Like many mood disorders, anxiety can make life extremely difficult. It can impact not only how we think, but also how we communicate and engage with the world around us. Over the long-term, the physiological impact of unmanaged anxiety can contribute to serious health problems.
Based on feedback that we’ve received from users, anxiety is the #1 condition that they are looking to help manage with CBD oil. More clinical research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of CBD in reducing anxiety. But we regularly hear success stories from those who are using CBD products to manage anxiety in their daily life.
What’s the Best CBD Oil for Anxiety?
The honest answer to that question is that there is no “best” for everyone looking to try CBD oil for anxiety disorders, or any other condition for that matter. A particular CBD brand or product that works well for one person with anxiety may not work for you at all. That’s because each person has a unique endocannabinoid system and body chemistry.
The goal of this article is to inform you of some things that can improve your chances of finding CBD products for anxiety that will work for you. These are discussed below and include knowing what cannabinoids and terpenes may be best for anxiety. But it’s still good to have realistic expectations that it will likely take some trial and error with different brands and dosage levels.
Best CBD Products for Anxiety
Tips for Choosing CBD Oil for Anxiety
- Sublingual CBD oil drops that you place under your tongue are the most popular product choice as a daily preventative for anxiety. Vaping CBD is the most popular method among those who want more immediate relief on an as-needed basis.
- Full spectrum CBD products were voted the most effective for anxiety based on recent polls of users in our Facebook groups. If you have concerns about drug testing or an aversion to even trace amounts of THC, then broad spectrum or isolate products may be a better choice.
- Buy CBD products from safe and reputable companies such as those listed above. All of these brands have been vetted for product quality, customer service and user feedback.
- Read the third party lab reports on the company website. We recommend that you only purchase from brands that have third party lab reports posted on their website or that readily make them available to you. The cannabinoid and terpene profiles can be particularly helpful in identifying which products may be helpful for anxiety and panic attacks.
- Cannabinoids that are known to be beneficial for anxiety include CBD and CBG. The terpenes Limonene and Linalool in particular have been identified as being useful in managing anxiety. We discuss specific cannabinoids and terpenes in more detail below.
What Cannabinoids Are Best For Anxiety?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in cannabis. Different cannabinoids produce different effects, depending on which receptors they bind to in the brain.
The cannabinoid chart below shows which cannabinoids may help treat symptoms of different conditions, such as arthritis, anxiety, and nausea. CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol) are identified as the most relevant cannabinoids for anxiety in particular.
Cannabinoid Chart from Leafly.com
Therefore, those interested in CBD products for anxiety disorders may want to look for products that have higher levels of the CBD and CBG.
What Terpenes Are Best For Anxiety?
Terpenes are essential oils found in all plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs, and they have healing properties by themselves. Several terpenes in cannabis are believed to have useful therapeutic properties.
Based on the chart below, Limonene and Linalool in particular are identified as having anti-anxiety properties that may be useful for those suffering from anxiety.
CBD Dosage for Anxiety
Determining your optimal CBD dosage for anxiety is a process that is highly individualized. Based on what we’ve learned from the experiences of users, we recommend that you start low and increase slow to find the dosage levels and timing of taking CBD that works best for you.
Tips for Dealing with Anxiety
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is the leading online resource for people who suffer from anxiety. What is interesting about anxiety as a medical condition is that many people do not even realize they have it.
Life with anxiety impacts people who suffer from the clinical condition in different ways. For some, anxiety makes it more difficult to focus on important tasks, because there is a constant underlying ‘noise’ in their head. In the past, the medical community has grossly misunderstood the burden that people with anxiety cope with on a daily basis. And the condition is still to this day, not fully understood.
What is important to remember is that clinical anxiety differs from feeling stressed, or worried. It is a persistent hypersensitivity to stimuli from the environment around you. While stress is about feeling anxious about something that is happening in the moment, or during your week or month as a transitory emotion, anxiety is a condition that people must cope with, virtually every minute of the day.
