We all face anxiety in our daily lives. This is more true than ever due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
There are many ways to manage anxiety, including prescription medication. Unfortunately, these drugs are not always effective and often come with significant side effects.
As a result, an increasing number of people are seeking safer, natural alternatives, with cannabidiol (CBD) becoming a particularly popular option.
There’s ample research evidence showing that this non-intoxicating cannabis compound has a definitive effect on anxiety.
According to The American Institute of Stress:
- About 33 percent of people report feeling extreme stress
- 77 percent of people experience stress that affects their physical health
- 73 percent of people have stress that impacts their mental health
- 48 percent of people have trouble sleeping because of stress
But stress is a global problem:
- 71% of Spaniards admit to experiencing stress regularly
- 91 percent of Australians feeling stressed about one or more important parts of their life
- About 450,000 workers in Britain believing their stress was making them ill
- 86 percent of Chinese workers report stress
According to the 360º Wellbeing Survey in 2019, 84% of people worldwide suffer from stress.
Read on to learn more about how to best use CBD for anxiety and the research behind its effects.
CBD consumption methods for anxiety
The first step to using CBD for anxiety is to choose a consumption method. The three main options for anxiety are CBD oils, capsules and edibles, and vape e-liquids.
CBD oil is the best option for most people.
The key advantage of CBD oil is that it’s absorbed directly into the blood vessels under your tongue, which avoids the digestive tract. This greatly improves CBD’s bioavailability — the portion of a substance you take that’s actually absorbed and has an effect.
Additionally, CBD oil allows for easy dosage control since you can increase or decrease the number of drops you take. CBD oil also has relatively long-lasting effects: 4-6 hours on average.
CBD Capsules & Edibles
In contrast, CBD capsules and edible products such as gummies have a lower absorption rate because they get broken down by your digestive system and liver before being absorbed. That means they won’t be as potent as CBD oil.
However, their effects tend to last for a longer time. Besides, many people prefer the convenience of taking a capsule or eating a tasty gummy, especially if you already take other food supplements.
CBD Vape E-Liquids
The third option for anxiety is to vape CBD e-liquids. When it’s absorbed through the lungs, CBD starts to work right away.
That’s why vaping is preferred by people looking for immediate anxiety relief. However, the effects of inhaled CBD also last the shortest of any method: about 1–2 hours.
Now that you’re familiar with the best CBD product options for anxiety, you should consider the best time to take it. Most people either take CBD as needed or at set times of the day, such as in the morning and before bedtime.
Pure CBD vs whole-plant extract for anxiety
Another helpful tip is to go with a whole-plant CBD formula. There are two types of whole-plant hemp CBD extract: full and broad-spectrum.
Full-spectrum CBD extracts contain the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial hemp compounds, whereas broad-spectrum formulas take an additional step to completely remove THC.
These extracts maximise the “entourage effect” — the research-backed theory that cannabis works best as a whole-plant preparation. That means full and broad-spectrum CBD products may offer greater effectiveness than those containing pure CBD.
How long does CBD take to work for anxiety?
The length of time it takes CBD to work for anxiety depends on how you take it. As we’ve discussed above, there are three main ways to introduce CBD into your body: sublingual (under the tongue), oral (ingested), and inhalation.
CBD oil uses the sublingual route. When you take CBD oil, it takes about 10–30 minutes to start working.
Meanwhile, CBD capsules and edibles take about 30 minutes to work on an empty stomach, but can take over an hour if you’ve eaten. Finally, if you inhale CBD into your lungs, it starts to work almost immediately.
How does CBD help with anxiety?
CBD may help with anxiety in several ways.
Most importantly, CBD can influence the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Discovered in the 1990s, this important biological system regulates many critical processes, including sleep, brain function, immunity, metabolism, inflammation, stress, and anxiety.
The ECS consists of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made in your body), enzymes, and cannabinoid receptors.
CBD has been demonstrated to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, one of your body’s main endocannabinoids, prolonging its effects.
Anandamide seems to play a particularly important role in anxiety. One study suggested that some people may have lower anxiety levels due to a genetic variation that results in higher anandamide levels.
Researchers have also demonstrated that serotonin receptors are involved in CBD’s anti-anxiety effects. Additionally, CBD may interact with receptors for GABA, a brain chemical that can reduce anxiety by slowing down neuron activity.
CBD dosing factors for anxiety
There’s no universally recommended dosage of CBD for anxiety. The ideal amount of CBD to take depends on many factors, including how much you weigh, your genetics, and the severity of your anxiety.
That’s why one person may find that a low-strength CBD oil works well for their anxiety, whereas someone else may need a high-potency product to experience the same effects.
Also, as we discussed earlier, CBD products come in different concentrations, types of CBD extract, and delivery methods, which will also affect the dosage.
For instance, a CBD oil that contains 10 mg of CBD per ml will be weaker than one with 50 mg per ml, so that will influence how much you need to take.
Similarly, if you use capsules, you’ll have to raise the dosage to get the same effects as CBD oil. Also, a whole-plant product will be more potent than one made with pure CBD.
How much CBD should I take for anxiety?
The best way to find the ideal CBD dosage for your anxiety is to start with a small amount: about 10-15 mg. If you don’t notice a difference, you can raise the dose incrementally, making sure to pay attention to how you feel.
Use this method to find the CBD dose that provides the effects you’re looking for. Keep in mind the effects of CBD are relatively subtle, so you should be patient and look for minor but noticeable changes.
It’s also helpful to know that most people take 20–50 mg doses of full-spectrum CBD oil for anxiety.
Additionally, the UK Food Standards Agency recommends that adults take no more than 70 mg of CBD per day, although we’re not aware of any detrimental effects from going over this amount.
A natural option for anxiety
CBD is a safe, natural compound that seems to help many people manage occasional anxiety. You can use it in the form of CBD oil, capsules, vape e-liquids, and some people take multiple products together.
However, CBD should not be seen as a miracle cure-all. It’s just another tool in a multi-pronged approach to anxiety, which should also include healthy lifestyle choices.
That’s why CBD works best when coupled with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleeping habits. It’s even better if you pair CBD with calming activities, such as meditation, reading, or yoga.
A famous quote we love is
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”
So think and choose CBD. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?