or ‘high’ associated with cannabis.
It can take up to an hour to feel the effects.
What is the best CBD dosage for anxiety?
This ideal CBD dosage will vary from person to person. Considerations include the severity of anxiety, sensitivity to CBD, and physical factors.
General recommendations suggest starting with a low dose and increasing gradually as needed.
Individuals should speak to their doctors before using CBD to treat anxiety, particularly if taking other medication.
An ever-growing body of research suggests that CBD may help relieve anxiety, the most common mental health disorder.
However, the FDA does not regulate CBD for treating anxiety. This means the quality and dosage of CBD can vary widely between products and manufacturers.
Various products are available for people who want to use CBD to treat anxiety, including tinctures, gummies, lotions, and patches.
People who currently use prescription medication or supplements may want to consult a doctor before using CBD.