CBD for anxiety and panic attacks

I suffer with anxiety, can CBD help me?

Last updated: 07.07.2021

Anxiety is a natural human response when we feel under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. To be afraid of something is completely normal. However, anxiety disorders can have a major impact on people's lives.

CBD for anxiety and panic attacks

CBD and anxiety... in a nutshell

  • CBD shows extreme promise in alleviating the common symptons of anxiety disorders.
  • CBD is said to have anxiolytic properties (an anxiolytic is a medication, or other intervention, that inhibits anxiety)
  • Studies indicate positive effects of CBD in panic attacks and anxiety disorders, as well as other medical conditions, such as OCD, and epilepsy
  • CBD has few side effects, is not addictive and is not intoxicating

How common is anxiety?

In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety disorder. Women in the UK are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

Research suggests that 13.2% of people have experienced a panic attack at some point in their lives.

Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common of the disorders relating to anxiety, affecting around 1 in 10 people in the UK

Another common anxiety disorder, is obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD. It affects more than 1 in 50 people, which is over 2% of the population.

Can CBD help? Different patient experiences and research results from clinical trials show that CBD could help.

What is fear and what does it do to you?

To a certain extent, fear is completely normal and sometimes not a bad thing. In fact in some cases, fear is vital for human survival. The actions we take when we experience fear can often lead us to safety.

But if you feel fear or suffer from panic attacks in certain situations in which this reaction is exaggerated, it can then serious affect a person's wellness, and quality of life.

How do anxiety and panic attacks develop?

Anxiety spreads in our bodies in fractions of a millisecond. Our brains process this perception and can interpret it as a potential danger. Even if there is actually no danger.

This message is passed on to the limbic system, in which the hypothalamus finally triggers various anxiety symptoms. For example, stronger heart palpitations or an increased respiratory rate.

Anxiety, phobias or panic attacks are often a symptom of someone who suffers from depression. The lack of the happiness hormone serotonin can also be responsible for the depressive mood.

Fear is a natural human response and is necessary to keep us safe. But when fear turns into anxiety it can ruin lives.

woman-suffering-with-anxiety-sits-on-bed-hugging-her-legs
Fear is a natural human response and is necessary to keep us safe. But when fear turns into anxiety it can ruin lives.

5 ways to recognise you have anxiety

Anxiety can affect people in a number of ways, everyone is different. But here are the 5 most common symptoms for anxiety.

1. Difficulty sleeping.

A lack of high quality sleep is a very common symptom of anxiety. This can lead to a number of issues, given that sleep is vital for both physical and mental health.

2. Constant worry.

People who suffer from anxiety can worry about anything, whether it is real, or irrational. These feelings can include a sense of dread, or the feeling that something bad is always about to happen.

3. Tiredness.

This is an obvious bi-product of not getting enough sleep. But fatigue can actually still be a symptom if a person is getting a full nights sleep. Anxiety can be emotionally and mentally exhausting and will often leave a person feeling drained.

4. Feeling 'on edge'

People who suffer from anxiety often feel on edge, irritable and tense. People with anxiety can often have a 'short fuse'. This can often affect issues with people around them. Which can create further reason for anxiety.

5. Physical reactions.

This can include tremors, shaking, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pains and/or tightness, nausea, tingling or numbness, increased body temperature, sweating and hot flashes. Of course, this can also include panic attacks. Such physical reactions are caused by the nervous system.

These symptoms present themselves in a number in a number of medical conditions, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).

We are pleased to share with you that, whilst CBD cannot cannot be offered as a cure for medical conditions, it has already shown great promise as a potential treatment for many of the above symptoms.

How does CBD work for anxiety and panic?

Medical cannabis is said to have an anxiolytic effect (i.e. reduces anxiety). This emerges from studies that have already been carried out.

Anxiety disorders are controlled by the amygdala, a core area of the brain. In situations of fear, messenger substances are released, which make the body tremble and sweat.

CBD can connect to receptors of the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) and inhibit the release of anxiety messengers. The ECS in particular is suspected to be able to regulate fear through special signals.

Researchers have also found that CBD can increase serotonin and glutamate signaling. This is be done by activating the 5-HT1A receptor. So it seems possible that CBD could act faster than the SSRI antidepressant.

