cannabidiol guide to medical studies research CBD anxiety benefits

Table of Contents

CBD For Anxiety: How effective is it?

This guide provides fact-based answers about CBD benefits for anxiety.

  • Social Anxiety
  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • PTSD
  • OCD

You’ll also learn the CBD dosage used for anxiety and possible adverse effects.

Bonus: A lesser-known called CBG may prove to be even more effective for anxiety because of its effect on hypervigilance.

If you don’t find an answer in this guide to a question you have, leave us a comment below. We’ll search the published studies to see if an answer exists and get back to you.

Let’s get started.


CBD Effects On Public Speaking Anxiety

Study Results:

  • taking CBD shortly before simulated public speaking has a significant anxiety benefit
  • acute dosing of CBD helps reduce trembling

2020 Study: CBD significantly reduces anxiety and trembling during public speaking. #cbd #anxiety tell a friend






nih cannabidiol anxiolytic

Study Published January 7, 2020




Study Results

This clinical trial reports that a dose of 300mg cannabidiol significantly decreased anxiety and tremors during simulated public speaking in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (1).


cannabidiol anxiety treatment

Study Method

Participants were evaluated for anxiety symptoms and tremors during simulated public speaking after consuming 300mg dose of CBD.

  • double-blind
  • randomized
  • placebo-controlled
  • crossover clinical trial


CBD medical study


The study showed statistically significant reductions in anxiety and tremors during simulated public speaking in patients with Parkinson’s Disease who had taken a 300 mg dose of oral CBD.(2)



By the numbers

2 experimental sessions occurred within a 15 day period.  Each session consisted of 24 individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.


After taking either a placebo or 300mg CBD, individuals underwent a Simulated Public Speaking Test (SPST) used to evaluate anti-anxiety medications.

Data were collected during the test for:

This data was assessed with repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) for CBD, the simulated public speaking phase and interactions between these variables.



Research Conclusion

“Acute CBD administration at a dose of 300 mg decreased anxiety in patients with [Parkinson’s Disease], and there was also decreased tremor amplitude” in a situation expected to produce anxiety such as public speaking (3).


Interested in how CBG (cannabigerol) affects anxiety?  Check out this guide to CBG anxiety benefits.

cannabigerol guide to anxiety benefits based on 2020 medical studies


Video: Techniques to improve confidence speaking in public


Study Authors

Download The CBD Research

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Parkinson’s disease; anxiety; tremor


CBD Effects On Social Anxiety

CBD effects on late teens with Social Anxiety Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder.

  • 300mg Oral CBD Dose
  • 4 Week Course

2019 Study: CBD decreased social anxiety in late teens by 21.7% over 4 weeks. #cbd #anxiety #socialanxiety tell a friend

nih medical study

Published November 2019



Study Results

Daily 300 mg dose of oral CBD oil significantly reduced social anxiety symptoms and Avoidant Personality Disorder (1).

  • Double-blind placebo-controlled study
  • Study size: 37 late teenagers


cannabidiol anxiety study




Who Benefits

Late teens with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and avoidant personality disorder (2).


cannabidiol anxiety teenagers

By The Numbers

The study was performed on thirty-seven 18-19-year-old teens diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder (3).


cannabidiol anxiety study

Study Method

Cannabis oil containing a dose of 300mg CBD was given daily over a period of four weeks to 17 teenagers while a placebo was given to the remaining 20 teens.


cannabidiol anxiety benefit


Social Anxiety Disorder symptoms were measured at the beginning of the trial period and at the end using the Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale.

Fear Of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire results showed an average 21.7% decrease over 4 weeks in the cannabidiol treatment group while the placebo group showed an average decline of 0.8% (4).


cannabidiol anxiety therapy


social anxiety disorder


Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire

 The results were similar for the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale after 4 weeks of treatment with cannabidiol.  The average score of the CBD group improved by 16.3% while the placebo group (no CBD) reported improvements of only 4.6% (5).


social anxiety treatment


cannabidiol anxiety



Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale

Both tests measure Social Anxiety Disorder symptoms in teenagers.



“CBD significantly decreased anxiety measured by both scales,” according to the study author (6).

cannabidiol SAD benefits


Interested in how cannabis terpenes affect anxiety?  Check out this terpene guide.



Video: CBD oil for anxiety? Miracle or Hype?


