Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 120 cannabinoids (compounds) in the cannabis plant and the second most prevalent compound in the plant, the first being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is a compound that often gets bad press for being psychoactive and having anxiety-inducing properties. For clarity, psychoactivity is the quality that enables THC to produce the “high” feeling or intoxication one may experience with cannabis. Conversely, CBD may help alleviate anxiety, and it is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive.
Some studies show that CBD interacts with serotonin to ease anxiety, and serotonin is linked to mental health. These cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body, which controls mood, sleep, and the immune system.
This study by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that over 31.1% of adults in the US have suffered from anxiety disorders at some point.
According to the study, 31.9% of adolescents have also had anxiety. Many Americans are now using CBD as an alternative treatment for anxiety, and it is also used for pain and inflammation treatment.
Research has shown how CBD may relieve anxiety. You can easily find the best CBD oils for anxiety on the web. However, more clinical data are needed to solidify these claims. This article covers all you need to know about CBD for anxiety and how long CBD takes to work.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid present in Cannabis sativa. It was discovered in 1940 as one of the 120 other compounds found in the cannabis plant, and it makes up over 40% of the plant’s extract.
Clinical studies suggest CBD could be useful for the management or relief of inflammation, chronic pain, anxiety, and some cognitive disorders. While these claims require more research, many people promote CBD as a beneficial herbal drug for these health issues.
With the global market popularity of CBD increasing yearly, many have started relying on CBD and CBD-derived drugs.
Federal regulations, however, have limited the number of products that can be made and sold with the cannabis plant. As of 2021, it was still illegal for CBD to be sold as a dietary supplement or prescription drug.
Hemp-derived CBD products with THC below 0.3% are legal to be sold as a cosmetic product or any non-FDA-approved product. But under federal law, it is still illegal to be sold as a supplement. In addition, any CBD product with a higher THC content than 0.3% is considered marijuana and is illegal under federal laws.
In 2018, the first CBD-derived drug, Epidiolex, was approved by the FDA for a type of childhood epilepsy. Still, it requires rescheduling to a Schedule V drug for it to be prescribed in some states.
CBD is sold in many shops in states where it is not explicitly illegal. You can also purchase CBD oil online in these states. If you’re keen on buying CBD for anxiety, it’s best to first check state laws. Some state laws permit recreational marijuana but have not legalized CBD to be sold as a dietary supplement. Other states have legalized the use of CBD but with a doctor’s prescription.
Even with the restrictions, studies have shown that CBD could be useful for certain mental health issues, including anxiety, panic disorders, and OCD.
CBD comes in many forms. These forms make it easy for different types of people to decide what method of ingestion works best for them. Manufacturers produce CBD as CBD oil tinctures, CBD gummies, balms, capsules, and many others.
What Research Says About CBD
When CBD is ingested, it interacts with proteins and the central nervous system. Its primary interaction is with the ECS. CBD also interacts independently with serotonin receptors. These interactions may be responsible for its effects on the human body as these receptors regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviors.
In this 2015 review, the authors show that CBD oil helps relieve anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. They include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A 2019 study also shows how CBD has anxiolytic properties as it interacts with serotonin receptors. These receptors are involved with pain, anxiety, and depression. The research shows that CBD has a similar mechanism to other anxiolytic drugs and reduces anxiety-like behavior.
Another study carried out in 2011 showed the calming effects of CBD on people with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in a simulated public speaking test. A similar study also demonstrates decreased anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s disease in a simulated public speaking test.
In a retrospective study with 72 adults, the researchers highlight using CBD for anxiety and sleep issues. At the end of the CBD treatment, anxiety decreased in 57 patients within the first month, while sleep quality improved in 48 patients.
More recently, in 2020, a review showed the role of CBD therapy in reducing generalized anxiety disorders, SAD, and PTSD. CBD was used as either monotherapy or a supportive therapy, with the only side effects being fatigue and sedation. The study, however, indicates the need for standardized dosing strategies for CBD administration.
Another 2020 study involved 397 adults in New Zealand with various symptoms of pain, mental health ailments, and cancer-related ailments. CBD was used as a control, and all the groups reported improved quality of life after three weeks of use. Those who received treatment for anxiety and depression reported less anxiety and depression symptoms.
How To Use CBD
For now, standardized dosing for CBD is yet to be established. Numerous studies use various dosages, ranging from 3mg – 1000mg. Research showed that a dosage of between 300 – 600mg for anxiety symptoms was well-received.
The effects of CBD products largely depend on the quality of the product and its administration method. In addition, the CBD industry is largely unregulated and you should know how to use CBD oil. Thus, many products on the shelves are not standardized. Some CBD manufacturers lace their products with additives and contaminants that can alter the integrity of the product. It is thus essential to look out for specific certifications before purchasing any CBD product.
