Can CBD cause anxiety? (A brief guide)

In this guide, we will discuss “Can CBD cause anxiety”, how CBD oil works, if CBD is considered safe, if you can combine CBD and other medication, CBD for anxiety and depression, CBD for generalized anxiety disorder and other forms of anxiety, and where to buy CBD products.

Can CBD cause anxiety?

CBD oil may trigger anxiety in rare cases, among other side effects that could lead to panic attacks. Some research has indicated that CBD oil can trigger changes in your appetite and changes in your mood. However, cannabidiol or CBD, which is a compound found in the marijuana plant,  has been gaining popularity because it appears to have anxiolytic effects. 

However, what many people don’t know is that CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties so you won’t get ‘high’ marijuana is associated with. In fact, it is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) we should blame for this effect when THC is consumed. 

As popularity increases worldwide, more and more companies have started to sell supplements, saves and other products that are made with CBD. Some of the anxiety disorders that CBD may help treat are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Port-traumatic stress disorder and Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

However, the preferred, up to date and most recommended way of treating such disorders are psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both. But more people seem to prefer to use CBD oil instead.

One of the problems CBD oil faces, when considered a treatment option for anxiety disorders is the lack of research and many scientists are still unsure about how CBD oil might help. What they do suggest is that besides having an impact in the endocannabinoid system, cannabidiol is thought to influence the brain receptors that are involved in the modulation of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is believed to play an important role in anxiety regulation

How does CBD oil work?

Our brain is constantly receiving information (or signals) from the different stimuli in our environment so it is not surprising how many people get to have higher levels of anxiety due to their lifestyle and everything they endure daily. 

However, as we have previously mentioned, CBD seems to influence brain receptors, specifically CB1 and CB2. They are mostly found in our Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System. But, the exact way CBD influences or affects such receptors is still not understood.

On the other hand, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is said to play a major role in mental health. Low levels of this neurotransmitter have been linked to depression and in some cases, it has also been associated with anxiety. This is the reason why traditional medicine aims to increase those levels through Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor or SSRI such as Zoloft and Fluoxetine. However, they are only available when prescribed and for some people, it represents a lot of unwanted side effects.

In contrast to traditional medicine, it has been suggested that people with anxiety may manage their condition by using CBD oil instead of SSRIs.  However, if you are taking SSRIs, talk to your doctor if you are considering CBD oil before you make any sudden changes to your current treatment.

Is CBD safe?

For a product to be considered safe, it has to undergo adequate testing to suggest it is safe. However, there are more and more CBD products that haven’t undergone any safety testing. Moreover, the ADAA indicated:

“The FDA has issued several warning letters to firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain cannabidiol. As part of these actions, the FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. It is important to note that these products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products.”

Cannabinoids and terpenoids, like terpenes in pepper, possess a range of chemical correlations, which may be one explanation why they tend to have some advantage in blocking the effects of too much THC.

However, some research has indicated that CBD oil may trigger side effects such as changes in appetite, changes in your mood, diarrhoea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting. Moreover, cannabidiol has been found to increase your heart rate at a dose of 900 mg and there is also some evidence that it may lead to increased levels of liver enzymes, which is a marker of liver damage.

Can I combine CBD and other medication?

CBD may interact with other substances and medications, including:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Antihistamines
  • Some types of anti-epileptic drugs

As indicated by Alan Carter from, “CBD may also interact with other medications or dietary supplements you’re taking. Exercise particular caution if you take medications, such as blood thinners, that come with a “grapefruit warning.” CBD and grapefruit both interact with enzymes that are important to drug metabolism.”

If you have decided to use CBD but you are taking medication for any other medical condition, consult with your doctor before using CBD products. Moreover, don’t stop your medicine unless indicated by your doctor since you may experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Check the best herbs to smoke for anxiety, besides marijuana.

CBD for anxiety and depression

Evidence suggests that CBD may be useful when treating several medical conditions where limited clinical evidence has assessed the diverse properties of CDB such as neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, among others.