Study Authors


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Keywords: avoidant personality disordercannabidiol; cannabinoid; cannabis; social anxiety disorder; social phobia; social withdrawal


Medical Cannabis Effects On Anxiety

  • specific cannabis strains relieve anxiety better than others
  • some strains have terpenes consistently associated with anxiety relief
  • some strains have terpenes and cannabinoid combinations that cause increased anxiety

2018 Study: Medical cannabis rated 8.03/10 for relieving anxiety. Plus some terpenes increase anxiety. #cbd #anxiety #cannabis tell a friend



nih medical study

Published December 2018



Study Results

Medical marijuana is an 8.03 on a scale of 0-10 (with 10 being extremely effective at treating anxiety), according to medical marijuana patients (1).


cannabidiol anxiety study

Important Results

Medical marijuana that contained moderate levels of THC and the terpene trans-nerolidol was connected to decreased feelings of anxiety (2).


terpene anxiety study

Anxiety Causing Terpenes

Terpenes connected to an increase in anxiety were:


terpene anxiety study





This CBD study is an interesting survey of medical cannabis patients, strains and terpenes from a medical cannabis dispensary in Canada.

cannabidiol anxiety research

Survey Results

Most patients rated medical cannabis as very beneficial in relieving symptoms of anxiety (3).


cannabidiol anxiety treatment


THC Increased Anxiety

THC and some terpenes were connected with statistically significant increases in anxious feelings (4).


THC increases anxiety

Terpene Anxiety Chart

The following terpenes showed a statistically significant increase in anxious feelings:


cbd terpene anxiety

cbd anxiety treatment


Further research is needed to clearly explain “the entourage effects” that contribute to the anti-anxiety effects of specific strains of medical marijuana and hemp (5).



cannabidiol hemp study


Interested in learning about CBD for PTSD?  Check out this guide based on a 2019 study in which 91% of PTSD patients benefited from CBD.




Study Authors


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Keywords: cannabinoids, terpenoids, THC, CBD, synergy, cannabis, anxiety, terpenes

CBD Effects On Generalized Anxiety, Psychosis, And Tobacco Use

  • CBD may benefit Schizophrenia
  • CBD may benefit GAD
  • CBD may reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms
  • This study focuses a critical eye on overall CBD benefits for anxiety and psychological disorders


2018 Study: CBD may have significant anti-anxiety effects for patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. #cbd #anxiety #GAD tell a friend


nih medical study

Published August 2018




Study Results

A 2018 review of clinical CBD studies for psychiatric symptoms shows (1) :

  • may have antipsychotic effects in schizophrenia
  • may have substantial anti-anxiety effects in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • possible reduction in withdrawal symptoms of cigarette smoking



Our Summary

This new CBD study published by Cambridge University Press is a review of the current medical literature on cannabidiol and its effects on mental health with specific regard to anxiety symptoms (2).

cbd anxiety study

Research Findings

  • CBD may have an anti-psychotic effect in people with schizophrenia by affecting the endocannabinoid system (3)                                                                                cannabidiol neurological disorders


  • CBD may have an anti-anxiety effect (acute) in people who struggle with a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)                     CBD anxiety benefit


  • CBD may reduce symptoms of withdrawal from quitting smoking of tobacco through the regulation of serotonin and glutamate—two compounds associated with depression (4).

cannabidiol tobacco withdrawal






  • CBD needs to be studied further to confirm its effects in larger randomized clinical studies (5).     cannabidiol anxiety research         
  • Further study would allow researchers to connect specific CBD effects on patients to chemical reactions in the brain and nervous system (6).

Interested in CBD’s effect on psychosis?  Check out this guide to a 2020 medical study about CBD and psychosis.



Video: CBD for social anxiety


Study Authors

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Keywords: Antianxiety agents; antipsychotics; clinical drug studies; drugs new; psychopharmacology

CBD Effects On Emotional Wellness

A deep scientific look at:

  • your endocannabinoid system (ECS)
  • cannabinoids effects on the ECS
  • how cannabinoids may affect emotional balance

 2018 Study: CBD has a relationship with the endocannabinoid system that helps maintain emotional balance. #cbd #anxiety tell a friend


nih medical study

 Published November 2018


Study Results

CBD has a complex relationship with your endocannabinoid system—the system that helps to maintain emotional balance (1).

cbd anxiety disorder



How The Endocannabinoid System Works

The endocannabinoid system helps to maintain emotional balance by regulating natural reward processes and moderating your natural response to stress (2).

cannabidiol emotional benefit



Our Summary

This is an interesting review of cannabinoids effects on emotions and the importance of the endocannabinoid system in mental health.

endocannabinoid mental health

According to this research, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps to balance emotional responses to rewarding and stressing events.

cannabidiol mental health

The ECS helps to regulate rewarding stimuli and moderate the physiological consequences of stress (3).

