CBD Oil for Anxiety: 3 Bizarre Reasons It May Be Overhyped

CBD Oil for Anxiety At a Glance

The story goes, if you feel anxiety growing, simply reach for cannabidiol (CBD) and that will make everything alright.

It’s the “magic pill” argument that is used to sell various supplements.

While there is evidence that CBD oil for anxiety does work, there are many misconceptions and this compound has received a lot of hype.

We will break down the science surrounding cannabidiol oil for anxiety, provide some anecdotes and experiences, and help you navigate the hype.

According to some estimates, the CBD oil industry has reached $200 million. There are many vested interests in having you buy CBD oil to treat anxiety.

The general consensus is that CBD oil can treat anxiety in a scientific context at higher doses.

CBD oil is also useful according to anecdotal reports, but set realistic expectations because it is not a “wonder drug” despite the hype.

Marijuana vs Hemp Oil for Anxiety

First, some brief definitions.

Cannabis is a plant known primarily as the source of marijuana. The psychoactive ingredient, THC is what people use for medical and recreational purposes to get “high”.

In contrast, pure CBD oil should be derived from hemp, which is a plant that has little to no THC (legal limits are 0.3%).

For people who are living in states where marijuana is NOT yet legal, have no fear, cannabidiol oil is far more loosely regulated and safe from legal ramifications.

With the successful introduction of the Farm Bill in 2018, hemp is now legal to grow making the resulting CBD oil safer from a legal perspective [1].

cbd oil for anxiety

Does it Work? The Science of CBD Oil for Anxiety

There are few sources online that discuss CBD oil for anxiety without buying into the hype.

We sifted through the scientific literature to discover the truth about using cannabidiol to treat anxiety.

The most compelling evidence in favor of using CBD oil for anxiety is a 2011 study in Neuropsychopharmacology.

The study found 12 participants with social anxiety disorder (SAD).

After giving participants 600 mg of CBD oil and having them do a public speech, participants “…significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort…” [2]

Participants who were anxious in social situations used CBD oil to successfully relieve their anxiety when public speaking (one of the most nerve-wracking activities).

There are some who would tout this as a major victory for cannabidiol oil, but the dosage was 600 mg, which is 40 times the dosage that many vendors sell.

In a separate human trial from Pharmacotherapy, scientists concluded that CBD “…and CBD-enriched preparations have great potential utility…” [3].

The most comprehensive analysis of cannabidiol for the purposes of treating anxiety come from a 2015 study in Neurotherapeutics, which clearly details the value… and how it works [4].

In fact, researchers have such a specific knowledge of cannabidiol, they understand the exact receptors that CBD oil effects to fight anxiety [5].

As you will see within the “Beyond Science” section, these scientific studies are validated by numerous anecdotal reports.

Here is a brief video I made on the topic if you prefer that medium of learning:


According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an upcoming clinical trial at the New York University School of Medicine focuses on CBD for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) [6].

The study will follow 50 participants using 400 mg of CBD oil per day for anxiety treatment for 14 months.

PTSD is one of the most intense forms of anxiety. If CBD oil, even at a high dosage, can relieve PTSD (or is being studied for such a thing), there is a good chance cannabidiol oil can work for average forms of anxiety [7].

Beyond Science: Relieving Anxiety with CBD Oil

The problem with focusing only on the studies is that it leaves out a lot of data.

After all, it costs millions of dollars to complete studies and science is generally two decades behind [8].

In a whole thread on Reddit, numerous individuals shared their personal experiences [9]:

During the day it takes the edge off of anything sharp ( anxiety, overthinking, pain but not inflammation as much.) Im a fan but it does not help me sleep at all…

Another wrote:

Pain goes away, stress goes away, you feel awesome, but it’s a mindfuck because you’re waiting for that fuzzy brain thing that happens when you smoke weed and it just never happens.

Finally, a skeptical voice:

I would personally recommend CBD. It works, but its a small effect, and if you’re looking for to feel strong effects you’re going to be disappointed.

It isn’t only community members on Reddit who are sharing their experiences using cannabidiol. Writers and journalists have jumped on the bandwagon as well.

