CBD oil is being used for various health conditions, including anxiety. These products are made from a hemp extract, have no psychoactive properties and are non-addictive. Researchers are still looking for solid clinical evidence that CBD is effective for anxiety and other ailments, but that hasn’t stopped tens of millions of Americans – and millions more around the world – from experimenting with CBD products.
Perhaps you suffer from anxiety and aren’t getting much relief from prescription medication. Maybe you find that typical anti-anxiety drugs have side effects. Or you may just want a natural solution to take the edge off your anxiety and nervousness, without wanting to get stuck on a pharmaceutical treatment plan. In any case, CBD oil could be ideal for you.
In this article, we’ll explore the best CBD oil for anxiety, investigate how CBD oil compares to hemp seed oil, and show you how to make the most from your products. We have some innovative tips that you may not have heard of to make your product last longer. Let’s get started.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that’s almost unique to strains of cannabis. Its rarity in the plant kingdom, and the fact that it is contained in a plant that has been classed as a narcotic for decades, means we’re still learning about CBD’s effects. Importantly, the compound is a cannabinoid, and generates profound reactions in the body’s complex endocannabinoid system (ECS), which itself was discovered in the 1990s.
CBD has been getting headlines because of its novel therapeutic value, especially for uncommon – and typically untreatable – epileptic conditions. The cannabinoid is enjoying a positive wider profile for its myriad of potential benefits, and non-intoxicating nature, which distinguishes it from both recreational and medical marijuana.
The CBD boom came somewhat fortunately, following the US government’s move to legalize hemp products in 2014. Unaware of CBD, the government only put a restriction on the THC content of products, capping levels at 0.3 percent. Not long after, CBD oils, e-liquids, concentrates and other products started to feature in the natural health scene.
CBD-isolate vs full-spectrum CBD
These are the two types of hemp extract used to make tincture oils and other CBD products. In a nutshell, isolate contains just CBD, whereas full-spectrum consists of everything from the hemp extract – notably other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. There are pros and cons to each extract, depending on your situation. But what about for anxiety?
As stated, research on CBD for anxiety is thin on the ground, but the studies we do have are focussed just on CBD. These have demonstrated that CBD may work for anxiety, with larger doses working especially well. Full-spectrum products are more therapeutic for many illnesses, as the ‘entourage effect’ creates synergy. However, as the benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes for anxiety aren’t clear, it’s hard to say whether full-spectrum CBD is an upgrade on isolate. We do know that THC makes anxiety worse for some, although in very low amounts (less than 0.3%) it’s unlikely to have an effect.
New users may want to start with a more predictable CBD-isolate product, but consider trialling a full-spectrum tincture oil afterwards. Oils with indica terpenes could potentially be more helpful or anxiety than a regular CBD oil, as compounds like linalool are associated with anxiolytic effects.
Hemp oil vs CBD oil for anxiety
Hemp oil – or hemp seed oil – products are also pretty popular nowadays. These products are teeming with essential omega-3 fatty acids and other crucial nutrients. But up against actual CBD oil for anxiety, there’s no comparison.
The presence of CBD is vital to relieving anxiety, as we know that the compound interacts in important anti-anxiety mechanisms. For instance, CBD works on the serotonin system, and also helps to regulate GABA levels in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and is key to offsetting excitatory neurotransmitters such as glutamate. A balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters is necessary to ensure anxiety levels stay low.
Why take CBD oil for anxiety?
With so many CBD products out there, what makes tincture oils so appealing for anxiety? Firstly, any anxiety treatment needs to deliver a fast-acting therapeutic effect. This largely rules out capsules, edibles and syrups, unless you have mild anxiety and just want to keep symptoms under control throughout the day.
Vaping e-liquids or smoking CBD-rich flower is another option, and indeed may be a preferred one if you are used to vaping or smoking. But each of these consumption methods come with health risks, which for many outweigh the fast speed of delivery. In contrast, CBD tincture oils still kick in rapidly, thanks to sublingual absorption. And applying CBD oil under the tongue doesn’t pose any dangers to health. All ages and demographics can enjoy the anxiolytic properties of CBD with a tincture oil.
How to use CBD oil for anxiety
When it comes to taking CBD oil or anxiety, much depends on the type of anxiety that you suffer from, and the severity of symptoms. Some people experience anxiety all the time, and are affected by what’s known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). For others, symptoms arise in social situations – this is called social anxiety disorder (SAD). The good news is that CBD can be effective for both, but you may need to fine tune your dosing routine over time to get the most from your tincture oil.