An anti-anxiety property of the CBD was also demonstrated in a study by the University of Sao Paulo (Bergamaschi study). The studies looked at subjects who suffer from anxiety when public speaking. With CBD, they showed far less anxiety and discomfort in such situations.

Another study, which administered 400 mg of CBD and one placebo to the participants, concluded that CBD can reduce patient anxiety and appears to work in the limbic brain area.

A case report on a 10-year-old girl who was abused at the age of 5 showed cannabis oil resulting in a persistent decline in her anxiety.

The patient's sleep quality also increased. In contrast, pharmaceutical drugs only temporarily improved the condition and also called for serious side effects.

There is also evidence that CBD can access anxiety memories and reduce fear learned in paradigms. This could also be relevant for phobias or post-traumatic stress disorders. The anxieties are reduced to a certain extent.

The proven interaction of cannabidiol with the endocannabinoid system also reinforces the assumption that CBD could have a calming effect on the body.

contorted-double-vision-photo-of-a-woman-representing-a-troubled-mind
CBD is said to have an anxiolytic effect (i.e. reduces anxiety).

CBD, coronavirus and anxiety

This certainly isn't to say that anxiety is a symptom of coronavirus, nor that CBD can help cure coronavirus. However, the link between the ongoing pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns and impact on people's work and social lives and increased levels of anxiety should be pretty obvious to most people.

Given the potential benefits of CBD in relation to managing anxiety, there could be benefits from CBD in relation to anxiety due to the COVID pandemic and lockdown.

Post traumatic stress disorder and CBD

Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder which is usually triggered by a distressing and traumatic event.

5 commons symptoms of PTSD

1. Flashbacks, memories and thoughts.

These are among the most common PTSD symptoms. PTSD sufferers often relive their traumatic experience, continually remember their experience and are often constantly thinking about it. This constant thinking can often include feelings of shame and/or guilt.

2. Nightmares

Research shows that 71% to 96% of PTSD suffers may have nightmares, this compares to about 5% of the general population who have nightmare complaints.

3. Physical reactions

These can include pain, sweating, feeling sick, trembling, headaches, nausea and chest pains.

4. Hyperarousal

This is the body's reaction to thinking about its distressing experience. The body reacts as if there was danger, even when there isn't any. This can lead people to have difficulty relaxing, experience nervousness, including being 'jumpy' and anxiety.

These reactions can often lead to other unwanted issues, such as anger and insomnia. PTSD is also linked to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, self-harming or destructive behaviour, such as substance misuse.

5. Difficulty with life and relationships

People who suffer with PTSD often describe a feeling of 'numbess', of being unable to find enjoyment in life and having feeling of hopelessness. It is common for people to detach theirselves from those around them and often struggle to maintaining healthy and positive relationships.

How can CBD help with PTSD?

CBD cannot claim to completely irradicate PTSD, but there is very promising evidence to suggest it can alleviate many of the symptoms that are typically assosciated with this condition. Although, as we know, research from human studies is still limited.

We already know that CBD can help with the following issues:

Studies in CBD and PTSD

In a 2019 study it was found that CBD had a positive effect on PTSD symptoms. In this study, 91% of patients experienced a decrease in PTSD symptoms. The study included 11 patients at an outpatient psychiatry clinic who were also receiving routine psychiatric care. The study took place over 8 weeks. It was also found that CBD appears to offer relief for patients who suffered with nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD. It is also worth mentioning that no patients stopped taking CBD due to side effects.

In 2016, another study found that CBD was able to help a 10 year old girl who suffered with PTSD following traumatic abuse that took place 5 years earlier. Whilst conventional medicine had offered relief, it was found that the results were not long lasting and that there were some significant side effects. The study states that CBD offered the patient a 'decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of sleep.'

The patient demonstrated low self-esteem, anxiety and difficulties in sleeping. Both at home and school, the patient displayed aggression, disobedience and impulsiveness, as well as inappropriate behaviours.

Over a period of 5 months, a steady improvement in relation to sleep and anxiety was consistent and clear. In addition to this, her behaviours at school improved and she appeared less anxious. Her caregiver reported that her behaviors were "definitely better being on the CBD. Her anxiety is not gone, but it is not as intense and she is much easier to be around. She now sleeps in her own room most of the time, which has never happened before.”

