Discover findings from 30 peer-reviewed scientific journals and clinical trials on CBD for occasional anxiety. See scientific evidence that shows CBD can help. Cannabidiol (CBD) is increasingly popular and often used by people looking to boost their overall wellness. Here’s our review of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil. One HG writer tried to use CBD for anxiety, and she was happy to discover that all of the hype was true, even though she was skeptical. Check out her story for the full review.
CBD for Occasional Anxiety
“Can CBD help with my anxiety?” is probably a question you’re wondering about even more now, during this strange and unprecedented time we face as a result of pandemic and unrest. At the best of times there is a definite link between ongoing stress and everyday mild anxiety (1) and now, more than ever, it helps to have options in our toolkit to help us better cope with the effects of everyday anxiety and stress.
In general, feeling anxious can be an understandable response to many of the stressful events life throws at us. The results of stress can have effects on the body as well, including headaches, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.
Mild, everyday anxiety is complex and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but an increasing number of early-phase studies of cannabidiol (CBD) bode extremely well for its use as a supplement for people dealing with everyday stress and anxiety.
So far, most of the research on CBD and anxiety in humans has looked at social anxiety disorder (SAD), but we can learn a great deal from the research literature that helps support the idea of using CBD to manage the stress of occasional anxiety, which is what this article is about.
Why Is CBD Helpful for Anxiety?
Our very own endocannabinoid system(ECS) plays a critical role in modulating how we respond to anxiety and fear, and in how we manage stress. (2) In fact, the ECS appears to be like a conductor, overseeing and directing many of the other physiological systems in our body so they work in harmony to maintain a dynamic, optimal balance.
Prolonged exposure to stress, however, can have a detrimental effect on the ECS. Over time, prolonged stress will impair the activity of CB1 receptors that are involved in how we process emotions. (3) It will also increase levels of the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which breaks down the endocannabinoid anandamide, so we have less of this natural helpful substance in our system. (4)
When the ECS is not working optimally, it can result in us feeling anxious, and unable to let go of negative memories or experience pleasure. One study even found an inverse relationship between levels of anandamide and severity of anxiety; namely, the lower the levels, the worse the anxiety. (5) It’s not such a big leap then to think that raising low anandamide levels could potentially help us feel less anxious. This was shown to be the case, at least in an animal study, where researchers found that blocking FAAH in mice whose anandamide levels were depleted due to stress-induced anxiety, reversed the deficiency and reduced anxious behaviors. (6) Our friend CBD has been shown to keep anandamide around in our system longer using similar mechanisms. (7)
The more that is known about the ECS, the more far-reaching its importance seems to be. The ECS not only works via activation of its CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor sites, but it may also interact, in potentially helpful ways with other neurotransmitter systems. For example, low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are associated with both depression and anxiety. (8) And research suggests that CBD interacts with receptors that support normal serotonin levels. (9) Furthermore, a study in mice shows that anandamide works closely with oxytocin, the natural substance known to reinforce our propensity for participation and social bonding, which are behaviors that are often unimaginable when we feel anxious. (10)
While CBD is useful to help everyday common stress, it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Tell Me More About the Research on CBD for Anxiety!
