CBD Oil for Anxiety and Stress

By Melena Gurganus
Joice Kelly, Unsplash

Anxiety is common in today’s world, and people are constantly searching for natural ways to reduce anxiety. Cannabidiol (CBD oil) is a popular wellness supplement that can be taken as a potential treatment for stress.

When taking CBD oil for anxiety, many individuals benefit from its calming effects on their physical and mental health, but we’re here to dive into the research and effects of CBD to determine if it can really help reduce anxiety symptoms.

First we’ll talk a bit about CBD may help anxiety then show you our top picks. If you’re ready to start shopping, feel free to skip ahead.

Stress vs Anxiety—What’s the difference?

Stress and anxiety are similar, but different. Stress is a response to an external force that’s caused by a trigger such as big life changes. The uneasy feelings associated with stress are often short-lived. However, long term stress is possible if you are constantly experiencing mental or emotional strain.

In opposition to stress, anxiety symptoms produce excessive worry that’s caused internally. For example, many people get anxiety over public speaking even though there is no real harm when talking in front of other people. Anxiety can start to cause real issues when these feelings continue to linger despite the absence of a reasonable threat.

Stress and anxiety tend to produce the same types of physical symptoms, including:

  • Sleeping issues
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Headaches, stomach aches, back pain, etc.

Research and Benefits of CBD Oil for Anxiety

Along with the many personal anecdotes from people who take CBD for anxiety and stress, there’s also scientific evidence to back-up the notion that CBD oil helps alleviate anxiety. This includes both human and animal studies that reflect the anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties of CBD oil.

How CBD for Anxiety Works

The anti-anxiety effects of CBD are made possible by the endocannabinoid system (ECS) within our bodies. This system helps regulate hormones, particularly those that relate to anxiety—like adrenaline (the emergency hormone), cortisol (the stress hormone), and serotonin (the happy hormone).

Cannabidiol stimulates cannabinoid receptors all throughout the body, including those within our central nervous system that play a crucial role in the release of our hormones. The key factor here is balance. We don’t need extra levels of serotonin or lower levels of cortisol, rather we need to maintain regulation of these hormone levels.

It’s also worth mentioning that scientists aren’t exactly sure of the relationship between CBD and anxiety, but there is new research being conducted to determine its efficacy. Here are a few of the most recent and relevant scientific studies that denote the effects of CBD oil for anxiety:

  • 2019 literature review discusses the science behind the effects of cannabinoids on mood and anxiety disorder symptoms. The possibility of enhanced impact with the addition of terpenes (aka entourage effect) is also explored.
  • 2015 literature review examined 49 studies, including preclinical and clinical studies. The preclinical evidence (i.e., rodent studies) found conclusive evidence of CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety behaviors. Human studies supported the potential of CBD in the treatment of anxiety disorders at a dose range of 300-600 mg. Further, research indicated that CBD had minimal sedative effects and an “excellent” safety profile. More evidence is needed to determine if “chronic, in addition to acute CBD dosing, is anxiolytic in humans.”
  • 2017 literature review investigated CBD’s regulation of emotion and found “converging evidence that acute CBD treatment is anxiolytic in both animals and humans,” making CBD a “potential candidate for testing as a pharmacological adjunct to psychological therapies.”
  • 2011 randomized controlled trial evaluated the effects of CBD on 24 patients with social anxiety when giving a public presentation. Patients who received 600mg of CBD showed a significant reduction in anxiety, cognitive impairment, and speech discomfort.
  • 2019 randomized controlled trial found that 300mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety during a public speaking simulation in healthy men.
  • 2019 retrospective case series of 47 patients with anxiety receiving treatment in a psychiatry clinic looked at the clinical impact of CBD, when added as an adjunct therapy to usual treatment. Anxiety scores were reduced within the first month in almost 80% of patients.

When you take CBD hemp oil, the compound can affect many bodily functions in a positive way to promote general health and wellness from within. CBD oil isn’t a cure-all for your stress or nerves, but it may help decrease anxiety. Some additional health benefits of CBD oil include:

  • CBD oil won’t make you feel groggy like most anxiety medications do
  • It also promotes balance internally by interacting with the ECS
  • CBD products don’t require a prescription

3 Best CBD Oils for Anxiety

NuLeaf Naturals

Based out of Colorado, this brand has some of the best CBD oils on the market, and a lot of people take NuLeaf CBD oil because their strong tinctures work well for anxiety purposes.

