CBD For Anxiety: How effective is it?
This guide provides fact-based answers about CBD benefits for anxiety.
- Social Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety
- Panic Attacks
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
- taking CBD shortly before simulated public speaking has a significant anxiety benefit
- acute dosing of CBD helps reduce trembling
Study Published January 7, 2020
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).
Participants were evaluated for anxiety symptoms and tremors during simulated public speaking after consuming 300mg dose of CBD.
- crossover clinical trial
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:
- heart rate
- systemic blood pressure
- tremor frequency and amplitude
- Visual Analog Mood Scales (VAMS)
This data was assessed with repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) for CBD, the simulated public speaking phase and interactions between these variables.
“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.
Video: Techniques to improve confidence speaking in public
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
Published November 2019
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
Late teens with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and avoidant personality disorder (2).
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).
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.
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).
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).
Both tests measure Social Anxiety Disorder symptoms in teenagers.
“CBD significantly decreased anxiety measured by both scales,” according to the study author (6).
Interested in how cannabis terpenes affect anxiety? Check out this terpene guide.
Video: CBD oil for anxiety? Miracle or Hype?
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
Published December 2018
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).
Medical marijuana that contained moderate levels of THC and the terpene trans-nerolidol was connected to decreased feelings of anxiety (2).
Anxiety Causing Terpenes
Terpenes connected to an increase in anxiety were:
This CBD study is an interesting survey of medical cannabis patients, strains and terpenes from a medical cannabis dispensary in Canada.
Most patients rated medical cannabis as very beneficial in relieving symptoms of anxiety (3).
THC Increased Anxiety
THC and some terpenes were connected with statistically significant increases in anxious feelings (4).
Terpene Anxiety Chart
The following terpenes showed a statistically significant increase in anxious feelings:
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).
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.
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
Published August 2018
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
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 may have an anti-psychotic effect in people with schizophrenia by affecting the endocannabinoid system (3)
- CBD may have an anti-anxiety effect (acute) in people who struggle with a Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
- CBD may reduce symptoms of withdrawal from quitting smoking of tobacco through the regulation of serotonin and glutamate—two compounds associated with depression (4).
- CBD needs to be studied further to confirm its effects in larger randomized clinical studies (5).
- 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
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
Published November 2018
CBD has a complex relationship with your endocannabinoid system—the system that helps to maintain emotional balance (1).
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).
This is an interesting review of cannabinoids effects on emotions and the importance of the endocannabinoid system in mental health.
According to this research, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps to balance emotional responses to rewarding and stressing events.
The ECS helps to regulate rewarding stimuli and moderate the physiological consequences of stress (3).
CBD helps to boost signaling in your ECS.
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).
- 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).
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
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
Published February 2017
- After reviewing multiple studies, CBD is a promising treatment for Panic Disorder (1)
- 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)
- Panic Disorder affects approximately 5% of the worldwide population (3).
- Common side effects and drug interactions of SSRIs (pharmaceutical drugs for panic disorder) cause many people to stop taking them.
Panic Disorder Symptoms
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Hot flashes
Since CBD appears to have anti-anxiety effects, it has been recommended as a possible treatment for Panic Disorder (4).
- After reviewing multiple clinical and preclinical trials, this study concludes that cannabidiol is a promising treatment for Panic Disorder (5).
- Specific future studies are needed to better understand how CBD helps anxiety and what the proper CBD dosage is for treating panic attacks.
Interested in the benefits of CBD for PTSD? CBD benefits for PTSD based on the latest 2019 medical study.
Video: CBD benefits for anxiety
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:
- Panic Disorder
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
- 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).
- Further research is needed on the effects of taking cannabidiol for chronic anxiety disorders (3).
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
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.
Research Published in 2014
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
CBD has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects in animal models (2).
After being administered CBD, animals were tested for:
- forced swimming test (FST)
- elevated plus maze (EPM)
- Vogel conflict test (VCT)
- 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)
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.
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
Research Published April 2012
- CBD and cannabinoids have broad effects on emotions, anxiety and fear-related behaviors (1).
- THC may make anxiety and fear behavior worse with higher doses (2)
- It appears that cannabidiol has chemical properties that reduce anxiety (3).
- This research describes the reasons for the individualized effects of CBD and THC (4)
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
- 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.
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.
de Faria SM, de Morais Fabrício D, Tumas V, et al. Effects of acute cannabidiol administration on anxiety and tremors induced by a Simulated Public Speaking Test in patients with Parkinson’s disease. J Psychopharmacol. 2020;34(2):189–196. doi:10.1177/0269881119895536
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
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
Mandolini GM, Lazzaretti M, Pigoni A, Oldani L, Delvecchio G, Brambilla P. Pharmacological properties of cannabidiol in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: a critical overview. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2018;27(4):327–335. doi:10.1017/S2045796018000239
Stampanoni Bassi M, Gilio L, Maffei P, et al. Exploiting the Multifaceted Effects of Cannabinoids on Mood to Boost Their Therapeutic Use Against Anxiety and Depression. Front Mol Neurosci. 2018;11:424. Published 2018 Nov 20. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2018.00424
Soares VP, Campos AC. Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2017;15(2):291–299. doi:10.2174/1570159×14666160509123955
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
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
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