Medical Research

The Psychological Effects of CBD

Written by Antonio DeRose

With the rise of the cannabis and hemp industries over the past several years, by now, everyone is at least vaguely familiar with cannabidiol (CBD). Most people have at least heard the term, and many have seen it on the shelves in everything from local cafes to mainstream health stores like Walgreens. Wherever you’ve seen or heard about CBD, there’s a good chance you’re aware of it being touted for having several medicinal benefits, aiding in medical conditions like pain, inflammation, different forms of epilepsy, and many others. According to a national poll, 14% of Americans admit to consuming CBD products, with 40% reporting for pain, 20% for anxiety, and 11% for sleep. [1]

With so many people reporting medical benefits from CBD, it brings into question what the psychological effects of CBD are. Thanks to the legalization of cannabis and hemp in the United States, restrictions on researching cannabinoids like CBD are continuing to loosen, giving way to new and important research. In 2020, a systematic review was published analyzing the available clinical research on CBD for use in various medical and psychiatric conditions, and it had several promising findings.

When compared against anxiety, for example, the review found that CBD decreased neurons that cause fear, “and a direct infusion of CBD in the amygdala neurons has led to decreased anxiety-related behaviors”. For those suffering from other psychological conditions, like PTSD, a small study mentioned in the review found that after administering oral CBD, “ninety-one percent of the patients reported a decrease in nightmare symptoms.” [2]

The psychological association between CBD and depression also looks positive, with animal models showing “significant antidepressant-like effect after administration of CBD”. With human studies, “In vitro, CBD is found to be a microglial stabilizer which is similar to the medication lithium which could be beneficial for depression and mood stabilization”. [2]

Even when compared to more intense psychological conditions, like psychosis, particularly for schizophrenia, the review mentions, “In studies using animal models for schizophrenia, CBD has shown to improve psychotic symptoms.” [2]

All of these notes are promising indicators for CBD having positive psychological effects, but keep in mind that every person’s biological makeup is extremely unique. The differences from one person’s neurological and psychological health to another are extremely individualized. This makes your unique characteristics very important to consider when deciding if CBD may or may not have the same positive psychological effects as the discussed literature.



1 – Brenan, M. 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products. Gallup Poll. 2019.

2 – Oberbarnscheidt, T., et al., The Impact of Cannabidiol on Psychiatric and Medical Conditions. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research. 2020 Jul; 12(7): 393–403.

About the author

Antonio DeRose