There are various methods of CBD consumption, and each method has its unique level of bioavailability. For example, that of lotion is almost 0% as CBD may not penetrate the skin’s water barrier. The bioavailability of oral CBD products is 13 – 19% as it goes through the digestive system. The level of sublingual administration is 20 – 30%, and inhalation is over 31%. Smoking or vaping CBD oil is a quicker way to feel its effects.
One can administer CBD using:
- CBD oil
- Sublingual spray
- CBD tincture
- CBD edibles
- Vaporized oils
- CBD gummies
- Vaporized oil
- CBD capsules
- Cannabis flowers
- Lotions and balms
Many people have reported that smoking or vaping the oils or buds provides immediate relief. Also, placing the oil under your tongue offers fast comfort. This is because many capillaries underneath the tongue make absorption easier. For this reason, most CBD oils are produced with a thin, viscous oil like coconut oil. In addition, because oil is not an edible product, it does not go through the digestive system, which slows down the process. Thus, sublingual administration takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects. Some people advise taking CBD oil with food.
How To Choose The Best CBD Oil for Anxiety
There are certain factors to consider when choosing the ideal CBD oil for anxiety. Chief of all is the quality of the product. A substandard product will affect your overall experience with CBD. When looking for a quality product, firstly, check for a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Only reputable CBD manufacturers include a COA with their products. The certificate speaks to the purity and quality of the product.
When checking the COA, look for tests for heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides, and mold. In addition, ensure to check that the ingredients on the label match what is in the COA.
Alongside the COA, check for a batch number. Companies manufacture their products in batches. Thus, the manufacturer must indicate the batch number. The batch number on the COA must match that on the product label. The best products have QR codes because they have nothing to hide.
Secondly, experts recommend choosing a full-spectrum oil. They contain trace amounts of THC. However, they have more cannabinoids than CBD. They believe that full spectrum products heighten your body’s sensitivity to the “entourage effect.”
Thirdly, many also advise getting CBD oil made from US-grown plants as it is better regulated. The cannabis plant is a bioaccumulator, soaking up all the nutrients it finds in the soil. Thus, they must pre-test the soil for pesticides, heavy metals, and toxins.
Finally, look for customer reviews on different web pages. Avoid companies that make unfounded health claims about their products. The FDA has not approved so-called medical claims of CBD oil yet. Carry out sufficient research on the product you choose to buy so that you may get value for your money and find yourself the strongest CBD oil.
Factors That Determine How Quickly CBD Oil Works
In addition to the product’s quality and administration method, other factors can delay or speed up the effects of CBD oil. It is important to note that these factors vary for different people. Thus, there is no exact way to determine how quickly CBD oil works.
That said, body weight is a direct factor that could affect CBD oil absorption. The amount of fat you have will influence the dosage of CBD oil you need to take. People that weigh more require a higher dosage for CBD oil to work. Also, the more you weigh, the longer it takes to feel the effects. Because CBD is fat-soluble, those who have more fat cells will absorb it quicker and store it longer.
Your body’s metabolism rate will also decide how quickly CBD oil works. You will likely feel the effects faster if you are very active with a high metabolism, and they will also wear off faster. Conversely, if you have a slower metabolism, the results will show slowly. Either way, your body metabolizes CBD and expunges the remaining chemicals as waste. Everybody has a different metabolism, so there is no definite way of determining how quickly the CBD product works.
Your consistency of usage may also affect how the oil works. As with everything else, consistency pays. Some people might experience immediate effects when they take the oil, and for others, it might take them weeks to experience any effects. It is crucial to stick with consistent CBD doses through this process to get the potential benefits.
First of all, ensure that your product is not of low quality. If not, patiently take your dosage until you feel it. Sometimes, it might be necessary to increase or reduce your dosage, as is essential.
Individual make-up or biology is also crucial as no two persons have the exact reaction to CBD.
Mechanism of CBD
CBD is a part of a group of compounds called cannabinoids. CBD works by interacting with the brain and body through the ECS. The ECS was discovered in 1990. The ECS is a complex network of neurotransmitters and receptors responsible for significant body functions, including homeostasis. In addition, it affects the endocrine system and is vital for maintaining good health.
The ECS boosts the interaction between the immune and peripheral, and central nervous systems. These systems have large concentrations of cannabinoid receptors.
CBD oil, when ingested, stimulates the ECS to produce its cannabinoids and slows the rate at which they break down so that they can stay longer in your system. The ECS is responsible for several functions: sleep, pain, mood, pleasure, memory, and immune function. Thus, whenever the body experiences something wrong, the ECS releases its cannabinoids to fix it.
CBD affects serotonin receptors, vanilloid receptors, and the immune system and functions on over 60 molecular pathways. By activating the serotonin receptor, CBD produces an anti-anxiety effect on the body. Its interaction with the vanilloid receptors can influence pain sensitivity, inflammation and temperature.
