The amount of people that experience anxiety has increased dramatically in recent years. Many are turning to consuming CBD as the answer to all of their problems, including stress relief. But, do they know the right CBD dosage for anxiety?
Before we start discussing the proper CBD dosage for anxiety, let’s do a quick review of exactly what anxiety involves.
Contrary to popular belief, having an anxiety disorder is not the same thing as simply being stressed about something. Anxiety disorders are something that people struggle with on a daily basis and it is not just temporary stress about some important activity or event coming up.
We all know this nervous feeling – our hearts beat a little faster, our stomachs start to get unsettled, we start to breathe a little faster, and we may even start to sweat a little more. This is a completely normal emotion and feeling to have – especially when we have a big event coming up. Maybe we have a job interview or are giving a big presentation, or maybe we have to have a conversation with someone that we have been dreading. Either way, being stressed or anxious about those kinds of things is a normal part of life.
However, when we start to feel this way every day or start to have frequent panic attacks – that is more serious. This is when we step into the territory of having an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be due to a variety of causes such as environment, genetics, personality, and even certain medical conditions. Anxiety disorders are actually considered one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. And, although support of mental health has been increased in recent years, it still has a long way to go.
A good majority of people still do not share about their anxiety and depression because there is still a stigma around these topics. Additionally, traditional anti-anxiety medications have several unpleasant side effects that deter patients from taking them. Side effects can include drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, trouble sleeping, agitation, and sexual dysfunction. As you can see, these can seriously affect a person’s day to day activities and quality of life.
Therefore, CBD could be a way to offer some reduced anxiety for these patients. It may allow them to decrease their dose of these medications and potentially even get off of them for good!
So, let’s talk about how cannabidiol (CBD) could help with anxiety.
First, what is CBD?
CBD is a phytocannabinoid (aka a chemical compound) from cannabis plants, which means it can come from either industrial hemp or medical marijuana plants. The health benefits of CBD have taken the world by storm and seem to be constantly expanding as more people start to utilize their CBD products.
Second, how does CBD work?
It is thought that CBD works by enhancing the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and restoring balance (also known as homeostasis). It binds to cannabinoid receptors to produce its effects. Many CBD users prefer to use full spectrum CBD products because they contain other cannabinoids in addition to CBD, which are thought to create a synergy and enhance the ECS even more than the effects of CBD alone.
However, more research into the mechanism of action of CBD is showing that it works on other receptors as well. Specifically relating to anxiety, CBD is thought to work through serotonin receptors. This is similar to a medication class that helps treat anxiety known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These drugs help increase serotonin levels, which is a neurotransmitter (aka a chemical messenger in the brain) that helps elevate mood and decrease anxiety. So, CBD is thought to enhance serotonin as well, which makes sense why many feel it helps them with stress relief.
Third, what types of CBD are there?
CBD comes in a wide variety of forms. The most popular CBD form is the CBD oil tinctures. However, there are other kinds such as CBD capsules, CBD gummies, topical products such as salves or creams, vaping products, CBD water, and other CBD products.
What Kinds of Anxiety Does CBD Help With?
Research into CBD and anxiety shows that it may be able to help with several different kinds of anxiety disorders. However, a lot of this is preclinical data. This means there have only been animal studies or small studies in humans and not full on randomized placebo-controlled trials like prescription anxiety medications have to support them.
Although, anxiety is one of the few health benefits of CBD that have been studied in humans so far (even if they are small studies). Most of the other reported uses have only been in cell culture or animals. The preclinical data supports the possible use of CBD with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Panic Disorder (PD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But again, more research into these areas are needed.
Interestingly enough, some studies show that CBD does not cause anxiety at high doses, which is contrary to other anti-anxiety medications. Also, CBD is thought to counteract the anxiety that can be induced by its cousin compound – THC. Therefore, for those who can legally use THC, whether it be medically or recreationally, might want to consider adding CBD to their mix if they are prone to experience anxiety or paranoia when using THC.
Additionally, many people use CBD just for everyday stress relief to help them feel more relaxed day to day. Even Kim Kardashian is holding a CBD themed baby shower. She claims that the zen-like environment will help stop her from freaking out about all the upcoming responsibilities she will take on as the birth of her child gets closer.
