What happened when I took CBD for a week to help with my anxiety
Following is a transcript of the video.
Steven Phan: You gotta lean back. No, tongue back!
Benji Jones: That’s me, trying CBD at a shop in New York City. Lately, I’ve seen this stuff everywhere: At the local health food store, but also at Urban Outfitters , Sephora , and CBD shops like this one. And if you look at some of the branding, it kind of makes sense.
CBD products claim to help with everything from anxiety to insomnia to muscle pain. It almost sounds too good to be true. And maybe it is. To find out, I set up a little experiment. For one week, I took CBD three times a day, while tracking my anxiety with a scorecard. I also chatted with an expert before and after to sort through the results. Here’s what I learned.
CBD is a distant cousin of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. They both come from the cannabis plant, but CBD isn’t psychoactive. Meaning it doesn’t get you high. Now, of course, getting high isn’t the only reason why cannabis is popular. People also use it to relieve pain, control seizures, and lessen anxiety. But as researchers like Dr. Yasmin Hurd are discovering, it’s likely CBD, not THC, that’s behind these benefits.
Dr. Hurd: “It can activate some serotonin receptors, and the serotonin system is associated with alleviating anxiety.”
Jones: Hurd has been studying the effects of CBD for over 10 years. And she’s found that it can reduce anxiety in people with a history of heroin addiction . Now, fortunately, I don’t have a history of addiction, but I do see a therapist for chronic anxiety. And CBD could still help.
Dr. Hurd: “Both under normal conditions and in people who have anxiety disorders, enough research has started to show that it does have an anti-anxiety effect.”
Jones: So, back at the shop, I tried all kinds of product. From sweets to lotions and sprays. And while Hurd couldn’t recommend a specific dose for me, she did say that 300 milligrams a day should be enough to feel something. Because participants in clinical trials typically take anywhere from 300 to 600 milligrams. So, those chocolates and sprays? They weren’t going to cut it. Instead, I went for something else.
Phan: The tinctures, right? This is where you really get into the higher-strength things.”
Jones: I decided to err on the side of caution and take 250 milligrams each day, broken out into three doses: 50 milligrams in the morning, 100 milligrams at midday, and another 100 milligrams at night. That way, it wouldn’t hit me all at once.
Jones: All right, today is the day! I have my CBD here. I’m kind of nervous. All right, here we go.
Now, mind you, this was a Wednesday. A workday. Side note: The reason I’m taking CBD this way is that there are tons of capillaries under your tongue. So, anything you put there can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Whereas when you ingest CBD, like with that chocolate, a lot of it is broken down by your stomach. Which means you probably won’t feel much.
Anyway, several hours later, I took my last dose of the day.
If anything, I just feel extremely tired.
That was the first thing I noticed: that CBD was making me drowsy. Really drowsy. Which Hurd said is a pretty normal side effect at high doses. Though we’re not exactly sure why. But as I discovered the next night, it’s also great for hangovers.
I had some alcohol, and I’m certainly not going to have trouble sleeping. I think I’m going to eat a slice of pizza.
The next morning, I felt…great. And according to Hurd, that’s because CBD also has some anti-inflammatory effects. But what about anxiety, what I was really in this for? Each morning, I filled out the anxiety scorecard that Hurd gave me. It was a rough estimate of my daily emotional state, based on numbered responses to statements like, “I feel at ease.” But day to day, it was harder to figure out whether CBD was helping.
Just walking home on Friday night after three days of CBD, and I’m reporting that I’m mostly just tired and feeling lethargic. Not in a bad way; it kind of feels like I have a warm blanket around me, so I don’t hate it.
But over the weekend, I finally got the relief I was looking for, even more quickly than I had expected.
So, I happened to take CBD right before I had to do something stressful. It’s Sunday, but I had a task that I was not looking forward to. And I took 100 milligrams, and I pretty quickly felt my nerves calming down. And I was like, OMG, this is totally working, which is really great because I’m looking for that quick relief like everyone is.
Now, of course, this could have been a placebo. I mean, all of this could have been placebo. So, a few days later, I tried it again in a similar high-stress situation.
Not going to lie, I actually feel a little bit more calm. It kind of puts me into a dissociative state, where I’m slowing down a little bit. I actually get physical pain in my heart region when I’m anxious, which I know sounds terrible. But just 30 minutes after taking my 100-milligram dose for the evening, I feel an absence of that. I will say that I’ve also been listening to the “Lion King” soundtrack, so there are confounding variables. But yeah, I feel a lot better right now.
At that point, I had just one day left.
