Updated: October 19, 2018

We all get anxious sometimes.

Speaking in front of people, final exams, annual reviews – life is full of nerve-inducing events that can bring on the sweaty palms of anxiety. It’s a normal, if unpleasant, part of life. But when anxiety becomes excessive and persistent, it goes from being a temporary inconvenience to a debilitating condition.

Best CBD for Anxiety

Anxiety at this level can rob life of its joy and spontaneity, leaving you feeling both tense and exhausted – maybe even depressed and socially isolated.

If this describes you, and you’ve been wondering about the benefits of CBD as a treatment, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss in detail the research behind CBD as an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) treatment, and its potential to help with specific anxiety disorders.

CBD and anxiety

The CBD for Anxiety We RAVE About

Best Overall: Fab.

If you’re going to try just one CBD product for anxiety, try Fab. The pricing is affordable, the customer service is outstanding, and the quality is top-notch. (Check Fab’s Thanksgiving Sale: 25% OFF Store Wide Through Thanksgiving Weekend).

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Best Value: CBDistillery

Colorado-based CBDistillery is our hands-down pick for the best value for your money. Offering a line of all-natural products in a variety of dosages, CBDistillery is the perfect choice for those on a tight budget.

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Highest Quality: Populum

Populum isn’t cheap, but there’s a good reason for that: It’s the best CBD oil you can buy. If you’re willing to splurge, you won’t be disappointed with Populum.

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Best THC Free: Medterra

Even if you want to avoid the potential problems of THC, you can still enjoy the benefits of high-quality CBD. Medterra is a perfect solution for those who want CBD and nothing else.

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Everyday Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders

First, some general information on anxiety.

Anxiety can be defined as feelings of fear or worry in the absence of an immediate threat. In that sense, anxiety differs from fear – which implies the actual presence of danger.

And while the experience of anxiety is never pleasant, under normal circumstances it can actually be helpful, making you more alert and prompting you to act in appropriate ways. Like studying for an exam, or saving money for an upcoming expense.

RAVE THIS: 20 Best CBD Oils for 2018 [Fall Update]

But while you can use CBD for anxiety on an everyday type, this is not what we’re talking about when we discuss anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions and should be treated as such. They often run in families and have a biological basis – much like other diseases. Therapy, diet, exercise, and meditation may help alleviate symptoms, but anxiety disorders can’t be explained away, or meditated away, or exercised away, or dieted away.

cbd oil and anxiety

Some of the main categories of anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic Disorder

Depending on the severity of the condition, symptoms run the gamut from heart palpitations, to trembling, nausea, dizziness, chest pains, and muscle tension or weakness. Sleep can become elusive, and appetite can also be affected.

Worldwide, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders, and in the United States alone, nearly 40 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder in any given year. For reasons we don’t fully understand, women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and many anxiety disorders affect children as well.

CBD for Anxiety: A New Treatment?

With so many people suffering from chronic anxiety, it’s no wonder that a new treatment – a plant extract with apparently few side effects – is causing so much excitement.

There are, of course, pharmaceutical drugs that can treat anxiety disorders. Chances are, if you’re diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, your doctor will send you home with a prescription for some kind of antidepressant. Antidepressants help to keep neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine balanced, keeping anxiety at bay.

cbd for anxiety

There’s no doubt that anti-anxiety medications can be helpful for some people, but they also come with the drawback of possible side effects. These can include dizziness, insomnia, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. Other people complain of feeling groggy and lacking in energy.

This often leaves patients feeling that they have to choose between the symptoms of their anxiety and the side effects of their medication.

CBD first exploded on the natural health scene in 2009, and it didn’t take long for word to get out that people were using it as a treatment to combat anxiety. And unlike some grassroots movements, CBD is being taken seriously by the scientific community. Because of this, we’re slowly learning more about how and why CBD works for anxiety.

How Does CBD Work for Anxiety?

CBD – or cannabidiol – is a cannabinoid extracted cannabis plants. There are over 100 known cannabinoids that have been identified, but the two most prevalent and well known are THC and CBD. If you buy CBD, it will almost certainly have been extracted from the industrial hemp plant, which has very low levels of THC.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid responsible for the feeling of being high. That’s not its only effect, though. THC has its own list of related therapeutic benefits – from pain relief to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

But CBD differs from THC in that on its own it isn’t psychoactive. In fact, there’s evidence that CBD actually counteracts the psychoactivity of THC. So you can reap the rewards of CBD without getting high.

So how does it work?

CBD is non-psychoactive, but it does affect your brain.

All mammals have a system of receptors and chemicals called the endocannabinoid system. Our bodies actually produce their own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, which interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This interaction helps to regulate functions like sleep, pain, and immune responses.

