What Does CBD Do For Anxiety?

How Does It Work?

It’s not a shocker that the curiosity of CBD and anxiety is spiking. It’s estimated that 40 million people between the ages of 18-54 have anxiety in the USA. Being a firefighter/paramedic, I respond to calls for anxiety attacks almost every shift. Most of these calls get dispatched as chest pain, heart attacks, difficulty breathing or even the feeling of impending death.


To really fix anxiety, the root cause must be understood. The medical and scientific communities do not understand how or why  Anxiety or “panic” attacks can come on for no reason at all and can manifest in people who have never had issues with them in the past.

CBD has some interesting research behind it in patients with anxiety.

Let’s talk about what CBD does when it’s taken:

CBD increases a hormone called Anandamide, also called “the bliss hormone” because of it’s effects on the body. Anandamide causes one to feel relaxed or “blissful”.

This hormone was discovered in 1992- so, this is all relatively “new” stuff.


The reason this was called “the bliss hormome” is because it stimulates serotonin and glutamate. These hormones are crucial in how depression and anxiety affect the human brain. Most prescription medications regulate imbalances in serotonin and glutamate. An imbalance in these hormones cause feelings of depression and anxiety. Prescription medications seek to correct these imbalances to stabilize your mood.

This study showed that CBD corrected the imbalances of these hormones in subjects, leading to a reduction in symptoms associated with their schizophrenia.


In another study out of Brazil, patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) were given CBD orally and their brains were studied using functional neuroimaging. Basically, scans were looking at things like bloodflow and reactions in the brains of patients taking CBD to see if their levels of anxiety were improved vs patients that received a placebo.

Results: “These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”


Does this mean CBD can replace pharmaceutical medications? Who knows.
However, as of right now no one can make that claim because it’s not been through the massive testing required on a large scale to see if this can affect the billions of people who will suffer from anxiety and depression.

However, there is promise. And, there is a strong possibility with all of the evidence pointing to benefits of CBD on the brain, that it will work for you too.

A common complaint for CBD not being effective for anxiety happens when someone doesn’t take CBD consistently and/or someone is taking it improperly. We’ve looked at studies on how CBD works in the human body (there are almost 800 of them) and created a guide here for you to look at and ensure you’re getting the most out of your CBD.

The Bottom Line on CBD and Anxiety

With the amount of research on CBD, anandamide and the case studies piling up, we do know that CBD does have a strong effect for many people out there. We know that it would fix the feelings of anxiety in everyone but there is potential that it can help many people out there.

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Some, but not all. There are many different classifications of anxiety medication. Talk to your doctor and use our free medication interaction checking tool

It’s really up to your physician. CBD can increase the effects or the duration of certain medications in your body but it doesn’t mean you can’t take them. Always ask your doc, we have a free medication interaction checker for you to use.

Yes it can. CBD inhibits an enzyme in the liver from working at full capacity. If your dog is taking corticosteroids, some anxiety meds or some antibiotics, you should ask your vet about their interactions.

There is no evidence to show that CBD placed on your skin goes through your liver. If that’s the case, then topical CBD cannot interact with medications. Always consult your physician when taking CBD with medications

Yes, but not all of them. There are different classifications of blood pressure medications. Always consult your physician when taking CBD with medications, you can get an idea with our CBD drug interaction checker

Medications that are metabolized via the CYP450 enzyme in your liver. These are also the same medications that grapefruit interacts with. You can check if your medication interacts with CBD with our interaction checker tool. Always consult your physician when taking CBD with medications

Most physicians are aware of what CBD is and the effects. Polls will show that in most places physicians are 50/50 on whether they recommend CBD as a treatment option

This is a very grey area. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the active ingredient in a prescription medication called Epidiolex, and therefore is regulated in some ways like a drug. But it’s widely treated as a supplement, although according to the FDA, it can’t be called that either!

No. If you’re interested in a CBD oil with high THC (over 0.3% but usually much higher than that), then you’ll need a medical marijuana card and a prescription. Any CBD product with less than 0.3% THC by weight does not require a prescription or medical marijuana card

Yes, but only certain medication. Any medicine that is affected by grapefruit is affected by CBD. Really! Always consult with your physician before taking CBD in addition to medications.

The best route is through inhalation. This means vaping or smoking. If that’s not your thing, the next best is through drops/spray under your tongue. And finally swallowing CBD is the lowest rate of absorption.

