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In a nutshell

There have been numerous studies done on the potential of CBD to help reduce anxiety. CBD has been shown to reduce a wide array of anxiety types, not just fear. One study from Japan found that people who were given CBD before having to give a speech in front of a group of people reported less anxiety than others in a control group. There have also been studies done that demonstrate CBD’s potential ability to reduce anxiety associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

These days, it seems as if CBD has become a catch-all cure for almost every disorder. Have back pain? Try CBD. Have skin inflammation? CBD. Having a hard time sleeping? Take two CBD and call me in the morning.

Of course, the truth is far more nuanced. Regulations from the United States Food & Drug Administration essentially prohibit any CBD vendor from making definitive medical claims about CBD, and that’s with good reason, as more evidence is needed before making most CBD-related claims. However, that is not to say that there isn’t some evidence out there that demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in addressing numerous physical and emotional problems.

One such example is anxiety, and a variety of scientific studies have demonstrated that CBD may help people with anxiety-related problems.

How might CBD help with anxiety?

The positive impact that CBD may have on your body is tied to the way CBD alters the functioning of your Endocannabinoid System. CBD operates by changing the functioning of your body’s own cannabinoids and how it binds with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. These normal reactions work to ensure that your body remains in a state of homeostasis, regulating a variety of bodily sensations – including, potentially, stress and anxiety. 

CBD will alter this natural reaction, making it last for a longer period of time. This, in turn, may explain the chemical method by which CBD can assist with anxiety reduction.

What evidence is there for CBD’s ability to help reduce anxiety?

Numerous studies have demonstrated the potential of CBD to help reduce anxiety. What is perhaps most interesting is that these studies have shown CBD’s ability to reduce a wide array of anxiety types, not just a generalized sense of fear. Scientific reviews of CBD and anxiety have noted the theoretical support for the idea that CBD can reduce anxiety and helped to explain the specific chemical pathways by which this would occur. These reviews have also provided an overview of studies that have already taken place, noting that available evidence would seem to support this idea. 

Additional experimental studies have buttressed the theory that CBD can help to reduce anxiety. One study in rats found that CBD can reduce anxiety-behaviors in these rats when they are given CBD. Other studies have made the same findings in humans.

CBD’s impacts on anxiety have also been demonstrated when it comes to reducing other types of anxieties. For example, one study gave individuals who had recovered from various types of addiction CBD, then exposed them to videos of people using drugs or alcohol. The study found that people who took CBD showed lower levels of anxiety than a control group, implying that CBD may be able to help address the anxiety that comes as a result of withdrawal or addiction. 

CBD may also be able to help reduce anxiety caused by specific social situations or performances. A study from Japan found that people who were given CBD before having to give a speech in front of a group of people reported less anxiety than others in a control group. This would imply that CBD can help to reduce performance anxiety. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a particularly traumatizing mental illness in which a suffering individual feels the need to engage in compulsive behavior while also experiencing significant levels of anxiety as a result. One study found that CBD could reduce marble-burying, compulsive behavior in rats, implying that the same might be possible with humans.

There have also been studies that demonstrate CBD’s potential ability to reduce the anxiety associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a common mental illness that arises after an individual has experienced some sort of traumatic event. A small study of 11 patients found that ten experienced reduced levels of PTSD symptoms – including anxiety – after taking CBD.

It is clear that there is some evidence that shows CBD’s potential to help people who suffer from anxiety. More rigorous study is needed before definitive conclusions can be formed, but the news thus far has absolutely been positive.

If you’re looking for independently-tested CBD products, check out our best-of CBD categories!

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