Do CBD Drops Help with Anxiety?

Kelly Weimert

September 5th, 2017


Businessman covering eyes

40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety-related disorders and countless drugs have been developed to help treat and manage those disorders. From benzodiazepines (like Valium and Xanax) to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (like Prozac and Zoloft), the pharmaceutical industry provides a lot of options with respect to managing anxiety.

The problem is, nearly all of those drugs come with unwanted side effects that can range from weight gain to brain fog to full-on addiction, so more and more people are looking for safer alternatives to anxiety treatment. And, as it turns out, CBD oil just might be the safe alternative anxiety sufferers have been waiting for.

But first, what is CBD oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound found in marijuana that’s not responsible for getting you stoned. The psychoactive chemical in cannabis—the one that makes you feel high—is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, consuming CBD alone won’t make you feel intoxicated or impair you from doing any of your normal day-to-day activities like working, driving, or anything else that requires concentration.

How might CBD oil affect anxiety?

The effects of CBD oil on anxiety are still being studied, but the research on it so far is very promising. Growing evidence from clinical, epidemiological, and experimental studies suggests that CBD’s anti-anxiety properties can help manage a variety of anxiety-related disorders, including:

  • Social anxiety disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Mild to moderate depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Panic disorders

Researchers are finding that CBD oil works similarly to traditional anxiety-management medications in several ways.

One way is that CBD is what’s called a 5-HT1A agonist. 5-HT1A is a serotonin receptor, which is what a lot of pharmaceutical medications target to manage anxiety symptoms, called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). There’s evidence that suggests this particular agonist in CBD is a mechanism that works very similarly to SSRIs when it comes to abating feelings of anxiety but with fewer potential side effects.

The other way CBD oil might improve anxiety is through a process called hippocampal neurogenesis. Your hippocampus is the area in your brain responsible for memory formation and cognition. Patients with depression and anxiety who receive brain scans often show a smaller hippocampus than people without, and those whose symptoms have improved over time frequently show an influx of new neurons in this area.

A study wherein mice were repeatedly administered CBD found that the chemical might assist the hippocampus in generating these new neurons, which is a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis.

How CBD has reduced anxiety in real people

Animal studies and scientific speculation aside, the impact of CBD oil on real people using it has also been highly promising. In a study of patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Brazil, participants given CBD over a period of time reported a significant decrease in their anxiety symptoms, which was validated by brain scans showing consistency with anti-anxiety effects.

In another study, which focused on patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder, participants were tasked with performing a simulated public speaking test. Researchers found that in addition to patients reporting less anxiety, objective anxiety indicators like rapid heart rate and high blood pressure were also reduced after taking CBD oil without impacting participants’ cognitive function.

Where to buy CBD oil

Ready to try CBD oil for yourself? Turns out, there are plenty of online retailers just a click away. And because CBD doesn’t contain psychoactive properties, it’s totally legal to buy and consume, no matter the state you live in.

Check out the following online retailers:

Charlotte’s Web

The CBD Distillery

Healthy Hemp Oil

Bottom line

Due to cannabis’ Schedule I drug classification by the federal government, research on its chemicals and their specific impact has been limited. However, with its increased legality and accessibility, more clinical studies are available, and in those done so far, CBD oil has shown a lot of promise with respect to managing symptoms of anxiety safely and comfortably.

Kelly Weimert

About Kelly Weimert

Kelly is a full-time freelance writer based in Austin, TX. A happy hybrid of geek and hippie, when she's not nestled into her couch crankin' out crafty prose with her miscreant Chihuahua, you can find her frolicking outside to keep her sanity in check.

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