The better question is what are you taking it for? CBD lasts anywhere from 1-10 hours depending on how you take it. If you need it to last all day you may need to take it once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening. Since everyone absorbs it differently, trial and error is the best way to figure it out for yourself

CBD can be absorbed under your tongue, through inhalation or when swallowed. While there is little research on the bioavailability for these different routes, there is evidence that smoking/vaping gives you the greatest absorption, then under the tongue, then swallowed.

CBD is legal for everyone. There are no laws that restrict CBD use on a federal level. However, your union or agency policy can specifically restrict CBD use if it’s in your contract. Most agencies do not specifically restrict CBD, they restrict marijuana.

A standard urinalysis does not look for CBD, it looks for THC and its metabolites. THC is what causes intoxication and its metabolites are what a standard urinalysis detects.

If it can be verified to have 0.000% THC, then yes. Full spectrum CBD is legal but it contains THC (in small amounts) and can lead to a failed drug test.

There are many unions in that allow CBD usage, some have gone as far as removing THC from their drug testing policy. Others have permitted it at a state level. Some variation always exists, but a few have specifically prohibited CBD use for a number of reasons, but largely due to their fear over failed drug tests.

Whether they want to add CBD usage into their individual contracts is decided at a local level. On a federal level, hemp and its extracts (including CBD) is legal. Unless your contract specifically prohibits CBD or hemp use, you’re allowed to use it.

The local unions have to decide whether they want to add CBD usage into their contracts. On a federal level, hemp and its extracts (including CBD) is legal. Unless your contract specifically prohibits CBD or hemp use, you’re allowed to use it.

The terms are not interchangeable. Full spectrum is the “whole plant” in your CBD oil, vape, edible, etc. This means they every naturally occurring compound (including THC) the plant gives you when it’s harvested. Broad spectrum tries to be the best of both worlds, where it contains other cannabinoids and terpenes but has no THC. Low quality extraction can allow for THC to still be present, buyer beware.

CBD isolate was shown in studies to improve REM sleep, but it does not make you feel tired or help you fall asleep. The feeling of sleepiness with CBD is listed as a negative and rare side effect. Full spectrum can contain other cannabinoids and terpenes that can make you feel tired. So the better question is, are you taking it to feel tired or to get better quality sleep? And an even better question: do you need to pass a drug test?

While CBD isolate has its benefits (you can pass a drug test with it), full spectrum contains more pain-killing cannabinoids and terpenes like CBG and myrcene. However, if you still want to pass a drug test and you’re also looking for these terpenes you can choose broad spectrum. It’s isolate with the other “good stuff” added and no THC!

We have to understand what causes anxiety (which isn’t easy). But, many times it’s an imbalance of hormones, serotonin is the biggest suspect. CBD by itself has been shown in many studies to raise levels of serotonin. Full spectrum could have compounds like myrcene that give the sleepy/sedative feeling and would allow a feeling of calmness as well. If you don’t need to pass a drug test, take full spectrum.

Having the entire flower of the hemp plant used in the production process will give you the FULL SPECTRUM of cannabinoids and other compounds found in the hemp plant. Isolate, would contain just the CBD molecule and all the other compounds in the spectrum of the hemp plant are filtered out

Yes, Delta 8 is psychoactive and will cause an intoxicating high. But, it’s less potent than Delta 9 THC which is more prevalent in cannabis plants

If you extracted it from a hemp plant, yes. If it’s extracted from a marijuana plant, then no. This would be difficult to prove, but hemp and all of its extracts are legal at a federal level as long as they have less than 0.3% THC by weight.

Delta 9 THC is very prevalent in cannabis plants. Most cannabis flowers have less than 1% Delta 8 THC. They both produce a high but Delta 8 is a less potent high than Delta 9. Delta 8 has a legal loophole that Delta 9 does not (Depending on which lawyer you ask). There is a potential for medical benefits but the studies are all on animals and they’re preliminary.

In short, it’s a cannabinoid like CBD or THC. But, what we call “THC” is actually Delta 9 THC and it is slightly different from Delta 8 THC. Both in its effects and its legality.

A Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is also known as a lab test for CBD products. It is what differentiates high quality products from scams and low quality products. But, you still have to understand how to read lab tests otherwise, you’re just guessing on the CBD products you’re buying.

Lab tests. If you understand how to read a lab test, you can pick out good quality products from the scams and low quality products.

It’s easy when you know what you’re looking for. You can learn to read them in a few short steps by confirming the product being tested, understanding what the panels are looking for and finally by learning the terminology. We’ll show you how to read a lab test in 60 seconds.

