People who suffer from anxiety issues generally don’t smoke weed. They observe its relaxing and enjoyable effects on others and wonder what the deal is. On the rare occasions they have imbibed, it has been an uncomfortable, panic-inducing activity never to be repeated. So it comes as no surprise that people with anxiety are a little suspicious of anything resembling marijuana.
If you could reap the mental health benefits of cannabis without having to endure the over-arousal and uncomfortable sensation of the high, would you?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been steadily gaining traction in the mainstream market as the inevitable result of new laws legalizing the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana in many states and jurisdictions. This is excellent news for anxious people, as the existing evidence strongly supports using CBD oil for anxiety and as a potential treatment for panic-related disorders. CBD oil has been shown to alleviate anxiousness, reduce panic attacks, and decrease the body’s physical arousal response to stress and fear. Not only that, but it appears as though it helps protect the body from the long-term cumulative effects of these negative emotions.
The best part is that CBD oil does not produce the unwanted psychotropic effects of THC, which is the compound in marijuana that is responsible for the high. In fact, studies conducted on anxiety and CBD oil suggest that it may even counter the unwanted effects of THC.
There are numerous CBD oils and tinctures on the market that can enable you to reap the mental health benefits of cannabis without the paranoia, panic, and disorientation sometimes seen among people who have a low tolerance to THC. And because CBD sourced from hemp is (usually) legal to purchase and consume, it is an ideal option for individuals residing in non-pot-friendly states.
The CBD market is still in its infant stages and is largely unregulated. This situation has led to a flood of unscrupulous companies attempting to profit from people who are desperate for cures. When trying to find the best CBD oil for anxiety, consumers are faced with a barrage of options, not all of which are legit. We should say right off the bat that properly extracted CBD oil, while incredibly beneficial, is not cheap. The process of manufacturing it requires a lot of time and expensive equipment. High-quality oils can run between 10-20 cents or more per milligram. To determine the cost per milligram of a product, take the total price divided by the number of milligrams the bottle contains.
The research we conducted for this list requires any company who makes the top ten list to have the following criteria:
Extraction: The oil should be extracted using a method known as the supercritical CO2 method or the ethanol extraction method. These methods produce the safest and purest oils available on the market.
Third party lab results: Any company that has the health and safety of its consumers in mind will allow for third party testing that checks the product’s potency and tests it for solvents, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and pesticides. This information should be readily available to the public.
Source: Some CBD products use oil extracted from industrial hemp that has been grown in non-food grade and potentially contaminated soil conditions. You should try to find whole plant cannabis oil that is certified organic and sourced from a reputable grower.
Here is the list of our top ten CBD oils for anxiety:
1. Hempland USA
Cannabitol 500 Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Drops
All of Hempland’s products are sourced in the USA from licensed greenhouses and farms. After harvesting, the dried plant undergoes rigorous testing to ensure purity and potency before it is sent for supercritical CO2 extraction. The extracted oil is then tested again for heavy metals, fungi, mycotoxins, pesticides, and herbicides before bottling. The company stands behind its products with a 100 percent money back guarantee.
Hemplands Cannabitol 500 drops contain 23.72 mg of Cannabinoids per dose. The oil has a clear amber color and a light peppermint flavor. The recommended dosage is one to two drops under the tongue daily.
2. Charlotte’s Web By The Stanley Brothers
CW Hemp Extract Oil Advanced
Charlotte’s Web is a high-CBD cannabis strain developed by Jesse and Joel Stanley of Colorado. The strain was named after an American child named Charlotte Figi whose story drew international attention in 2013 when she exhibited immediate relief from a severe seizure disorder after her parents administered CBD oil made by the Stanleys. Their flagship product, CW Hemp Extract Oil Advanced, contains a whopping 43 mg of hemp extract per dose. It comes in mint chocolate or olive oil flavor.
Sourced from locally grown 100 percent organic hemp that is stringently tested and monitored from start to finish, CW bills itself as having “the world’s most trusted hemp extract.”
