CBD on Anxiety and Depression

CBD is often used by thousands of people for their stresses. The purpose of this is to give a general overview of important studies.  The subject is open for exploration in the scientific community as well as consumers. It’s completely up to you to try and use CBD, but it’s good to educate yourself first.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is just one of the many compounds found in the marijuana/hemp plant. Its popularity arises from its non-psychoactive properties. CBD will not get you “high,” which is a big benefit for many. The product is completely legal, even on a federal level, when the product contains less than .3% THC (psychoactive.)

In the US, CBD is generally moving towards clearer legality. Recently the FDA had a hearing over CBD from over 100 testimonials, and education is spreading. During the ten-hour hearing, people most commonly vouched for its anxiolytic properties. CBD has been shown to help with many other things such as hypertension, diabetes, and even kidney disease (Callaway, 2004).

The Farm Bill that passed in 2018 allows farmers to sell hemp as a cash crop, meaning legal CBD (derived from hemp only) will be a much more common product.

The primary concern is the little to no regulation that is happening in the market. This means that there is no guaranteed way, for both consumers and banks, to know if the product contains less than .3% THC. There is no way for government officials to know if it abides by the .3% law, as such, it creates distrust between the consumer and producer. Credible brands will only take on products that are tested.

What is Anxiety?

Through its many forms, anxiety has symptoms that pertain to all of them. In this state of mind, decisions become irrational, as well as thoughts. As per the American Psychological Association, “Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure” (American Psychological Association, 2018).

Intrusive thoughts, irrational concerns, and just outright unwavering stresses. Some of the symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea (American Psychological Association, 2018).

Depending on the types of anxiety:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Seasonal anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder(GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Phobia  (The MNT Editorial Team, 2017)

These types of anxieties, unfortunately, do not have a “one” treatment. For PTSD, more than just medication is needed.

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications:
    • Antidepressants
    • Anti-Anxiety Drugs

These are traditional routes of treatment when concerning anxiety disorders, but exciting new research is suggesting that CBD could be a primary factor in treating anxiety. Some even suggest that it can help immensely with opiate addiction.

Why Try CBD?

In young adolescents and adults, prescription drugs for anxiety have shown a drastic increase in mortality rates within seven years of usage. The age-adjusted hazard ratio for mortality during the whole follow-up period for use of any study drug in the first year after recruitment was 3.46 (95% confidence interval 3.34 to 3.59) and 3.32 (3.19 to 3.45) after adjusting for other potential confounders (Scott Weich, et al. 2014).

Many people turn to CBD to avoid harder prescription drugs, as research shows that there aren’t critical side effects. CBD side effects can, however, include drowsiness, as it can induce sleep.  

The Science

CBD and other cannabinoids for that matter are processed in what is known as the endocannabinoids system (ENS), This is a part of our central nervous system, and has been found in more than just humans. Dogs even have a center specifically for metabolizing cannabinoids.

The ENS has what is called CB1 and CB2 receptors. These bind to the cannabinoids and use them for monitoring of the body. This is helpful when it comes to neurotransmitters failing to give off a needed amount. The lack of dopamine can cause an array of problems, and recent research is showing how CBD can monitor and even adjust these levels of neurotransmitters (Pacher, et al., 2006). For blood pressure, kidney failure, and even epilepsy, CBD could be a potential treatment.

As far as anxiety goes, there are many promising findings. For starters, a lack of sleep in a primary issue with people who have anxiety disorders. PTSD victims have frequent night terrors that can disturb sleep. CBD endorses restorative qualities in animals. Additionally, CBD showed restraint in tension and anxiety in people with social mood disorders, even while taking part in a distressing public appearing tasks. Diverse studies recommend that CBD can empower individuals to overlook damaging traumatizing memories. The anxiolytic beneficial points of CBD give an impression of being regulated by 5-HT1A (serotonin) receptors, although the exact mechanism is still unclear.  (ANXIETY HACK, 2018).

Esther M. Blessing, et al., has found that certain doses can even prevent future anxiety attacks. CBD contains a large number of important nutrients including vitamin and mineral boost to enhance the routine activities of a person. It contains Omega 6 and Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6. That is the reason CBD has excellent nutritional worth around the globe (Conrad, 1997). CBD has anti-inflammatory effects on the body, and it also decreases the anxiety related to various conditions.  (Burstein, 2015).

CBD and Social Anxiety Disorder

The characterizing feature of social anxiety disorder is a fear of being judged, negatively assessed, or rejected in a social circumstance. This is a normal feeling for people, but a severe enough condition can impede on daily life. Regularly avoiding social circumstances is unhealthy for obvious reasons, and when a circumstance cannot be avoided, the problem truly emerges. Numerous individuals with social anxiety disorder experience solid physical symptoms, such as nausea, a rapid heart rate, and sweating, and may also encounter full-blown attacks while confronting a feared situation. Even though they know that their fear is unreasonable and excessive, individuals with social anxiety disorder feel powerless against their anxiety. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2018).

A study reported that CBD is helpful in eradicating anxiety with the disorder (Derenusson, Ferrari, Wichert-Ana, & Martin-Santos, 2011). It is also suggested that CBD have anxiolytic characteristics in different cases. An investigation was conducted to assess the effect of CBD on the regional cerebral blood flow. It concluded that CBD possesses anxiolytic properties that make it highly beneficial for the people (de Souza Crippa, Zuardi, Garrido, Wichert-Ana, & Ferrari, 2004). A 2011 study also recommended that CBD could lower social anxiety. For that investigation, experts looked particularly at CBD to treat anxiety related to public speaking.