All right, I’m about to take my last dose of CBD! I must say, I’m kind of excited to stop having to take this three times a day. I think part of it is scheduling and remembering. But also, yeah, I’ve also just been so much more tired. I don’t feel like my anxiety was just washed away. I felt like there were a few times where it really helped in certain instances. And, overall, kind of lowered the intensity of how I was feeling because I felt lethargic. But yeah, I don’t want to be tired anymore.
Afterward, I looked over my anxiety scorecards. And sure enough, it showed that I was feeling slightly less anxious on my last day, compared to my first. Especially when I looked at statements like this. Yeah, that’s a big one for me. I wanted to run these results by Hurd.
Dr. Hurd: “How do you feel?”
Jones: Um, to be honest, I don’t feel that different. I think that the biggest change that I noticed is…I was just tired all the time. I feel this kind of slo-mo lethargia that makes me feel, like, a little bit disassociated with reality. And I think that is what made me feel a little less anxious at times.
Dr. Hurd: So, perhaps…taking it at night only might be best because it can make you a bit sleepy, and everyone has a different sensitivity. If you take it at night you get past the initial sedative effects… and then you don’t have to worry about taking other things like caffeine to try to stay awake.
Jones: And what about those moments of instant relief? Was that in my head, or could CBD act that fast?
Dr. Hurd: “Yeah, absolutely. It can act that quickly. For us, in our studies, people did — shortly after getting CBD — report reduced anxiety.”
Jones: But if there was one takeaway from our conversations, it was this:
Dr. Yasmin Hurd: Ironically, even though it’s now this huge fad in our society, we still don’t have a very good handle on how it’s working.
Jones: In other words, we don’t know: what size dose you should take, how, exactly, it changes your brain, or how it impacts different people in different ways. That’s because until late 2018, nearly all CBD was classified as an illegal substance. Which made it really difficult for scientists to study. And while research is starting to catch up… in some ways, it’s too late.
Dr. Hurd: It’s one of the first times in history that the public is determining whether something is medicine, not scientists and physicians.
Jones: As for me, will I continue using CBD? Yes — but likely only for those moments when I need instant relief. Because, while it seems to benefit a lot of people … I’m not yet fully convinced. But also because, this bottle? It costs more than $130! And if I’m going to spend that much, I want to be absolutely sure it works.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on August 20, 2019.
CBD products claim to help with anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and more. It almost sounds too good to be true. So I conducted my own experiment.
Best CBD Oil for Anxiety: Benefits and Top Brands for 2021
Anxiety in itself isn’t anything bad. In fact, it’s a healthy reaction that humans have developed over the course of evolution as a protective mechanism against other predators.
Also known as the “fight or flight response,” anxiety can happen from time to time and is completely normal.
However, modern times are putting so much pressure on our shoulders that we are driven into anxiety on a daily basis—even though we face no life-threatening dangers.
Plants and herbs are known for their relaxing properties, but cannabis plants seem extremely helpful in curbing symptoms of anxiety and other stress-related disorders.
But how to find a high-quality product if you’ve never bought CBD oil before? How do you find a reputable brand in the sea of mediocre companies?
5 Best CBD Oils for Anxiety
In this guide, you’ll learn about the best CBD brands on the market today and everything you need to know about the benefits of CBD for anxiety disorders.
After hours of research, we’ve narrowed down this list to the top five vendors so you wouldn’t have to spend the same amount of time comparing prices, reading reviews and trying out all possible CBD oils
Check out the recommendations below.
1. Royal CBD – Top Pick
Our top pick, Royal CBD is a premium brand rooted in California that offers excellent value for money. Considering the wide potency selection of their CBD oil, the way the company processes its products and the effort put into testing its CBD range, it’s hands down top shelf.
Royal CBD oil is available in four strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg and 2500 mg. Such a wide range of potency options makes this oil suitable for both new and experienced consumers alike.
This is a full-spectrum extract, so you’re getting the entire array of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and only trace amounts of THC (below 0.3%).
Unlike many competitor brands, Royal CBD uses carbon dioxide in its supercritical form to extract the CBD oil. The CO2 runs through the plant material under different temperatures and pressure levels, changing its state from gas to liquid. From there, it diffuses into the air, leaving behind a cold, liquid extract.
All Royal CBD products are submitted to independent laboratories for extensive content analysis to ensure they’re safe to consume. The company also offers free shipping, as well as full refunds, for customers who aren’t satisfied with the product.