CBD helps to boost signaling in your ECS.

cannabidiol stress relief


This review confirms cannabidiol is a promising compound to help with anxiety and depression but is not regularly used in psychiatry because of a lack of clinical data and CBD dosage information (4).

CBD mental health


  • in-depth information about the endocannabinoid system and its relationship with mental health (5).
  • the study explains how the endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in maintaining mood and emotional stability (6).

cannabidiol mood benefit


Interested CBD and the endocannabinoid system’s ability to maintain emotional balance?  Check out this beginner’s guide to CBD based on the latest medical studies.




Video: Effects of the Endocannabinoid System


Study Authors

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Keywords: endocannabinoids, reward, stress, depression, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, EAE, inflammation

CBD Effects On Panic Disorder

  • CBD is a promising treatment for Panic Disorder
  • More study is needed to completely describe mechanism of action of CBD on Panic Disorder

2017 Study: CBD is a promising treatment for Panic Disorder. #cbd #anxiety tell a friend


nih medical study

Published February 2017


Study Results

  • After reviewing multiple studies, CBD is a promising treatment for Panic Disorder (1)                                                                       cannabidiol anxiety study
  • More clinical studies need to be done to “clarify the specific mechanism of action of CBD and the safe and ideal therapeutic doses of this compound.”  (2)cannabidiol anxiety benefit



Conventional Treatment

  • Panic Disorder affects approximately 5% of the worldwide population (3).                                                                                             panic disorder study
  • Common side effects and drug interactions of SSRIs (pharmaceutical drugs for panic disorder) cause many people to stop taking them.

cannabidiol anxiety study


Panic Disorder Symptoms

  • Sense of impending doom or danger
  • Fear of loss of control or death
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes

cannabidiol panic disorder effects


Since CBD appears to have anti-anxiety effects, it has been recommended as a possible treatment for Panic Disorder (4).

cbd anxiety disorder



  • After reviewing multiple clinical and preclinical trials, this study concludes that cannabidiol is a promising treatment for Panic Disorder (5).                                                                                                                                                                   CBD health benefit 
  • Specific future studies are needed to better understand how CBD helps anxiety and what the proper CBD dosage is for treating panic attacks.

cannabidiol anxiety benefit


Interested in the benefits of CBD for PTSD? CBD benefits for PTSD based on the latest 2019 medical study.




Video: CBD benefits for anxiety


Study Authors


Download The CBD Research



Keywords: Animal models, cannabidiol, human studies, 5-HT1A receptors, panic disorder, serotonin

CBD Effects On Anxiety Disorders

Preclinical and clinical research shows significant support for viewing CBD as a potential treatment for:

  • GAD
  • SAD
  • Panic Disorder
  • OCD
  • PTSD

2015 Study: CBD is potential treatment for multiple anxiety disorders including SAD, GAD and PTSD. #cbd #anxiety tell a friend


nih medical study

Published October 2015


This research reviews multiple preclinical and clinical studies and finds substantial support for cannabidiol as a potential treatment for (1) :

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • panic disorder
  • social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PTSD

cannabidiol mental health


  • The review cautions that there is a lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of CBD taken over long periods of time for anxiety disorders (2).                                                                                                                                                                            cannabidiol anxiety benefit
  • Further research is needed on the effects of taking cannabidiol for chronic anxiety disorders (3).

cannabidiol anxiety effects


Interested in CBD benefits for insomnia caused by anxiety?  Check out this guide to CBD benefits for sleep.




Video: CBD benefits for anxiety and depression


Study Authors


Download The CBD Research


Keywords: Cannabidiol, Endocannabinoids, Anxiety, Generalized anxiety disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder

CBD Effects On Anxiety And Depression

  • there appears to be a medical basis for anti-anxiety and antidepressant-like effects of CBD.

2014 Study: There appears to be a medical basis for CBD's anxiety and depression benefits. #cbd #anxiety #depression tell a friend

nih medical study

 Research Published in 2014

Study Results

This review of multiple studies found that CBD had “antidepressant-like and anti-anxiety-like effects” in animal models (1).


Anxiety and depression are illnesses that effect:

  • social life
  • productivity
  • health

cannabidiol anxiety study

CBD has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects in animal models (2).

cannabidiol anxiety study


After being administered CBD, animals were tested for:

  • forced swimming test (FST)
  • elevated plus maze (EPM)
  • Vogel conflict test (VCT)

mental health study


  • The results of these tests showed CBD likely had antidepressant and anti-anxiety-like effects on animals (3).
  • Additionally, “most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.” (4)

CBD anxiety treatment



Interested in lesser-known cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol) and its effects on anxiety?  Check out this guide to CBN benefits for anxiety and sleep.


