In the world of wellness, CBD has become a bit of a star, especially when it comes to tackling anxiety. But what does the science say? Is it really a wonder remedy or just a lot of hype? This friendly guide takes a peek at the research on CBD and anxiety. We’ll sift through the science in a way that’s easy to grasp, helping you understand whether CBD could be the answer to feeling calmer and more relaxed.

So does CBD work for anxiety according to science?

Yes. That’s the short answer. Numerous research studies have shown real promise in the use of CBD to help with anxiety.

However, we should be clear that:

  • There is still so much more research needed
  • Many scientific studies conclude that more uniform approaches to dosage are required

But let’s dive in and take a look at some of the key research studies.

Scientific Studies into CBD and Anxiety

Here’s a summary of some of the scientific research studies in CBD and anxiety.

Study NameYearHow was the Study Conducted?Summary of FindingsLink
Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders2015Reviewed a mix of studies on animals and humans to assess how CBD impacts anxiety.CBD shows potential for various anxiety disorders, but more detailed research, particularly for long-term use, is needed.Link
Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent, as an Anxiolytic Drug2012Analysed studies on animals and people to understand CBD’s effect on reducing anxiety.Indications that CBD might alleviate anxiety, but conclusive evidence requires further studies.Link
Use of Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Anxiety-related Disorders2020Reviewed existing literature about CBD’s role in managing anxiety.CBD appears promising for anxiety treatment, but more consistent and thorough research is necessary.Link
Medicinal Cannabis for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders2021Examined research and trials on CBD and THC products for anxiety.CBD may assist with anxiety, but currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend it as the primary treatment.Link
Cannabidiol (CBD) Use in Psychiatric Disorders: A Systematic Review2019Investigated how CBD is used in treating mental health issues, including anxiety.Suggests CBD could be effective for anxiety management, but additional research in mental health contexts is required.Link

So, as we can see, the main message of the science is that CBD is very promising in the treatment of anxiety but that much more research is needed before we can make any decisions about how it is used in treating the condition.

What are the most common treatments in the UK in 2024?

So, given that CBD is not being prescribed or commonly used for anxiety as yet, what are doctors prescribing in the UK in 2024?

In 2024, treatments for anxiety in the UK are a mix of the tried-and-tested and some newer methods. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is still one of the top choices. It helps people change the way they think about things that worry them. Doctors often prescribe medicines like SSRIs and SNRIs, which help balance the brain’s chemicals and ease anxiety symptoms. More and more, people are also trying mindfulness and learning how to manage stress better, sometimes instead of taking pills. The latest trend is digital therapy. This includes apps for mental health and online talking therapies, making it easier for everyone to get the help they need.

Anxiety and CBD: What Dosage is Best?

If you want to try CBD for yourself anyway given some of the promising early findings, dosage is going to be one of your first considerations.

When it comes to using CBD for anxiety, finding the right dose can be a bit like trying to hit the right note – it’s different for everyone. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all dose because how CBD affects you can depend on a host of things like your body weight, the kind of anxiety you’re dealing with and how your body responds to CBD.

A good rule of thumb is to start with a small dose and then slowly increase it. Some people might start with a dose as low as 20-40 milligrams a day. If you don’t notice any change in your anxiety after a week, you could try upping the dose by about 5 milligrams. Keep doing this until you feel like it’s helping your anxiety.

Remember, it’s really important to chat with your doctor before you start taking CBD, especially if you’re already taking other medicines. Your doctor can help you figure out the best starting dose and make sure it won’t mess with any other medications you’re on.

Also, it’s worth noting that CBD comes in different forms – like oils, capsules, and gummies – and the strength of CBD can vary between these. So, always check the label for how much CBD is in each dose. And stick with reputable brands that have their products tested for quality and safety.

What are the side effects of CBD?

Even though CBD is generally considered very safe, it can still cause some side effects. The most common ones are pretty mild – things like feeling a bit sleepy or dizzy, or having a dry mouth. Some people might also experience a change in their appetite or a bit of an upset stomach. It’s pretty rare, but some people might have more serious side effects, especially if they take a lot of CBD or mix it with certain medicines. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start using CBD, especially if you’re already on other medication. Your GP can help you figure out if CBD is a good fit for you and keep an eye out for any unusual side effects.

What medications does CBD interact with?

When talking about CBD and other medications, it’s a bit like mixing different ingredients in a recipe – sometimes they don’t mix well. CBD can interact with several types of medications, which could change how these medicines work or increase the risk of side effects.

One key group of medicines that CBD can affect are blood thinners like warfarin. CBD might increase the risk of bleeding when taken with these. It can also interact with some types of seizure medicines, certain antidepressants, and medications that come with a ‘grapefruit warning.’ Just like grapefruit, CBD can affect enzymes in your liver that help break down these drugs, leading to higher levels in your bloodstream.

And if you’re on any medication that makes you drowsy, like some painkillers, sleeping pills, or anxiety meds, adding CBD into the mix might make you feel even sleepier.

What we should also be really clear about here though is that we don’t even have a fully exhaustive list of medicines that CBD interacts with yet either. Research is still very much emerging here. So, as ever, when in doubt simply seek medical advice.

10 Fast Facts About CBD

Need a quick lowdown on the general situation with CBD? Here are 10 fast facts:

  1. CBD is short for Cannabidiol: It’s a compound found in cannabis plants, but it doesn’t make you feel ‘high’ – that’s THC’s job.

  2. CBD is legal in the UK: As long as it doesn’t contain more than 0.2% THC and is derived from an industrial hemp strain that’s EU-approved.

  3. Not just for humans: CBD is also used in some pet products, especially to ease anxiety or pain in dogs and cats.

  4. It comes in many forms: You can find CBD as oils, capsules, gummies, creams, and even in some food and drink.

  5. Used for various reasons: People use CBD for a range of issues, from reducing anxiety and pain to improving sleep and skin health.

  6. Interaction with medications: CBD can interact with certain medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before using it.

  7. It affects everyone differently: The right dose can vary a lot, depending on factors like your body weight and the reason you’re using it.

  8. Research is still catching up: While many people report benefits, scientists are still studying how effective CBD really is for different health issues.

  9. Quality varies: The CBD market isn’t heavily regulated yet, so product quality can vary widely.

  10. Side effects are usually mild: Most people find CBD to be well-tolerated, but some may experience mild side effects like dry mouth or drowsiness.

Is it Legal to Take CBD for Anxiety in the UK?

In the UK, using CBD for anxiety is completely legal. But there are a few things to remember. First off, the CBD must come from an industrial hemp strain that’s approved in the EU. Also, it can’t have more than 0.2% THC – that’s the bit in cannabis that makes you feel ‘high.’

Now, you’ll find CBD in many forms like oils, creams, and capsules. It’s widely available in health shops and online. But, because CBD isn’t regulated like medicines, the products aren’t always checked by the government for quality or safety. So, it’s really important to buy from reputable sellers.

And remember, while CBD is legal and many people find it helps with their anxiety, it’s still a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting it, especially if you’re already taking other medications. They can give you the best advice on whether CBD is a good option for you and help you stay safe.