CBD has been studied for its effects on anxiety for several years. Most studies are pre-clinical or animal studies, but human studies of CBD and anxiety have greatly increased in recent years, and the evidence is positive. (11)
A scientific review in 2015 concluded that CBD has considerable potential to help with every day or occasional anxiety. (12) The amygdala is an area of the brain known to be crucial in processing intense experiences that trigger our fight or flight response. Sometimes we’re not able to fully process frightening experiences that happened in the past, and we may become more vulnerable to having anxious feelings in the future even in the absence of any obvious trigger. One study demonstrated that increasing anandamide levels in the amygdala of mice helped them to forget frightening events. (13) What’s more, CBD had that same effect in humans in a study of 48 volunteers. (14)
CBD’s potential to help with anxiety extends beyond the endocannabinoid system itself. Animal studies indicate that CBD interacts in various ways with the serotonin neurotransmitter system and has been shown to block the negative effects of fearful memories through that mechanism as well. (15,16) In one study, CBD also supported normal heart rate and reduced stress levels of rats put under stressful conditions( (17) This led researchers to suggest that there’s substantial evidence to consider using CBD as adjunct support for anxiety and everyday stress in humans. (18,19)
Several studies show that CBD can support normal formation of new neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain, which is believed to further enhance its beneficial effects on anxiety. (20)
Findings from brain imaging studies corroborate that CBD supports areas of the brain that are associated with emotional and cognitive processes and memory. Brain images of healthy subjects who were given CBD suggest that the sense of relaxation they reported correlated with activity in the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain. (21) In another study, similar changes were observed on brain imaging in subjects with anxiety who were given CBD. They also reported significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety. Subjects receiving placebo did not show the same effects on brain imaging and did not report significant changes in occasional anxiety. Again, CBD was observed to influence the limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain. (22)
A randomized controlled study conducted in 2011 recreated a situation likely to induce anxiety in most people, namely public speaking. Participants were divided into a CBD or a placebo group. Their situational anxiety levels were measured using subjective self-reported and objective physiological measures (e.g., heart rate and blood pressure). The group pretreated with CBD showed significantly less anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in performing public speaking compared to the placebo group. (23)
How Much CBD Oil and How Often?
Studies of CBD tend to use isolate forms. This makes translating the amounts used in research into something practical and applicable to full-spectrum hemp extracts high in CBD a little difficult. What is known is that much higher amounts of CBD isolates are required for the desired effect. This was verified in a meta-analysis of trials that looked at studies using extracts high in CBD versus CBD isolates. Results showed that patients successfully controlled their moments of stress with much lower amounts of CBD when the CBD is part of a full-spectrum hemp extract. (24)
Animal studies have demonstrated significant benefit from CBD at a particular amount used, with little benefit at either lower or higher amounts. (25) Stated more simply, this means that once you find the serving size that best serves you and your lifestyle needs, you don’t get much benefit from taking more or less than that amount. We each have a personal “sweet spot” based on our own body chemistry and finding that spot creates the foundation of a beneficial CBD wellness routine.
Next Steps in Research on CBD for Anxiety
A 2017 review of the pre-clinical and clinical trials that looked at CBD for various forms of situational anxiety confirmed how promising the evidence is, and also declared the need for further clinical trials. (26)Most clinical studies looking at CBD for situational or occasional anxiety have been small and short-term, but findings have been compelling enough to inspire more clinical trials. Currently, several of these studies are in the pipeline. One of them is looking at the effectiveness of using 25mg of CBD from a full-spectrum hemp extract in the form of soft gel capsules over a twelve-week period. (27)
Another will evaluate the effects of CBD for occasional anxiety using a sublingual (under-the-tongue) tincture of full-spectrum plant-derived CBD three times daily for four weeks. (28) In addition, a phase II clinical trial is going to look at CBD for social anxiety along with changes in endocannabinoid levels. (29)
Summing It All Up
Research on CBD for situational and occasional anxiety reinforces what has been known about the endocannabinoid system for some time, which is that one of its primary purposes is to maintain physiological balance by helping us recover from the effects of stress of all kinds. (30) Multiple studies show that the ECS communicates with regions of the brain that modulate mood, motivation, memory, and how we experience stress. CBD appears to support all of these activities. It also helps promotes the optimal function of the ECS in several ways, including by influencingFAAH, the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, our own endocannabinoid, when our supply of this natural “feel good” substance has been depleted. Beyond the ECS, CBD supports the serotonin neurotransmitter system and activation of the “social-bonding” substance oxytocin.
For all of these reasons, trying full-spectrum hemp extracts high in CBD for occasional anxiety can be an excellent approach to self-care, especially when it’s part of a comprehensive plan that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and practices to alleviate stress.
To learn more about all things CBD, sign up for our email list, read our CBD 101 resource page, check out our CBD oil and gummies, or drop us a line.