According to MyDomaine writer Kelsey Clark, the CBD oil helped her sleep, made her less anxious, and less likely to overthink [10]. Business Insider had another piece lauding the effects [11].

Former Denver Broncos QB Jake Plaumer takes CBD oil via tincture

My CBD Oil Experience

As a nootropic enthusiast and self-experimenter, I’ve tried numerous compounds and CBD oil is high on the list due to its popularity.

Anxiety is not something I necessarily have trouble with so I have never consistently taken cannabidiol in order to reduce anxiety.

On the other hand, my girlfriend loves it. CBD oil helps reduce anxiety for her before bed so that she can sleep deeply.

She has noticed her dreams become more vivid and “weird” in her own words, but she appreciates the ability to sleep deeply using CBD oil.

How to Use Cannabidiol Oil for Anxiety

Being convinced by the science and the anecdotal experiences is only half the battle. Now that you see value in using CBD oil for anxiety, it’s time to decide how.

There are many ways of using CBD oil:

  • Orally (capsules, food, gummies etc)
  • Sublingual (tinctures)
  • Inhalation (vaping)
  • Transdermal (patches, creams)

For the purposes of anxiety, we suggest focusing on the first three and primarily sublingual CBD oil tinctures.

Here is why.

CBD Tinctures vs CBD Pills for Anxiety

CBD tinctures and CBD pills may both be cannabidiol, but they are absorbed in very different ways.

The CBD pills use the oral administration method, which means you consume them orally and the digestive tract will absorb the cannabidiol.

The problem is that only 6 – 15% of CBD is absorbed by the digestive tract [12].

In contrast, CBD tinctures (sublingual solutions) have a 20 – 35% bioavailability, which is far superior to any oral dose [13].

Compare 6 – 15% for CBD pills versus 20 – 35% for CBD tinctures.

The choice is clear between those two.

That’s one reason why we have produced full-spectrum CBD tinctures called DEW.

Vaping Cannabidiol (and Risks)

For achieving even greater absorption, the best option is vaping CBD.

While we are not a fan of doing anything that interacts with the lungs in this way, it is most effective.

Vaping increases bioavailability to 40%, but there are some downsides.

It’s common to use a vape pen regularly because it is more intense for less time (i.e., lower half-life).

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

No matter what you choose, it is likely better to use a full-spectrum CBD product versus isolate.

There is more flexibility with CBD isolate, but there is also more processing.

The full-spectrum cannabidiol provides an assortment of terpenes that create the “entourage effect”.

The concept is, nature intended us to use CBD oil alongside other compounds (many of which we don’t know of yet). Hence, full-spectrum CBD is better.

Using CBD Oil to Treat Anxiety

Anxiety can be debilitating. Because nearly 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety, it is common to seek a “magic pill”.

Cannabidiol can be effective for treating some aspects of anxiety, but it is not going to solve all of your problems.

The causes of anxiety can be neurochemical, societal, cultural, or emotional. Some people reduce their anxiety when they spend time outside or with friends.

It is worth taking a more holistic approach even if CBD oil for anxiety is an important tool on your journey.

We have developed DEW, which is a full-spectrum CBD oil tincture to help support you and reducing anxiety using verified, plant-based extracts.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_United_States_farm_bill
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27285147
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/
  5. These include CB1 receptor, serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, and others.
  6. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03248167
  7. PTSD is not a form of anxiety per se, but it is an extreme diagnoses that often creates a life full of anxiety from a deeply rooted traumatic event (or series of events). Thus, they aren’t exactly the same, but for the purposes of determining whether CBD oil works for anxiety, they can be comparable.
  8. At least 2 decades behind according to the late Charles Poliquin https://tim.blog/2015/07/21/charles-poliquin/
  9. https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/a0ybfg/is_cbd_legit_or_a_scam/
  10. https://www.mydomaine.com/what-is-cbd-oil/slide2
  11. https://www.businessinsider.com/cbd-oil-for-anxiety-experience-2018-10#i-experienced-a-subtle-but-noticeable-difference-in-my-anxiety-levels-3
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2937482
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051591
  14. https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics