Can CBD Help Relieve Your Anxiety and Other Mental Disorders?

Men and women who struggle with anxiety disorders, or anxiety in general, need safe, effective relief for their debilitating symptoms. For a long time, anecdotal reports have affirmed the utility of CBD as a remedy for anxiety, and the science is only now beginning to catch up.
Written by 
Sarah Ratliff, CBD Journalist.
|Last Updated:
CBD for anxiety

While there are plenty of CBD oils on the market today, it’s important to find a quality product from a brand you trust.

Everyone responds to CBD oil differently, so it’s also important to try out the oil for yourself and note any positive or negative reactions.

This guide will explain how CBD oil is used for anxiety stress and depression, its benefits and risks. It is designed to help narrow down your search for the right CBD oil for you.

Using CBD Oil for Anxiety: Does it Work?

CBD oil is a commercially prepared product available in the United States without a prescription. It is not classified as a medicine by the FDA. But millions of people around the world swear by its capacity to bring them relief for a variety of medical problems.

Much more research needs to be performed to determine its healing characteristics conclusively. But CBD does appear to have a positive effect on the symptoms and incidence of anxiety, and it may be able to help you overcome your ongoing anxiety issues.

What is CBD and How is it Used?

If you’ve been struggling with anxiety, you may be willing to try just about anything to find relief. Many people turn to pharmaceutical medications to help them overcome their anxiety symptoms, but they are not satisfied with the results or are too overwhelmed by the side effects to continue taking a medication.

The National Institute of Health has been doing research on CBD for anxiety. The results indicate CBD reduces anxiety in those with generalized anxiety disorder, also commonly referred to as a panic disorder. CBD works naturally to reduce serotonin levels which are partially responsible for anxiety and depression.

The cannabis plant contains at least 113 active ingredients called cannabinoids. These chemicals all have a range of effects on the brain and body, but two in particular are known to be most influential: THC and CBD (cannabidiol). These are the two primary ingredients in cannabis plants, and each is associated with many desirable and positive outcomes.

Both THC and CBD are known to possess healing and therapeutic properties. But THC has euphoric effects, while CBD does not. CBD is attractive to many people because while it may help you reduce the effects of anxiety or other conditions, euphoric effects are not part of the experience.

CBD is chemically distinct from both THC and marijuana. Cannabidiol oil is extracted from industrial hemp, which contains high levels of CBD but low levels of THC. By law, hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC, and as a result, products made from CBD oil will cause no changes in your state of consciousness or sense of reality.

Technically, CBD oil is still not legal at the federal level in the United States. Hemp has been descheduled at the federal level and most states, allow for the sale and distribution of CBD. CBD products can be purchased online and in some health food stores. Be sure to check your state’s law to ensure that CBD is legal.

Hemp VS Marijuana
Hemp VS Marijuana

Side Effects of Using CBD Oil

One of the best things about CBD is its non-addictive nature. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that in human beings, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential … there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

The WHO report also tells us that CBD has been used in fairly heavy doses in some clinical trials, without producing significant or highly disturbing side effects.

This does not mean there are no unexpected symptoms, however. Depending on the dosage, mild to moderate sedation is the most frequently experienced side effect. Other symptoms of CBD use occasionally reported by users include dry mouth, diarrhea, nausea and reduced appetite.

In many instances, these effects will decrease after the user has been taking CBD oil for a while. If you are taking any prescription medications, it is important that you discuss your interest in CBD with your doctor before you actually begin taking it. CBD could have negative interactions with some medications, and if you are taking blood thinners that could be a particular concern. It is not possible to overdose on CBD, although recommended doses are still limited based on our understanding of its natural potency in the body.

What Research Says: The Health Benefits of CBD

Slowly but surely, CBD is gaining recognition both inside and outside the medical profession as a legitimate choice for reducing anxiety. But CBD is versatile, and research has uncovered a number of other uses for CBD oil and the products that contain it.

Probably the most impressive research results arise from the study of CBD oil as a treatment for epileptic seizures in children. In one large, controlled study that focused on pediatric epilepsy disorders, CBD oil was found to reduce the frequency of seizures by 50 percent. If administered on time it can also dampen the intensity of seizures once they’re underway. Epidiolex is the only CBD-based pharmaceutical-grade medicine approved by the FDA, and it is used specifically to treat select types of epileptic disorders.

