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Anxiety & Stress

Can CBD Help Anxiety? | What the Research Says in 2019

REVIEWED BY Dr. John Ferrera Ph.D

Can CBD Help Anxiety? | What the Research Says in 2019

This article was reviewed by John Ferrera Ph.D, a Child Neuropsychologist and Learning Specialist. As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be taken as medical advice. 

Occasional feelings of anxiety are normal. People who suffer from anxiety disorders, however, frequently experience intense, persistent, excessive worry and fear over everyday occurrences. These repeated episodes of sudden fear, terror, and anxiety can trigger a panic attack within minutes. Whatever form your anxiety takes, there is help available. The first stop, of course, is discussing treatment options with a medical professional. Here's what the research says about full-spectrum hemp with CBD Oil for anxiety in 2019.

Can CBD Oil Actually Ease Anxiety?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of active ingredients found in cannabis plants. A derivative of the hemp plant, it's a cousin of marijuana. While research on CBD oil is only now moving toward mainstream scientific investigation and more clinical trials are necessary, there is mounting evidence that CBD oil may help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. 

The anti-anxiety effects of CBD oil were first investigated in animals in the 1970s and 1980s. Later studies in humans showed promising results. 

In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug containing CBD for treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy. The World Health Organization, in a 2017 report, stated, "There is also preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions." Some examples are sleep and menstrual discomfort.

How to Take CBD Oil for Anxiety

First, know if you that it’s understood to be most effective when used regularly. This is known as the cumulative effect. Because it's considered a natural supplement, it isn't regulated by the FDA. So, buyer beware—make certain you purchase only reputable products. Typically oils, such as those you can purchase in a grocery store, actually contain very little CBD. A CBD oil from a reputable merchant assures you're getting the potency you're paying for.

The optimum dose of CBD oil is highly individualized. How much CBD oil you take each day is also dependent on the type of CBD oil you're taking and the form factor. When it comes to form factor, the most common are vapes, sublinguals, ingestibles, and topicals. CBD oil is edible, meaning you can add it to foods or even use it as a cooking oil. It is often taken in a drop form placed under the tongue, or you can take it orally in a capsule.

How much CBD oil you take per day varies depending on the type and concentration of the CBD you're using. The best dose of CBD oil for you will depend on your age, weight, medical condition, genetics, and the result you'd like to achieve. A few points to take into consideration when beginning CBD oil use include:

  • Whether in its pure form or extracted from hemp, CBD oil will affect every individual differently.
  • Be consistent with dosing. Don't start small one day and jump to the maximum the next day.
  • Build up your dosage slowly to give your body time to become accustomed to the effects.
  • Don't get discouraged if you don't get immediate results. Some have reported waiting two weeks before noticing positive results.

How Much Hemp Oil Should I Take?

A 2010 study cited in Journal of Psychopharmacology found an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD reduces symptoms of social anxiety disorder in humans. This study found CBD has anti-anxiety properties.

As published by Nobuo Masataka in Frontiers in Psychology:

"A review (Blessing et al., 2015) concluded that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic disorder when administered acutely."

In a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology (2011), patients with social anxiety disorder received a 600 mg dose of CBD one and a half hours before participating in a stress-triggering exercise. Results showed a significant reduction in anxiety levels, cognitive impairment, and reduced discomfort in speaking in social settings.

It’s important to recognize that these studies are investigating the efficacy of CBD isolate vs a full spectrum hemp extract. It’s purported that a full spectrum extract is more effective than an isolate and therefore requires less mg per dose. 


That said, it's never a good idea to begin taking supplements without checking with your physician first. In the case of CBD, before you actually begin dosing, it's a good idea to visit a CBD-friendly physician to discuss your symptoms and ask for recommendations. A CBD-friendly doctor will be able to discuss potential medication interactions and adverse effects, if any, that you may encounter should you begin CBD therapy.

Standard Doses:

An adult's daily dosage for mild anxiety is usually maintained between 15 to 20 mg per day. If you've had no experience with dosing CBD oil for anxiety, it's usually best to start with baby steps. For most, the best way to determine optimum dosage is to start slow and titrate upward over time until you feel symptoms abate. The lowest effective dose is usually best.

