The market for cannabidiol (CBD) products derived from the hemp variant of the Cannabis sativa plant in the United States continues to grow rapidly as more and more people discover the benefits of CBD for a variety of health and wellbeing challenges, including pain, insomnia, and anxiety. Considering that anxiety in and of itself is an issue facing an ever-growing number of people (in part because of the added stress from the global pandemic), many are naturally asking the question, does CBD oil help anxiety? In this article we’ll call attention to what we know about answering this question.
Understanding CBD: The Big Picture
Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one cannabinoid of about 65 found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The primary psychoactive compound, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is just one compound of hundreds found in the plant. When present in high enough levels, THC is what produces the intoxicating “high” effect people experience using marijuana. Hemp or industrial hemp is a variant of the Cannabis sativa plant that typically has low levels of THC and higher levels of CBD, and this effectively reduces or eliminates its psychoactive effects. In other words, you don’t get “high” using CBD products.
While industrial hemp was made legal in the 2018 Farm Bill and in the state of Indiana made both hemp and CBD oil legal that same year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to enact regulations for the CBD market to ensure consumers are protected from poor-quality products or inaccurate marketing claims. The FDA has only approved one drug containing CBD called Epidiolex used to treat seizures caused by very particular medical conditions.
The United States of Anxiety: A Growing Problem
Anxiety is a very general kind of word, so it’s useful to better understand what the differences are between stress, anxiety, and full-blown anxiety disorders.
Stress: Everyone feels some amount of stress at various points in their lives. Stress is usually caused by external factors, such as a tight deadline, a fight with someone you care about, and so on. Stress can be a short one-time incident or a longer-term experience, such as discrimination or a chronic illness. When you’re under stress, it can result in irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and poor sleep quality. If the stress is prolonged or comes about as the result of an especially traumatic experience (a bad accident, being the victim of a crime, serving in the military in a war, and so on), it can result in an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety: Unlike stress, anxiety involves constant worries that don’t go away even when there isn’t a stressor present. The resulting symptom list is pretty much the same as stress symptoms, including trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, tense muscles, and irritability.
Mild cases of both stress and anxiety are often very responsive to self-treatment coping mechanisms such as physical exercise, healthy eating, and getting better sleep through a variety of techniques.
Anxiety Disorder: This level of anxiety would be diagnosed by a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. It can persist for months and even years and may make life very difficult. Anxiety disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and any number of phobia disorders. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 40 million or 18% of adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
Anxiety disorders are also highly treatable, although a surprising percentage of people struggle along without treatment of any kind. It should also be noted that although anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, clinical depression is a different kind of mental health illness. One pathway for treatment would be with medication. Any medication that helps reduce anxiety is described as having an anxiolytic effect. The big question on people’s minds is whether CBD offers a true anxiolytic effect.
CBD Oils: Anecdotal Evidence and Scientific Studies on Anxiety
Whether it’s used for stress, anxiety, or anxiety disorders, there is widespread anecdotal evidence that millions of people are experiencing reductions in stress and anxiety through the use of CBD oils. It seems unlikely they would all be wrong, but until a more substantial body of scientific evidence is assembled through well-designed research studies, the anecdotal evidence is all we really have.
The scientific study of CBD products as a treatment for stress and anxiety has been few and far between, but more are on the way as CBD continues to grow in popularity. Hopefully, science will catch up to confirm the positive benefits so many people have already experienced. Here are a few scientific studies we find encouraging:
Animal Studies: There have been a number of studies on CBD’s anxiolytic effects in rats. These studies are highly technical, but generally confirm CBD does exhibit anxiolytic properties. Here are links to their abstracts:
- Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
- Physiology & Behavior
- European Neuropsychopharmacology
How about studies on humans? Those are even fewer, but there have been some. One double-blind randomized design study of 24 people with generalized social anxiety disorder found that one 600 mg dose of CBD reduced performance anxiety and cognitive impairment in speech performance. Even better was an extensive 2015 literature review that revealed evidence of CBD for social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. More recently, a 2019 study showed lower anxiety scores using CBD over a month in 72 patients with anxiety and sleep concerns. Finally, in Washington, the use of Strainprint for tracking symptom changes in medical cannabis users in a large group of participants shows that cannabis with high CBD/low THC reduced anxiety by 58%.
Indy CBD: Your Trusted Source of High-Quality, Safe Products
While we wait for the science to catch up with and confirm the benefits so many have experienced with CBD, we invite you to try any of the safe, quality products we offer at Indy CBD. If you face challenges with inflammation, chronic pain, trouble sleeping (insomnia), stress, anxiety, problems relaxing, and so on, discover whether CBD helps for yourself! We focus on high-quality CBD oils and related products and love to hear from our loyal customers about how their health and wellbeing have been enhanced using our CBD products.
Pay us a visit in-person at 5144 Madison Avenue, Suite 5 from 10 am–6 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am–5 pm on Saturdays, and 12 pm–5 pm on Sundays. We also make deliveries! Feel free to call us at (317) 961-0191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or concerns.