Can Using CBD Help You Manage Anxiety?
Can CBD help treat your anxiety? If left untreated, chronic anxiety can affect appetite and digestion, respiration, heart rhythm, skin, sleep, memory, attention span, and social behavior, to name just a few serious impacts. You may currently be taking or considering a prescription medication, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax or Valium), antidepressants (Zoloft or Prozac) or others. But these drugs are generally not recommended for long-term use, they can be addictive and they cause life-threatening side effects if taken too frequently or at higher-than-prescribed dosages.
Nowadays, CBD hemp oil is often mentioned as an alternative to these common medications, and it can be beneficial for some people. Here are a few questions to ask before you take CBD for anxiety:
1. What is anxiety?
It isn’t a single condition. It can be divided into general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other diagnoses. The distinctions are important to know because different diagnoses can have different symptoms, and CBD may have benefits for some people based on their diagnosis.
2. Can CBD help with my anxiety?
Research suggests that CBD dampens the neurotransmitter serotonin, which affects mood and can cause anxiety. Anecdotal reports and a few scientific studies on lab animals have indicated that CBD may relieve general or social anxiety disorder, but that evidence is far from conclusive. Some scientific studies and literature reviews covered patients in uncontrolled experiments; that is, without a separate control group given a placebo. Other studies investigated whether CBD was helpful in combination with prescription medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. But studies need to be performed examining CBD use over an extended period of time.
Please note that CBD has not been approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement or as a treatment for any condition (including anxiety). Also, product manufacturers and retailers can’t make claims about its medical effectiveness.
3. How might CBD affect me?
Taken during the day, CBD may adjust your mood so that you don’t feel as anxious as you usually do. Taken before bedtime, CBD may calm the brain’s activity keeping you awake. CBD is generally considered safe when taken in moderation. Uncommon side effects include fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth, weight and appetite changes. And some people may experience heightened anxiety, depending on the dosage.
Also, if you’re taking any prescription medications, vitamins or dietary supplements, CBD could prevent them from working effectively. It has been demonstrated that CBD, as with grapefruit or certain antidepressants, can interfere with anticoagulant and anti-seizure medications.
4. What kind of CBD product should I try?
There are various types of products and delivery methods, including CBD oil for vaping or sublingual (under the tongue) use, CBD pills and capsules, and CBD gummies. For example, vaping a few puffs of CBD oil, or placing a dropper with oil sublingually and letting it soak for a minute before swallowing, might work faster than gummies or capsules—which must first pass through the stomach and liver. The effects may last a few hours.
As with any use of CBD, seek medical advice before you begin. Your doctor can help you determine whether CBD is an option for your anxiety and what drug interactions it might have with other medications you’re currently taking. It’s necessary to continue taking any prescribed medications as directed by your doctor.
The delivery method will determine when CBD should be taken. For example, a CBD edible might be taken an hour or two before bedtime or an anxiety-producing situation, while vaping or placing a tincture under the tongue might be done about a few minutes before. If you’re taking CBD for daytime anxiety, avoid products containing melatonin, which can induce drowsiness.
5. How much CBD should I take?
It depends on your weight, metabolism, CBD tolerance and current medications. But there’s no standard daily amount across various CBD products, so do some research first to determine what amount might work for you. The CBD content will be measured in milligrams (mg); for example, with CBD oil containing 1,500mg in a 30mL bottle, one-half a dropper (0.5 mL) contains 25mg of CBD.
If you have chronic anxiety, you might be reaching for the CBD oil several times during the day as well as before bedtime. Start with the recommended daily amount and split it throughout the day, then gradually increase (or titrate) after a few days until you begin experiencing an effect. Continue taking it for a few weeks before you decide that CBD just isn’t right for you. The amount that’s most effective may depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have. Many experts recommend slowly working up to the point of effectiveness. After that point, increasing the daily amount may actually decrease effectiveness.