It’s readily available everywhere. That doesn’t mean you should buy it from your local gas station. Find an online brand or local shop that can provide lab tests to prove the purity and quality and educate yourself on what a quality product is.

Is CBD Legal?

Hemp and all of its extracts (including CBD) were legalized at the federal level as long as they have less than 0.3% THC, however each state must regulate CBD individually, and so it’s on a state-by-state basis. Currently Idaho, Iowa, and Nebraska have strong restrictions on CBD. North Dakota is in a grey area and most companies will not ship product there.

No. Although CBD as a molecule can be found in all cannabis plants, (of which marijuana is one) it’s not found in high concentrations in the marijuana plant. The hemp plant is also in the cannabis family, however it contains the highest concentrations of CBD when bred to do so. CBD does not make you feel high or intoxicated

Short for Cannabidiol, CBD is the main molecule found in the hemp plant, classified as a cannabinoid. Research has been done on the compound to understand its effects on hormones in the body like serotonin and it’s potential as an anti inflammatory and sleep aide.


Terpenes offer another level of benefits on top of what cannabinoids like CBD offer. While CBD can provide anti-inflammation or mood support, terpnes can also do the same, causing a stronger effect when working in conjunction with cannbinoids. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect

No. At least not how we understand the word “psychoactive”. Terpenes are not intoxicating. Terpenes may reduce anxiety, reduce stress and promote calmness. So, they are mood altering although they are not mind altering.

Yes, terpenes are often confused with THC, the intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Terpenes give hemp its strong smell and sometimes cause confusion between hemp and marijuana. Regardless, terpenes by themselves are completely legal.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) outlines what criteria must be met to be diagnosed with PTSD by a professional

No cure exists, only treatments. The underlying causes of PTSD need to be understood and addressed, so treatments are based around understanding the patient and what may have caused PTSD

No. Depression can be one of the many things you’re battling with PTSD, but they’re not the same. PTSD needs to be diagnosed by a professional based on multiple criteria and is usually tracked to traumatic events. Depression can occur without such an event.

While the DoD has stated CBD products are not permitted for active members, the drug tests administered do not look for CBD, they look for THC. And the topical administration of CBD products will not enter your bloodstream regardless.

No. They test for THC. However, THC can be present in CBD products, and if you’re not careful you can test positive after prolonged use of this “full spectrum” CBD oil. CBD isolate does not contain THC.

The DoD has stated all active service members are not allowed to take CBD. They are concerned that it could lead to a failed drug test and that the industry is unregulated.

Back pain that is mechanical (injury or strain) gets worse with movement and lifting. Back pain from arthritis is inflammation and usually relieved with light exercise and anti-inflammatories

It’s still a matter of debate. Studies from several researchers have shown mixed results, the correlation between back pain and high blood pressure is not fully understood yet.

A minor muscle strain may go away on its own with rest. Back pain that does not go away or that causes decreased mobility is a sign of a more serious condition or injury.

The most common reason is because you’re not padding between your knees if you’re a side sleeper. A more rare but serious reason back pain can wake you up at night is from an inflammatory condition.

Improper lifting & bending, poor posture, and inflammation are the most common causes.

Back pain is either mechanical (injury or strain) or inflammatory. Both of these can feel similar but you can assess yourself to tell which type you have based on several symptoms and time of day the pain occurs.

Cannabinoids are found in cannabis plants, but they’re also found in other plants like broccoli and spices such as clove and black pepper. They can be synthesized in a lab (used for research or medication). They’re also naturally occurring in your brain and body as the hormones anandamide and 2-AG (both of these attach to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of your endocannabinoid system)

Cannabinoids attach to CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain and body. While each of these have different effects, cannabinoids have been studied for the potential to reduce anxiety, pain, nausea, seizures and improve sleep.

While there are over 100 cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, the parent cannabinoids are

  • CBG (Cannabigerol)
  • CBC (Cannabichromene)
  • CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid)
  • CBD (Cannabidiol)
  • THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)
  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
  • CBN (Cannabinol)

Yes, CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (both hemp and marijuana). CBD is found in higher amounts in the hemp plant than in the marijuana plant.

It’s important that you ensure the CBD products you buy are tested by a THIRD PARTY laboratory. For example: you wouldn’t want to buy Omnia Naturals CBD tested by Omnia Naturals. You want to see Kaycha Laboratory testing Omnia Naturals. No affiliation and therefore no conflict of interest.

