CBD For Anxiety: Side effects and Dosage

CBD  For Anxiety: Side effects and Dosage

CBD is taking the wellness world by storm. Many people from health influencers to doctors are strong advocates for it has a number of well-being benefits. There is growing scientific research that supports the positive pharmacological effects of CBD products on a number of health problems, ranging from pain to seizures as well as encouraging benefits on mental wellbeing as well. 

This is especially good news for anxiety sufferers who are turning to CBD for relief. 

But what exactly is CBD? 

Cannabidiol is one of the numerous cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBD oil has only two ingredients, a carrier oil with a CBD extract. CBD is added to the oil, either as an isolate of pure 99.9 per cent CBD or as a full or broad-spectrum extract.

Not everything that comes from cannabis is psychoactive, though. That comes from the other well-known cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol otherwise known as THC which gives you the feeling of being high that you get from weed. Legally, any CBD oil sold and consumed in the UK can’t have more than 0,3% THC, which is so low that it has no psychoactive effect at all. 

What does it mean to have anxiety?

Coming up in strong support of the positive effects of CBD oil are sufferers of anxiety. According to the UK’s leaders in mental health, Mental Health Foundation, there are over 8 million cases of anxiety in the UK, with women twice as likely as men to have some form of anxiety disorder. 

These numbers only seem to be rapidly growing due to our increasing deadline driven and fast-paced lifestyles, with sufferers as young as primary school age being treated. 

The term “anxiety disorder” covers a range of psychiatric disorders that can range from paralyzing fear or worry to panic disorders such as panic attacks, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), separation anxiety and agoraphobia and other phobias. Everyone’s experiences are different, however, with some high functioning and others a crippling hindrance to daily life.  

While there is still a lot of research being done into anxiety disorder and its causes, there are a growing number of people who are fighting through its effects and turning to CBD oil as a natural and effective relief from symptoms, with some studies saying that up to a third of those taking CBD are taking it to treat anxiety. 

What does CBD oil do to help with anxiety?

Fear and anxiety are age-old human responses essential to coping with threats to survival.

Let’s break down the science behind CBD and anxiety

The human body has various different receptors which keep up communication between our minds and bodies, and vice versa.  They may be joined together to form an ear or eye or they may come in the form of our skin. Ultimately, they’re connected to our central nervous system by afferent nerve fibers and receive signals from various stimuli.  

A couple of receptor types called CB1 and CB2 receptors which are found in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, are thought to interact with CBD. While research is still being done on exactly how they interact, it’s thought that CBD affects serotonin, a neurotransmitter. 

Our serotonin levels directly affect our mental health. Low serotonin can result in low moods and depression, and in some cases cause anxiety. 

According to Net Doctor CBD works by “interacting with one of the body’s own regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). We have endocannabinoid receptors almost everywhere in the body and it is part of our nervous system. We find them most abundantly in the brain but also in the gut, reproductive system, bones and immune cells.”

A number of studies are currently being done using CBD for individual anxiety disorders. Many have shown very promising results which has contributed to the rise in popularity of buying it over the counter throughout the UK, to use CBD oil for mild anxiety. 

Research into using CBD for anxiety has been particularly positive for people with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

study was done in 2011 particularly to determine whether CBD helped with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Subjects in the study all 24 of whom had never been treated for SAD were given a placebo or a 600ml dose of CBD an hour before taking part in a simulated public speaking event to determine their anxiety levels at the time of having to speak. 

“Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels”

Research is still being done and results determined into just how significantly CBD impacts people with anxiety disorders, but many people are CBD advocates for the treatment of sleep disorders, many of which can be linked to anxiety as well. And CBD is widely prescribed for anxiety-induced insomnia.

If you’re considering taking CBD for anxiety you may be wondering how to take it. The most common form of CBD comes in oil form with a few drops under the tongue. 

But CBD comes in many forms such as capsules, gummies, spray and even some coffees and shakes. Taking CBD in oil form makes it easy for you and your doctor to control your dosage, especially if you’re trying for the first time to relieve your symptoms. 

The CBD you buy must contain less than 0,3% THC, to be legally sold and consumed in the UK. So, make sure you buy from a reputable vendor. This will also guarantee good quality and potency that ensures you get the best possible effects. Don’t be put off using CBD by the bad effects of low-quality versions that have not passed the FDA standards for CBD in the UK and are not properly authorised for distribution.

How much CBD should you take for anxiety? 

10-110mg per day is thought to be completely safe and is the most common dosage. Doses above 1000mg per day are not recommended as this could have an effect on your liver. 

Your doctor should also be able to prescribe the correct dosage of CBD oil for the treatment of anxiety. Research is still being done to determine the ‘sweet spot' between too low and too high a dose to relieve symptoms and not cause other side effects like drowsiness or dry mouth, but you and your doctor will be able to test and find a dose of CBD that works best, and fortunately, these side effects often wear off very quickly.

Can I take CBD with other anxiety medication?

It’s important to note that you must never stop taking any current medications before consulting a doctor. Many traditional medications and particularly those associated with the relief of anxiety symptoms can cause harmful withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness 
  • Vomiting
  • Nightmares
  • Headache
  • Prickling or tingling sensation on the skin

Still, you must always talk to your doctor before taking CBD products, especially if you are already taking other medications as they can interfere with each other and cause uncomfortable side effects like diarrhoea, headaches, weight gain or loss, fatigue and drowsiness. Blood thinners and grapefruit and CBD should be avoided as both interact with the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down and absorption of the medication.  

The good news is that The World Health Organisation has confirmed that CBD products are not addictive unlike many other medications for anxiety. As it’s a natural, particularly organic CBD product, if you need to stop taking it or run out and are not able to get more for a certain period of time, you won’t suffer any side effects or withdrawal symptoms from not taking it. 

Can CBD make anxiety worse?

Some people have reported an increase in anxiety after taking CBD oil, in some cases, this may be a result of the wrong dose being taken. If, for example, the dose of CBD is making you drowsy and unfocused, this could elevate your anxiety levels and you try to get work done and are missing deadlines or are wondering if you have an illness. It’s important to understand that it may take time to find the right dose for you and there may be some difficult days as you test and adjust. 

Which CBD is best for anxiety? 

There is no particular type of CBD that works best for anxiety. Testing products with a higher or lower percentage of CBD will help you determine what works best for the type of anxiety you experience and whether you would prefer it in oil form, or one of a number of different ways it can be taken.  

If you’re looking for a mild and effective treatment for anxiety, CBD could offer some relief. If you are looking for ways to improve your overall physical and mental health, it’s worth trying CBD to see if it can offer positive effects on your daily routine and if you experience any relief from your symptoms of anxiety. Just a single dose added to your morning and evening routines could be the change you need to live your best, anxiety-free life.