In 2018, hemp was removed from the U.S.’s Controlled Substances Act, making it legal to sell hemp-derived CBD across the country. Since then, CBD, aka cannabidiol, has become a popular natural option for people facing mental stressors like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and insomnia. It’s also become an alternative for people dealing with chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, inflammation, headaches, menstrual cramps, sore muscles, and multiple sclerosis.
And way back in 1993, researchers studied the effects of cannabidiol on human volunteers forced into a very anxiety-inducing situation: public speaking. The study, published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that CBD had anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties on the subjects.
Can CBD Help With Anxiety?
As explained by Medical News Today, there is a difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks, even though the two are often conflated. Anxiety attacks usually come on over time, as stressful thoughts or feelings build up in response to a trigger, and can last for hours. Panic attacks typically happen more suddenly, often without a specific trigger, and while they can have stronger symptoms than an anxiety attack, they usually only last for a matter of minutes, according to Medical News Today.
Anxiety is best treated with a combination of things, including therapy, medication, meditation, exercise, and more. So while CBD probably won’t be a 100 percent cure for your anxiety, it could certainly help relieve some symptoms, especially when combined with other treatments.
A 2015 study published on PubMed Central (PMC) found that “Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects.” The study’s authors noted that while CBD holds “potential value” in CBD, they emphasized the need for further research in terms of CBD treating anxiety.
Dr. Yasmin Hurd: Ironically, even though it’s now this huge fad in our society, we still don’t have a very good handle on how it’s working.
Jones: And what about those moments of instant relief? Was that in my head, or could CBD act that fast?
Benji Jones: That’s me, trying CBD at a shop in New York City. Lately, I’ve seen this stuff everywhere: At the local health food store, but also at Urban Outfitters , Sephora , and CBD shops like this one. And if you look at some of the branding, it kind of makes sense.
Jones: All right, today is the day! I have my CBD here. I’m kind of nervous. All right, here we go.
Steven Phan: You gotta lean back. No, tongue back!
Now, of course, this could have been a placebo. I mean, all of this could have been placebo. So, a few days later, I tried it again in a similar high-stress situation.
Dr. Hurd: “Yeah, absolutely. It can act that quickly. For us, in our studies, people did — shortly after getting CBD — report reduced anxiety.”