Video: CBD benefits for depression.




Study Authors


Download The CBD Research



Keywords: Chronic Anxiety, Chronic Depression, Cannabidiol, anxiolytic-like, anxiety, cannabis Sativa, major depression

Historical: CBD Effects On Anxiety

  • cannabinoids such as CBD have significant effects on anxiety-related symptoms
  • A forward-looking perspective from 2012 on cannabinoids and their anxiety benefits

2012 Study: CBD has broad effects on emotions, anxiety and fear-related behaviors. #cbd #anxiety tell a friend


nih medical study

Research Published April 2012


Study Results 

  • CBD and cannabinoids have broad effects on emotions, anxiety and fear-related behaviors (1).                                               cannabidiol anxiety study results
  • THC may make anxiety and fear behavior worse with higher doses (2)CBD anxiety results
  • It appears that cannabidiol has chemical properties that reduce anxiety (3).                                                                                                                                  cannabidiol anxiety outcome
  • This research describes the reasons for the individualized effects of CBD and THC (4)     cannabidiol anxiety dosage



Medical cannabis appears to have both anxiety-causing and anxiety decreasing effects.  This study examines the effects of CBD and THC on anxiety and fear-related behaviors.

Variation In Outcomes

Widely varying and individual anxiety responses to medical cannabis are caused by:

  • genetic factors
  • environmental factors
  • relative concentrations of THC to CBD
  • lesser cannabinoids present in the plant

The individualized response to medical cannabis for anxiety is a result of the complex network of interactions that occur in the cannabinoid system. (5)

Anxiety effects

  • Some cannabinoids (like THC) can increase anxious feelings by activating the CB1 receptor while other cannabinoids (like CBD) can decrease anxiety by activating the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system (6).
  • Additionally, the study describes genetic and environmental factors known to cause anxiety in some consumers of THC (7).


This study provides a good overview of knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids from herbal and synthetic sources as well as the effects of cannabinoids made by our own body as part of our endocannabinoid system (8).


CBD helps depression too.  Check out this guide to CBD benefits for depression based on the latest medical studies.


Study Authors


Download The CBD Research





Keywords: cannabis; anxiety; CB receptors; endocannabinoids; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol; cannabidiol

CBG (cannabigerol) Effects On Anxiety


Cannabigerol (CBG) is a lesser-known cannabinoid compound that is the precursor to CBD.

Though the mechanism of action is still poorly understood, several studies have identified specific medicinal properties of CBG.

  • CBG is believed to have significant anti-anxiety effects, neuroprotective effects, and pain-relieving benefits.

Let’s take a look.


Masataka N. Anxiolytic Effects of Repeated Cannabidiol Treatment in Teenagers With Social Anxiety Disorders. Front Psychol. 2019;10:2466. Published 2019 Nov 8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02466

Study Authors​

Masataka N

Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Japan


Kamal BS, Kamal F, Lantela DE. Cannabis and the Anxiety of Fragmentation-A Systems Approach for Finding an Anxiolytic Cannabis Chemotype. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:730. Published 2018 Oct 22. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00730

Study Authors

Brishna S. Kamal

Whistler Therapeutics, Whistler, BC, Canada

Whistler Medical Marijuana, Whistler, BC, Canada


Fatima Kamal

Whistler Therapeutics, Whistler, BC, Canada


Daniel E. Lantela

Whistler Therapeutics, Whistler, BC, Canada

Whistler Medical Marijuana, Whistler, BC, Canada


Soares VP, Campos AC. Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2017;15(2):291–299. doi:10.2174/1570159×14666160509123955

​Study Authors

Vanessa P. Soares

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo

Alline C. Campos

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo


Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825–836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1

Study Authors

Esther M. Blessing

[email protected]

New York University School of Medicine


Maria M. Steenkamp

New York University School of Medicine


Jorge Manzanares

Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, Universidad Miguel Hernández and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas


Charles R. Marmar

New York University School of Medicine


de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953–960. doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838

Study Authors

Alexandre R de Mello Schier

Natalia P de Oliveira Ribeiro

Danielle S Coutinho

Sergio Machado

Oscar Arias-Carrión

Jose A CrippaAntonio W Zuardi

Antonio E Nardi

Adriana C Silva 


Tambaro S, Bortolato M. Cannabinoid-related agents in the treatment of anxiety disorders: current knowledge and future perspectives. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov. 2012;7(1):25–40. doi:10.2174/157488912798842269

Study Authors

Simone Tambaro

Dept. of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences School of Pharmacy University of Southern California

Marco Bortolato

Dept. of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences School of Pharmacy University of Southern California

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