One of the most common uses for CBD is dealing with anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting approximately 40 million adults—or 18.1% of the population. The most common medical treatments for anxiety in the U.S. are the use of pharmaceutical drugs like benzodiazepines, buspirone, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. However, it’s important to realize that these pharmaceutical drugs (which often have severe side effects), are not your only option for treatment.

In addition to self-care and therapy, you can incorporate CBD into your treatment regimen for natural, plant-based anxiety relief.

In order to understand how CBD helps provide anxiety relief, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past seven years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of anxiety.

Study Results

A 2011 double-blind study evaluated the use of CBD is the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in a format where the participants partook in a public speaking simulation. The study showed pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.

Another 2011 study looked to evaluate the effect of CBD on pathological anxiety and its underlying brain mechanisms. It concluded relative to placebo, CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety, reduced ECD uptake in the left parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampus, and inferior temporal gyrus, and increased ECD uptake in the right posterior cingulate gyrus. These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.

A 2012 study concluded studies using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. Moreover, CBD was shown to reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder.

A 2014 study suggested CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor. For reference, the 5-HT1A receptor is a subtype of the serotonin receptors that are often targeted with pharmaceutical drugs like SSRIs.

A 2016 study evaluated the effects of CBD on a 10-year-old girl with pediatric anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, but results were not longlasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of CBD oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep. CBD oil, an increasingly popular treatment of anxiety and sleep issues, has been documented as being an effective alternative to pharmaceutical medications. This case study provides clinical data that support the use of CBD oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with post traumatic stress disorder.

As outlined above, the connection between CBD and anxiety reduction is strong and well documented.

Studies

Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Chagas, M. H., De, D. C., De, B. S., Kapczinski, F., Crippa, J. A. (2011, May). Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846

Crippa, J. A., Derenusson, G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F. L., Martin-Santos, R., Hallak, J. E. (2011, January). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: A preliminary report. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20829306

Schier, A. R., Ribeiro, N. P., Silva, A. C., Hallak, J. E., Crippa, J. A., Nardi, A. E., & Zuardi, A. W. (2012, June). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729452

De, A. R., De, N. P., Coutinho, D. S., Machado, S., Arias-Carrión, O., Crippa, J. A., Silva, A. C. (2014). Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: A chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339

Shannon, S., & Opila-Lehman, J. (2016). Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Post traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27768570