CBD can also block orphan receptors. As an antagonist of this receptor, it might be able to prevent cancer cell proliferation and decrease bone reabsorption. Additionally, CBD could potentially activate nuclear receptors on the nucleus of a cell, thus exerting anti-cancer effects. This reaction can also degrade a molecule involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Risks and Side Effects of CBD
Numerous users generally tolerate CBD products. Reported side effects from studies are usually few and minimal, but not non-existent. Some studies show that most people can accept CBD oil in doses of up to 1500mg/day. Anything beyond that is too much CBD and there is little or no data on the long-term effects of such a high dosage.
Some common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Lightheadedness, especially when taken with alcohol or other stress medications
In some cases, CBD may cause signs of liver injury, especially in users of Epidiolex. It can also increase or decrease the blood level of some tests, causing high liver function blood tests.
CBD may alter the speed with which the liver breaks down certain medications. This can cause the side effects or usage of such medication to change.
Using CBD oil while taking other medication can cause drug interaction. Stomach upset, weight gain, and appetite change, are all possible effects of such an interaction.
Doctors also recommend caution for people with existing liver injuries or people taking drugs that can cause liver injuries.
CBD can interact with pain and seizure medications, antiretrovirals, antihistamines, and antidepressants.
Other less common side effects include cough, pneumonia, decreased sperm count, and red eye.
Since the FDA has not approved CBD oils, other possible effects are unknown.
FAQs About CBD Oil For Anxiety
Q1. What is the best way to take CBD?
This is a matter of personal preference. Some people would rather not taste CBD oil at all. As such, they may opt for capsules or flavored gummies. However, the sublingual application is the fastest way of ingesting CBD, aside from smoking it. This way, it moves faster to the bloodstream, and the effects are almost immediate.
Q2. What does taking CBD feel like?
CBD oil does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. Thus, do not expect a “high” feeling after taking it. Also, do not expect to feel it “kicking in” suddenly. Instead, many describe the feeling to be mild and fuzzy. Some describe it as having a warm blanket; they become more relaxed and less anxious.
Q3. What form does CBD oil come in?
Manufacturers produce CBD oil as full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolates. Full spectrum CBD oil contains all the natural compounds of the cannabis plant. Full spectrum usually contains trace amounts of THC, not up to 0.3%. It is the best option for those who want to experience the “entourage effect.” Broad spectrum CBD contains some of the plant’s compounds but no THC. Finally, CBD isolate is pure CBD.
Q4. How do I choose the best CBD oil?
When choosing the right CBD oil, always look for a reliable company. A reliable company should have third-party lab results for each of its products. Be sure to go through the results to see that they are satisfactory. Read reviews about them online and thoroughly research their sourcing and farming practices. Make sure that their methods are satisfactory. The FDA does not approve nonprescription CBD products, so be careful what you choose. Sometimes, these products are just hemp oil or hemp seed oil, which contain no CBD.
Q5. Is CBD oil the best form of administration for those with anxiety?
CBD oil is not only quick to enter the bloodstream, but it is also quick to administer. Use your dropper to place one or two drops under your tongue, and that’s it. It is discrete and does not leave tell-tale signs like smoking or vaping would.
Q6. How do I know what CBD dosage to take for anxiety?
Research has not gone as far as telling us what CBD dosage would be best for treating anxiety. It is best to consult with a physician on the correct dosage for you, especially if you’re on prescription medications. Alternatively, start with a low dose and up the dose if, after a while, you don’t feel positive effects. In addition, ensure to always look at the serving size and amount per serving on the product label. This should give you an idea of how much CBD oil you consume in each serving.
Q7. What is the best time of day to take CBD oil?
There is no specific time that is best for CBD oil to work. People recommend you take it at least an hour before you go into stressful situations.
If you have a big task ahead or a presentation you’re feeling anxious about, take it an hour before. Sometimes, it depends on your situation. If you deal with general anxiety, it might be best to take it in the morning before leaving the house. If you have social anxiety, you can take it an hour before attending a party or event.
The use of CBD oil for anxiety is gaining widespread popularity. A poll indicated that over half of American CBD users take it for anxiety. It has become a friendly alternative for those with severe prescription medication side effects.
CBD can be helpful with other health conditions like inflammation and pain relief. The health benefits are numerous.
There is a need for more clinical trials on using CBD oil for anxiety. However, the prospects are promising. It is an added advantage that CBD oil does not take too long to work for anxiety, and most people experience immediate calm.
For others, different factors come into play; metabolism, body weight, and individual biology. However, you can expect the CBD oil to work 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingestion. Most importantly, only a quality product can give you the desired effects. Thus, make sure to follow the guide on how to select the best product for your use.