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The Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil For Anxiety: Science, Benefits & Dosage

CBD has a range of health benefits and can be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. This guide takes you through everything you need to know about CBD oil for anxiety.

What is CBD?

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CBD is an active cannabinoid found in cannabis, otherwise referred to as marijuana or hemp. It stands for Cannabidoil and is a completely natural chemical that can be extracted for human use to relieve anxiety.

CBD can be taken in either the full spectrum (containing other cannabinoids) or isolate (solely CBD) varieties depending on your preference.

Becoming increasingly popular as a health product in the UK, North America and globally, it is different from THC, another cannabinoid found in hemp. This is Tetrahydrocannabinol and is the chemical that ‘gets you high’. CBD products for anxiety contain only trace amounts of THC which will have no effect. The legal amount permitted in the UK is less than 0.2% THC.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is the CBD compound extracted from the cannabis plant by a variety of methods, most commonly CO2 extraction and steam distillation, dissolved in an oil. It is taken orally, added to food or drink or by putting drops under the tongue.

In the UK CBD must legally contain less than 0.2% THC. As a result, you cannot get high or experience psychological effects from CBD oil. Now there are patented technologies that allow the human body to better absorb CBD – these have created water soluble CBD oils and are changing the face of CBD as a health supplement.

With water soluble CBD oils, you know exactly what you’re getting as absorption rates are up to 99%, as opposed to 5% for non-water soluble products.

What types of anxiety can CBD help with?

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Current scientific knowledge points to CBD oil helping with the following anxiety conditions and symptoms:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder and panic attacks
  • Anxiety induced insomnia

Studies include a 2016 US study on the effects on PTSD including insomnia and a 2015 study on various types of anxiety, including generalised anxiety disorder.

Another good resource for reading more about scientific studies is on Project CBD.

The benefits of CBD for anxiety

It’s important to differentiate that CBD is not a cure for anxiety or depression and won’t root out the exact cause, but can be used to improve its symptoms.

Typically, the main benefit users can experience is this reduction in symptoms of anxiety, alleviation of stress, depression and an improvement in general well-being. When used alongside other methods such as counselling, it can be a great source of extra support to get the results you’re looking for.

It’s also very easy to incorporate into your daily and weekly routine as simple to use pipette bottles are the standard for CBD oils, letting you accurately control your dosage.

How does CBD work to alleviate symptoms?

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CBD (a cannabinoid) is absorbed into the bloodstream and helps to regulate the existing endocannabinoids produced by our bodies which naturally impact on mood, appetite, sleep and the sensation of pain.

The endocannabinoids target receptors in the brain and help to bind the chemical serotonin to the receptors to improve mood and reduce stress. Through modulating and enhancing how serotonin binds and works with the receptors, it can improve the potential effects of serotonin.

The best CBD for anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety and are looking for a cost effective solution with better results, the best CBD available will be water soluble CBD.

  • Up to 99% absorption rates
  • Stronger and faster effects on anxiety
  • Easy and discreet to take with water or fruit juice

Water soluble CBD has a high bioavailability and is optimised to be absorbed by the human body. This ensures faster and better results and also means you benefit from up to 99% of the CBD you’re buying, without losing the majority of it before it enters your bloodstream.

Patented micelle technology delivers CBD efficiently and effectively to your body and if you’ve been using traditional hemp oil in the past, you should see a huge improvement if you make the switch.

Micelle technology

Micelle technology is the solution to CBD oils that deliver low absorption rates. Questions have been asked in recent years about how well the human body absorbs CBD and how this can be increased for health benefits. A Swiss scientific process, micelle technology enables CBD to pass the mucous membrane (which is 90-95% water) and enter the bloodstream almost instantly.

In comparison, non-water soluble oils will see CBD be largely wasted by the body as it will enter the stomach and be destroyed by acid and enzymes in the liver before it is absorbed. It’s estimated that on average only 5-10% of these oil types are ingested by the human body.

One of the main problems with this is that clinical trials won’t be accurate based on dosage and CBD concentrations as the absorption rate is so low.

Water soluble vs non-water soluble CBD

When researching oils, look for ones labelled as water soluble for better results, and specifically ‘micellated CBD’.

The micelle technology also ensures that the active component of the CBD is released into cells in the body and is a 100% natural process, mimicking our own body’s micelle system.

Consideration Non-water soluble Water soluble
Absorption rate 5-10% (average) Up to 99%
Application Drops under the tongue In water or fruit juice
Cost Lower cost but most CBD is wasted in the stomach and liver Higher cost but you get the concentration you’ve paid for as it’s better absorbed
Results Poor Better, faster

Advice on dosage

There isn’t a ‘one dosage fits all’ when it comes to CBD; there are recommended drops for oils but each individual needs to find what works for them.

The ideal amount per person depends on a range of factors including:

  • Body chemistry
  • Body weight
  • CBD concentration in the chosen oil

Due to the variables, when you start taking CBD oil, discuss with your doctor and start with a low dose or whatever they recommend, before gradually increasing it over time.

As doses for each product depend on the concentration of CBD, start with a lower concentration oil and dose accordingly. Again, whilst it varies per person, it would be better to start on 20mg per day rather than 40mg when you don’t know how it will affect your body.

Oils will state their concentration in mg per ml, and from this you can calculate the dosage per drop when using a dropper bottle.

