Almost one-third of Americans will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives. At any given time, about 19 percent of Americans are actively suffering from formal anxiety disorders. Thousands of others struggle with informal stress and anxiety challenges.
Unfortunately, most of the medications available to treat these conditions are no more effective than a placebo. This leaves many sufferers looking for alternative solutions. Recently, promising research into CBD oil and anxiety has offered new hope.
But does CBD really help with anxiety and stress? What does the research say? Keep reading now to learn the answers to these and other critical questions.
Stress and Anxiety in Modern Life
Americans of all ages face more stress and anxiety on a daily basis now than our grandparents ever did. In fact, today’s high schoolers report levels of anxiety on par with those reported by psychiatric patients in the 1950s.
Some of the causes of this increased stress are global and social.
- Today’s workers change jobs and relocate for work much more often than previous generations
- Fewer people belong to social or religious organizations
- More Americans live alone than ever before
- Changes to the job market have increased the number of workers in the “gig” economy, reducing job and retirement security and access to traditional safety nets
More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified stress and anxiety worldwide. As a result of the pandemic, Americans continue to face daily uncertainty and instability physically and financially in all aspects of their lives.
Common Treatments for Anxiety
Currently, individuals suffering from stress and anxiety have limited treatment options and solutions. They may take benzodiazepines such as Xanax or anti-depressants. Alternatively, they may try therapies or wellness practices such as:
- Meditation and tactical breathing
- Exercise or yoga
- Dietary changes
- Seeing a therapist
Unfortunately, each of these options has drawbacks.
Medications come with long lists of side effects. Therapy can be time-consuming and expensive. Dietary changes and exercise routines can be challenging to start and hard to get right.
Perhaps most importantly, none of these options offer immediate or reliable relief. CBD oil, by contrast, can offer the reliable and fast-acting support anxiety sufferers need.
Does CBD Help With Anxiety and Stress?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has gained popularity in recent years as a form of self-treatment for anxiety disorders. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
CBD is believed to calm the central nervous system. It is thought to work primarily by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. This produces a positive effect on mood and a feeling of calm.
Anecdotally, some users find that CBD gives them relief from their anxiety without the unpleasant side-effects that medication can cause. But many people wonder if there is research to back up those claims.
What Does the Research Say About CBD and Anxiety?
Until recently, federal laws made researching CBD products difficult. As a result, only limited research is available. However, what research is available does seem to support cannabidiol’s ability to alleviate stress and anxiety.
CBD oil can be derived from several cannabis sativa plants, including both hemp and marijuana. Depending on its processing, CBD oil may or may not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the component that gives users a “high” when they smoke or consume marijuana.
In most cases, the CBD oil evaluated for use in combatting stress and anxiety does not contain THC or contains only trace amounts. (Less than 0.3 percent.) As a result, the products in question carry no risk of addiction.
CBD and Anxiety
Small studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 suggested that CBD does reduce the impacts of anxiety for suffers of social anxiety disorder (SAD). An animal study in 2014 showed similar results.
A 2016 study suggested that CBD was helpful to sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety-related sleep disorders.
Two 2019 studies, one with teenagers and another with adults, also validated the effectiveness of using CBD products to reduce anxiety, improving overall mental health and functioning, and improve sleep quality.
Why It Works
Researchers are not entirely clear on why CBD works the way that it does. Some of its effects may be due to its impact on blood flow to the brain. Other research points to CBD’s ability to bind to serotonin receptors.
In reality, both of these mechanisms likely contribute to CBD’s overall effects. While science cannot say precisely why CBD works, nearly all studies conducted in the last decade strongly suggest that it does positively affect stress and anxiety.
How to Use CBD for Anxiety and Stress
Today, CBD is available in a myriad of forms. Interested individuals can purchase it in:
- Vaping “e-juices”
- Topical products
- Supplement shots (usually added to lattes or smoothies)
Importantly, some of these varieties are notably safer and more effective than others.