3. NuLeaf Naturals
725mg Full Spectrum CBD Oil, High-Grade Hemp Extract
NuLeaf creates CBD oils utilizing a combination of subcritical and supercritical CO2 extraction methods to develop whole plant extracts. Their carefully bred hemp is grown on licensed farms in Colorado using sustainable and organic farming practices. The oils are lab tested by a third party to ensure proper amounts of CBD and are rigorously tested for over 200 mold, fungi, pesticides, heavy metals, and herbicides.
NuLeaf’s full spectrum CBD oil contains no additives, preservatives or flavorings of any kind.
4. Gone Green
Gone Green Hemp CBD Oil Extract
Gone Green distributes high-grade Hemp CBD Oil Extract that is made from organically grown hemp on toxin and pesticide free US farms. The CBD is supercritical CO2 extracted for maximum quality and purity. It is then sent to Sedona, Arizona where it is infused into certified organic MCT oil at an HACCP certified facility.
Gone Green’s extract has a smooth, earthy, nutty flavor and can be taken as a tincture or as an addition to your favorite beverage.
5. Receptra Naturals
Receptra Naturals Pure Hemp CBD Oil Prime
Receptra recommends their CBD Oil Prime for anyone who is new to CBD. The hemp used in their CBD oil is all grown on family-owned farms in Colorado using only the whole hemp flower and aerial parts through the cold ethanol extraction method. Every batch of hemp oil produced by Receptra is third-party tested with results readily available.
Receptras Lab technicians extract their CBD oil at a fully licensed, safe, and contaminant free facility to ensure a quality product.
RAW Hemp Oil Drops 1500mg CBD + CBDa(15%)
Awarded by the UN for clean production and resource efficiency, Endoca makes its CBD oil from certified organic cannabis grown without the use of any pesticides. They control the process from beginning to end starting with their own seed bank and breeding program. Endoca’s CBD oil is extracted using the CO2 method. Their harvesters run on waste oil from the food industry, and leftovers from production are fed to cattle thus eliminating the need for antibiotics. Endoca is close to having a 100% sustainable operation.
Endoca recommends their raw hemp oil drops for treating anxiety and insomnia and to promote relaxation and well-being.
CBD Tincture – Hemp Oil Drops 3600mg CBD
Elixinol sources the highest quality hemp from around the world to manufacture their extensive line of hemp-based products. All of the products that ship from their facility have undergone rigorous testing for potency, heavy metals, pesticides and microbiological contamination. They publish certificates of analysis on all of their products as well as provide batch and lot numbers for everything they manufacture to ensure the highest transparency.
Their tincture of CBD oil comes in a dropper bottle and is available in cinnamon or natural flavor.
8. Cannabidiol Life
CBD Oil 1,000 mg + Honey
Cannabidiol Life products are created in a Denver environmental health compliant facility using an ethanol extraction method. Their full spectrum oils are considered to be medium/high CBD oil concentrates that offer what is known as the “Entourage Effect.”
An ideal starting point for reducing symptoms of anxiety is to dose with their gentle CBD oil with honey by taking it sublingually or mixing it in with your favorite beverage.
9. im-bue botanicals
Elevated 250 MG Tincture of Hemp
All of im-bues organic hemp is grown in the Colorado mountains by select farmers and growers, and they provide detailed and current third-party lab testing results for all of their products. They offer discount and assistance programs for the disabled, veterans, and people with low incomes. All of their products are packaged in recyclable materials.
im-bue’s CBD tincture, Elevated 250MG Tincture of Hemp is great tasting, easy to use, and provides 8.3 mg of Cannabidiol per dropper.
10. Mana Artisan Botanics
Hawaiian Turmeric Hemp Oil 3X
Mana Artisan Botanics uses high end, organically grown, CO2 Extracted hemp from Colorado. Then they infuse it with Hawaiian botanicals, spices and other ingredients from Honaunau Farm in Hawaii to create one-of-a-kind artisan blended CBD oil. All of their products are tested at independent laboratories like Steep Hill Labs in Hawaii, and the results of the testing are always available.
