CBD Products for Anxiety

Many people use cannabidiol products for their potential therapeutic effects. Studies suggest CBD may be an effective treatment for anxiety. However, evidence is limited and further research is necessary. CBD may also cause serious side effects, causing some people to seek other treatments for anxiety.

Last Modified: September 7, 2023
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What Are the Most Commonly Used CBD Products for Anxiety?

The best-selling cannabidiol products are tinctures, oils and topical products such as creams and lotions. CBD gummies, other edibles and capsules are also very popular.

There’s a wide array of CBD products available, each representing a sizeable market value, including:

  • Tinctures and Oils: $976 million
  • Topicals: $827 million
  • Gummies and Other Edibles: $590 million
  • Capsules: $573 million
  • Vaporized Oil and Cartridges: $363 million

CBD’s potential therapeutic effects, including the treatment of anxiety, have led to its recent gain in popularity. According to research published in 2022 by the data firm Statista, roughly half of people who use CBD products do so to alleviate anxiety. Cannabidiol is a compound found in cannabis.

Types of CBD Products

CBD products come in various forms, each catering to different needs and preferences. Types of CBD products also vary according to the amount of CBD in relation to other compounds.

  • CBD Isolate: These products contain CBD only. They don’t contain any other cannabinoids or compounds from the hemp plant. CBD isolate products cannot cause any psychoactive effects.
  • Broad-Spectrum CBD: They contain all cannabinoids and other compounds from the hemp plant except delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a high. Some products that are tested may contain trace amounts of THC. These products are less likely to cause psychoactive effects.
  • Full-Spectrum CBD: These products contain all the cannabinoids and other compounds from the hemp plant, including THC. Full-spectrum CBD products may cause psychoactive effects.

Broad-spectrum, full-spectrum and CBD isolate products come in various forms, including tinctures, gummies, topicals and capsules. Before taking any form of CBD, speak with your doctor about possible side effects, safety concerns and drug interactions with other medications you’re taking.

Are CBD Products for Anxiety Beneficial?

A growing body of research is exploring the potential benefits of CBD for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety disorders. But conclusively establishing CBD’s efficacy in treating anxiety will require more comprehensive, long-term studies. 

Current evidence suggests that CBD may have anti-anxiety properties. Some studies show promising results for its use in treating multiple anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Research published in 2022 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry also indicates that CBD may effectively treat chronic anxiety in teens and young adults

Although CBD has some evidence for use in anxiety, the clinical evidence supporting CBD’s benefits for anxiety remains limited due to the quantity and quality of the studies previously conducted. Larger and stronger randomized clinical trials are needed for more conclusive recommendations. One of the reasons these broad clinical trials have not been conducted is the concerns from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with other experts about safety and possible inconsistencies in ingredients with CBD products.

Side Effects of Taking CBD Products for Anxiety

CBD products are generally well-tolerated. Some people do experience adverse reactions, however.

Reported side effects include:
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Irritability or agitation

If you experience any of these side effects, you may want to reduce your dosage or seek alternative treatments for anxiety. CBD products may also interact with other medications, such as blood thinners, anti-seizure medications, sleep medications and certain antibiotics. Contact your health care provider before starting CBD.

CBD Warnings

The FDA has issued warnings that CBD can cause liver injury, affect the metabolism of other drugs and trigger adverse mood effects, including suicidal ideation. The agency states that more research is necessary to ensure CBD’s safety and efficacy for treating anxiety or other mental health conditions.

Currently, the only CBD product with approval from the FDA is the prescription solution Epidiolex. The FDA approved this drug exclusively to treat a rare form of epilepsy.

Because CBD products are not classified as medications, they are not subject to the strict regulatory requirements that medications are. Analysis of CBD products has also found that the purity and dosage of CBD products are often unreliable. Some products may contain less CBD than their labels claim. Other products may contain THC despite labels that claim they do not.

Other Alternative Treatments for Anxiety

While CBD products may show promise in treating anxiety, determining their full efficacy and safety requires more study and regulations. There are several other treatments for anxiety, including many online anxiety treatments, that you and your doctor may choose instead.

Treatments for anxiety can include:
  • Medications: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and benzodiazepines, for example, are common treatments for anxiety.
  • Meditation: Mindfulness practices can help people let go of negative thoughts and emotions that lead to anxiety.
  • Physical Exercise: Regular exercise improves physical and mental health, which can help reduce anxiety.
  • Talk Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy for mental health, for example, can help people identify and change the negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to anxiety.
  • Sleep Routines: Establishing healthy sleep environments and routines can improve the amount and quality of sleep and reduce anxiety.

If you experience anxiety, it’s important to talk to a health care professional. They can help develop the right treatment plan for you.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.