The least safe options are vaping e-juices and edibles. Vaping comes with a long list of potential negative health impacts and federal health authorities uniformly recommend against it.
Edibles contain other ingredients that impact a user’s ability to digest and absorb their CBD. This can lead to complications and can make accurate or consistent dosing difficult. Some forms of edibles, however, such as gummies, can provide consistent and bioavailable doses of CBD.
Teas, supplement shots, and capsules suffer from similar problems. When well made, they can be useful. Products of lower quality can be difficult to absorb and inconsistent.
By far the most consistent and recommended way to consume CBD is by taking CBD oil orally or via topical creams. These products offer the most uniformity and reliability.
At this time, CBD is considered a Schedule I drug. This means that it is not officially authorized for medical use by either the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or the Food and Drug Administration. As a result, there are no standardized or recommended dosages of CBD for any given condition.
Further, industry experts agree that more research on dosing is needed. Users’ needs may vary by:
- Other factors
Until additional research can be conducted, the full range of information needed to make these determinations will not be available. With that said, early research does provide some general guidelines.
Evidence suggests that users with anxiety conditions benefit from taking between 300 mg and 600 mg of CBD per day. For lower levels of anxiety or modest stress, as little as 15 mg per day may be enough.
Users should always err on the side of caution and begin with small doses before working up as needed.
When taking CBD oil for anxiety, it is important to be aware that some users may experience side effects. Commonly reported CBD oil effects include:
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
Like all supplements, CBD can also interfere with the effects of other medications in the body. Specifically, CDB may interact or interfere with:
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Calcium channel blockers
This does not mean that CBD is inherently unsafe for individuals taking these medications. However, anyone taking such medications should consult with their doctor before beginning to take CBD. This will ensure that their doctors can adjust the dosages of their other medications accordingly if appropriate.
There is also insufficient research to fully understand the impacts of CBD use on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and their babies. Users who are or may become pregnant should also consult with their doctors on the best ways to use CBD.
How to Choose CBD Oil
Taking CBD oil for stress and anxiety can be powerful and effective. To get the best results, however, it is essential to select and use only quality products.
Why Quality Varies
Under current legislation, CBD products available in the United States are not considered medications. Instead, they are classified as supplements. This means that they are not regulated or inspected by authorities such as the FDA.
Without third-party oversight, buyers are dependent on the producer for:
- Product consistency
- Labeling accuracy
- Dosage accuracy and recommendations
A 2017 study found that more than two-thirds of CBD products on the market carried inaccurate labels. They contained different amounts of CBD, THC, and additional ingredients than listed.
Why Quality Matters
There are three primary reasons why quality matters. The first is related to legal issues.
CBD products that contain 0.3 percent or less of THC are legal everywhere in the United States. Products that contain more than that can be illegal to own or use in some areas. It is vital that users know what they are buying so that they can comply with the laws in their areas.
The second reason is related to efficacy. It is impossible to functionally use CBD oil for stress or anxiety if:
- You do not know the potency and correct dosing for the product
- The potency or dosing varies from container to container due to poor quality control
- You do not know what other additives are in the product
The third reason quality matters is because high doses of THC can potentially cause negative reactions in users with anxiety disorders. While this is rare, it does mean that inferior products with inappropriately high doses of THC could be dangerous.
Good quality CBD oils and tinctures made by reliable, respectable suppliers are the best, safest, and most effective forms of CBD to take.
At Vimtality, we understand both the importance and the challenges of finding clean, safe, and effective CBD products. That’s why we do the hard work for you.
We work with quality producers to find and make available only the best CBD products. Whether you’re looking for isolate or full spectrum or broad-spectrum products, we have what you need.
Our quality control standards ensure you can purchase products to help you achieve optimal health with confidence. If you aren’t sure what you need, our learning center can help you find the best products for you.
Ease Your Anxiety
If you have been seeking alternative support to address ongoing stress and anxiety conditions, CBD oil may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Try our CBD Relief Bundle to get started today, or peruse our learning center for more information.