In conclusion, whilst CBD cannot be offered as a panacea, it clearly has some significant benefits to offer. This is being clearly reported in the few studies that are taking place. As the stigma of CBD continues to reduce and as more studies are being conducted, we look look forward to watching this space as more and more people being to realise the benefits of CBD.

Is CBD safe?

Many people are interested in CBD and how it works as a substance from cannabis. However, some don't use it because they are not sure whether the use of CBD is safe at all.

The World Health Organization states that there is no risk from CBD. The active ingredient does not make you physically dependent and does not have a psychoactive effect. It is very different from its related and better-known antagonist THC.

According to several studies, CBD also has few and harmless side effects. Some users have reported a dry mouth or a feeling of drowsiness when using CBD oil.

However, you should be careful if you are already using certain medications, as here may be interactions. It is advisable to consult your doctor or a pharmacist before taking CBD.

Does CBD make you high?

two-young-men-getting-stoned-looking-quite-happy-about-it
There is still much stigma about CBD use due to the link with its psychoactive counterpart, THC. However, CBD greatly differs to THC as it does not get you high.

Many people still believe that because CBD comes from the marijuana plant (or cannabis plant) that is it illegal and unsafe. There is still much stigma about Cannabidiol (CBD) use due to the link with its psychoactive counterpart, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, CBD greatly differs to THC as it does not get you high.

Opponents of CBD repeatedly throw up the assumption that cannabis is always the same and is ultimately only good for getting high. But that is a common misconception.

Fortunately, in recent years, the negative attitude towards the hemp plant does appear to be changing. Because people are starting to realise the health benefits of CBD, and the idea that sometimes, it can be an alternative to prescription medications. Which can often produce unwanted side effects.

CBD in particular does not make you high and does not have a psychoactive effect. It's different with THC, which does have an intoxicating effect if taken in large enough doses.

In the UK, legal CBD products should not contain THC. In Europe and elsewhere, CBD products may have a small proportion of THC (max. 0.2%).

Which CBD oil for anxiety and panic attacks?

One of the most popular CBD products is CBD oil (also sometimes called cannabis oil). Going by the studies already presented, CBD oils could be a real alternative to conventional drugs for anxiety disorders.

If you want to buy a CBD oil, you should check the CBD content. Reputable manufacturers transparently state all ingredients on the label.

So-called full-spectrum extracts (or broad spectrum oils), which have other cannabinoids, terpenes, amino acids or vitamins besides CBD, could also be helpful. So you can also benefit from other active ingredients and the entourage effect occurs. More info is provided on our page on CBD oils.

CBD oil for anxiety - How to dose?

Dosing is always a grey area. There is of course no universally correct dosage for everyone. The effectiveness of CBD oil can vary from person to person.

In addition to the appearance of the actual anxiety disorder or the intensity of the panic attacks, it also depends on the individual's body weight.

Normally, you should start with an oil with a lower CBD content in order to get used to the product. In the event of severe panic attacks, 20 percent oil can also be used.

As a dosage, 3 x 5-10 drops (with 5% or 10% oil) daily is often a suggested starting point, but you could start with low doses at first. You can always adjust the dosage if there is no or little effect. CBD oil normally comes in a tincture with a pipette, which makes it easier to administer.

There is no universally correct dosage for everyone.

There are many ways to take CBD. For example, some people like to vape. Vaping is often used when one is trying to quit smoking. Therefore if someone is interested in using CBD as an alternative to smoking marijuana, this may be a good option.

cbd-oil-presented-in-rather-nice-pots-with-cannabis-leaves
There is no universally correct dosage for everyone

How is CBD oil taken?

You can drop the CBD oil directly under the tongue with the pipette. So the CBD can be absorbed directly through the membranes in the mouth.

However, you should keep the drops under your tongue for a short time (usually 30 seconds) before swallowing the oil.

woman-demonstrating-how-to-take-CBD-under-the-tongue
Taking CBD under the tongue is one of the quickest ways to get CBD into your system

Success stories with anxiety and CBD

Our success stories come from social media, other CBD websites or through people we know personally. Some people are comfortable sharing their names and products, others prefer to remain anonymous. We feel hearing other people's positive experiences are a vital part of learning about how CBD can help, although it is important to remember that not all CBD products work the same for everyone. Don't be disheartened if one product/dosage doesn't work for you... keep trying!

