Updated: Mar 11, 2021
CBD has an antipsychotic and calming effect on the body’s central nervous system, namely the brain, which allows it to be beneficial in treating anxiety-related disorders. CBD interacts with receptors in our endocannabinoid system that regulate fear and anxiety.
Clinical Studies on the Calming Effects of CBD
In a study by Shannon et al. 2019 to prove whether CBD can help improve anxiety, it was determined that there was a decrease in anxiety scores in 57 out of 72 patients (79.2%) within the first month of the study. Decreased anxiety scores remained throughout the study. The study concluded that CBD can be beneficial for anxiety-related disorders.
A study by Blessing et al. 2015 on the use of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders found that there is sufficient evidence in preclinical studies to suggest that CBD can be used to treat:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
Panic disorder (PD)
Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)*
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)*
The study showed that CBD has little tranquilising effects, meaning that it can calm anxiety without making you feel drowsy or fatigued. Moreover, CBD has a high safety profile and can treat anxiety with little adverse side-effects.
A clinical study on CBD oil prescription on 397 patients in New Zealand by Gulbransen, Xu and Arroll 2020 showed that there are anxiolytic or anti-anxiety effects of CBD in patients with mental health conditions like anxiety. Using CBD oil to treat anxiety resulted in self-reports of improved quality of life and an increased ability to carry out everyday activities. Other positive effects of CBD oil in the study were better sleep and appetite. It was also noted that CBD is highly tolerable and patients’ doses ranged from 40mg per day to 300mg per day.
If you experience severe levels of anxiety, you may require higher doses of CBD oil. You should always consult your doctor before taking CBD as it can interact negatively with anti-anxiety prescription medication.
* OCD and PTSD are not considered anxiety disorders, but excessive anxiety is a central symptom to both.
Blessing, Esther M., Maria M. Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, and Charles R. Marmar. 2015. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics: the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 12 (4): 825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1.
Gulbransen, Graham, William, Xu, and Bruce Arroll. 2020. “Cannabidiol prescription in clinical practice: an audit on the first 400 patients in New Zealand.” BJGP Open 4 (1). doi:https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgpopen20X101010.
Shannon, Scott, Nicole Lewis, Heather Lee, and Shannon Hughes. 2019. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal 23 (18-041). doi:https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041.