Price: Starting at $38.50

CBD strength: 50 mg of CBD per mL


These full-spectrum CBD oils include terpenes to help calm the mind and relieve stress, plus they come in a variety of flavors (citrus, vanilla, berry, mint, and natural) so you can truly enjoy the taste of FAB CBD oil.

Price range: $39 – $129

CBD strength: 300 mg, 600 mg, 1200 mg, and 2400 mg (per 30mL bottle)


If you’re looking for a THC-free option to help combat everyday anxiety and stresses, cbdMD offers broad spectrum CBD oils in a wide variety of potencies and flavors, so you can find the right option for your needs.

Price range: $30 – $340

CBD strength: 300 mg, 750 mg, 1500 mg, 3000 mg, 5000 mg, or 7500 mg per 30mL bottle

Use code REMEDY15 for 15% off your purchase.

How to Use CBD for Anxiety

If you’re planning to take CBD oil for anxiety, it might be useful to experiment with different application methods in order to find what works best for you. Some people prefer a CBD gummy or a capsule to extend the effects of CBD.

However, others prefer to use a faster acting CBD oil tincture when they feel anxious. With this method, you can use a dropper to place CBD oil below your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds, and then swallow. However, varying CBD products may be more effective depending on which symptoms you are dealing with.

Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Over 18 percent of the American adult population has some type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is also closely linked to other mental health issues, like depression and insomnia.

There are many different classifications for anxiety disorders, and the five major types include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)— This disorder is characterized by excessive worry that persists for no clear reason, particularly in relation to everyday events. People with generalized anxiety disorder often fixate on general things like finances, family, work, or school.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)—This disorder is diagnosed in people who have intrusive or unwanted thoughts that persist in their mind, even though they are irrationally based. These obsessions then lead to repetitive behaviors, or compulsions.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)—Also known as social phobia, this anxiety disorder causes intense feelings of embarrassment for fear that other people are scrutinizing or judging you. This condition often makes it difficult for a person to be in a public or social setting, and can get in the way of doing normal activities.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)—This condition relates to a past trauma that causes recurring mental and emotional stress. People suffering from PTSD typically have trouble sleeping, and may experience nightmares that constantly remind them of the traumatic experience.
  • Panic Disorder—This disorder is diagnosed in individuals that have debilitating panic attacks that can arise without cause or warning. For people with this disorder, they tend to fixate on the fact that they may have a panic attack at any moment.

Everyone is likely to experience stress and anxiety, but it’s necessary to identify the difference between an anxiety disorder and stress-induced anxiety. For people with one of these mental health disorders, they should seek professional treatment to find the best solution to reduce their anxiety.

Side Effects of CBD Oil for Anxiety

CBD is a natural compound with little to no negative adverse effects, although some users have reported minor side effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Dry eyes
  • Changes in appetite

CBD’s effects on anxiety can have beneficial results, but it’s imperative that you find the right dose for you. The majority of side effects can be avoided by taking the proper CBD oil dosage, which can vary depending on your size, metabolism, genetics, and severity of anxiety.

High doses of CBD are more likely to cause drowsiness or other unwanted side effects.

Additionally, CBD oil won’t make you high. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabis plant compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana. CBD is a different cannabinoid that won’t cause any mind-altering effects, and it may also work to counteract THC and protect against its adverse psychological effects.

In terms of drug testing, CBD isolate or broad spectrum hemp oils are a good alternative option to full spectrum products since they are completely free of THC (which is what most drug tests are searching for).

CBD oil is well known for its gentle calming effects since it is extracted from industrial hemp plants instead of marijuana. Hemp plants are a substrain of cannabis sativa, but they contain an inactive amount of THC, and higher levels of CBD. This is why marijuana derived CBD products are illegal on a federal level, but hemp derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC are legal across the United States.

However, you should keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA approved, and some state laws have restrictions around the legality of CBD products.

Is CBD for Anxiety Right for You?

While many people have found their own success in using CBD to alleviate their stress related symptoms, more clinical trials are needed to assess the long term effects of CBD oil for anxiety. Scientific evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders, but doctors won’t start prescribing CBD to their patients anytime soon.

It’s also worth noting that CBD may affect everyone differently, and you should talk to your doctor before making any changes to your current health regimen. If you have other medical conditions, you may want to consult with your physician before taking any cannabis products, even CBD oil.

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