High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) can determine the presence and quantity of all cannabinoids like CBD and THC within a CBD product. These will be shown on a lab test or Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

A Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is commonly referred to as a lab test in the CBD industry. This is the document showing the results for everything that is tested for in a CBD product. Everything from the presence of heavy metals to the levels of CBD and THC in the product.

The most accurate way to test cannabinoids like CBD is with High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). This process allows a lab to determine which cannabinoids are present, and at what levels.

Cannabinoids like CBD release message carriers (neurotransmitters) that lock in to sites in the ECS like CB1 and CB2. When these receptor sites are stimulated they produce the effects CBD is known for.

Yes! Most living things have an ECS, including your dogs and cats. If you don’t have an ECS, CBD will do nothing beneficial for you. Bees for example, do not have an ECS, so when they’re pollinating hemp and marijuana plants, they do not feel the effects of the cannabinoids.

The two (possibly even a 3rd that hasn’t been discovered) receptors CB1 and CB2 are responsible for producing the effects around the human body. CB1 affects the brain and CB2 affects most tissues and organs in the rest of the body with pain relief and inflammation.

The simple version: It’s the system that CBD stimulates to produce the effects CBD is known for. The ECS by definition is a group of protein receptors and neurotransmitters that allow cannabinoids like THC and CBD to affect the brain and body.

The majority of people sleep better no matter what time of the day they exercise. But for us, we need to reset our messed up circadian rhythm. You should exercise earlier so that you can retrain your body and mind when the end of the day is. Exercising too close to bed may fool your brain into thinking you’re going on a call.

By resetting your circadian rhythm. Limit screen time an hour before bed, workout earlier, eat healthier and start a regimen of CBD before bed.

Studies with CBD have shown to improve the sleep patterns of the majority of those who’ve taken it. This was seen with improvements in the amount of REM sleep that was achieved.

No. CBG has no intoxicating effects, in the same way CBD has no intoxicating effects but it may have the same or even more health benefits than CBD.

CBG is Cannabigerol, the precursor to all other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, so it’s earned the name “mother of all cannabinoids”. The CBG molecule is most prevalent when a cannabis plant is immature, and transforms to other cannabinoids like CBD and THC. So, as the plant grows, the less CBG there is.

They’re both classified as a cannabinoid which is a compound found in cannabis. CBD (cannabidiol) has less affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBG binds more directly to CB1 and CB2 and therefore could create more endocannabinoid stimulation than CBD. Research on CBG is almost non-existent when you compare it to CBD.

You shouldn’t start a CBD regimen without speaking to your vet, especially if they’re taking medication. Some veterinarians are enthusiastic about CBD use for canines and others are unsure of it’s potential. Either way, CBD has effects on your dog’s medication which may or may not disqualify your dog from being able to use it.

Adding CBD into your dogs food is fine if there is some fat content in it (check ingredients). Stirring a dropper into peanut butter and giving it to your pup as a snack is also a great way to ensure good absorption. CBD wants to bind to fats, so naturally adding it to a food substance with a higher fat content will ensure they absorb it better.

While there is no hard evidence on a set dosage for any animal, Cornell University and the University of Colorado worked together on a study for dogs with arthritis. They recommended a dosage of 2mg per kilogram (about 1mg per pound) of your dog’s weight, which they noticed helped the pups with pain. This is considered a higher than average dose

The research isn’t clear on its mechanism of action, but in a study where CBD was combined with bacitracin vs bacitracin alone, CBD was concluded to help kill MRSA. When the CBD was degraded after several hours, the MRSA returned [ref: U of Southern Denmark]

Directly, no. But, it may act as a helper compound with bacitracin to kill gram-positive bacteria, like MRSA.

Topically, CBD works fairly quickly if it’s a quality product. Shortly after administration, it should start to penetrate the skin. CBD oil, however may be more effective for chronic and long-term pain although it can take hours to kick in

Yes it can. CBD is non comedogenic (won’t clog pores). A quality topical CBD product made for pain will absorb deeper than CBD carried in hempseed oil so that it can help with musculoskeletal pain. Hempseed oil is great for the skin, and so is CBD at reducing inflammation

Yes, but only if you have a product that’s meant to be absorbed through the skin. Rubbing CBD oil on your skin has plenty of benefits for the skin itself, but not for musculo-skeletal or joint pain.

