Medical Research

What Research Says About CBD and Anxiety

Written by Antonio DeRose

Cannabidiol (CBD) has a fairly strong reputation for having anxiolytic effects, but does CBD really help with anxiety? The research on CBD from hemp has been less restricted as CBD from cannabis, and even CBD from cannabis has been studied more closely in recent years. Over time, there’s been a good amount of science stacking up to suggest, yes, CBD can help some people with anxiety, although it varies from person to person.

Going back as far as 2015, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported CBD as having several medicinal benefits. These included anti-anxiety effects, referencing several scientific findings that concluded the safety and efficacy of CBD in treating a range of symptoms associated with anxiety and stress. It was also mentioned that “The anxiety-reducing effects of CBD appear to be mediated by alterations in serotonin receptor 1a signaling”, going on to suggest more research is needed to pinpoint the exact mechanisms that trigger these anxiety-reducing responses. [1]

This call for more research at that time seemed to skip over research that was already  published in 2010. Scientists in Brazil studied the neural basis of anxiolytic effects of CBD in generalized anxiety (SAD). Their research concluded that CBD resulted in “significantly decreased subjective anxiety”, recommending CBD for reducing anxiety in people diagnosed with SAD. It should also be noted that the effective dose for the anti-anxiety effects was 400mg of CBD. [2]

Although these research findings sound promising, cannabinoid medicine is still a very individualized process, meaning it can vary between people based on our unique biological makeup. A study published this year examined a potential placebo effect when patients already hold strong beliefs about how effective CBD is for reducing anxiety. They confirmed that expected results from CBD impacted many of the participants’ subjective and physiological responses, including anxiolytic effects. [3] CBD does seem to help several people with different levels and symptoms of anxiety, but these are the kind of notes to take into consideration when wondering if CBD can help with your anxiety.

 

References:

1 – Volkow, N. The Biology and Potential Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2015. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/testimonies/2015/biology-potential-therapeutic-effects-cannabidiol

2 – Crippa, J. et al., Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2010. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269881110379283

3 – Spinella, T. et al., Evaluating cannabidiol (CBD) expectancy effects on acute stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized crossover study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2021 Jul;238(7):1965-1977. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33813611/

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Antonio DeRose

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