There is no question about the popularity of CBD. Since the compound was fully legalized in 2018 as a result of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, sales of the compound have absolutely exploded. Indeed, according to some recent estimates, CBD sales may more than double every year for the next three years.

Why is CBD so popular? There are many reasons, but it ultimately comes down to this: Many people have found that CBD has been exceptionally helpful to them when it comes to dealing with numerous physical and emotional challenges. Indeed, one of the most popular uses of CBD has been its purported ability to reduce anxiety.

How does this process actually work? And what does the science say about CBD and anxiety? Read on to find out more.

Dropper bottle oil CBD

How Does CBD Work?

Contrary to the belief held by some, CBD is not a drug like marijuana. It will not result in any sort of intoxication, and you should be able to safely use it at any point in your day.

CBD works by altering your Endocannabinoid System. Every animal, including humans, has an Endocannabinoid System. This system has multiple parts, including numerous different types of receptors, cannabinoids that your body produces, and enzymes that break up the cannabinoids once a reaction is completed. 

Under normal circumstances, your body’s cannabinoids bind with one of the two cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout your body. This can impact multiple bodily functions and how you feel, potentially impacting your mood, stress levels, pain, sleep, and more. CBD does not bind directly with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it seems that CBD alters the binding between your body’s receptors and naturally produced cannabinoids. Thanks to CBD, this binding lasts for a longer time. This, in turn, produces different impacts on your body. 

How Does This Reduce Anxiety?

Emerging evidence suggests that CBD oil has the potential to be useful for the treatment of anxiety. What is not as clearly understood is just how this works. Clearly, CBD impacts the Endocannabinoid System, and this impact is related to a reduction of anxiety that some users feel. Some research has shown that CBD may impact serotonin in your brain. This is important because serotonin levels are directly linked to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

What Does The Research Say?

Research is still evolving on the subject. However, many studies have found a positive relationship between CBD and anxiety reduction. Interestingly enough, these studies have found that CBD can help with multiple types of anxiety-related disorders.

For example, a 2015 review of the subject discussed available evidence and possible biological mechanisms by which CBD could reduce anxiety. The study concluded that there is evidence to show that CBD may have therapeutic properties when it comes to reducing anxiety levels. Other studies in rats have shown that CBD appears to lower levels of stress and anxiety-like behavior in the animals.

The potential anxiety-reducing benefits of CBD appear to extend to other types of anxiety as well. For example, studies have found that CBD may be able to reduce performance-related anxiety. For example, in a 2019 Japanese study, students were randomly assigned to one or two groups and ask to give a public speech. One group was given CBD, one was not. The group given CBD was found to be less anxious and show lower levels of anxiety before the speech. 

Remarkably, CBD may also be useful for the treatment of PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is commonplace in the aftermath of a violent or otherwise traumatic experience, and sufferers often report unbearably high levels of anxiety. A review in Frontiers found that CBD may be beneficial to people who suffer from PTSD, noting that small case studies and small trials in humans had shown that the compound may have benefits for individuals who suffer from PTSD.

CBD may also reduce the anxiety associated with addiction. One study found that people in recovery patients who were given CBD then showed lower rates of anxiety when exposed to videos showing drug use than others who were not given CBD. Treatment of anxiety and anxiety-related cravings is absolutely critical towards keeping people who are recovering from addiction in that state of recovery, so if this finding were ultimately confirmed, it could have major repercussions on the addiction and recovery community. 

CBD may also be helpful for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as pre-clinical evidence shows that the disease may be reduced via the consumption of CBD.

What Precautions Should I Take Before Trying CBD?

You should always speak with your doctor before starting CBD, just like you would before starting any new supplement, as there are some concerns that CBD may have negative interactions with certain prescription drugs.

Furthermore, you should always make sure to check the lab results of any CBD you take. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous vendors out there who simply want to make a quick dollar and not actually sell you a high-quality product that will help you. This was proven with a 2017 University of Pennsylvania study. The study examined 71 CBD products and found that nearly 70% of them were mislabeled. Thankfully, most reputable CBD vendors get independent lab results on their products and make those lab results available to anyone who purchases their CBD. This allows you, the buyer, to make sure that you are getting what you paid for. 

Do not substitute CBD for any prescription medicine, and certainly don’t change any other medication you are taking without talking with your doctor first.

To be clear, more research is needed about just how CBD may help to reduce anxiety. At the moment, no medical claims can be made about CBD and anxiety. However, numerous studies have found that it is possible that CBD may help to reduce anxiety. As noted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are currently numerous studies ongoing that are designed to provide additional clarity about just how CBD works and if it can truly be effective for mood disorders like anxiety.  This additional research should clarify just how this is the case.