Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Simcoe Addiction & Mental Health
Person Holding White and Brown Bottle of CBD oil for anxiety

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Anxiety

Health Canada regulates the production and sale of the hemp-derivative cannabidiol (CBD). When a company’s CBD complies with Health Canada’s Cannabis Act, Canadians can buy and use it legally. Why would someone want to buy and use CBD? Many people report experiencing health benefits, such as anxiety relief, from using CBD. However, the research on CBD for anxiety in Canada is still emerging. Until we know for sure about the pros and cons of CBD oil for anxiety, we should all proceed with caution. It is essential to understand what this product can and can not do to human health, plus any adverse effects to expect. Those curious about using CBD for anxiety management need to read this guide. Below, we will explain how CBD works, its potential uses for anxiety, how long CBD oil takes to work for anxiety, and the pros and cons people should consider. Read on to learn more.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD works on receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Receptors are like locks, and they sit on the outside of cells in the brain and body. CBD and naturally-occurring chemicals called neurotransmitters act like receptor keys.

The ECS receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. CB2 influences the immune system and inflammation when unlocked with a key like CBD. CB1, on the other hand, has more of an impact on the brain.

Pre-clinical researchers have examined what happens when cannabinoids like CBD activate CB1 receptors. Activating CB1 with CBD induces anxiolytic-like effects. Researchers believe this could be due to interaction with GABA.

Keep in mind that these are animal, not human, studies. We need more research on humans to determine the actual benefits of CBD for anxiety.

What Does CBD Oil Do for Anxiety?

CBD oil may help with anxiety through its interaction with CB1 receptors in the brain and, indirectly, through its ability to prevent a decrease in GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter. Like CBD, it can act as a key on receptor “locks.”

The function of GABA is to calm down brain activity. Scientists call GABA an inhibitory neurotransmitter for this reason. When GABA goes down, brain activity increases, which may result in less anxiety.

There are other proposed mechanisms for how CBD may help with anxiety. However, scientists and researchers have yet to prove which one is correct.

To get the most out of CBD, individuals can implement healthy lifestyle changes to help them cope with anxiety.

How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work for Anxiety?

The time it takes CBD oil to work depends on how someone administers it, with the sublingual route being the fastest. Using CBD oil in a vaporizer will also make it work faster.

Consumables are the types of products to avoid for people who want fast-acting effects. Consumables include gummies and other edible products that contain CBD.

Products that people ingest must go through the stomach and then the liver before reaching the bloodstream — the first-pass effect. The first-pass effect leads to a significantly reduced potency of the ingested CBD.

We also advise against topical lotions and creams containing CBD. There is no research to suggest that these products are effective. They also will not impact anxiety since they do not pass through the bloodstream.

Before we continue, we want to clarify that none of the information we include in this article is medically proven. Research shows a positive correlation between CBD and anxiety relief, but we need more studies to know for sure.

Does CBD Oil Help With Panic Disorder?

CBD may help with panic disorder, according to pre-clinical research studies. Administering CBD reduced flight and freeze panic responses. Researchers proposed that serotonin regulation may have to do with CBD’s effects.

It is important to note that pre-clinical research subjects are animals. We need more studies on humans to know for sure whether CBD oil can help with panic disorder.

Does CBD Help With Social Anxiety Disorder?

A 2011 clinical study showed that CBD could help with social anxiety disorder. Study participants given 400 milligrams of CBD had significantly reduced anxiety levels compared to participants given a placebo.

The researchers in this study measured anxiety levels based on subjective reports and objective evidence. Participants who took CBD reported feeling less socially anxious.

Does CBD Oil Help With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Multiple studies have shown that CBD oil may help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. PTSD used to be considered an anxiety disorder. While it now falls under a different category, anxiety is still a primary symptom.

Pre-clinical studies first showed that CBD could help with fear extinction in people recovering from PTSD. Fear extinction is the process of unlearning a conditioned response to a frightening stimulus, a memory in this case.

More recent research has tested these results in humans. These studies showed that CBD has a similar effect on people with PTSD. Researchers even found significant improvements in PTSD symptoms from CBD use.

Does CBD Oil Help With Chronic Stress?

Studies in animals and humans have found that CBD can help people with chronic stress. Chronic stress is when people experience constant and persistent stress over extended periods.

Clinical trials have shown that the endocannabinoid system is a primary regulator of the stress response. Concentrations of naturally-occurring chemicals that act on the endocannabinoid system are lower in people with chronic stress.

CBD seems to help mitigate this effect. In seven different studies, CBD significantly reduced stress responses in participants. Importantly, CBD performed as well as prescription drugs in some of these studies.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Anxiety

Before using CBD for anxiety, people should understand the advantages and disadvantages. Next, we outline the top pros and cons of using CBD for anxiety to help people make more informed decisions.

Pro: CBD Comes from Natural Sources

In Canada, legal CBD comes from the hemp plant. It undergoes very little processing compared to prescription pharmaceutical drugs. Many CBD products come from organic hemp that is not grown using pesticides.

