Anxiety is one of the most common reasons our customers turn to CBD.
And CBD is effective — research and anecdotal evidence have demonstrated many times that CBD is beneficial for those dealing with anxiety.
However, CBD oil may or may not be the right choice for your situation — there’s a lot to consider.
To help you decide, we’ve taken inventory of the pros and cons of using CBD oil for anxiety. Here’s what we’ve concluded.
Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Anxiety
PROS of CBD:
- Can be effective for anxiety
- Easy to use
- Fewer side effects than prescriptions
CONS of CBD:
- Not FDA-approved to treat anxiety
- May interact with some anxiety prescriptions
- Some products contain THC, which can increase anxiety
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant (referred to as hemp if it contains less than 0.3% THC). It’s one of more than 100+ cannabinoids, and it’s also one of the most famous.
Research has shown CBD to be beneficial for stress, depression, anxiety, sleep, inflammation, chronic pain, joint health, epilepsy, heart health, general mental health support, and more. Quite the beneficial cannabinoid!
But how exactly does CBD work for anxiety? Let’s find out.
How CBD Oil Works for Anxiety
CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), a transmitter system in your body that controls many vital functions. CBD is thought to keep your ECS in a state of equilibrium, or balance, thus rendering its benefits.
But for social anxiety and other forms of anxiety, CBD offers specific benefits by impacting serotonin transmission.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in your brain that’s associated with feelings of focus, emotional stability, happiness, and calmness.
Scientific research suggests that CBD may cause serotonin to stay between your nerve endings for longer than normal, boosting your serotonin levels and prompting an improvement in the way you feel.
More research is needed before we know conclusively how the CBD-serotonin relationship works, but preliminary studies have demonstrated that CBD modulates serotonin signals, so we can confidently say that there is a connection.
Pros Of Using CBD Oil for Anxiety
Now that we have a basic understanding of how CBD works for anxiety, let’s dive into the pros and cons of doing so.
PRO: Research Shows CBD Has Mentally & Physically Relaxing Properties
Scientific research has demonstrated CBD to have “considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.” Our customers have used it for social anxiety, panic attacks, and other related situations.
In one study, participants were asked to give speeches to an audience. Pretty anxiety-inducing! The objective of the study was to determine whether or not CBD could calm the participants — and it did.
The administered dose of CBD “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance.”
PRO: CBD Has Fewer Side Effects than Many Prescription Drugs
Compared to many drugs commonly prescribed for anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, CBD has far more moderate side effects.
- The side effects of Lexapro include nausea, dry mouth, headaches, sweating, being unable to sleep, drowsiness, and weakness.
- The side effects of Zoloft include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, appetite loss, sweating, diarrhea, drowsiness, and being unable to sleep.
CBD, on the other hand, has fewer and less severe side effects: dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and fatigue.
PRO: CBD isn’t Bad for You, and It’s Often Healthy
Though antidepressant prescriptions can be effective, they also have some pretty nasty long-term side effects.
One study looked at 180 patients who had been using antidepressants for 3-15 years.
Reported physical side effects included withdrawal effects (73.5% of those surveyed), sexual problems (71.8%), and weight gain (65.3%), not to mention mental effects such as emotional numbness (64.5%) and feelings of addiction (43%).
Research hasn’t found CBD oil to have any adverse long-term side effects, and many CBD oils are made with hempseed oil and terpenes, both of which have a variety of health benefits.
PRO: CBD Won’t Get You High
Unlike some cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), CBD is not psychoactive. Even full-spectrum CBD, which contains small amounts of THC, doesn’t contain enough to get you high.
Although psychoactive cannabinoids may render benefits for anxiety, therapeutic users often don’t want this side effect — this is where CBD is a great option.
Learn more: CBD vs. Delta 8 for Anxiety
PRO: CBD Doesn’t Require a Prescription
CBD doesn’t require a prescription, so you can buy it and use it without any medical direction.
However, if you’re going to use CBD for a situation you’re already receiving medical attention for, you need to talk to your doctor beforehand to ensure that CBD is right for you.
PRO: CBD Is Easy to Use
One last major upside of CBD oil is that it’s easy to dose precisely because you can measure it out with the metered dropper in each bottle.
