Effects of CBD oil on mental health: anxiety disorders

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In this article Keith Myers explores the effect that CBD oil has on mental health and anxiety disorders.

In 2017, 3.8% of the global population was reported to suffer from anxiety disorders by Our World in Data. One out of ten people get diagnosed with a mental health disorder globally. Anxiety outpaced depression, making it the most common mental health disorder. Rather than commonly prescribed treatments, most people are turning to CBD products to treat their mental health disorders.

People with anxiety disorders are more likely to visit a healthcare provider and even more likely to get hospitalised for psychiatric disorders than those not suffering from anxiety disorders.


41% of cannabis users were reported to swap their anti-anxiety medications for cannabis in a survey conducted in 2017, with 40% attesting to the fact that CBD was more effective in relieving medical conditions like anxiety.

Most people with anxiety fail to seek the right treatment because the cost of treatment in the US is expensive. A low-cost treatment like cognitive-behavioural therapies cost roughly $100-$120 or more per hour.

An average citizen with minimum wage suffering from anxiety may have to work several jobs just to afford a session. To top that up, not all healthcare insurers provide coverage for specific medications, which makes it even more difficult for those suffering from anxiety to manage the symptoms.

Hence, many people suffering from anxiety prefer to turn down medical treatment and cognitive therapies and turn towards Cannabidiol or CBD to manage and help treat their anxiety.

However, CBD has been previously deemed unsafe by health regulators because of its psychotropic cannabis counterpart – THC – the compound that makes one ‘high’. Luckily, extensive research has helped undermine these previous stereotypes regarding cannabidiol and CBD and proved that it could provide therapeutic benefits to patients.

Hence, many countries have started to adopt CBD-based medications to treat several medical conditions. This makes CBD highly versatile as a treatment option at a cheaper cost compared to traditional methods of treatment. You can also get a medical cannabis license to buy CBD products from an authorised licensed vendor.

Is CBD Effective for treating mental health disorders?

Research shows that CBD can help treat severe medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and depression. Hence, CBD products like tinctures, patches, and topical have become popular because they do not need direct consumption, as all you have to do is apply the oil, patch, or cream on your body.

CBD products have been products of interest in treating social anxiety and anxiety disorders. FDA even approved the use of cannabidiol in treating epilepsy. A recent clinical trial has shown that CBD can effectively reduce anxiety.

The Permanente Journal published a study reporting that 79% of participants experienced a reduction in anxiety. Hence, these preliminary results on the positive effects of CBD have made mental health advocates to consider CBD for anti-anxiety effects.

Even though the way CBD works to treat anxiety isn’t fully understood, it hasn’t stopped millions of people in need of symptom relief from using CBD. It is reported in a 2019 Gallup Poll that 14% of Americans use CBD.

In another poll, 37% of CBD users use it for anxiety, with participants reporting that it is highly effective. Hence, for the many Americans struggling with social anxiety and anxiety disorders, CBD helps provide a way for them to use a holistic approach to manage anxiety by utilising the natural interaction of CBD with the body.

The need for more research

However, it is essential to note that there is still not enough research to show the long-term effects of CBD on mental health. No long-term risks have been identified so far, but that does not guarantee that there are none.

Though most people do not experience extreme side effects, some people have the sensitivity to CBD, with cases of fatigue or diarrhoea after taking CBD products. The reason some people experience side effects is because some CBD products do not have the CBD levels they purport.

While CBD is popular, there is still need-to-know on how it works, and you should keep this in mind when using it for anxiety or any other mental health disorder.

Realise that CBD isn’t a replacement for anti-depressants or anti-psychotics. If you are taking prescription medication, keep taking it until your healthcare provider says otherwise.

Even though some people swear by the effectiveness of CBD as a health remedy, we recommend talking to your healthcare provider before taking CBD products because it could interact with medications you could be taking for your mental health.

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