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil Review
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Table of Contents
- Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil at a Glance
- About Charlotte’s Web
- The Charlotte’s Web Experience
- Final Thoughts
You’ve probably noticed the selection of cannabidiol (CBD) products lining the shelves of many grocery, pharmacy or health food stores. Maybe you’ve experimented with a couple brands yourself, hoping it might prove a good addition to your health routine. If so, you’re not alone. Cannabidiol (CBD) is increasingly popular and often used by people looking to boost their overall wellness.
“The three most common reasons people use CBD are for sleep, mental health and pain relief,” says Lea Durante, a nurse practitioner and owner of Lea Durante Consulting, a wellness and CBD consulting company in Napa, California. “CBD is an amazing tool for improving mental and physical health, but guidance and support are essential for optimum benefits.”
I wanted to find out whether CBD oil might be right for me, so I purchased a 30-milliliter bottle of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil containing 60 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. I consumed it twice a day over a period of three weeks. Here’s a review of my experience.
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Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
- Approx. 60mg of CBD per 1-milliliter serving
- Certified organic, USA grown and U.S. Hemp Authority Certified
- Full-spectrum CBD oil is derived from premium hemp extract
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil at a Glance
- Cost: At $120 for a 30-milliliter bottle of CBD oil with 60 milligrams of CBD per milliliter, Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil is more expensive than other CBD oils on the market.
- Potency: One dose of .5 milliliters, which is clearly marked on the dropper, contains 30 milligrams of CBD. A 60-milligram dose requires one full dropper of CBD oil.
- Quality: This product meets high standards for label accuracy and transparency of ingredients, levels of THC and presence of heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, yeasts and molds.
What I liked:
- Certificate of analysis (COA) for all products available on company website
- Dropper dose clearly marked
- This CBD product is Certified Organic.
What I didn’t like:
- High price, making the product expensive to use daily
About Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web Stanley Brothers, founded in 2011 and headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, creates full-spectrum (total plant) hemp health supplements. Its CBD products include oils, gummies, capsules and topicals like gels, creams, balms and sprays.
Charlotte’s Web grows all of its hemp plants on family farms in Colorado, Oregon and Kentucky. However, not all Charlotte’s Web CBD products are Certified Organic. All Charlotte’s Web products are gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. Each batch is analyzed by a third-party laboratory for the product’s certificate of analysis (COA). The COA shows the quantity of CBD and cannabinoids present in the product, as well as levels of heavy metals, pesticides, solvents and THC found in each batch.
Charlotte’s Web has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of “F.” According to the BBB, the “F” rating results from 17 customer complaints about Charlotte’s Web products not arriving as promised, nonresponsive customer service and the company’s failure to respond to BBB inquiries regarding customer complaints.
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I purchased the 30-milliliter bottle of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil tincture, which retails for $120. This size contains 1,800 milligrams of CBD, or 30 milligrams per 0.5-milliliter serving, a cost of $2 per serving. That price is higher than many other brands of CBD oil, but subscribers who sign up for regular shipments can receive a 20% discount on the full price.
The Certificate of Analysis (COA) for this product shows it to be a high-quality CBD oil overall, and some people may not mind paying the higher-than-average price. Charlotte’s Web also offers a starter size of this product—a 10-milliliter bottle for $50.
The bottle of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil I purchased contains a total of 1,800 milligrams of CBD. I started with the recommended single-serving dose of .5 milliliters containing 30 milligrams of CBD two times a day. After a couple of days, I increased my dose to 60 milligrams twice daily—I felt comfortable taking a higher dose because I have used CBD oil products before. However, someone new to CBD may want to start with a smaller dose and gradually increase it once they’re familiar with how their body reacts to the product.
The product I chose is labeled USDA Certified Organic. The Certified Organic designation ensures that the soil, water, growing and manufacturing conditions are clean and free of contamination from pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, fungus and bacteria.
“Hemp is a bio-accumulator, absorbing the environmental conditions it’s grown in, which then become concentrated in the final product,” says Durante, making this organic certification all the more important.