So, it seems that CBD may be an option for a lot of different kinds of anxiety. Although it should not be a replacement for prescription medications – it should be used WITH these medications to help manage anxiety. Eventually, the CBD alone may be able to help enough to get off of prescription medications, but this should never be your go-to option (unless your physician tells you explicitly).
Also, CBD has the potential to interact with some medications that you may be taking. Please be sure to see a healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medications, supplements, or herbal products – including CBD. They will be able to help you figure out possible drug interactions and tell you how to take it so that you can avoid these problems (such as lower doses or taking in the evening instead of the morning, etc.).
Additionally, always be aware of your allergies or sensitivities. Before starting any new CBD product always check the labeling for all the ingredients to make sure you do not have a problem with any of them. Sometimes, people may be sensitive to certain carrier oils in the CBD oil tinctures, so they would want to choose a product with a different carrier oil.
Now that we have been through how CBD can help with anxiety, let’s finally talk about CBD dosing.
What is the Correct CBD Dosage for Anxiety?
Unfortunately, this answer is not black and white and is more of a gray area.
Since the only true dosage information around pure CBD relates to Epidiolex, the FDA approved drug containing CBD that treats certain rare forms of childhood epilepsy, there really is not information for other health issues. Additionally, the lack of evidence in humans makes it hard to say for sure what dose will be effective for anxiety.
However, as with anything new you are starting, the best advice is to “start low and go slow”. This means to start at the lowest dose possible and gradually increase the dose (maybe once a week or so) until you start to notice the anti-anxiety effect you want. This means you will need to do some trial and error before you find the perfect CBD dose for your anxiety.
Additionally, doses will vary from person to person. So, the CBD dosage for anxiety that your friend is taking may be different than the dose you need. This is because dosage depends on a lot of factors – such as age, weight, height, kidney function, liver function, genetics, other drugs you are taking, and others. Fascinatingly, research is showing that older adults might need higher doses of CBD than younger people because as we age our natural endocannabinoids decrease. So, we need higher doses to help restore them back to normal.
What Does the Research Say?
The CBD dosage for anxiety in the studies varies greatly.
The studies vary from as low as 15 mg to 60 mg, all the way up to 300 mg to 600 mg. Reviews of these studies suggest that the lower doses were not as effective as the higher doses were. However, many of these studies were looking at actual anxiety disorders and not just everyday stress, so perhaps these disorders require higher doses than if you are just looking to take the edge off.
Additionally, research studies generally try to start a higher dose because they are looking into creating possible drug products, which typically tend to have higher doses than over the counter drugs and supplements.
However, reading people’s comments online about CBD dosing for anxiety suggest that lower doses may do the trick. Some say that taking 5 mg twice a day (for a total of 10 mg per day) helped with their anxiety. Others say 25 mg daily helps for anxiety.
So, the best advice we can give you is to start with a low dose and just keep slowly increasing it until you get the anxiety and stress relief you are seeking. Just use the dosage ranges you have researched as guidance for what range you should be shooting for when increasing your dose. Then, eventually, it will become personalized to you.
Although this is reaching a bit – CBD could decrease the number of people that are not seeking treatment for their anxiety disorders.
Think about it. Currently, CBD is available online and over the counter at various pharmacies, supplement stores, or organic stores. Those with anxiety disorders also feel there is a stigma around going to the pharmacy and picking up their “anxiety medication”. This leads some patients to just stop getting their medications altogether and not getting the treatment they need.
Therefore, if they eventually can decrease their dose enough and get off their anxiety medications and just take CBD (again with physician approval), they would not feel judged for picking up their medications. This is because CBD is not only used for anxiety – but for other benefits as well such as pain, inflammation, acne, and much more. So, no one could really guess the reason a person is taking CBD oil.
Additionally, for those patients that do not seek any treatment at all – CBD could offer them at least some anxiety relief even if it is not the same as the prescription medications. This is a better option than them not seeking any treatment and suffering the consequences of anxiety – such as depression and suicidal ideation, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Take Away Points
Overall, CBD dosing is going to vary from person to person. The amount of CBD you need depends on a variety of factors including age, weight, genetics, and other factors. Always talk with a healthcare professional before starting any new CBD products.
So, if you are patient with the trial and error process and follow the popular advice of “start low and go slow”, you will eventually find the right dose that allows you to experience the anti-anxiety benefits of CBD.
Start your CBD journey today and you may find yourself on the path to serenity.