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CBD and Anxiety

Accumulated evidence indicates that CBD, a major cannabinoid of the Cannabis sativa L plant, has potent anxiolytic properties.

CBD and Anxiety
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CBD and Anxiety: A possible natural remedy?

Accumulated evidence indicates that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive and non-addictive component of the Cannabis sativa L plant, can reverse anxiety-like behavior.

Going to parties with people you don’t know, facing a hard day at work, struggling to get through exams, keeping up with your house, appointments, errands, breakups, meeting with your boss or going to a job interview. For many people these buildups of stressful situations can instigate a common feeling of fear, discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and stomach pain. These ailments and discomfort can be linked to anxiety. According to preclinical trials, CBD could be a potential natural remedy to reduce anxiety.

What is Anxiety? 

El término ansiedad puede referirse no solo a un trastorno sino también a un síntoma. Se trata de un mecanismo adaptativo natural que nos pone en alerta ante situaciones comprometidas. En cierta medidas, la ansiedad es adecuada para prevenir situaciones peligrosas y mantenernos concentrados. Pero el exceso de estrés exceso las personas pueden sentirse desbordadas y cualquier situación puede resultar peligrosa. 

The term anxiety can refer not only to a disorder but also to a symptom. It is a natural adaptive mechanism that alerts us when we are in compromising situations. In certain measures, anxiety is necessary to prevent dangerous situations and keep us focused, but in excess it can make people feel overwhelmed and turn certain moments into dangerous situations.

A person suffering from anxiety may feel especially vulnerable and defenseless as well as experiencing a deterioration of psychosocial and physiological functions.

Symptoms related to anxiety attacks are:

  1. Palpitations or tachycardia
  2. Shortness of breath, with rapid breathing.
  3. Feeling of tightness in the chest.
  4. Fear or panic. Literally feeling like you are in danger.
  5. Sweating or chills
  6. Tremors
  7. Nausea or abdominal discomfort.
  8. Dizziness or even fainting.

If the anxiety is persistent and intense, it can make your normal day to day impossible. So how can CBD help treat anxiety?

What is CBD? Properties and benefits of CBD.

CBD (Cannabidiol) is the second most abundant cannabinoid among the 100+ cannabinoids that can be found in Cannabis Sativa L plant. CBD was recently recognized by the WHO for its therapeutic potential and was deemed unharmful due to the fact that it is not psychoactive.

Why is CBD good for anxiety?

One of CBD’s most interesting properties are its anxiolytic effects. CBD acts in our body through the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, regulating the activity of the amygdala and the insula. Located in our brain, the amygdala and insula are in charge of activities related to the emotions and symptoms linked to anxiety disorders, like stress, fear, disgust or sadness, but also love and happiness. Therefore, CBD’s role as a regulator and not an inhibitor of the activity of these brain structures is very important and has sparked lots of interest in researchers around the globe.

Stress by definition is not always negative, it produces hormones such as adrenaline, dopamine, or serotonin, influencing the energy of the person, increasing their vitality and confidence to face a problem. However, when stress is continuous, or isn’t managed correctly, the body generates different hormones such as cortisol, producing a feeling of exhaustion, irritability or lack of motivation.

Evidence of CBD’s benefits for anxiety

Existing preclinical evidence strongly supports the potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders. CBD exhibits a range of effective properties (for some symptoms), including its anxiolytic, panicolytic, and anti-compulsive actions, a decrease in fear, and prevention of long-term anxiety-related effects due to stress.

In these preclinical studies, it has been verified that CBD interacts with receptors that regulate behaviors related to fear and anxiety, specifically the type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R), the serotonin receptor ( 5-HT1A) and the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channel, vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1).

CBD, administered on a regular basis, reduced acute, stress-induced, increases in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as delayed angiogenic effects of stress (those occurring within 24 hours of the stress-inducing event). CBD has also been shown to improve the extinction of fear responses in addition to blocking the reconsolidation of aversive memories.

CBD for treating anxiety and insomnia

Anxiety can affect other factors in our lives such as sleep, leading to insomnia. CBDs control over anxiety is immediate and according to studies, if the dosage is stable, in the long term it has therapeutic potential to improve sleep.

Can CBD be abused? What happens if I consume high doses of CBD?

CBD has been found to have a bell-shaped response curve, this means that higher doses are not necessarily more effective nor stronger, it would actually be the opposite. So it is essential to find the right dose for the subject. To do this, it is recommended to start with a low dose and increase and regulate them until the perfect point is found.

The possible adverse effects of CBD according to the Fundación Canna are: “tiredness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, dizziness and decreased appetite.” Which decrease by reducing the CBD dose or by stopping administration in general.

Has CBD been scientifically proven to help with anxiety and depression?

The simple answer is: No, there are preclinical trials, such as those cited above, that show that it is effective, but more research is needed. The range of conditions for which CBD has been studied are very diverse, consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

More research and clinical studies are required to evaluate CBD as a possible treatment for anxiety and depression. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t help, but properly controlled clinical trials will always be needed to support the indication for CBD to treat anxiety or depression.

Thanks to preclinical results and other research around the world, the regulatory and bureaucratic framework has increased its acceptance of the use of cannabinoids as a therapeutic alternative. In countries like the U.S., Sweden or Canada, CBD is sold legally for ingested use.

Still, much remains to be known about the complex endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with different cannabinoids. The key to progress will be destigmatizing the cannabis plant and moving forward on clinical trials and supporting research in this field.

Translated by: Christina Schwertschlag



Can CBD Help with Anxiety?” American Association of Anxiety. June 2019

Esther M. Blessing, et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders,” 2015

Scott Shannon, et al.“Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series,”  2019

Vanessa P. Soares & Alline C. Campos. “Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol,” 2017

Nobuo Masataka. “Anxiolytic Effects of Repeated Cannabidiol Treatment in Teenagers With Social Anxiety Disorders.” Nobuo Masataka. Primate Research Institute. 2019

Peter Grinspoon, MD.“Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.” Hardvard Contributor. 2019

Claudia Nicolás Rey (Author)

Claudia is dedicated to the research, optimisation and development of cannabis content that improves the user experience with the products and provides clarity around frequently asked questions about CBD and how to use it.


Tommaso Bruscolini (Reviewer)

Tommaso Bruscolini (Rimini, Italy) is a neuropsychologist and phytotherapist based in Barcelona, where he has been running a private practice since 2014, both in person and online. In his practice, Tommaso formulates and produces different preparations with all kinds of medicinal plants, in addition to making personalized recommendations.



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