This product’s certificate of analysis (COA)—easily available on the website’s COA lookup page under the tag “Certificate of Analysis”—shows the amount of CBD in one millilter (69 milligrams) slightly exceeds the 60 milligrams listed on the product label.
Charlotte’s Web CBD oil is available in three flavors: orange blossom, mint chocolate and lemon twist. I chose orange blossom, which didn’t taste much like oranges, but it wasn’t unpleasant, either.
Crafted With Care
Charlotte’s Web CBD tinctures provide beneficial phytocompounds for a full spectrum of plant-powered goodness.
The Charlotte’s Web Experience
Since I’ve tried CBD oil before as a sleep aid and to reduce stress, I chose a product with a higher potency (60 milligrams per milliliter) than someone with no CBD experience might use. During the first few days, I didn’t feel much of an effect on my mood or stress level with a 30-milligram twice-daily dose, so I upped my consumption to 60 milligrams twice a day.
With the higher dose, I thought I might feel more relaxed and focused; instead, I felt drowsy and slightly irritable. Drowsiness and irritability are both signs that the dose may be too high, so I reduced my consumption back to the 30-milligram dose twice a day. When taking the lower dose, I was a little more relaxed and focused for a few hours after taking the tincture.
After researching CBD, I learned that guessing a dosage that “might” work was a classic beginner’s mistake. It usually takes two to four weeks of using CBD with expert guidance to get a good idea of its effects. Each person’s natural endocannabinoid system (which interacts with CBD) is different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all CBD dose and dosage regimen.
“Everyone’s endocannabinoid system truly is as unique as their fingerprints, so the use of CBD needs to be personalized,” says Durante. “Working with a peer or coach or clinical professional that has experience with CBD is vital to getting results. I encourage each person I work with to be actively engaged in the process of starting low, going slow and taking CBD consistently to find that ‘sweet spot.’”
Overall, the 30-milligram dose of Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil helped me feel calmer and less stressed throughout the day. However, the $120+ price tag for a month’s supply was more than I could easily afford if I were to add this product to my long-term daily wellness regimen.
Before choosing this product, I recommend comparing prices and reviewing COAs of other CBD oils that meet similar USDA Certified Organic, labeling and transparency standards. For best results, consult an integrative medicine physician, naturopathic clinician or holistic practitioner who is knowledgeable about CBD oil and can guide your dosage regimen safely and effectively.
Forbes Health covers CBD and cannabis products in accordance with FTC guidelines. Learn more about Forbes Health’s practices and policies regarding how we cover CBD and cannabis as a publisher.
This skeptic tried CBD to treat anxiety and became a believer
At a time when wellness trends come and go faster than you can say “Goop,” I tend to limit my interrogation of them to a passive observance of headlines. If I see a headline for Himalayan salt tequila shots, the most I’ll do is chuckle to myself—you won’t find me clicking into the article to learn more about Himalayan salt-rim wellness. When I started hearing about people using CBD oil to treat every condition under the sun—from acne to anxiety—I had my usual reaction, which is to glance and move on. But the CBD trend turned out to have some staying power, and I started learning more about it outside of clickbait headlines. Finally, I decided to try CBD to see if it could help with my anxiety issues. And after testing CBD, or cannabidiol, for a few weeks, I’m a convert, because using CBD for anxiety really did help me.
Part of the reason I don’t necessarily pay attention to passing fads, I think, is because I grew up in a small town in southern Oregon called Ashland, where people really do walk around wearing nothing but thongs and dreadlocks in the summertime. We didn’t necessarily come into contact with mainstream trends, even if people did try alternative medicines frequently. And as you can probably imagine, marijuana was also grown and consumed freely in the community.
In 2005, the state passed a law allowing medical marijuana cardholders to grow up to six mature marijuana plants and 18 immature plants on their properties, so it wasn’t uncommon to go to a friend’s garden and find a marijuana plant next to the tomatoes. While the rest of the country still largely treated marijuana as a highly criminalized gateway drug, Oregon was toking up. All of that to say that I’m in no way unfamiliar with the medicinal benefits of marijuana.
