Hemp Oil for Anxiety: Does it work?

Nearly a third of Americans experience anxiety, so it’s no wonder that so many people are asking “is hemp oil good for anxiety?” The short answer is yes. 

People looking for natural solutions often reach for CBD-rich hemp oil for anxiety because it contains many compounds that have natural calming and sedative effects. If you are suffering from anxious thoughts or trouble sleeping, a CBD oil supplement might be a good addition to your mental health care regimen. 

CBD-rich hemp oil is a whole hemp product, meaning it is derived from hemp flowers and contains all of the beneficial cannabinoids and other compounds found in the hemp plant, with little to no THC depending on how it was processed. For many people, this type of hemp oil is a good choice for treating anxiety. 

Why is Hemp Oil Good for Anxiety?

Full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD hemp oil has been found to be very effective in combating anxiety for three reasons: CBD increases the availability of Anandamide, CBD activates serotonin receptors, and CBD can improve neuroplasticity, which helps you adapt emotionally to anxiety. 

  • CBD and Anandamide = CBD-rich hemp oil affects the tone of the body’s master regulating system, the endocannabinoid system, by blocking the enzyme responsible for breaking down a key neurotransmitter called Anandamide. Anandamide is what causes runner’s high – it makes us feel good – so when it stays in the body longer, it can make us feel better, and less anxious. 
  • CBD and serotonin receptors = CBD-rich hemp oil can help reduce anxiety because CBD activates the 5HT1-A serotonin receptor in our brains, which helps control mood and anxiety. 
  • CBD and neuroplasticity = CBD promotes the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus of the brain.Studies show that the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for memory , emotion, and the autonomic nervous system — tends to shrink in people with long-term anxiety and depression. Creating new brain cells and neural pathways is key to recovery.

Does Hemp Oil Relax You?

Taking a full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD hemp oil supplement can also help relax your body and mind. Through the mechanisms described above, CBD can relax your brain, which can have profound effects on your body’s ability to relax, release physical tension, and sleep better. CBD also has anti-inflammatory effects, so if you are experiencing pain-related stress, this can also be mitigated with a CBD-based supplement. 

cbd hemp oil relax

Full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products also contain many other compounds, including other cannabinoids such as CBG, which can have muscle relaxing effects, and terpenes, many of which can also directly reduce physical and psychological stress. 

Stress and anxiety play a large role in sleep disorders, as does an out of balance endocannabinoid system. CBD hemp oil may help bring on sleep by slowing the racing thoughts of anxiety that keep many of us awake at night, and many people report improved sleep after regularly taking a CBD hemp oil supplement. The dosing for sleep support is important, so if you are interested in this topic, please click here to learn more. 

Hemp Oil Dosage for Anxiety

If you’re considering using CBD hemp oil to help combat anxiety, finding the dosage that works for you is crucial. Unfortunately, there are no clear answers here. Just as your experience of anxiety is unique, how much CBD hemp oil is needed is unique to each individual. A general rule of thumb is to start low and gradually build up until you feel your symptoms have been reduced. Choosing a CBD oil is a great way to have precise control over your dose, as you can easily scale up or down the number of drops you take to test what works best for your body.

If you’re following package instructions and using common sense, it’s unlikely that you will take enough CBD oil to endanger yourself. To get to toxic levels, you would need to ingest a lot of CBD oil (think entire bottles of CBD product at once).

However, if your goal is to use CBD oil for a calming effect or to treat anxiety, then you want to find the right level for you. Taking too much CBD oil could sedate you or give you temporary symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea – such stomach symptoms are typically a result of ingesting too much oil, not too much CBD. This is another reason why “start low and go slow” is the best approach if you’re new to CBD.

CBD and Antidepressants

Some people who experience anxiety take antidepressant medications. Although it’s rare for there to be an adverse interaction, you should still consult with your physician before taking CBD if you’re currently taking an antidepressant. CBD does inhibit an enzyme system found in the liver that breaks down medications so that your body can process them. When this system is inhibited, some medications, like monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), may take longer to break down, which increases your chance of experiencing their side effects due to toxicity or increased blood levels of the antidepressants.

cbd hemp oil dosage

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) also use this enzyme system, but there is no definitive evidence that any adverse reactions are likely to occur. SSRIs may be reduced in effectiveness when combined with CBD oil, though, or the opposite may occur, and the effectiveness of CBD oil may be reduced.

Best Hemp Oil for Anxiety

The best hemp oil for anxiety is not hemp seed oil (which has zero cannabinoids) or an isolate (just CBD), but full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil extracted from hemp (aka hemp-derived CBD oil). If you see a product labeled simply “hemp oil” it can refer to any of the above, so you will need to read the label carefully to make sure it includes all of the compounds found in whole plant hemp.  

Whole hemp plant oil has been shown to be more effective in alleviating anxiety due to the unique synergy found among the hundreds of molecules in the hemp plant, which is known as the entourage effect. For those who want the benefits of CBD oil without THC, SHEbd’s CBD-rich Broad Spectrum Hemp oil products have all the other compounds of hemp but with 0.0% THC.

Experts Consulted
The Knox Docs, Certified Cannabinoid Medicine Specialists