Plant-based Cannabinoids also interact with the endocannabinoid system. THC, for example, binds with the CB1 receptor, which is what creates the sensation of being high.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a more complex way.

If you want to read a really detailed analysis of CBD’s function, you should check out this study, posted in Neurotherapeutics. The study suggests that CBD actually has “low affinity” with either endocannabinoid system receptor (meaning it doesn’t bind with either one), but rather works by influencing other compounds in the endocannabinoid system.

This creates myriad, interrelated effects – from mood regulation to immune support and pain regulation. Scientists have a ways to go before they fully understand the impact of CBD on anxiety, but research suggests that CBD increases the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and glutamate. These neurotransmitters have long been studied as major players in the regulation of anxiety.

But different anxiety disorders are often studied separately, so it might be more helpful to look at the research on CBD and some of the main categories of anxiety.

CBD for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is just what it sounds like. It means ongoing, excessive anxiety that gnaws away, making it difficult to relax – ever. It interferes with concentration, turns decision-making into a terrifying ordeal,  and makes otherwise innocuous situations seem threatening.

CBD has been studied for its anxiolytic effects (a medical term that means “anti-anxiety”) for several years, with encouraging results. Evidence, so far, is limited to animal research and small, short-term human studies. But those studies have shown enough promise to lead to the larger clinical trials that are currently in the works.

cbd oil and anxiety

Add to current research the many voices of individuals who have benefitted from CBD and you have a pretty convincing case.

Not every study points to CBD as a miracle cure for generalized anxiety, but many have confirmed its anxiolytic effects. And this comprehensive 2015 review of scientific literature on CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety concluded that CBD has considerable potential and strongly recommended further study.

CBD for Social Anxiety Disorder (S.A.D.)

One of the most common types of anxiety is social anxiety disorder. Lots of us have a hard time making small talk or speaking in public. But people with social anxiety disorder experience this on another level, spending inordinate amounts of time worrying about a social occasion, and often becoming socially isolated as a result.

Whether your social anxiety is mild or extreme, there’s evidence that CBD may be able to help.

One promising study is a 2011 randomized controlled trial that had several dozen people speak in front of a large group of people – a situation likely to induce anxiety in even the most enviably non-socially-anxious types.

Participants (some of whom had been previously diagnosed with social anxiety disorder) were divided into groups that were either given CBD or a placebo. Researchers then measured anxiety levels using both subjective and physiological measures (like heart rate and blood pressure).

cbd anxiety

The findings were conclusive. Researchers reported that pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in the participants’ speech performance. The placebo group, on the other hand “presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group”.

And that study is not alone in its findings. This 2015 article in Neurotherapeutics reviewed the pre-clinical and clinical trials looking at CBD for various forms of anxiety. The authors confirm the evidence of CBD’s efficacy for social anxiety disorder as well as the need for further clinical trials.

CBD for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is in the news a lot these days. Mostly we hear of it in relation to veterans returning from combat – but war zones are not the only trigger for PTSD.

A debilitating mental health problem, people usually develop PTSD after witnessing or experiencing a life-threatening event. These events can range from the death of a loved one to a sexual assault.

It’s not hard to find anecdotal evidence that CBD can help with PTSD symptoms. But research on CBD as a treatment for PTSD is still in the preclinical stages. There are, however, several small lab tests and studies that show the promise of CBD for this form of anxiety.

cbd and ptsd

  • In a 2016 study conducted in Canada, mice given CBD showed reduced fear memory response symptoms.
  • A 2012 study showed promising evidence that CBD can help block predator threat stress.
  • A 2005 study, also performed on mice, suggested that CBD could be therapeutically useful for PTSD in combination with psychotherapy.

Because of the strong results of several of these studies, at least one major clinical trial is currently in the works. The trial, conducted by researchers at New York University, will test whether CBD can help people with PTSD deal with alcohol addiction. The results of clinical trials like these will determine whether CBD moves into the mainstream of PTSD treatment.

CBD for Panic Disorder

If you were to measure anxiety on a scale, a panic attack feels like a ten. Your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest, you might feel like you can’t catch your breath, rational thought flees. And that’s just the panic attack itself. For people with panic disorder, the fear of the next panic attack can be overwhelming.

Inside the brain, the amygdala is one of the main culprits when it comes to panic and, fittingly, your fight or flight response. According to recent research, the amygdala is responsive to CBD, with resulting anti-panic effects.

A 2012 scholarly review of the literature on the effects of cannabinoids on anxiety noted two important points. Firstly, the cannabinoid THC can increase feelings of panic and should be avoided by people with panic disorder.