The same reason why I stopped smoking, ironically, was the same reason why I now feel passionately about the benefits of CBD.
Marijuana eventually started wreaking havoc on my mental health. In college, after I’d moved to the East Coast, had much less access to weed, and much lower quality weed (the rumors are true), I started finding myself having negative reactions to it. On the rare occasion when I did smoke, I felt paranoid and trapped in negative thoughts that sometimes scared me. Around the same time, I began to seriously struggle with depression and anxiety. To combat my anxiety, I started taking Lexapro, which I pair with various other practices to improve my mental health.
My anxiety doesn’t ever really leave me; it’s not the type of condition that comes and goes in waves. It’s more like a scale. I follow a mental health advocate and businesswoman named Jen Gotch on Instagram, and she uses the scale methodology to describe her depression/mood. If my level of anxiety were on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say that most days I fall at a 4.8. On the best days, I’m probably around a 1.5, and on my worst days, which are rare, I can be a full-blown 10. What this means is that I get through my days using techniques that therapists, yoga instructors, and Oprah have taught me: deep breathing, taking a second to bring awareness to my body, calling my mom, staring at trees, and talking myself out of negative spirals.
When I first took CBD a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t feel anything.
I took 28 mg of Charlotte’s Web extra strength hemp extract oil, which comes in a mint chocolate flavor. I was sitting on the couch and, like anyone who has ever taken an unfamiliar substance (legal or not), I felt a sense of excited anticipation while I waited to feel the effects of this magical oil that I’d heard so much about. Of course, my friends told me that you don’t feel high when you take CBD, but I thought that I might feel somewhat of a body high. I didn’t, so I asked my roommate and she gave me this sage advice: “Notice how you don’t feel.” I then scanned my body and realized that my stomach didn’t have that little flutter that I’m so accustomed to. Still, I wasn’t too impressed by that first trial or by CBD oil. Until I experimented more later.
The first time I felt the positive effects of CBD was on a day when my sketch comedy group had a show. I had woken up early to get into Manhattan (I live in Brooklyn), and the regular train I take wasn’t running—this isn’t a huge surprise for anyone who lives in N.Y.C.—but I also still had a long to-do list with stressful tasks, like memorize lines, pick up props, make sure everything goes smoothly. I took a dropper full of Charlotte’s Web’s maximum strength 60 mg CBD oil, but I didn’t instantly feel a change. It wasn’t until I was running around Midtown on the hunt for a flash drive with just 10 minutes until tech rehearsal that I really noticed a difference. My breathing wasn’t shallow, my shoulders weren’t locked up to my ears, and I was actually kind of having fun running down the street in Midtown.
Anyone who’s ever lived in New York can tell you that if you’re enjoying Midtown, you’re probably on drugs, and I kind of was, so that’s fair. But actually, CBD does not get you high.
Now that I’ve learned to use CBD in my daily life, I can attest that the hype is real. For me, anyway.
It’s likely not what you’d expect from anything that’s made from the plant that contains THC, so know that up front if you’re looking to try it yourself. I take CBD now on days when I can feel my anxiety edging towards a 6 or 7 on my scale, but it likely wouldn’t help much on days when I’m at an 8 through 10. But that’s perfect, because I feel like CBD helps me to cope with my anxiety better on normal days. I still take Lexapro, and I don’t think that CBD could necessarily replace that SSRI, but I do feel like it’s a little extra help on days when I need it. When my body feels more relaxed, my mind feels a little bit clearer; it doesn’t have to constantly notice the tension I feel while juggling 20 different self-sabotaging thoughts. It’s almost like CBD eliminates a factor in the anxiety equation, and if your body can relax, you have more bandwidth to deal with your mind’s thought spirals.
Science backs this up to some extent. A large-scale, long-term human clinical trial on the use of CBD to treat anxiety has not yet been conducted, but smaller short-term studies have shown positive effects. I will continue to take CBD oil, either one or two times a day (as the type I use suggests), and I am happy to announce that I’ve finally jumped on one train that L.A. wellness influencers endorse. If you’re curious about CBD for anxiety, talk to your doctor.