Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become a widely favored remedy for anxiety in recent years. While some individuals take CBD oil to soothe their everyday stressors, others use it to treat more serious conditions like generalized anxiety disorders.

As the use of marijuana is legalized in more and more states across the country, cannabidiol has increased in availability as well. CBD is a compound found in the marijuana plant. A growing number of companies have begun selling supplements, salves, and other products made with the compound, promoting it as a natural remedy for issues like anxiety and pain management.

Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, another compound found in marijuana), cannabidiol doesn’t produce a ‘high’ when it is consumed.

How to use CBD oil for anxiety

CBD molecules interact with the endocannabinoid system of the body. It impacts the regulatory mechanism, which is made up of naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules called endocannabinoids. These molecules act like neurotransmitters as they transfer signals all over the body to help maintain homeostasis.

Even though both CBD and THC interact with the endocannabinoid system via CB1 and CB2 receptors, their impact varies a lot. In the earlier days, scientist thought that both substances interact with the body in the same way. However, that is no longer the belief.

While THC molecules attach themselves to CB1 receptors, present mainly in the brain and involved with cognition, memory, motor skills, and pain. It also deters the release of neurotransmitters, and increases the release of other compounds, changing normal functioning. Scientists thought that CBD did the same thing, but with the CB2 receptors instead. The precise way CBD affects our bodies is still to be studied. However, scientists believe CBD encourages the body to produce more endocannabinoids. The process results in reduced anxiety, pain and inflammation.

Per another version, CBD interacts with the human body using the endocannabinoid system, resulting in different effects on the mind and body. It activates adenosine receptors resulting in decreased levels of stress and anxiety.

Several studies point to the potential benefits of CBD oil for anxiety.

For generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats. Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioral signs of anxiety. Their physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate also improved. But there is still more research that needs to be done, specifically on humans and GAD.

Multiple studies done recently have shown that CBD can also help with PTSD symptoms, such as having nightmares and replaying negative memories. These studies have looked at CBD as both a standalone PTSD treatment as well as a supplement to traditional treatments like medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBD may also help people with other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It may help treat anxiety-induced insomnia as well. In 2011, a study researched the effect of CBD on people with SAD; participants were given an oral dose of 400 milligram (mg) of CBD or a placebo.Those who received CBD experienced overall reduced anxiety levels.

CBD dosage for anxiety mg

If you’re interested in trying CBD oil for your anxiety, talk to your doctor. They can help you better in figuring out a starting dosage that will work for you. However, the non-profit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) does advice that very few commercially available products contain enough CBD to replicate the therapeutic effects seen in clinical trials.

In a 2018 study, male subjects received CBD before undergoing a simulated public speaking test. Researchers found that an oral dose of 300 mg, administered 90 minutes before the test, was enough to reduce the speaker’s anxiety significantly. Members of the placebo group and study subjects who received 150 mg saw little benefit. The same was true for subjects who received 600 mg.

The study was done on a minute scale as it had only 57 subjects. More research, including studies that look at female subjects, is needed in order to determine the appropriate dosage for people dealing with anxiety.

The first step in finding your minimum effective dose is to establish a baseline dosage. Since many people report good results with CBD at low doses, we suggest you start with a minimal dose and slowly increase the dosage until you find results. Start with small baseline dosage between 2-5mg, twice or thrice every day (6-10mg total).

  • Maintain your baseline dosage for 7 days while taking note of how the CBD interacts with your body.
  • After the initial 7 days of your baseline CBD dosage, if you’re not receiving the benefit you need, then increase the daily dosage by 1-2 mg every 3 days until you find the dosage that works best for you.
  • Once you’ve decided your minimum effective dose you may wish to decrease your dosage by one step to see if you can maintain the benefits at a slightly lower dosage.

There seems to be an optimal dose for everyone, but remember, more is not always better. In most initial studies of CBD’s effects on anxiety, lower doses seemed to be the most effective.

Topical CBD For Anxiety

You can apply CBD oil to your skin. Many topical creams and lotions are made with CBD for this purpose. However, those are better suited for treating skin conditions and physical pain. Using CBD topically may not help with your anxiety unless muscle aches, joint pain or skin problems are stressing you out.

Pros and cons of CBD oil for anxiety

Pros

  • CBD may help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity; reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.
  • Combined with other cannabinoids, CBD is effective in treating pain caused by sclerosis and arthritis.
  • CBD does not have psychoactive effects.
  • You can ingest CBD through various methods including tinctures, oils, balms and even gummies.

Cons

  • CBD oils don’t have THC which is the compound in cannabis that gives you the munchies. Hence you can’t use CBD to increase appetite for weight gain.
  • CBD may cause drowsiness in certain users.
  • Different people react differently to CBD effects.

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