CBD, on the other hand, was shown to help regulate fear responses by “reducing amygdalar responses to fearful stimuli…and to elicit antipanic effects.” A 2017 article in Current Neuropharmacology backs up this claim. Reviewing both experimental lab animal and human studies, the researchers came to the conclusion that “CBD seems to be a promising drug for the treatment of PD [panic disorder]”.

Best CBD Oils for Anxiety

  1. Canna Trading Co.

    During our research, we really wanted to find a combination of critical elements that make CBD oils so effective – all in one product. We struck a pot of gold when we found the Canna Trading Co. Anxiety Tincture.

    This CBD oil for anxiety is not only a quick-absorption tincture, but it also has some pretty amazing ingredients including Linalool, Myrcene, Limonene, and Beta-Caryophyllene.

    These ingredients help battle severe chronic conditions such as anxiety, depression, and even joint paints. Canna Trading Co. also has a potent strain combatting stress, helping you mellow out.

    Another thing we really love about this product is the 400 mg per bottle. It’s a mild dosage that is suitable for any beginner looking for relief.

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  2. Fab.

    Motivated by a desire to help people live a preventative health lifestyle, Fab. takes CBD seriously. They’re committed to perfecting the art and science of CBD extraction – and it shows.

    (Check Fab’s Thanksgiving Sale: 25% OFF Store Wide Through Thanksgiving Weekend).

    Using an MCT carrier oil, these are full-spectrum CBD drops, so you’ll benefit from the synergistic effect of CBD with small amounts of other cannabinoids. You’ll also be able to choose from four different strengths (from 150 mg to 1200 mg). And if taste is a big deal to you, you’ll appreciate the ability to choose your flavor. Natural flavors include citrus, mint or natural.

    Their products are made from 100% organic hemp, grown in Colorado. Fab. produces their CBD drops using a solvent-free CO2 extraction process (which you can read more about on their website). Their CBD is in the mid-range for price, but their clean process and great product makes it well worth the cost.

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  3. CBDistillery

    If you’re looking for a high-quality product at an affordable price, CBDistillery is a great choice. A Colorado-based company, they’ve been working since 2016 to provide hemp oils that are both all-natural and fairly priced.

    When you purchase from CBDistillery’s site, you’ll receive a CO2-extracted CBD product that has been sourced and grown domestically, usually in Colorado. And their source farms utilize organic practices, so they’re both non-GMO and pesticide free.

    At CBDistillery, you’ll have plenty of options to treat your anxiety with. Tinctures come in a variety of concentrations, which makes dosing easier. And, if tinctures aren’t your cup of tea, they have a whole line of other CBD products to treat your anxiety with.

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  4. 4 Corners Cannabis

    If you want the best, look no further than 4 Corners Cannabis. Owned by veteran growers of cannabis, 4 Corners Cannabis controls every stage of their CBD production – from plant to product.

    Veritable CBD-nerds, 4 Corner’s website goes into loving detail about their organic Ma’at cannabis strain. Bred for high-CBD concentrations, their oils also contain higher levels of other cannabinoids like CBC and CBG, with only trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%).

    4 Corners extracts their CBD oil using food grade ethanol – a relatively gentle process which results in a true full-spectrum product that is second to none, more than justifying the high-end price tag.

    On the downside, their website isn’t the easiest to navigate, but it is super informative, with advice about dosing and storage.

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  5. Populum

    Populum’s website homepage describes their CBD as “honestly made”.

    This means a high-quality, non-GMO CBD oil that is domestically sourced. Their commitment to honesty also means that they run lab tests for every batch – and you’ll get a copy of those results with your CBD oil.

    Formulated for daily use, Populum’s signature CBD tincture has a subtle orange flavor and comes in three different strengths. You can choose to buy one bottle at a time – or you can subscribe to receive a regular delivery and save a bit of money.

    The people at Populum work hard to create a high-quality product, and they stand behind it. If you’re not happy, the company will give you a full refund within 30 days.  Not surprisingly, the company has a reputation for fantastic customer service.

    Also, their packaging is pretty, which doesn’t hurt.

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  6. Nuleaf Naturals

    Since 2014, Nuleaf Naturals has been working to create the highest-grade, organic CBD oil on the market.

    Their CBD oil is a whole-plant extract, sourced and processed in Colorado, with a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. And every bottle has been subjected to rigorous testing, so you can be confident that it has exactly what you want – and none of the other stuff that you don’t want.

    Their tincture contains a concentration of 50 mg CBD per milliliter of oil, and your choice is limited to the size of the bottle. But if you have any questions about their products, they have a robust customer service that will be happy to take care of you.

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  7. Lazarus Naturals

    An employee-owned company committed to ethical sourcing and extraction, Lazarus Naturals produces domestically sourced, non-GMO CBD oil.