CBD can have a soothing effect on the central nervous system. This makes it useful as a treatment for anxiety, but it can also function as a natural remedy for insomnia. In a meta-analysis of the existing medical literature that appeared in the April 2017 edition of Current Psychiatry Reports, researchers reported that early research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may be helpful for the treatment of insomnia.

It makes sense, since CBD reacts with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, some of which also regulate circadian rhythms.

Human CBD receptors chart
Human CBD receptors chart

In a more recent study, which involved patients with insomnia who sought treatment at a psychiatric clinic in Colorado, two-thirds of participants experienced notable improvements in their sleeping patterns after just one month of regular CBD consumption.

CBD may also bring relief to those who suffer from autoimmune diseases or conditions that cause inflammation. In one small study of people with Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, participants reported improvements in their symptoms after taking CBD oil.

Research has been sponsored that examined the effects of cannabidiol on a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The results of these studies are generally promising, but as of now much more research is needed to establish the viability of CBD oil as a long-term treatment for such conditions.

How CBD Oil Can Help Anxiety

The human body contains a network of special receptors, designated CB1 and CB2, that are specifically designed to bind with cannabinoids. Each human being has their own inborn endocannabinoid system, which is comprised of these receptors plus naturally produced cannabinoid neurochemicals that link with them. Some phytocannabinoids from cannabis plants can bind with these receptors, too, most specifically THC. This cannabinoid produces euphoric effects when it binds to the CB1 receptor.

Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the central nervous system and body, in the brain, glands, organs, tissues and immune cells. In coordination with associated cannabinoids, they are vital elements in the body’s self-healing and recovery process, helping in the management of pain, movement, emotions, thinking, appetite and immune system responses.

Like natural cannabinoids, THC assists the body’s healing process by binding with CB receptors. With CBD, however, the latest research suggests something different. Rather than binding with these cells, CBD acts as an endocannabinoid system enhancer. It increases the potency and activity of naturally produced cannabinoids, which explains why CBD can contribute to healing in a broad variety of ways.
When you take CBD oil for anxiety, or for any other condition, you’re helping unleash your body’s and brain’s inherent capacity to induce calm, relaxed, tranquil states, and to restore lost emotional equilibrium.

Much of the evidence in favor of CBD as a treatment for anxiety is anecdotal. The science, however, is quickly evolving, providing the mechanisms that mediate people’s experiences.

Mental health researchers recently sponsored a comprehensive study of anxiety patients at a psychiatric clinic called the Wholeness Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. In total, 72 patients struggling with chronic anxiety were given daily doses of CBD oil. Within the first month 79 percent of the patients reported notable improvements in their anxiety symptoms. In the second month, further improvement was reported by 78 percent, showing how CBD oil can have a continuous, potentially long-term positive effect on unwanted anxiety.

To verify the truth about CBD and anxiety, in 2015 a team of scientists performed an in-depth review of the existing research. After evaluating the available clinical and experimental evidence, the researchers reported that acute doses of CBD were highly effective at reducing the incidence and intensity of anxiety. It worked for patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and PTSD.

These findings complement the new research from Colorado, which delves more deeply into the effects of CBD when administered at lower doses for an extended period of time.

What Form of CBD is Best and How Much Should I Take?

There are four ways to take CBD oil or concentrates:

Smoking and Vaping

Inhaling CBD concentrates will give you the quickest, most powerful dosage. This might be your choice if you want relief from your anxiety symptoms fast, and have a private setting where you can vape or smoke without being disturbed. However, no long-term studies have yet been performed to determine whether vaping CBD and other components could promote lung harm. It’s also important to know exactly what’s in your CBD vape juice. Pure CBD extract is best.

Topical applications

These are ideal if you are attempting to treat muscle aches, joint pain, a skin condition, headaches, sinus congestion or neck or back pain, all of which can be side effects of chronic anxiety. The impact of the CBD will be felt relatively quickly, but topical balms offer the lowest level of dosage and are not the best choice if your need for anxiety relief is acute.


Under-the-tongue consumption of CBD in tincture form is the fastest and most unobtrusive way to take CBD oil. Just a few drops under the tongue from a dropper, and within a couple of hours you should feel the CBD’s full effects. Just be aware that the dose you’ll receive isn’t as concentrated when compared to vaping or smoking. The effects won’t be noticeable right away.

CBD Sublingually
Taking CBD Sublingually


Edibles that contain CBD oil are available in various forms, often as candies or small treats. Alternatively, you can add CBD oil to your home recipes, enlisting your regular dietary choices in the fight against anxiety. The downside of ingesting CBD is that it can take up to four hours for it to be completely absorbed. That is why ingesting CBD is most appropriate for long-term anxiety reduction and control, and not as effective when used to alleviate acute anxiety attacks.