Hawaiian Turmeric Hemp Oil 3X is an infusion of Colorado-grown hemp and Hawaiian macadamia nut oil, organic fair trade vanilla bean, and turmeric. It delivers 450 mg of full-spectrum CBD per ounce.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid. Both marijuana and hemp contain cannabinoids, and both come from the same species of plant, cannabis sativa. There are over 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis, but the two most widely recognized are CBD and THC. CBD oil can be made from either of these sister plants.
THC is the psychoactive component of the marijuana plant and the substance that most people are familiar with. For many individuals, the “high” associated with smoking pot or ingesting something that contains THC is a pleasant and blissful experience. But for other people, it can induce anxiety and panic. People who have anxiety disorders typically shy away from the substance as it has proven to them from experience to bring on unpleasant sensations that they can do without. CBD, on the other hand, has polar opposite properties from THC and is often used to treat anxiety because of its relaxing and calming effects.
The difference between CBD oil made with marijuana and CBD oil made from hemp is the amount of THC that its bud contains. For a plant to be classified as hemp, it can not contain any more than 0.3% THC by weight. (In contrast, some strains of marijuana contain a THC content as high as 30%.)
For consumers who cannot tolerate the psychoactive effects of THC, a high-quality CBD oil sourced from hemp is an ideal solution for combating anxiety. Remember, the best CBD oil for anxiety is one that works with your body’s individual needs and makes you feel the most comfortable.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
Cannabinoids like CBD are chemicals that interact with receptors in the human body called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors were only recently discovered in the 90s. While nearly everyone knew about cannabis, it was not understood before this point that our bodies have another whole system that regulates our body’s tissues and organs called the endocannabinoid system. Our endocannabinoids have a vital role in maintaining our cognitive functions, appetite, fertility, mood, memory, and pain perception.
Cannabinoids originating in plants are known as phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoids originating in the human body are called endocannabinoids. What is exciting about all of this is that they work symbiotically in the human brain.
The endocannabinoid system has two receptors, CB1 receptors, and CB2 receptors. They are found in our nervous system, glands, organs, immune system, and all throughout the body. Ingesting phytocannabinoids (or smoking them) has a synergistic effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors. While THC acts as a direct stimulant on these receptors, CBD oil does not stimulate the receptors directly. Instead, it signals your body’s natural cannabinoids to activate its receptors to do the job of keeping your body in homeostasis.
Does CBD Oil Really Work For Anxiety?
Cannabidiol possesses both antipsychotic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a cannabis researcher and neurologist, has hypothesized that many people who are plagued with hard-to-treat conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines, PTSD, anxiety, and other illnesses might have a condition he coined as “endocannabinoid deficiency” which can make cells send abnormal messages of physical and emotional pain to the body. Phytocannabinoids essentially mimic our bodies own endocannabinoids and cause these cells to cease the pain messages, thus bringing a state of balance back to the system.
CBD helps with anxiety in two noticeable ways.
It affects the 5-HT1A agonist. 5-HT1A is a vital serotonin receptor subtype whose function is essential to maintaining proper serotonin levels in the brain. In some cases, CBD has been shown to work similarly to SSRIs (drugs used to treat anxiety and depression) by enhancing the transmission of 5HT1A and has also been shown to have a faster effect than SSRIs.
The second effect it has is on the hippocampus. The hippocampus plays a critical role in many brain functions. Brain scans of people who have anxiety often reveal a smaller, impaired hippocampus. This is particularly important because evidence suggests that when impaired, the hippocampus can lead to suicidal behaviors. CBD has been shown to regenerate neurons in this area of the brain (neurogenesis). Because of its potential as a safe and therapeutic alternative to pharmaceuticals, the research for CBD’s potential to aid individuals with anxiety disorders is highly promising.