Generally, stick to the initial dose for a week or two before increasing and always seek medical help if you experience any side effects or are unsure about how you’re using CBD.

Tips on using CBD to treat anxiety

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CBD may offer a number of benefits for you and your anxiety and it’s important to consider how to start using it from a number of angles. To help, here are some tips.

Research your oils

Ensure you choose CBD that is certified, has less than 0.2% THC. If you want to better understand the dosage and absorption rate from your CBD, pick water soluble oils where you absorb up to 99% rather than around 5% for non-water soluble options.

Keep a journal

Take notes in a journal of when you take your CBD and the number of drops you use throughout the day and over the course of at least the first couple of weeks. In addition, write about how you’re feeling and any changes you might experience in mood and symptoms. Over time you can review and better understand how it is working or not working for you.

Start with a low dose

Always start with a low dose. CBD oils should come with a recommended dosage; you can start with the minimum or even lower but generally (although it depends on the product) you can start with 1-2 drops a day before increasing.

Why is this important? There is a risk you could have negative results from taking it and you want to ensure this is minimised. If you have any negative experiences, stop immediately and consult medical advice.

Stay consistent

Day to day and week to week, keep your dose consistent for the best results once you have worked out what is right for you. Being consistent generally means that your results will be consistent as well.

How long does CBD take to work for anxiety?

Ultimately this will vary person to person and when you first start out it’s best to monitor the effects you experience based on a low starting dosage that you gradually increase over time until the desired effects are achieved.

As everyone will have different sensitivities to CBD, results can vary from a few hours, a few days or even two weeks. As a result, don’t get disheartened if you don’t immediately see results. If you initially keep a note of the dosage and the effects, you’ll be able to better judge the results and determine how well it works for you and your anxiety symptoms.

As explained, if you opt for water soluble CBD, you’ll likely reduce the amount of time it takes to work for you which can be an important consideration if stress and anxiety is having a negative impact on your wellbeing.

Can it be used as a standalone treatment?

The short answer is yes it can, but it depends on you and your individual experience with anxiety and the methods to relieve it that work for you. Other solutions can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, prescribed antidepressant medication and exposure therapy.

If CBD is combined with other treatments, you may find that you deal with the root cause of your anxiety through therapy and other means, whilst easing the symptoms with use of the oil.

What are the possible side effects of CBD?

Studies suggest that CBD is generally safe and non-toxic for humans and most users will find they have no side effects when they introduce it to their lifestyle. However, there are possible side effects to higher doses that you should be aware of and watch out for.

These include:

  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • A dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness

Most likely these would be felt with higher doses, so to limit the risk always start with low dosages and consult your GP before you take CBD for the first time, especially if you are on existing medicines or dietary supplements that it could interact with in your system and make less effective. These can include but are not limited to blood thinners.

For more information, check the NHS website for their advice on taking CBD.

Is there a chance CBD can increase the symptoms of anxiety?

Marjuana itself or ‘weed’ when smoked as a recreational drug can make a person more prone to being anxious when under the influence. However, as CBD oil only contains trace amounts of THC and is extracted CBD dissolved in an oil, either as an isolate or as full spectrum, it doesn’t work in the same way.

It is generally believed that CBD does not cause anxiety in users and will conversely reduce the symptoms, but as always, take note of your personal experience once you start and see how it affects you. If you have any concerns, stop taking it immediately and seek medical help.

How to buy CBD

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CBD is legal in the UK and can be bought on the high street in various forms. You don’t need a prescription or medical note, although if you are concerned about the best steps forward for you and anxiety, it is best to consult a GP.

In the UK it isn’t very common to be prescribed CBD and to get it on prescription, but it may be given as treatment for epilepsy, vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy and muscle stiffness caused by MS.

Likely, the best option is to carry out your own research and buy water soluble CBD online. Be sure to check the CBD content (% and MG) in any product, as well as the THC amount before purchasing. It’s also recommended to pay close attention to the stated dosage on each individual product as it will vary depending on the CBD concentration.

The shelf life of CBD is generally between 12 and 24 months, so you can invest in larger sizes for use over a long period of time.

Can children take CBD oil for anxiety?

Parents are known to give their children medicinal CBD and CBD oil for a range of symptoms including anxiety, stress and insomnia, and the condition epilepsy. There are few scientific studies on the effects of CBD use by children and the safe dosage levels, however it is a growing area for research.

In the US the FDA approved a CBD based drug, Epidiolex. At this stage, any medication or the addition of CBD to a children’s treatment for a range of symptoms requires deep thought, consideration and the advice of medical professionals.

It is also worth noting that any CBD for children, and adults, should be certified with an accurate concentration of CBD to keep doses consistent.


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CBD could be the solution you’re looking for to reduce your symptoms of anxiety disorders and stress. As a natural health supplement, cbd oils can have a positive impact to your lifestyle when used correctly and if trying it out for the first time, consult your doctor, start with a low dosage and take note of the effects.

Whichever product you choose, ensure you check the CBD concentration, THC amount and the certificate of analysis from the manufacturer.

For more information, get in touch with our experts at

Always check with your GP if you have any health concerns. We do not sell CBD products as a medicinal product and they are in no way intended to be used to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat disease. They are sold here purely as food and health supplements. Always consult your health professional before taking any food supplements.

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