Anxiety and Stress

The oral use of cannabis and CBD for anxiety appears in a Vedic text dated around 2000 BCE,[238] and it is one of the most common uses of the plant across various cultures. While THC can increase anxiety in some patients, it lowers it in others. However, CBD effects have been shown to consistently reduce anxiety when present in higher concentrations in the cannabis plant. On its own, CBD has been shown in a number of animal and human studies to lessen anxiety. The stress-reducing effect appears to be related to activity in both the limbic and paralimbic brain areas.

A 2012 research review assessed a number of international studies and concluded that CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety, and in particular social anxiety, in multiple studies and called for more clinical trials.[239] Two years later, researchers in an animal study related to stress and the endocannabinoid system wrote that augmentation of the endocannabinoid system might be an effective strategy to mitigate behavioral and physical consequences of stress.[240]

In addition to elucidating the relationship between CBD and anxiety, these findings appear to support that the anxiolytic effect of chronic CBD administration in stressed mice depends on its proneurogenic action in the adult hippocampus by facilitating endocannabinoid-mediated signaling.[241]

How to Take the Medicine: Dosage and Delivery

It is suggested that patients work with a health care practitioner experienced in recommending cannabidiol or medicinal cannabis so that dosage and delivery methods can be developed and fine-tuned on an individual basis. At the same time, educated and aware patients can be their own highly informed health consultants.

For anxiety, CBD products with a ratio of 20:1 or higher are recommended and administered as drops, capsules, or edibles. High-CBD cannabinoids can be very effective in reducing chronic anxiety, treating temporary stress, and protecting the body from the physiological effects of both. Varieties high in linalool, a terpene shared with lavender, are known to be effective for relieving anxiety. In particular the strain AC/DC is very effective.

Always start with the micro dose to test sensitivity and go up as needed within the dosing range, before going to the next, until symptoms subside. The micro to standard dose is usually recommended to treat stress and anxiety with CBD. For relief of immediate symptoms, as in a panic or anxiety attack, vaporizing or smoking work well. The medication lasts one to three hours, whereas most ingested products, including CBD oil, take thirty to sixty minutes before taking effect and last six to eight hours. Vaporizers that use a cartridge filled with the CO2 concentrate are highly effective, and these are available in various ratios of CBD to THC. Herbal vaporizers that use the whole plant are also an effective delivery method. Sublingual sprays or tinctures taken as liquid drops take effect quickly and last longer than inhaled products.

Effectiveness: Current Science—CBD Benefits for Anxiety

The Cannabis Health Index (CHI) is an evidence-based scoring system for cannabis (in general, not just CBD oil effects) and its effectiveness on various health issues based on currently available research data. Refer to cannabishealthindex.com for updated information. Using this rubric and based on eleven studies, cannabis rated in the possible-to-probable range of efficacy for treatment of anxiety.