We'd love to hear your success stories! If you would like to share yours, please get in touch at greenandsimple@mail.com

"My name is May and I’m 41 years old. I’ve been sick all my life due to severe PTSD and fought hard to keep my head above water. I suffered from severe depression, anxiety, confusion, body pain, etc. on and off my entire life. I’ve tried just about everything, from various methods of therapy, antidepressants, antipsychotics to anxiolytics that were on the market at the time. I’ve also been in psychiatric care where they also didn’t know what to do in order to help me. I have tried exercise, mindfulness, and various herbal remedies and nothing has worked. I changed my whole lifestyle, tried different diets, yoga and meditation every day and while it helped a lot, it was not enough as I would still be very ill at regular intervals.
I had once tried some CBD oil and it had a good effect on my depression and anxiety. I desperately grabbed for Nordic Oil’s CBD oil which I had read really positive reviews about on the web. I had absolutely NO expectation that it would in any way help in anything other than the depression and the anxiety and I thought it might keep me alive long enough for me to have the body pain diagnosed.
Once again, I was able to go out for walks with my dog and with my boyfriend. Now I have been on the oil for 14 days and up to 6 drops a day. Thanks to this CBD oil I can cook again, read books, play with my puppy, receive and hug, hear music, dance in the rain. I can finally live a little again.
I’m not saying I’m cured at all. I still suffer with pain especially in the evening, it is just not at the same intense level as before and I am not completely fatigued 24/7. I still get seizures in between here and there. In the 14 days I have been on CBD oil, I have only had 15 seizures. Where I the other months had 94 in 14 days."
- May (www.hemppedia.org/cbd-for-ptsd-anxiety-depression-testimonial/)
cbd-nordic-oil-success-story
A review of Nordic CBD oil is available in our product reviews section
"I suffer with Borderline Peraonality Disorder, severe depression and anxiety. I was on heavy meds for around 20 years. Every time I tried to ween off, I relapsed. I needed to get off the meds as they were not doing me any good. I tried a couple of CBD oils off the Internet which didn't do much. Someone invited me to join the CBD Discussion Group (Facebook group) to get more info. Here I found Reverse Nature CBD. I gave it a go and within a month I was off all meds. It has worked wonders for my mental health. In the process, it has also stopped my migraines, sorted my tendinitis and stopped the pain in my lower back. Life is much better now with CBD."
- Kirk Chapman (www.reversenature.co.uk) Kirk is now an advocate for Reverse Nature and is a part of the admin team for Facebook group CBD Discussion Group
We love Kirk's story! You can his full story in our Success Stories area.

I have fibromyalgia and ME/CFS as well as anxiety and depression. The fibromyalgia and anxiety affects my sleep massively and I rarely get a refreshed feeling when I wake up and often have trouble getting to sleep and sleeping deeply. The CFS then counteracts it and can knock me out, so then I have to reset my sleep pattern again. I always have some degree of muscle pain and although it is managed relatively well after 6 years, it is still restrictive and dictates what and how much I can do with my time. I am on tramadol 3 x daily for pain relief and a whole host of other tablets for other symptoms and comorbidities.
I often use Kalms sleeping tablets and have probably tried most herbal sleeping aids over the years. I have tried meditation, breathing techniques, white noises and other mind clearing exercises with varieties of success. None of these have worked long term. I tried 200mg CBD oil previously for the pain and did not find it had much of an impact. Although I had reservations of spending money again on something that wouldn't work, I bought some Bubblegum sweets by KLM Tech. Max strength 1000mg.
I noticed the difference within a week, and after a little dosage tweaking I felt my muscles relax and and the pain reduce. The biggest effect that I have seen is on my sleep. I eat one about 45 minutes before I go to sleep and I fall straight to sleep when I want to. I am not awake for hours, I don’t constantly toss and turn, I just fall asleep! It is amazing. I sleep through the night and feel much more refreshed in the morning than normal.
Three weeks in and the benefits of actually getting restorative sleep have meant that I rarely eat a gummy during the day now. I have more energy; my pain is less during the day and my brain feels clearer from having good quality restorative sleep.
- Liz Milne
Read Liz's full story here!

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