    At first glance, the Lazarus Naturals’ website doesn’t make it easy to find tinctures that are made with CBD isolate. Most of their tinctures are full-spectrum, but if you read the product descriptions you’ll find that their High Potency Flavorless CBD Tinctures are made from CBD isolate in fractionated coconut oil. These are a great option if you’re looking for a higher concentration of CBD – and also if flavor tends to put you off.

    The company also gets major points for their social conscience. If you’re a veteran, on long-term disability, or your income is below the federal poverty level, Lazarus Naturals will provide a generous discount on your CBD purchase.

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  8. Kat's Naturals

    When you really want to avoid THC, you need an isolate from a trustworthy source. Kat’s Naturals, a Tennessee-based start-up, takes this responsibility seriously. Their organically grown CBD isolate is tested to be 99.9% pure and drug test safe.

    Kat’s Naturals’ Relax tincture is a great isolate for calming the body and mind. It contains 10mg CBD per 1ml as well as a range of terpins that may add to the anti-anxiety effects. You’ll taste both the CO2 extracted hops oil that carries the CBD and sustainably sourced wild orange essential oil.

    One really nice feature of Kat’s Naturals is that they offer trial sizes for those who just want to give it a try before committing. You can purchase a 5 ml bottle, which will give you a sense of how it works for you.

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  9. cbdMD

    Proudly located in Kentucky, cbdMD actually operates as a part of that state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

    Drawing on the long history of hemp growth in Kentucky, the company seeks to merge the history of the area with the latest in cannabis science. The result of their labor is premium, organic CBD (in an MCT carrier oil) at a respectable price.

    They offer a variety of tincture concentrations, so you can easily customize your dose. And there are four different, naturally derived flavor options.

    Their website isn’t the most exciting to look at, but it’s clearly laid out and pretty easy to navigate. And if you’re an information junkie, you’ll appreciate the detail they provide about their extraction process.

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  10. Medterra

    A Kentucky-based startup, Medterra’s products are grown and extracted under the strict guidelines of the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

    Guaranteed to have zero THC, their CO2-extracted CBD isolate is over 99% pure – and each batch is third-party lab tested to ensure both consistency and transparency. You won’t get any genetically modified ingredients or contaminants either.

    To experience the anxiolytic effects of Medterra’s CBD oil, you can choose from concentrations that range from 16mg to 100mg per 1ml serving. That gives you a lot of flexibility to dose according to your needs. Their CBD isolate is carried in MCT oil, which has a neutral flavor and odor.(Have you tasted it? They make kind of a big deal about being flavor and odor free in their product descriptions.)  

    And if their customer reviews are anything to go by, people are pretty happy with the results.

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FAQ’s

What Difference Does The MG Per ML Make With CBD Oil?

If it’s your first time trying out CBD oil, it’s recommended to start with a mild low dose (300 mg). If you suffer from chronic pain, inflammation, depression, etc. It’s likely that you will work your way up to the bigger boy’s at 1000 mg. But starting with a milder dosage helps your body get used to the product. It will also help you gauge exactly how much mg per mL you need for relief.

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking CBD Oil For Anxiety?

CBD is harmless. But that does not mean it is absent side effects. We thought that it’s vital you know about potential side effects before you go ahead and invest in any CBD oil. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Low blood pressure.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Increased tremor in a small segment of parkinson patients.  

Will CBD Oil Have The Same Recreational Effects As Marijuana?

For a first-time user, it’s natural to wonder if CBD oil will get you stoned/baked/slaughtered or however you consider it. The short answer is that it won’t. That’s because of the way that CBD oil is manufactured. The THC count is minimized as much as possible (the stuff that gets you high) whereas the CBD is maximized (the stuff that offers medicinal benefits).

Conclusion: What Is the Best CBD for Anxiety?

If you suffer from anxiety, you know first-hand that it’s a complicated condition to treat – and there’s probably no one miracle cure. But there’s a growing body of evidence that CBD can be an effective treatment – on its own or in conjunction with therapy or other forms of treatment. And you don’t have to be suffering from an extreme form of anxiety to reap the anxiolytic benefits of CBD.

It’ll probably take some time before CBD is accepted as a mainstream treatment for anxiety, and more clinical trials will be needed before the FDA is convinced of its efficacy. But if even a fraction of the anecdotal evidence is true, then CBD has already provided relief for many people who have been let down by pharmaceutical treatments.

But before you even consider ditching your antidepressants – or if you’re taking any other medication whatsoever – it’s imperative that you talk to your doctor before trying CBD. Because of the way it is metabolized, CBD can be the cause of drug-to-drug interactions which could result in your other medications becoming less effective. Only a medical professional can advise you on whether CBD might be helpful and safe for you.