Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids

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How to use CBD oil for anxiety

One of the many uses CBD oil is known for is anxiety. And since anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States, there is a big potential for using CBD oil to treat symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, there is growing evidence for using CBD oil as an anxiolytic. What makes CBD an even more attractive compound to use is its very low toxicity concerns in the human body.

In general, CBD has been shown to have not only anxiolytic effects but also antidepressant, neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects. Many use CBD today for its anxiety-reducing effects, sleep, improving depressive symptoms, and pain.

Once again, it’s important to note that CBD does not give you the “high” or the psychoactive effects that THC does (remember that THC is mainly derived from marijuana whereas CBD can be derived from both marijuana and hemp; hemp-derived CBD is legal in the United States). CBD contains more of the “healing” effects while also being safe to consume, whether orally with the oil formulation or topically.

Growing evidence for using CBD oil to relieve anxiety

Studies have shown that CBD may decrease the intensity and impact of symptoms commonly associated with chronic anxiety and PTSD in stressful environments.1 One specific study showed that CBD given over a long period of time resulted in anxiolytic effects.2 Even at a neuronal level, CBD has been seen to disrupt emotional processes and connectivity relating to anxiety-reducing effects.3

Many PTSD studies have been conducted with CBD showing that symptoms and negative effects associated with PTSD can be regulated. CBD was able to lower the severity of fear and and block the formation of these fearful memories.

At an even broader level, CBD has a positive impact on symptoms associated with chronic stress. Many studies showed CBD improving behavioral and physiological measures of anxiety and depression. Using CBD may therefore be an effective way of alleviating anxiety symptoms if taken consistently.

How does CBD work to alleviate anxiety symptoms?

So, how does CBD actually work in the human body to help lower anxiety-induced effects and symptoms? The human body has its own endocannabinoid system through which CBD and other cannabinoid compounds execute its physiological effects. Our bodies have receptors in our cells that recognize and bind molecules, compounds, and drugs. Specifically, CB1 and CB2 are the primary receptors that bind cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Anxiolytic effects are mainly seen with cannabinoids binding to the CB1 receptor. When CBD enters the body, it will latch on to the CB1 receptor and produce symptoms of relaxation and ease anxiety. It has been shown that with a modest consumption of CBD, users have seen these anxiolytic effects.

Another receptor CBD has been seen to act on is the 5-HT1A receptor. These receptors are present in the brain and are involved in the regulation of stress response. There is some evidence showing that CBD may act on 5-HT1A receptors in addition to CB1 receptors in order to potentiate anxiety relief.

How to take CBD for anxiety relief

Keep in mind that all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements display results that may vary among individuals. Genetics and environmental stressors all play a role in how a drug will act in a user’s body. This means that when using a CBD product, you may need to start off with a low dose and gradually adjust the amount you take depending on the effects you are feeling. For anxiety symptoms, it is suggested to start at about 10 milligrams per dose. With time and some adjustments, you may find a dose that fits your body’s needs. Although CBD is generally a safe product to use on your own, it is always advisable to discuss CBD use with your doctor if you are on other prescription medications.


1 Campos AC, Moreira FA, Gomes FV, Del Bel EA, Guimarães FS. Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2012;367:3364-78.

2 Campos AC1, Ortega Z, Palazuelos J. The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013 Jul;16(6):1407-19. doi: 10.1017/S1461145712001502. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

3 Fusar-Poli P, Allen P, Bhattacharyya S, Crippa JA, Mechelli A, Borgwardt S, et al. Modulation of effective connectivity during emotional processing by Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009a;13:421–432.

4 Simone Tambaro and Marco Bortolato. Cannabinoid-related agents in the treatment of anxiety disorders: current knowledge and future perspectives. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov. 2012 Apr 1; 7(1): 25–40.

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