2. Gold Bee – Runner Up
Gold Bee is a true maverick among other CBD brands. The company offers organic-only CBD oils made from locally sourced hemp grown in Colorado. Although Gold Bee focuses on low-to-mid potency oils (up to 1200 mg of CBD per bottle), their formula has been mastered to perfection.
The guys at Gold Bee even use honey as a sweetener in their flavored versions of CBD oil. If you’re new to CBD, or have some experience but don’t need more than 40 mg CBD daily, their oils are among the best natural remedies for stress. You can also choose from Gold Bee’s high-potency capsules and delicious CBD-infused honey sticks.
3. CBDistillery – Runner Up
CBDistillery has been on the market for about six years now, upholding its reputation as one of the best CBD brands in the world. The company has an impressive selection of CBD oils, available as full-spectrum or pure oil (isolate).
You can choose from five different strengths, from 250 mg to 5000 mg of total CBD. But the best part about CBDistillery is that its products are highly affordable. The company’s mission is to provide education and access to CBD products for everyone who needs them. For example, the 250 mg bottle costs only $20, which is a great deal. For $240, you can get your hands on the maximum potency.
The only downside about this oil is that it’s not made from organic hemp, but considering the affordability of CBDistillery products, this is a minor disadvantage.
All in all, CBDistillery doesn’t sell the best CBD oil out there, but its extracts are without parallel in this price category.
4. NuLeaf Naturals
NuLeaf CBD oil is another veteran company, but unlike CBDistillery, it only makes full-spectrum CBD oil. Despite the modest product line up, the quality of the NuLeaf Naturals CBD oil is top-notch.
The oil is available in different sizes, from 240 mg to 4850 mg. We say “sizes” because each “potency” comes in a different bottle size. You actually get the same strength regardless of the size, so your choice here will be determined by the time you want to get yourself supplied for.
Another great thing about NuLeaf Naturals is that it uses organic hemp for all of its products. Each batch is tested by a certified lab to ensure that they deliver consistent potency and desired effects.
The oil is slightly bitter and nutty in taste because it uses full-spectrum CBD.
5. Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is an almost legendary company, established by the Stanley Brothers, whose cannabis oil helped young girl Charlotte Figi come down from several seizures a day to a few attacks a month.
Charlotte’s Web CBD oil is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, ensuring it meets the highest quality standards.
The company’s products come from organic, non-GMO plants and are extracted with olive oil.
The oil is available in three concentrations, 300 mg, 750 mg, and 2580 mg, so the potency range is similar to Royal CBD. It has a dark green color and viscous consistency, which is a good indicator of its strength and overall quality.
You can choose between 30 ml and 100 ml bottles.
Almost every list of the best CBD oils on the market includes CBDPure. Unsurprisingly, we won’t break that pattern.
CBDPure is known for producing high-quality CBD products as well as unparalleled transparency. The CBDPure Hemp Oil has been extracted with CO2 and thoroughly filtered from the plant material, so it has a nice golden yellow color. However, it tastes surprisingly tart—a bit worse than other brands.
You can choose between three different strengths: 100 mg, 300 mg and 600 mg. The lowest potency provides 3.3 mg of CBD per serving. However, these are full-spectrum oils, so you get the synergistic effects from all cannabinoids and terpenes—resulting in lower effective doses.
What Is Anxiety?
As mentioned at the beginning, anxiety is a normal human response to dangerous stimuli. The “flight-or-flight” response covers an array of physical reactions, such as a rush of adrenaline, sweating, increased heartbeat and sensitivity to environmental triggers.
When the anxious feeling gets exaggerated compared to the seriousness of the trigger, the anxiety may turn into an anxiety disorder.
Once at that stage, the anxiety deteriorates to the point when a person’s daily function and mental health are heavily affected.
Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are four main types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This is a chronic ailment in which people get anxious for no specific reasons. It’s considered the most common anxiety disorder.
- Phobias: Phobias induce overwhelming fear about a specific situation or object. They often prevent people from engaging in normal situations due to that fear.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: This condition usually occurs when a person is among other people. It triggers an overwhelming worry about social interactions, causing fixation on being judged.
- Panic Disorder: Panic attacks strike randomly and are accompanied by symptoms like breathing difficulty, shaking, dizziness, tremors, confusion and nausea. It can last anywhere between a few minutes to an hour.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Wondering how to tell if you’re suffering from one of the above anxiety disorders? Below we share the full list of symptoms:
- Dry mouth
- Inability to stay calm
- Feelings of insecurity
- Heart palpitations
- Sleep problems
- Somatic complaints
- Tense muscles
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are very complex. Usually, there are several factors involved, including:
If you have a family member diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, there’s a risk that you may develop the same condition.