Be sure to read the label on your CBD oil bottle in order to calculate the dosage per ml or dosage per drop. You can always look at lab tests as well. 

You can also refer this simple dosage guide.

How Long Will It Take To Experience The Benefits?

Oral CBD, whether taken as a capsule or as drops under the tongue, usually produces a noticeable reduction in anxiety within one to two hours of an adequate dose. CBD is lipophilic, meaning it binds to oils to help the body make use of it. To improve the absorption of oral CBD, take it on an empty stomach or with an omega-3 supplement oil or a small amount of coconut oil. Using oil drops under the tongue helps improve absorption times.

If you're starting with a very small dose or you suffer from severe anxiety, you may not notice effects until you've built up the dosage over several days.

For those with occasional anxiety or situational anxiety, CBD can be effective on an "as needed" basis. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, a daily dosage of CBD may offer the best potential for relief.

What Types of Anxiety Can CBD Oil Help?

"Anxiety" is a catch-all phrase for a cadre of emotional states and disorders. CBD oil can help alleviate many symptoms associated with mental health issues. Cannabidiol oil is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn't affect the mind. But it may confer some health benefits to those suffering emotional and mental difficulties.

Anxiety is an emotional state marked by internal turmoil usually accompanied by overthinking and nervous behavior. It can range from a mild state of "jitters" to an overwhelming feeling of dread. The major benefits of CBD lie in its anti-anxiety effects. It can help in the management of and decreasing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders, and can also improve an individual's ability to conquer social anxieties that prevent public interactions with others.

Types of anxiety that may be amenable to CBD oil usage include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - This refers to a type of anxiety disorder that includes uncontrollable, recurrent, and usually baseless worry over anticipated events or situations. GAD can negatively impact daily life for those suffering under it. The emotional distress can manifest as physical symptoms such as fidgeting, numbness in the feet and hands, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, trembling, sleep disturbances and vomiting. A 2015 review and subsequent article published in Neurotherapeutics, the journal for the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, found there is compelling and significant preliminary evidence for using CBD in managing generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder - Also known as social phobia, this disorder ranks as the third most prevalent mental health issue worldwide. It's characterized by a fear of social situations where interaction with other people, particularly strangers, is likely. It results in anxiety that can impact the quality of life. Those suffering from social anxiety disorder may present as shy, quiet, nervous, withdrawn, inhibited, aloof or even unfriendly. Most want to have friends and participate in groups and social activities, but their anxiety prevents them from interacting socially. A study by the University of São Paulo found CBD reduced anxiety and discomfort of social anxiety disorder in recipients when taken before engaging in public activity.

What Are CBD Users Saying About Anxiety Relief

CBD oil has helped many people overcome stress and anxiety. For many, it is a safe, natural, and effective alternative to taking pharmaceuticals to treat their anxiety and other ailments.

Elaine S., Jan. 7, 2019, wrote: "Your Plant People CBD oil drops give me a calm beautiful feeling similar to how I feel after taking a yoga class. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful product for us."

KT, Jan. 5, 2019, wrote: "...I have neuropathy, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, GI illness/Chron’s Disease, insomnia, anxiety, depression … the whole deal. These CBD drops have been helping me immensely – they make it a little easier to get through the day. They’re reliable and effective. I’ve tried many different CBD products and these ... are the best."

Amber, Nov. 1, 2018, wrote: "These drops have been incredible right before bed for me, or as needed for stressful situations throughout the day. I love the nutty taste and can put them straight into my mouth or onto food/in drinks. Highly recommend these!"

Remember, there are FDA regulations regarding CBD products. It may be illegal in some states. It is highly recommended that you discuss CBD use with your physician before starting any supplemental use. Do your own research on CBD products. Read information on the uses, effects, side effects, and precautions before beginning any new supplements.

Information is power. Be sure to exercise yours.


Reviewed by Gabe Kennedy

 Co-Founder of Plant People, Gabe Kennedy is an acclaimed chef and entrepreneur. Growing up in a house of healers and herbalists, he is passionate about the power of food as a tool for health, and actualized this passion and belief system into his company, Plant People. Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Gabe has shaped menus and cooked his way around the world with his mission to promote a more communal, green and healthy world.

 Gabe is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. You can learn more about his work at his website.

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