Con: CBD Is Not Regulated Like Other Drugs

Health Canada regulates the production of CBD products. They require CBD producers to include health warnings on the label. Companies must also avoid making health claims that science has yet to prove.

However, this regulation is not as strict as how Health Canada regulates other prescription drugs. As we will discuss in a moment, that allows companies to sell products that may not be what they claim to be.

Pro: CBD Has Fewer Side Effects Than Other Drugs

Prescription medications for anxiety come with adverse side effects.

Weight gain, insomnia, and erectile dysfunction are common side effects of anxiolytics like SNRIs, SSRIs, and TCAs. Addiction is also possible when using certain anti-anxiety drugs.

Compared to these medications, CBD has much fewer side effects. Unlike marijuana, CBD also does not present the risk of addiction, no matter how much someone takes.

Con: CBD Has Potential Side Effects

CBD may have fewer side effects than prescription drugs. Yet, people still report experiencing the following symptoms while using CBD:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth

There may be more side effects of CBD that we have not reported here. We need more research to know for sure how various doses of CBD affect different individuals.

Pro: CBD Is Easy to Use

There are many ways to take and use CBD, whether someone wants to be discreet about it or not. CBD can be added to foods and drinks. People can also put a few drops under their tongues for fast-acting effects.

It is even simpler for those who take daily vitamins to add a CBD gummy or tablet into their routines. Just remember that eating or drinking CBD will not work as quickly as putting drops beneath the tongue.

Con: Not All CBD Products Are High-Quality

Unfortunately, many companies produce and market CBD products that are not exactly legal. These products may appear to be CBD. Yet, the claims made on the label may not match up with what’s actually in the product.

For this reason, people should make sure they buy from reputable sources. Always check the third-party lab results for the product to ensure it contains what it says it does and is safe for human health.


There are many more questions about CBD that need to be answered. Based on what we know from research and anecdotal evidence, here are the answers to some of the web’s most searched questions about CBD for anxiety.

What Is the Best CBD Oil for Anxiety in Canada?

The best CBD oil for anxiety depends on whether someone wants a full-spectrum or THC-free product. Brands typically sell three types of CBD oil: CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD.

Full and broad-spectrum products contain additional hemp plant compounds that may be beneficial for health. However, full-spectrum contains THC, which may worsen anxiety.

People worried about THC’s effects should go with CBD oil options like broad-spectrum products and isolates. Isolates contain pure CBD.

What MG of CBD Oil Is Best for Anxiety?

The best CBD oil dose for anxiety depends on whether someone is new to CBD or a seasoned pro. Beginners can start with a small amount. If there are no symptom improvements after a few days, increase the dose.

Clinical trials have found that 25 to 75 milligrams of CBD may be sufficient for helping with anxiety-induced sleep problems. 33 to 49 milligrams of CBD may be optimal for people with PTSD.

The prescription drug, Epidolex, is the only type of CBD with dosing guidelines. Experts recommend starting with 2.5 milligrams of this product per kilogram of body weight daily.

2.5 milligrams per day may be a good starting point. However, remember that CBD products are not the same as prescription drugs. Review the product label and always talk to a physician when in doubt.

Can You Take Too Much CBD?

So far, studies have shown that you can not take too much CBD. People tend to tolerate high levels of CBD without adverse effects. There is no evidence that someone can overdose on CBD, either.

A 2020 review found that people tolerate CBD for anxiety in doses of up to 900 milligrams.

When Should You Take CBD Oil for Sleep?

You should take CBD oil for sleep about half an hour to an hour before going to bed. Exactly when to take CBD oil for sleep depends on the type of product.

People can take CBD oil only a few minutes before bed since it is fast-acting. Take ingestible products earlier to allow time for digestion.

Can CBD Oil Make Your Anxiety Worse?

No, CBD itself should not make anxiety worse. However, using full-spectrum products that contain THC may exacerbate anxiety symptoms. In that case, switch to a product that contains pure CBD.

What Substances Should Not be Taken With CBD?

CBD should not be taken with other anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, certain thyroid medications, and seizure drugs.

People who use these medications should talk to their physicians before incorporating CBD oil into their daily routines.

What Does CBD Feel Like?

Anecdotal reports say CBD doesn’t feel like anything, even when taken in very high doses. It does not cause a euphoric “high” like THC. The only effect new CBD oil users may experience is slight fatigue.

Is It Safe to Take CBD and Drive?

Pure CBD is safe to take before driving because it does not significantly alter someone’s mental state. However, CBD oil may cause drowsiness. Also, products containing THC may alter a person’s ability to drive.

Anxiety Treatment in Canada

CBD may make coping with anxiety symptoms easier, but we need more research. In the meantime, understanding the pros and cons of CBD oil for anxiety can help people make the best decision for their unique needs.

Are you searching for evidence-based treatments for anxiety in Ontario? Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health offers inpatient and outpatient therapy for individuals dealing with anxiety disorders. Contact us today to learn more.

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