Changes in Brain Structure
Suffering from a traumatic events or genetic changes of the brain may cause an overexaggerated response to potentially neutral triggers. Scientists suggest that the majority of anxiety disorders derive from compromised communication between neurons.
Certain elements of your environment can worsen your anxiety. Some of the stress-inducing factors include chronic stress at work, at school or even at home. Sometimes, things like a bad financial situation or the loss of someone who was very close to you can also contribute to this medical condition.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can also make your anxiety worse.
Just as traveling to high altitude areas, where the brain gets affected by low oxygen levels.
Sometimes, anxiety can result from another medical condition, prescription medications or health supplements you’re taking, or any other disease than can either change the structure of your brain or cause you to suffer from severe stress.
Can CBD Oil Help With Anxiety?
Dealing with anxiety can be a real pain.
For one, conventional anxiety treatments are very expensive, and their cost is continuously rising. If you want to get those meds prescribed to you, you’ll have to cover the cost by yourself before the insurance covers some part of it.
Not to mention that many prescription drugs used to manage anxiety can lead to a range of negative side effects. Don’t take our word for it, just see the list of contraindications or possible negative reactions on any popular medication, and you’ll see that it’s worse than what they’re trying to solve.
Of course, if you’re meds are helping you, and you don’t feel the need to make any changes, that’s fine. But some people either can’t take medications due to allergies or their anxiety just isn’t bad enough to qualify for prescription treatment.
It’s no wonder that some anxiety sufferers are turning to natural resources for relief.
CBD oil is one of them.
But the question is: Can CBD actually help with anxiety?
Research and a large portion of evidence from people with anxiety suggests that CBD oil may even be a better alternative to pills and shots for anxiety. Compared with those options, CBD oil has a low risk profile and the side effects are nearly nonexistent unless taken in extremely high doses.
How Does CBD Work?
Why is CBD oil a good option to consider as an alternative anxiety treatment?
Because CBD regulates the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is the most important neurochemical network inside the body—it controls vital functions, such as memory, mood, sleep, immune response, cognition, appetite, pain and more.
When the body is in homeostasis—a fancy word for chemical balance—it can stay in good health.
However, if there are imbalances in your neurochemicals, they may give rise to anxiety. It also works the other way round; when you suffer from a traumatic event, your receptors and neurons get out of whack, and your body starts to seek something that would restore that balance.
This is where CBD starts to shine.
CBD and the 5-HT1A Receptor
CBD is a 5-HT1A agonist. In other words, 5-HT1A works a serotonin receptor and is responsible for the way your body absorbs serotonin.
It’s also the target of the most popular antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, which belong to the group of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
SSRIs can block the reuptake of serotonin, increasing the brain’s ability to transfer more signals, improve mood and curb anxiety. CBD has a similar effect on 5-HT1A.
CBD and Hippocampal Neurogenesis
Your hippocampus is the region in your brain that modulates several functions. One of them is the ability to regenerate neurons. CBD can help stimulate the hippocampus and thus improve its functioning.
This is particularly important for patients diagnosed with anxiety, as they often show smaller hippocampus plasticity. By stimulating the regeneration of neurons, there’s a chance that fearful behaviors will be minimized.
CBD and GABA
Australian scientists have found that CBD is a “positive allosteric modulator” of the GABA-A receptor in the brain.
In simple terms, GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human central nervous system. It works as the handbrake for our brain to slow the nervous system down when we get too agitated. The sedating effects of Valium and other benzodiazepines are triggered by their interaction with the GABA-A receptor.
By modulating this receptor, CBD can amplify the natural calming effect of GABA and reduce anxiety.
CBD and Anandamide
Anandamide is one of the two main endocannabinoids (produced inside your body). It has almost the same structure as THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Anandamide is also known as “the bliss molecule,” as it controls feelings of happiness, euphoria, and keeps us in emotional stability—on top of many other functions. CBD helps keep the levels of anandamide at the right level, reducing mood swings and emotional outbursts.
Studies on CBD Oil and Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the best studied areas when it comes to using CBD oil.
A 2010 study on social anxiety showed that CBD has the potential to reduce symptoms in people diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder. The substance also changed the way the patients reacted to anxiety—of course, in a positive way.
In a 2014 study, scientists concluded that CBD has anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. Although the study was conducted on rat models, it gave an interesting insight into the management of anxiety disorders in humans.
