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CBD for anxiety: get the facts.

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a non-psychoactive compound that can help treat anxiety and other conditions.

The most common mental disorder in the EU countries is anxiety disorderwith an estimated 25 million people (or 5.4% of the population) living with anxiety disorders, followed by depressive disorders, which affect over 21 million people (or 4.5% of the population).


According to the authors of a 2015 reviewthe CBD interacts with the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor and other receptors in the brain that regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviours.

The authors of the review also found preclinical and clinical evidence establishing CBD as an effective treatment for numerous types of anxiety disorders, among them:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorder (PD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

At a more recent 2020 studyresearchers evaluated the effects of CBD in 397 adults living in New Zealand. Participants in the study were given prescriptions of CBD for a variety of ailments, including non-cancerous pain, cancer-related symptoms cancer, neurological symptoms and mental health symptoms.

All groups reported improvements in their overall quality of life after 3 weeks of CBD treatment.

Individuals who received CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reported that they experienced improvements in their ability to perform daily functions and reduced pain and symptoms of anxiety or depression.

70% of study participants reported some level of satisfaction with CBD treatment, ranging from good to excellent. Only 9.9% of participants experienced adverse side effects, such as sedation and vivid dreams. An even smaller part of the study population (0.8%) reported a worsening of symptoms.

In a studyresearchers evaluated the effects of CBD treatment in 72 adults with anxiety or sleep problems.

Most participants in the study received a 25 milligram capsule of CBD once a day (mg/d). A few participants received 50 or 75 mg/d. One individual with a history of trauma and schizoaffective disorder received up to 175 mg/d.

After the first 2 months of CBD treatment, 78.1-79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms. However, 15.3-19.5% of participants developed worse symptoms after CBD treatment.

The scientific authors of a 2020 article reviewed eight studies investigating the role of CBD in the treatment of various anxiety disorders.

The authors found evidence to support the use of CBD as an effective monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for treating generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, the studies showed considerable variation in CBD doses, ranging from 6 to 400 mg per dose. This variation highlights the need for more large-scale, high-quality clinical trials to help establish standardised dosing and clinical use guidelines for CBD therapy.

In a 2019 studyresearchers found that 250 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in 60 adult men.


The dose a person takes to relieve anxiety depends on the CBD product, the quality of the CBD product and the way it is administered (topical and sublingual).

Thus, several data indicate the efficacy of CBD in reducing anxiety-related symptoms and sleep disorders. Moreover, CBD's anxiolytic properties are accompanied by irrelevant sedative effects and minimal adverse effects. These characteristics, in general, make CBD a promising molecule for the management and treatment of these disorders. However, to date, most studies on CBD have been conducted in animal models or in a small sample size. Therefore, more long-term randomised controlled trials are needed to properly assess the efficacy of CBD in anxiety disorders.

Written by:
Carlos Vera

Carlos Vera

CEO & Founder

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