While more research is in order, a large body of evidence illustrates the benefits of CBD oil for anxiety disorders of all types ranging from mild social anxiety disorder to severe PTSD and everything in between. For example, the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Library of Medicine maintains an extensive database of white papers full of research and clinical results that point toward the efficacy of CBD oil for anxiety. Additionally, in April of 2018 ScienceDaily published the findings of a study that examined anecdotal evidence strongly suggesting that Cannabis is an effective anti-anxiety agent. And a search on scholar.google.com for “Cannabidiol in the treatment of anxiety” yields over 8,000 results (and growing).
Additional resource: 10 Best CBD Oil For Sleep
How Do I Figure Out The Correct Dosage Of CBD Oil For Anxiety?
There is a lot of confusion around dosing amounts when using CBD oil for anxiety. The truth is, the amount varies from product to product and can be vastly different depending on the individual. Because there are no official dosing guidelines in place yet, it can take some time to figure out the correct amount for you. Doses can fall anywhere between the 25 mg to 600 mg range. Before you decide to go with the highest dose, realize that everyone’s needs are different. Here are some suggested guidelines to help you determine how to use CBD oil for anxiety.
Review the information that came with the product. Every product is going to have slight differences and different recommendations for dosing ranging from one drop under the tongue to an entire dropper full. Review the information about your specific CBD oil or tincture and, if you can’t find what you need, visit the product’s website. Most will have dosage recommendations, and many will have online customer service experts to help answer your questions.
Start with a Low Dose. When taking the product for anxiety, always begin with the lowest possible dose. This will give your body time to accustom to the cannabinoid slowly and let you become comfortable with its effects.
Increase the Dosage Slowly. If you don’t notice your anxiety improving, gradually increase the dosage every few days. Sometimes it can take a little bit of time for the CBD to build up and affect the endocannabinoid system. While THC triggers fast results, CBD is milder and may take a few days for changes to become evident.
Take smaller doses throughout the day. If you find that yourself feeling you are taking too many drops at one time, spread the dosage throughout the day by taking smaller amounts. This may help with the rate of absorption and metabolization.
Speak with a Doctor. CBD oil can increase the potency of other medicines so you should also check with your physician. Don’t stop taking SSRIs or anti-anxiety prescriptions “cold turkey” just because you are taking CBD oil. If you plan to discontinue your pharmaceuticals, you should wean off them with the guidance of your doctor. Be patient and check in with yourself every week to see how you are feeling, adjusting your dose of CBD oil either up or down as needed.
Is It Legal To Purchase CBD Oil?
Lawmakers across the country continue to debate the legalization of cannabis. As of August 16, 2018, nine states plus Washington, DC, have made recreational marijuana use in adults over 21 years of age legal. These are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Thirty other states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes and some districts and jurisdictions have their own regulations regarding its use.
While individual States have taken matters into their own hands and made bold moves toward legalization, the federal government continues to lag behind. The 2014 Farm Bill Section, 7606 appeared, at first glance, to make growing, processing, and distributing CBD legal across the US. However, the DEA has made it clear that they still consider hemp be a Schedule I substance. Adding to this confusion, The U.S. Customs and Border Protection department allows the import of hemp-derived CBD oil under certain conditions. So, the bottom line is that yes, CBD oil is legal in all states provided that it has been sourced outside of the US unless of course, it’s not legal. See the problem here?
Currently, CBD oil that is derived from imported hemp is legal in most of the United States, and CBD oil derived from marijuana is only permitted in specific states and jurisdictions. Because the laws are ambiguous and varying around this substance, it is essential that you research your particular state.
It is no surprise that phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD which are similar in structure to our own natural endocannabinoids can bind to our receptors and aid in healing our bodies and minds. Nature, in its perfection, has provided a plant medicine that harmonizes with our own body chemistry.
Dr. Ethan Russo has said “Let’s consider this. There are more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than there are for all of the neurotransmitters put together. That being true – and it is – recognizing that fact, why would one ignore this system? Why isn’t this being taught? Our public needs to know about this and how lifestyle and diet affect this system, and how it could be brought to bear to improve their life condition.”
By BCR Staff