This anxiety can be ever-present. It may be triggered by all kinds of factors, including financial stresses, relationship worries, and upcoming events. If you have generalized anxiety, you’ll know that the mind rarely settles. The brain is always thinking up new potential problems and worst-case scenarios. Staying regularly topped up with CBD oil is a good way of easing symptoms.
Holding the oil under the tongue ensures much quicker results than if you were to just swallow. The oil is transported into the bloodstream via the sublingual glands, and then into the brain through the blood-brain barrier. Not all compounds are able to cross this barrier, but cannabinoids can! Wait for a couple of minutes before swallowing the oil, and at least 20 minutes before deciding if you need a stronger dose. Studies have shown that CBD is well-tolerated in very high dosages, but there’s no value in taking more than you need.
Tincture effects tend to last for around three hours, but this isn’t exact, so don’t be surprised if your CBD wears off sooner or later. You’ll soon get to grips with how your body responds to CBD, and learn how much to take and when to top up your dose.
The quick speed of delivery that tinctures provide is even more paramount when dealing with social anxiety. With this condition, symptoms emerge suddenly, and can become overwhelming in just a couple of minutes. Social anxiety can have a significant, adverse effect on quality of life, destroying social skills and self-confidence. Those with severe symptoms may even excuse themselves from social gatherings, as it makes them so uncomfortable.
CBD oil can help with social anxiety, just as it can with generalized anxiety. Indeed, one of the best studies to date on CBD and anxiety looked specifically at social anxiety. In that case, participants were given CBD capsules, although it’s likely that a tincture oil would have been even more successful.
The key is knowing what situations are likely to trigger anxiety, and taking a dose of CBD beforehand so that you remain calm in the moment. If you have an event that triggers your anxiety at 1pm, take a dose of CBD oil at 12.30pm. This gives the CBD a chance to become active in the body, so you’re already getting the benefits when your social engagement begins.
Obviously, there will be times when your anxiety is set off by unforeseen circumstances. Here, you have two options. Take a generalized anxiety approach and keep your CBD levels topped up around the clock. Or dose up at the first possible opportunity. CBD tinctures are discreet and have no discernible aroma. You’ll be able to consume stealthily in just about any scenario.
Mixing CBD oil with coconut oil
Even the best CBD oil for anxiety can be made better with a little bit of coconut oil. In fact, any product that has a high quantity of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) will increase the therapeutic value of your CBD. Butter, cream and milk all help, but coconut oil is renowned for having really high MCT levels. You can also buy MCT oil as it is.
Some CBD oil products are made with MCT or coconut oil. These fatty compounds work to make CBD more bioavailable, so that the same dosage has a much greater effect. This is worth taking advantage of, and in particular for anxiety where big doses are thought to work best. When administering CBD oil under the tongue, apply a little bit of coconut oil at the same time, so the two can mix together.
CBD oil for pain and anxiety
You know how to use CBD oil for anxiety, but did you also know that tinctures can reduce pain and anxiety at the same time? According to surveys and questionnaires from CBD users, pain ranks above all other reasons for using such products. Researchers are still learning how CBD manages pain, and just how effective it is in comparison with other drugs. But there’s no need to wait. Safe, hemp-based CBD products are already on the market for you to use!
As with anxiety, CBD oil is great for pain because of the streamlined effects. Imagine that you have an agonising condition that flares up unexpectedly, causing severe pain. A remedy that works in a few minutes is much better than one that takes half an hour or more to show results. CBD oil can also be combined with creams and salves for more substantial pain relief.
Summing up CBD oil’s benefits for anxiety
We hope this guide has boosted your knowledge on how to use CBD oil for anxiety. A quick recap of what we’ve covered:
- CBD-isolate oils are a great CBD product to start with for anxiety
- Mixing CBD oil with coconut oil enhances the effects
- CBD helps with generalized anxiety
- CBD is effective for social anxiety
- You can use CBD oil to manage pain and anxiety
As CBD is sold as a supplement, there’s little definitive advice on how to use tinctures – and any other CBD product – for anxiety. That’s why keeping a detailed record of how it influences you can be so useful. Writing down how different dosages affect you, whether coconut oil is effective for you, and if there are differences between CBD-isolate and full-spectrum CBD oils is all invaluable information. In the long run, it will improve your experience with CBD oil for anxiety.