CBD and Depression

It is a similar situation when it comes to anxiolytic drugs as well as antidepressants. People try to stay away from these as these should be the last option regardless. The health issues brought on by them aren’t ideal for everyone, so people have been turning to CBD for this as well. Receptor (5-HT1A) joins CBD induced with an antidepressant effect and increased levels of glutamate which is why medical marijuana (CBD too) are termed to be a fast-acting antidepressant in the medical field (Linge, Jimenez-Sanchez, Campa, Pilar-Cuellar, & Vidal, 2016).


As said before, PTSD victims have frequent issues with sleep. And even though CBD has been established to help with insomnia as well as night terrors, the anxiety is still prevalent.

More or less, everybody encounters some sort of reactions after a traumatic event. People tend to overcome such circumstances with time. This inability to overcome the trauma is known as PTSD. An examination proposed that CBD can cure veterans with PTSD in combination with therapy. (Rosenheck & Fontana, 2007).

CBD has antidepressant effects on individuals with PTSD experiencing depression (Passie, Emrich, Karst, Brandt, & Halpern, 2012). At the point when a patient is discouraged and depressed after they are diagnosed with a chronic disease, CBD is exceptionally compelling for them so they can accentuate and focus on their treatment without depression and stress. CBD is completely safe and effective for patients who have PTSD (Roitman, Mechoulam, Cooper-Kazaz, & Shalev, 2014).

Other Anxiety Disorders

Seasonal anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, and even age anxiety have all been supported by CBD. Such research is confidently expressing its potential in treating sufferers. Students with anxiety have turned to CBD for help, and especially the elderly. Numerous individuals around the world experience age-related diseases. It has been noted that around 92% of older citizens have at least one chronic disorder, and 77 percent have two. Statistics show that the elderly typically have anxiety disorders, dementia, and depression – that are expected to double by 2030. Old age individuals require such medications that have fewer side effects.


CBD has proven to be an excellent component derived from hemp/cannabis. This component is proving to be a stable option for medical professionals, and even some are recommending it to their patients as a streamlined approach. This is by no means a “super drug” to cure all problems. In fact, no credible researchers will claim CBD to be a cure to anything, but it’s certainly gaining a name for itself in the medical field. Being an anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antidepressant, and much more. More and more research is being done daily, so be sure to stay updated here!

Before you go

CBD has been shown to impact the effects of other medications. Not in a “good” way, nor a “bad” way. It’s been proven that taking CBD, in combination with other drugs, will alter the dose needed for the said drug. This can be particularly alarming for those with heart medications, etc. If you are considering CBD, contact your physician first, especially if you are on other medications. In fact, researchers are trying to find a balance with CBD and other meds, as studies suggest that taking CBD can let you reduce the amount needed for a drug to be taken.


American Psychological Association. (2018). Anxiety. Retrieved from American Psychological 

Association: http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2018). Social Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder

ANXIETY HACK. (2018, February 6). Is Cannabidiol (CBD): An Effective Anxiety Remedy? Retrieved from ANXIETYHACK.COM: http://www.anxietyhack.com/cannabidiol-cbd-nootropic-anxiety/

Burstein, S. (2015). Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic \& medicinal chemistry, 23(7), 1377-1385.

Blessing, Esther M, Maria M Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, and Charles R Marmar. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics : The journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. Oct. 2015. Springer US. 11 June 2019  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/

Callaway, J. (2004). Hempseed as a nutritional resource: an overview. Euphytica, 140(1), 65-72.

Conrad, C. (1997). Hemp for health: The medicinal and nutritional uses of Cannabis sativa. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions/Bear \& Co.

Derenusson, G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., & Martin-Santos, R. (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121-130.

de Souza Crippa, A., Zuardi, A. W., Garrido, G. E., Wichert-Ana, L. G., & Ferrari, L. (2004). Effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on regional cerebral blood flow. Neuropsychopharmacology, 29(2), 417.

Linge, R., Jim{\’e}nez-S{\’a}nchez, L., Campa, L., Pilar-Cu{\’e}llar, F., & Vidal, R. (2016). Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT 1A receptors. Neuropharmacology, 103, 16-26.

Passie, T., Emrich, H. M., Karst, M., Brandt, S. D., & Halpern, J. H. (2012). Mitigation of post-traumatic stress symptoms by Cannabis resin: A review of the clinical and neurobiological evidence. Drug testing and analysis, 4(7-8), 649-659.

Pacher, Pál, Sándor Bátkai, and George Kunos. “The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy.” Pharmacological reviews. Sept. 2006. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 11 June 2019 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241751/>.

Roitman, P., Mechoulam, R., Cooper-Kazaz, R., & Shalev, A. (2014). Preliminary, open-label, pilot study of add-on oral Delta$9-tetrahydrocannabinol in chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. Clinical drug investigation, 34(8), 587-591.

Rosenheck, R. A., & Fontana, A. F. (2007). Recent trends in VA treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental disorders. Health affairs, 26(6), 1720-1727.

The MNT Editorial Team. (2017, December 12). Anxiety: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/anxiety

Weich, Scott, Hannah Louise Pearce, et al., “Effect of anxiolytic and hypnotic drug prescriptions on mortality hazards: Retrospective cohort study.” The BMJ. 19 Mar. 2014. British Medical Journal Publishing Group. 11 June 2019: https://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g1996

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2002). The assessment and treatment of complex PTSD. Treating trauma survivors with PTSD, 127-156.


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