As for the dosage, 10-20 milligrams of CBD oil taken once or twice daily is often enough to provide noticeable anxiety relief for many people. However, CBD dosing requirements vary for each individual. You might want to adjust dosages by weight, taking somewhere between 0.05 mg and 0.30 mg for each kilogram you weigh. The best way to find your correct dosage is to start with a low dose, and slowly increase it if you think you need more.

It is important to remember that products containing CBD are not regulated by the FDA. Research into the use of CBD oil for medical conditions is ongoing, but is still classified as a natural supplement. You should proceed cautiously before using it for anxiety or any other condition.

To ensure optimum safety, you should consult with a physician before you begin taking CBD oil in any form. You may be able to take CBD along with some anti-anxiety medications, but if your doctor says no, you shouldn’t replace your regular medications with CBD oil, particularly if the former are working.

Tips for Choosing CBD Products

Companies that sell CBD products are a dime a dozen these days, and unfortunately many aren’t worth even that price. Quality control and quality assurance are what you seek and what you should demand from CBD retailers. You shouldn’t compromise just to save a few dollars upfront.

To make sure you spend wisely and safely, here’s what you should look for before purchasing CBD products from anyone:


CBD products are generally sold in one of three forms: isolate, which means they contain 100 percent pure CBD, full-spectrum, which means CBD predominates but all of the other cannabinoids are present, and broad-spectrum, which means all traces of THC have been removed but other cannabinoids remain in addition to CBD.

For some conditions, broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD might be the superior choice, since the presence of other cannabinoids in the mixture may enhance CBD’s healing effects.

Pure isolate CBD is an excellent choice for most conditions. However, you may read studies that suggest certain ailments are better treated by broad-spectrum CBD. The other cannabinoids act in synergy with CBD.

You might want to do further research into the benefits of each type of CBD product before you make your final selection. Ultimately, your own experiences will tell you which product works best against your anxiety.


Regardless of which product you choose, you should search for companies that sell organic CBD with no GMOs added to their hemp plants. This will ensure you’re purchasing something that is clean and healthy to consume, with no hidden ingredients or contaminants that detract from the product’s quality and safety.

Another factor worth investigating is the method of extraction. When CBD is extracted by heat, this can cause it to become contaminated or degraded. Cleaner methods involving the use of carbon dioxide or food-grade ethanol are preferable and will deliver a purer product.

Third-Party Testing

Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD production and manufacturing, the only way you can know for sure you’re buying a good-quality product is if the retailer provides proof of third-party testing. This means their products are tested by an outside testing agency. CBD sellers should show results of this testing, which detects microbes, heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants. They should also show CBD, THC and other cannabinoid concentrations.

If the products have been verified for safety and quality, sellers should be pleased to share that information. If test results aren’t shared, it probably means they’ve failed to obtain third-party certification.

A Good Reputation and Reliable Business Practices

Companies worth doing business with should have good online reviews. They should offer money-back guarantees and have customer service departments that are easy to reach and always available to answer questions. They should have no history of being reported to the Better Business Bureau. You can check at the BBB website to verify this. In addition, your source for CBD oil should employ third-party testing affiliates to ensure proper quality control.

Your Own Good Feelings

This parameter is more intangible but you shouldn’t ignore your own instincts. If something seems off about a specific company, its representatives or its website, you should probably trust your intuition and go elsewhere.

The good news is that there are plenty of honest and reliable CBD companies that sell good products at reasonable prices with rock-solid guarantees. Leafreport is here, providing CBD reviews and product comparisons, to help you choose quality products every time. If you’re diligent in your search, you’ll eventually find a company you can trust. Since your health is at stake, you can’t afford to do any less.

Sarah Ratliff
Sarah Ratliff
CBD Journalist
Sarah Ratliff is a corporate America escapee, turned eco-organic farmer, writer, entrepreneur and published book author. Sarah has bylines with Merry Jane, Big Buds, Cannabis Tech, Civilized, CBD Snapshot and High Times. Along with writing about CBD and cannabis, Sarah writes about gender & race advocacy, health, addiction & mental health, geopolitics and the environment. Sarah and her husband live on an eco-organic farm on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

Read More

Important Disclaimer
All contents of the LeafReport Site, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the LeafReport Site are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the LeafReport Site!