What Does It Feel Like to Have Clinical Anxiety?
People who don’t have anxiety have a hard time understanding what it feels like. To the average person, someone who has anxiety just ‘needs to relax’ or ‘stop taking things so seriously’ and the dialogue from family members, friends and coworkers often express that expectation.
What people forget is that living in a constant state of worry is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. No one would choose to live in a state of constant hypervigilance, where they are concerned for their wellbeing or the safety of those they care about.
Instead of being able to relax and unwind, Americans who suffer from symptoms of clinical anxiety are not able to slow down their thought processes. And because the human brain translates those patterns into a number of physiological responses (including the release of the stress hormone cortisol), it becomes almost impossible to ease out of that state of fear and worry.
Anxiety is something far more serious and debilitating than simply getting upset or feeling stressed from time to time. When symptoms persist daily for a period of six months or longer, the patient is considered to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). There are 11 symptoms that are commonly used by physicians and mental health practitioners to diagnose a generalized anxiety disorder.
Do You Know the Signs of Clinical Anxiety?
1. Excessive Worrying
Since we all are capable of worrying when something upsetting happens to us, the clinical diagnosis of anxiety requires a daily pattern of excessive worrying that is difficult (or impossible) to manage, for a period of six months or longer.
What kind of things do people with anxiety worry about? They can center around inadequacies, where someone feels that they are ‘never good enough’ or performing as well as other people around them. Some types of anxiety are rooted in physical appearance and can lead to eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.
2. Feeling Agitated
Chances are if you are feeling upset, there is probably a good reason for it. Maybe someone said something offensive or acted in an annoying way. Your expression of agitation is an emotional reaction to something that actually happened. And chances are, the feelings of anger will go away fairly quickly.
For people with clinical anxiety, they experience agitation primarily because they are exhausted and tired. They can’t find a way to ‘switch off’ the feelings of being anxious and worried, and no matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to relax. When family and members and friends notice and ask them why they can’t ‘take it easy’ it makes those with anxiety feel ostracized or separate from ‘normal people’ who don’t understand what it feels like.
The clinical term is psychomotor agitation, and it refers to the inability to ‘sit still’ when the brain and body are experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
• pace the room
• play with their fingers
• tap their feet
• talk very quickly
• change clothes or outfits frequently
• move objects in front of them or in the room where they are seated
People with clinical anxiety can also engage in automatic self-harming behaviors when they are experiencing a significant amount of emotional upset. This can include biting or chewing their lip, nail biting, chewing the inside of the cheek, drawing blood from their self-inflicted wounds.
A long day or even a really tough week can make us all want to head to bed early because we are tired. The brain energy that it takes to be constantly on high alert means that people with anxiety are actually processing more thoughts (and emotions) during the day than average people.
Unless you understand anxiety, it can seem like the individual is lazy, because they may try to nap frequently throughout the day or go to bed earlier. The reality is that clinical anxiety can also contribute to symptoms of insomnia. They are tired, and not getting the amount of rest they need to recharge.
5. Difficulty Concentrating
Imagine for a moment that you had to complete a reasonably easy task. If you are given enough time, you could accomplish it right? Could you do it if someone was constantly screaming at you? For someone with anxiety, even the most routine and easy tasks become much more difficult, because there is a never-ending dialogue of fear, anger, and concern in their head. And that volume can make the focus more difficult, and in severe cases of clinical anxiety, almost impossible.
There is nothing wrong with being an individual who has clinical anxiety. Like any other mental health condition, it is something that can be addressed with a physician and made better through lifestyle accommodations. And most importantly, understanding and compassion from family and friends.
The irritability aspect as a symptom of clinical anxiety can be caused by chronic insomnia, frustration and frequently people with anxiety are self-critical. Because they are so sensitive to the environment and social stimuli, it can become a little too much for them. If they cannot withdraw from a crowded office for instance during the workday, that feeling of being overwhelmed can default to a ‘bad mood’ or general irritability.
