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General Overview

It seems counterintuitive that a cannabis-derived substance can soothe anxiety and calm nerves.Considering many people’s personal experience with marijuana leads to panic attacks and a sense of paranoia, it’s difficult to believe that another compound found in the same plant will have the opposite effect. However, cannabidiol (CBD) is the Ying to THC’s Yang.

These days,  significant research demonstrates CBD’s soothing and calming effect on the mind and body. In the review of current studies on using CBD to reduce anxiety, there are many surprising revelations to be made. For those seeking an all natural alternative to strongly sedative pharmaceuticals, CBD may just hold the answer.

Unlike other areas of study into CBD’s health benefits, many small-scale studies are looking into the effects of CBD on people with anxiety. In both these human studies, and in the animal trials, the evidence is compelling. In a recent research review published in 2017, Brazilian researchers concluded that, “Studies using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD.”

For example, in one of the most often cited studies concerning CBD and anxiety, CBD was found to reduce fear and anxiety before a simulated public speaking engagement. This study, again from Brazil, measured anxiety levels through a number of self-reported and physiological measurements in two groups of test subjects: a healthy control group and a group with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder. Both groups were either given placebo or a dose of CBD before a public speech. The study concluded that CBD was able to significantly reduce both self-reported and measurable indications of anxiety in both test groups when compared to the placebo.

Cannabidiol’s anxiolytic effects are likely due to CBD’s strong relationship with the human endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is, in part, responsible for regulation of our fear, anxiety and stress response.It is responsible for regulating human behavior in response to external or internal environmental stressors.

It is now up to scientists to better understand the CBD-endocannabinoid system relationship. When consumed with THC, scientists do understand that CBD modulates the strength and length of a marijuana ‘high.’ The THC in cannabis has a direct relationship with the CB1 receptors in our brain; binding into the receptor like a key into a lock. As soon as CBD crosses the blood-brain barrier, it interrupts THC’s direct relationship – thus reducing the experience of anxiety, fear, and any mind-altering effects. Even a small amount of CBD can significantly reduce the mind and body experience of THC. The good news is, however exactly CBD works to calm anxiety and fear generated by too much THC consumption, it has the same ability to act on the brain and sooth anxiety caused by anxiety related disorders.  

Even through this brief introduction to some of the most compelling areas of research, the evidence definitely demonstrates CBD’s anti-anxiety potential. Interestingly, many studies suggest that not only does CBD work as a daily supplement to take the edge off, but it could provide solutions to serious social anxiety disorders. Like many areas of CBD research, large-scale, rigorous trials are needed, but the potential is there for a massive shift in how social anxiety is mediated.

What is anxiety?:

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking; and feeling of impending doom.

Panic disorder symptoms include:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
  • Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
  • Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
  • Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

Social Anxiety Disorder

People with social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”) have a marked fear of social or performance situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful of offending others.

Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  • Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Being very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Staying away from places where there are other people
  • Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
  • Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around

Evaluation for an anxiety disorder often begins with a visit to a primary care provider. Some physical health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar, as well as taking certain medications, can imitate or worsen an anxiety disorder. A thorough mental health evaluation is also helpful, because anxiety disorders often co-exist with other related conditions, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How Full-Spectrum Cannabis Hemp Oil may help treat Anxiety:

This is an excerpt of Dr. John Hicks M.D. at the AutismOne conference on autism ASD.
In this video, Dr. Hicks discusses how to decrease anxiety using CBD Oil.



Articles on the use of Cannabis-Derived Hemp Oil to relieve Anxiety

Article: Full-Spectrum CBD Oil and How it is used to Treat Anxiety

Article: Natural cannabinoid found to play key role in anxiety (Medical News Today)

Research and Case Studies on the effects of Cannabis to treat Anxiety:

Rodger McFarland

Senior Editor at Green Flower Botanicals
Rodger McFarland is the Senior Editor at Green Flower Botanicals and is responsible for the curation and management of all published research. Rodger is passionate about educating others on the power of cannabis as personalized medicine. His other passions include his golden retriever Bailey, his guitar collection, and traveling abroad with his beautiful wife Terri.

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