CBD’s quick onset time is a benefit, too: CBD oil works in just 15 minutes. Compare this to the prescription Zoloft, which doesn’t start working for a week.
Say goodbye to anxiety, no prescriptions needed. Discover our CBD oils, edibles, drinks, softgels, and more. Lab-tested and backed by 100s of reviews.
Cons of Using CBD Oil for Anxiety
Although CBD oil (and CBD generally) has many upsides, there are also some downsides to account for.
CON: The CBD Market is Largely Unregulated
There isn’t much regulation in the legal hemp industry, and CBD isn’t an FDA-approved treatment for anxiety.
You’ll also want to find CBD without THC for anxiety, as THC may actually increase anxiety. And due to the nature of the CBD industry, some products may contain THC even if they say they don’t.
Finding the good stuff requires a discerning eye — see the buying tips section at the end of this article.
CON: CBD May Interact with Some Prescription Drugs
CBD’s interaction with your liver enzymes can cause medications you’re taken to build up in the liver.
This can happen with many different medications, including painkillers, heart medications, and more.
Because of this, if you’re taking any type of prescription, be sure to ask your doctor before you start taking CBD.
CON: CBD May Not be Legal in All States or Countries
The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-derived CBD federally legal. However, some states have imposed restrictions on CBD:
- New Hampshire
Additionally, if you’re outside the US, you may not be able to buy CBD — check your local laws to determine if you can.
CON: More Research About CBD is Needed to Verify Its Benefits
Though lots of research suggests CBD is a highly beneficial natural compound, many of the same studies also mention that more inquiry is needed.
As of right now, CBD does not meet the rigorous standards against which prescription drugs are assessed. Although it has benefits, it isn’t formally regarded as a treatment for anxiety disorders.
CON: CBD Has a Handful of Side Effects
Taking CBD isn’t without any downsides — the downsides are just less pronounced than many alternatives. Potential side effects of CBD include drowsiness, dry mouth, reduced appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea.
CBD Oil Buying Tips: How to Shop for High-Quality Products
As we mentioned before, one of the main cons against using CBD is that there are a plethora of low-quality products floating around out there.
But this doesn’t have to be an issue: you just need to know how to look for high-quality CBD! Here are a few tips:
- Read lab reports — check the 3rd-party lab report for the product you’re interested in before you buy. Be sure of two things: that it contains the amount of CBD it claims to, and that it doesn’t have any contaminants. If a company doesn’t provide lab reports for its products, do not shop with them.
- Read reviews — companies can say anything they want about their products, but unless real people are saying they’re effective, you can’t believe them. Check on-site reviews, but also see if you can find reviews for companies on 3rd-party platforms (social media, review sites, etc.).
- Watch for false claims — we don’t have enough research to know whether CBD can treat certain conditions. We just know that it can offer support. Don’t buy from a company that claims their products can cure illnesses or relieve pain — not only are these outcomes not guaranteed, but making these types of claims is illegal.
- Opt for full-spectrum CBD oil — full-spectrum CBD is hemp at its most natural. In addition to CBD, full-spectrum blends contain other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBC, CBN, and a bit of THC. Some blends also contain terpenes (beneficial compounds found in the hemp plant).
Takeaway: Is CBD Oil Right For You?
So, if you’re dealing with anxiety, should you give CBD oil a try?
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to prescriptions with science-backed benefits and limited side effects, we’d say an emphatic YES!
However, if you have a very severe anxiety disorder for which you’re receiving medical attention, opting for a more traditional treatment might be necessary.
Whether or not you choose CBD, we hope this article was of help to you. If you want to explore other product options, here’s our comparison of CBD oil vs. gummies.
Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we’re frequently asked about using CBD oil for anxiety.
How much CBD oil should I take for anxiety?
Starting out, we generally recommend you take 0.1mg of CBD per day for each pound of body weight. For more, check out our CBD dosage guide and chart.
How long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety?
CBD oil’s onset time is roughly 10-15 minutes, if taken sublingually (under the tongue). CBD products that you have to digest, such as edibles or capsules, have a longer onset time — more like 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Do doctors recommend CBD oil for anxiety?
Some doctors use CBD with their patients, while others don’t recommend it. Many find that it helps their patients with anxiety, though they emphasize that CBD isn’t an alternative to some types of medical treatment.