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Does CBD Help With Symptoms of Anxiety?

Key Takeaways

  • Around 40 million adults in the US have an anxiety disorder, the most common being generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia.
  • Although CBD cannot treat anxiety disorders, it can help alleviate anxiety symptoms by changing the activity of serotonin in the brain.
  • Depending on your preferences, you can use CBD oils, edibles, tinctures, pills, or topicals to manage anxiety symptoms.
  • CBD might cause side effects like dry mouth, drowsiness, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure when consumed in higher than recommended doses.
  • CBD intake can be unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with liver disease or Parkinson’s disease.
  • For children with epilepsy, dosages above 25 mg/kg daily should be avoided.

CBD is all the rage these days, thanks to its promising health benefits. It is one of the several cannabinoids derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant. 

The good news is, it is non-psychoactive since it only contains 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the compound that gives the high effect.

Perhaps this gives people a reason to reap its benefits, and a plethora of products available on the market is yet another excuse. 

Today, many Americans turn to CBD to soothe symptoms of anxiety and every day worries.

But does CBD oil work for anxiety, or are these all anecdotes? We’ll discover it in the guide below. 

Content Overview:

What is Anxiety?

A girl having an anxiety attack.

Anxiety refers to the feelings of tension, worry, or stress in response to an event – current or forthcoming. 

A normal stress reaction can be beneficial in certain situations. 

For instance, if you’re stressed out about an upcoming exam, you might work harder and eventually score well.

Similarly, the stress response might alert you in dangerous situations, helping you prepare beforehand. 

Nonetheless, when the feelings of worry and stress overwhelm you, disrupting your routine activities, it indicates an anxiety disorder.

Unfortunately, around 40 million adults in the US have one or another type of anxiety disorder.

Most common anxiety disorders include: 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder involves constant, excessive worrying that interrupts your routine activities. A person with GAD might have difficulty focusing on work, family, and even minor matters like house chores. 

GAD is often accompanied by a few physical symptoms, including fatigue, restlessness, muscle tension, and insomnia. 

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

A person with social anxiety disorder fears getting humiliated and embarrassed in public. This reaction might sound a little straightforward as most of us worry about embarrassing ourselves in public. But for a patient with SAD, it’s pretty overwhelming.

For instance, someone with SAD might fear getting embarrassed to the point that they avoid leaving home or interacting with people at all. 

As a result, they feel socially isolated, further adding to their anxiety. 

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is followed by physical and psychological distress. Common symptoms include:

  • Shaking 
  • Sweating 
  • Feeling numb
  • Fear of losing control 
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Abdominal aches
  • Chest aches 
  • Shortness of breath 

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Someone with separation anxiety is apprehensive about getting separated from their beloved ones. As a result, they may refuse to leave the side of someone they love and might end up getting nightmares about separation. 

Also, this feeling is not age-restricted; any person can have separation anxiety.


Agoraphobia is fear attached to being in situations where it might be difficult to escape or seek help if something goes wrong. 

For instance, someone with agoraphobia might feel anxious taking public transport or using an elevator.  

How Can CBD Help With Symptoms of Anxiety?

Photo showing a man having a panic disorder attack.

People are widely utilizing CBD to help with symptoms of anxiety. The question is, “How exactly does CBD work to help someone with anxiety?” We’ll take a closer look.

The human body has several protein-based chemical structures attached to cells. These are known as receptors. 

Our central and peripheral nervous systems contain CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD interacts with these receptors and affects brain activity in some way. 

How exactly it impacts brain activity is not understood yet. However, it alters serotonin – the key hormone that stabilizes our mood and contributes to happiness. 

People with anxiety or depression typically have low serotonin levels. Perhaps this explains why most anxiety patients go for conventional sertraline (Zoloft), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and fluoxetine (Prozac) to boost serotonin levels. 

Since CBD changes the activity of serotonin in the brain, it can also help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

Several studies indicate the potential benefits of CBD for treating anxiety disorders. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress, reducing both behavioral and physiological symptoms.”

For instance, the increased heart rate of animals gradually dropped on CBD consumption. Therefore, a person with GAD might benefit from regular CBD intake. 

Yes, it might not treat the disorder; it can help manage the most common symptoms like increased heart rate and shortness of breath.  

However, more research needs to be done, particularly on humans. 

Type Of CBD Products You Can Use To Help Anxiety Symptoms

A woman having a social anxiety.

CBD is available in various forms, including:

  • Oils
  • Gummies
  • Tinctures 
  • Gel capsules 
  • Topicals (ointments, balms, lotions, creams)
  • Pills

Depending on your preferences, you can go for one or another type of CBD product. For instance, if you prefer taking CBD with your morning coffee, you can purchase oil or tincture and mix a few drops in your beverage.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the sweetness of a chewy gummy, CBD gummies for anxiety are the way to go.

If you experience muscle aches due to accelerated anxiety, CBD topicals might do the job for you. 

However, note that all available CBD products come in several formulas.

These include:

  • CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD and contains no other components of the cannabis plant.
  • CBD broad spectrum. This form of CBD has all the components of the cannabis plant except THC.
  • CBD full spectrum. This version has all the components of the cannabis plant, including a tiny amount of THC. However, legally sold CBD products have no more than 0.3% THC, so you don’t need to worry when purchasing a full-spectrum CBD product. 

If you want your CBD product to be THC-free, we recommend you go for CBD isolate.

However, if a small amount of THC doesn’t concern you, you can opt for full-spectrum CBD and reap the benefits of all the components of the cannabis plant. 

Whether you plan to purchase a gummy or an oil bottle, make sure you buy from a legitimate brand that includes third-party test certification. 

Risk and Potential Side Effects

When taken orally, CBD is mostly safe in appropriate doses. Individuals have taken up to 200mg CBD daily for 13 weeks and reported no side effects.

Nonetheless, when consumed in a dose higher than recommended, it can have potential side effects.

  • Dry mouth 
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure 

Further, consuming high doses of prescription drug Epidiolex – a CBD-infused drug to treat Epilepsy – can have certain risks. For instance, a few patients taking Epidiolex reported liver injury on higher doses. 

When applied to the skin, CBD is safe, for the most part, and might not show any side effects. 

Precautions Associated With CBD Use

The use of CBD comes with a few warnings.

  • Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women. CBD intake can be unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

    The products might contain synthetic ingredients or contaminants that can be harmful to an infant or fetus. Therefore, to be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid oral consumption of CBD when pregnant or nursing.
  • Liver disease. People with liver disease should refrain from consuming high doses of CBD at all costs, as it might cause liver damage.
  • Children. The recommended dosage for children with epilepsy is 25 mg/kg daily. Therefore, higher doses should be avoided.
  • Parkinson’s disease. Early research indicates that a higher dose of CBD might worsen tremors and muscle movement in people with Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, it is best to start with a low dose and increase gradually.


Several studies indicate that CBD might help alleviate symptoms associated with certain anxiety disorders. However, more research is needed in this regard. 

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