If you see someone who has anxiety and they are being irritable with you, consider that the one thing they need more than anything is a quiet place where they can calm themselves. But when someone is being irritable, that personal space is often the last thing they are provided.
7. Muscle Tension and Inflammation
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is one of the most complex pieces of technology on the planet. A chemical chain reaction begins the moment you start to experience moderate to severe anxiety:
• Your body releases adrenaline throughout your body and your blood vessels constrict. When this happens, your muscles are not receiving the oxygen or the blood circulation that they need. That leads to inflammation, tension, and pain.
• Your body can release cortisol and other stress hormones as part of the ‘fight or flight’ survival response. The release of stress hormones is meant to help us escape a dangerous situation, in a brief period of time. The problem with clinical anxiety? It doesn’t go away, and your muscles become fatigued from being on ‘high alert’.
Physicians often recommend anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, massage therapy and exercise to help relieve the tension that people with anxiety experience. But this is one of the symptom areas that many people report they have experienced relief from when they use CBD oil for anxiety.
In fact, one pharmaceutical company has created a CBD prescription product that was approved by the FDA in 2018 for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two rare forms of epilepsy). This demonstrates the efficacy for muscle relaxation.
8. Sleep Disturbances and Insomnia
Does sleep disorder cause anxiety, or does anxiety create a sleep disorder? Physicians and medical researchers are not sure, but they do know that at least one clinical sleep disorder can cause moderate symptoms of anxiety. It can contribute to problems with sleep apnea, sleepwalking, restless leg syndrome and bruxism (involuntary teeth grinding during sleep).
9. Frequent Panic Attacks
The symptoms of a panic attack can be so severe, that people may think they are having a heart attack or stroke. Panic attacks occur when the brain cannot process any additional stress, and it reaches a threshold where that anxiety and tension causes shock to the brain and central nervous system.
During a panic attack, an individual with moderate to severe untreated anxiety can experience:
• accelerated or rapid heart rate
• shortness of breath
• inability to speak
• chest pain
• partial to full paralysis (inability to move)
• shaking in the extremities including hands, legs, and feet
The clinical term is Panic Disorder (PD), and there is an important clinical study “Evidences for the Anti-panic Actions of Cannabidiol” that you should read if you want to learn more about how effective CBD is for panic attacks. It was published in 2017 and involved both an animal and human trial and indicated that there was evidence that CBD worked to naturally treat anxiety and PD.
10. Voluntary Social Exclusion
We have all felt the need to retreat to our bedroom or another quiet and safe place when we are feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It can help to rest and focus in a space that has fewer stimuli, where we can simply unwind.
Voluntary social exclusion for someone with clinical anxiety is similar but more pronounced. Over time they may decide that being around family, friends and large groups of people are simply too emotionally and physically exhausting. They can pull back at a social gathering or avoid them altogether to reduce situations that trigger their anxiety.
11. Severe Irrational Fears and Thoughts
You know the saying “don’t worry about something until you have something to worry about?” We can all be fearful of the unknown and consider what we would do or how we would react in a difficult situation. But we don’t get too upset about it, because the circumstance hasn’t happened yet.
For people with moderate to severe clinical anxiety, there are a number of prescription medications that can be used (please consult with your primary care physician). But individuals who are sensitive to anti-anxiety medications may seek a more natural, holistic approach to help manage their symptoms of anxiety with CBD products.
Research Studies on CBD Oil for Anxiety
The ProjectCBD.org website is a great resource for those interested in doing research about CBD. You can click here to view studies on CBD and anxiety at ProjectCBD.org.
We’d Love To Hear From You
If you are already using CBD products for anxiety, leave us a comment below. We love hearing from users and your feedback will help us develop important resources to help anxiety sufferers explore alternative supplements and strategies.
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