Absolutely. While a small percentage of people studied using CBD have showed somnolence (sleepiness) during the day, this is considered an untoward side effect and isn’t the norm.

Absolutely. While a small percentage of people studied using CBD have showed somnolence (sleepiness) during the day, this is considered an untoward side effect and isn’t the norm.

Yes. In human and rat studies, CBD is shown to improve REM latency (the amount of time it takes to to get into REM sleep once you’re alseep)

The adverse effect of somnolence (drowsiness) can be felt sometimes, but not with most people and not in regular doses. While some of us are looking for a feeling of drowsiness to help us sleep, it’s a common misconception that this is standard for CBD. A few studies show CBD in small doses causes the feeling of alertness and wakefulness.

Everything from 25mg to 1600mg has been studied. Finding your sweet spot is a matter of starting with a low dose (25mg) and working your way up if needed. Anecdotally, most people don’t need large amounts of CBD to have their sleep quality improved.

Research shows that the majority of people find CBD helps them either fall asleep, stay asleep or both. This is according to Universities such as Harvard, Denver and Sao Paolo (Brazil)

Yes, the same with USPS you have to abide by federal regulations. Your CBD has to contain <0.3%thc.

Yes you can, as long as CBD is legal in that country. If you’re mailing smaller amounts you won’t have to file a customs declaration either. If you’re shipping CBD products that you’ve sold you have to fill out customs forms. You must ensure that your THC amount is <0.2% as well

Yes. USPS made CBD legal to mail as of June 6 2019 as long as it contains <0.3% thc.

No. CBD is not tested for in a standard urinalysis. THC, which is prevalent in marijuana, is what is tested for when screening for the fire department. CBD oil can be made firefighter friendly if it’s created with CBD isolate and tested to be shown to have 0.000% THC, making it safe to take regularly and still pass a standard urinalysis drug test.

Research has shown the possibility of CBD being a potent anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever and can possibly promote good sleep from conclusions drawn by these researchers. There have also been studies on CBD for PTSD, depression and anxiety that have shown a lot of promise.

Most departments don’t have a rule against CBD they simply require you to pass drug testing. The standard drug test looks for the THC from marijuana not the CBD compound. Unless your department, city/county or union prohibits it, you’re legally allowed to use CBD.

Most of the research that has been performed has been for sublingual CBD. It’s also been shown to be the most effective absorption rate after inhalation.

At least 60 seconds, but there is some good evidence that says the longer the better. We recommend at least 2 minutes before swallowing the remainder of CBD

No! CBD absorbs 4x more when you have a full stomach since it likes to bind to fats. Eating an avocado before you take CBD could make it way more effective!

There is no standard dose that is recommended or regulated. Always start with one dropper and increase after a few days if needed

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated CBD does not show any potential for abuse or addiction. It does not stimulate the parts of the brain that cause addiction and produces no feeling of intoxication

While there is a lethal dose of CBD, just like there is a lethal dose for everything, including water, CBD does not cause one to go unconscious and stop breathing like an opiate. The lethal dose of CBD was found to be 615mg/kg which is an astronomical amount

The World Health Organization stated that CBD has a very high safety profile. CBD that is suspended in hemp seed oil is rich in omega fatty acids. As long as you’re taking a quality CBD, yes it is safe for use every day

CBD is a known anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety, pain reliever and sleep aide. It is being researched for many different applications including Autism, Parkinson’s, Cancer, and Autoimmune diseases.

No. Although it’s always a good idea to speak with your vet about your pet taking CBD.

CBD has had success treating pain from inflammation and arthritis in animals and humans. Studies show that 1-2mg/kg can be effective for dogs, although the research on cats isn’t prevalent enough to provide a definitive answer yet.

Most studies on CBD’s duration have been in rats and humans. Cats haven’t been studied, but on the studies that were done it’s around 5 hours.

CBD has been studied to have anxiety-reducing effects in animals.

Yes. The ASPCA reports on their site that only cannabis oil with high THC has to be used cautiously. CBD, which is different, is safe for cats to use.

There is no recorded overdose limit of CBD. Dogs and cats can tolerate a very large amount of CBD with no side effects whatsoever. The toxic dose is 615mg/kg according to a study by the University of Arkansas in 2019

CBD has little regulation and no standard dose. Cornell did the largest study for dogs with arthritis and found that 2mg/kg twice a day improved dogs mobility and pain relief. Starting off with one CBD treat or 1 dropper of CBD oil per day is recommended.

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