CBD was also highlighted in this 2015 report published in Neurotherapeutics as the next potential treatment for anxiety disorders and its symptoms.
It’s worth noting that all of the above studies examined high-quality pure CBD oil. This is particularly important for our next section.
What Determines the Quality of CBD Oil?
CBD oil isn’t regulated by the FDA in the United States. Even though it may be more effective in managing anxiety disorders than conventional treatment options, it’s still considered a health supplement—not a medication.
Similar to other food supplements, it may be difficult for consumers to know if the CBD oil they’re using is actually pure.
You could be taking CBD-laced oil full of synthetic additives and you wouldn’t even know it because supplements aren’t subject to obligatory lab testing, unlike prescription anxiolytics.
If you want to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you’re buying, you’ll need to learn how your oil was manufactured. This includes the following elements:
Cannabis plants have the ability to absorb anything from their environment. When grown in contaminated soil and treated with pesticides, they will yield weak and contaminated extracts.
If you want a pure and potent oil, always buy from companies that use organic hemp plants, preferably those cultivated on American farms.
Brands have different extraction methods and ways of processing CBD extracts. As much as possible, choose brands that employ supercritical CO2 extraction, as it’s considered the safest and the most effective way to obtain CBD oil.
Avoid companies that use toxic solvents such as butane or propane, as they carry a high risk of contamination due to the unpurged residue at the bottom of the oil.
Third-Party Lab Tests
Trustworthy CBD oil brands should proudly publish third-party lab results on their websites or attach them to the product’s package. Third-party testing ensures that your oil contains exactly what’s written on its bottle—they analyze the potency of CBD and look for common contaminants in the end product.
Getting a CBD product tested by an independent laboratory will serve as evidence of its quality.
How to Use CBD Oil for Anxiety
One of the most common questions about using CBD oil for anxiety is “How much CBD oil should I take?”
There are no official guidelines because everybody reacts differently to CBD. Factors such as the individual’s age, weight, severity of symptoms and lifestyle choices can affect your effective dose.
Dosing CBD oil for the first time requires some trial and error. For maximum safety, consider the following steps:
- Take basic measurements such as your weight and height.
- Determine the severity of your anxiety on a scale from 1 to 10.
- Start your supplementation with one drop of CBD oil.
- Increase your dosage slowly by, say, two drops each day for a few weeks and write the effects down. Monitor how you react to CBD with every single dose.
- Don’t rush it. Sometimes, the effects of CBD are almost immediate, but for most people, dramatic changes in the way you feel become noticeable after a few days or weeks.
- Consult your doctor before buying any CBD product. This will help you make sure that there are no drug interactions between CBD and other medications if you take them together.
- A study on social anxiety reports that 600 mg is an effective dose in relieving the condition. However, there are also studies that recommend taking much lower doses to improve the symptoms.
- If you suffer from severe pain and sleep problems , you may need to take higher doses of CBD because it affects these areas of your well-being as well.
- Some people dislike the taste of CBD oil and feel uncomfortable with taking the supplement in this form. If you’re one of them, opt for other formats, such as capsules, vape oils, or CBD gummies .
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oil
CBD oil is considered generally safe and poses no threat of addiction, according to the World Health Organization.
The side effects of CBD oil are mild and include:
- Dry mouth
- Temporary drop in blood pressure
- Sedation (in high doses)
- Diarrhea (from large amounts of oil)
The main risk about using CBD oil for anxiety is the lack of regulation by the FDA. Without regulation, you’re putting yourself at risk of exposing yourself to synthetic cannabinoids or toxic additives in your extract without even knowing it.
Another potential concern is the aforementioned interaction between CBD and medical drugs. CBD engages with them in a similar fashion as grapefruit juice. With that in mind, we suggest that you talk to your doctor first, particularly if you have any other ongoing medical conditions.
If your doctor gives you the green light, you can start looking for CBD oil online or locally.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD Oil for Anxiety
Managing anxiety with CBD oil has become popular these days. With a growing body of evidence backing the positive effects of CBD on an individual’s mental health, it’s not surprising that more and more people are turning to CBD for help.
If you’re planning to buy CBD oil online or in local shops near you for your anxiety symptoms, make sure it comes from a reputable brand that’s open about its manufacturing practices and has lots of positive reviews.
CBD oil is also effective in managing other functions, such as blood pressure, sleep cycle and glucose levels.
It’s a good choice if you want to live a healthy and happy life.
We hope that you’ll find this guide useful for your future purchases!
Thousands of people use CBD oil to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for the best CBD oil to ease your symptoms, then this guide is for you.