However, the ADAA adds, “There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the claim that CBD is an effective treatment for depression or anxiety. That does not mean it would not help, but there simply haven’t been properly controlled clinical trials to support an indication of CBD for treating anxiety or depression. Considerably more research is required to evaluate CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety and depression.”

In the US alone, there are a dozen current clinical trials that evaluate the potential benefits of CBD when treating a variety of disorders such as PTSD, alcohol use disorder, pain, anxiety, depression, etc. Moreover, a combination of CBD+THC, known as Sativex, is being studied since it has been approved for cancer pain and spasticity in Europe and Asia and purified CBD extract has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for 2 rare forms of epilepsy such as Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

CBD for generalized anxiety

Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has indicated that CBD has shown evidence of reducing stress in rats. Also, evidence suggested that there were lower behavioural signs of anxiety and physiological symptoms also improved.

However, more research needs to be done, specifically testing CBD and the effect on generalized anxiety in humans.

In regards to other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it has been suggested it may also reduce the symptoms. A study from 2011 about the effects of CBD on people with SAD indicated that the participants that were given an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD experienced overall reduced anxiety in contrast to the participants that had a placebo.

Where can I buy CBD oil?

In some parts of the world, CBD products are only allowed for medicinal purposes, such as epilepsy treatment, meaning you will need a certificate from a licensed doctor to get it. However, you may find it in some countries without this restriction and you may also order it online.

Make sure to read the label because some CBD products may contain THC and as we have mentioned, it may increase your anxiety and may cause panic attacks. Also, if you are going to get CBD products to make sure to get them at a trusted site or store.

In regards to label inaccuracy, Cathy Wong from Verywellhealth indicates, “It should also be noted that, because CBD oil is mostly unregulated, products may be incorrectly labelled. To that end, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 found that nearly 70 per cent of all CBD products sold online are mislabeled and that several products contain a significant amount of THC.”

Why is this blog about Can CBD cause anxiety important?

As we have discussed, CBD can cause anxiety in rare cases since the component that is more likely to increase your anxiety and panic attacks is THC, which is the component responsible for giving you the ‘high’ effect. Moreover, since there is a lack of research on the anxiolytic effects of CBD in a variety of medical conditions such as anxiety disorders. The information provided by the existing studies seems promising and maybe an alternative solution to replace the current medication.

However, consider that suddenly stopping your current medication or starting to use CBD without the supervision or approval from your doctor can be dangerous, since CBD may interact with some of the medicines you may be using. We highly recommend talking to your physician before starting to use CBD products.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Can CBD cause anxiety

Can CBD cause anxiety attacks?

CBD won’t cause anxiety attacks. However, cannabis with low THC may cause fewer anxiety attacks. But CBD does not cause panic attacks, it is the psychoactive ingredient (THC) that causes the ‘high’ that may provoke panic attacks in some people.

Can CBD cause rebound anxiety?

CBD may cause rebound anxiety, as well as other effects such as insomnia and a higher risk of falling due to loss of coordination.

Does CBD kill anxiety?

Some studies have indicated that CBD oil may be effective when treating anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) but there is lack of research to evidence the anxiolytic properties CBD is believed to have.

Does CBD affect mental health?

CBD seems to help when talking about mental health. For instance, some research indicated that there could be a reduction in anxiety symptoms, the reason why CBD has been praised by some mental health advocates for the anti-anxiety effects. 

What drugs should not be taken with CBD?

The type of drugs that should not be taken with CBD include but are not limited to:

– Antiarrhythmics.

– Antibiotics.

– Anaesthetics.

– Angiotensin II blockers.

– Antihistamines.

– Antipsychotics.

– Antidepressants.

– Anti-epileptics.

References “Can CBD Help with My Anxiety and Depression?”

Carter, A. (2020, Apr.) Using CBD Oil for Anxiety: Does It Work? Retrieved from

Wong, C. (2020, May.) Using CBD Oil for Treating Anxiety. Retrieved from

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