Anxiety and COVID-19: Can CBD Help?


Times are difficult. People are under a lot of stress, and no one can say with any certainty how long this pandemic is going to last.

Even if you’re not generally anxious, you have every right to be a little freaked out in a situation like this.

One of the most studied effects of CBD is its ability to act as an anxiolytic, which means that it can be used to battle anxiety. 

What’s also important in relation to the coronavirus is that CBD isn’t a psychotropic compound, and it doesn’t alter a person’s mental state, like for instance THC. 

This means that you’ll keep your composure while consuming CBD, and will definitely remember to wash your hands and every other sanitary protocol that we’re currently obliged to follow. 

We’re going to go over several studies that deal with the relationship of CBD and anxiety, and afterward, we’ll discuss adequate dosing. 

A scientific review from 2014 analyzed several animal studies investigating CBD for anxiety and depression and noted that CBD exhibits both an anti-anxiety and an antidepressant effect.

A review from 2015 was determining the potential of CBD for various anxiety-related disorders.

The researchers found that the preclinical evidence strongly suggests that CBD can be used to combat several disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

They also noted that the research on humans supports the anxiolytic effect of CBD and that this compound has minimal sedative effects and an excellent safety profile.

This 2017 review was looking into the anti-panic traits of CBD. 

Analyzing both animal studies and research performed on healthy volunteers, the review noted that CBD clearly has an anti-anxiety effect and that it’s a promising compound for the treatment of panic disorders. 

A 2019 study from Japan was assessing the effects of CBD on late teenagers with a social anxiety disorder. 

In this double-blind study, there were 37 participants, ages 18-19. Half were given a 300 mg daily dose of CBD, while the other half was given a placebo for four weeks. 

The researchers concluded that CBD therapy significantly decreased the participants’ anxiety and that their results indicate that CBD could be used to treat social anxiety disorder. 

In another study from 2019, researchers were observing CBD’s effects on anxiety and sleep.

Out of 72 adults that participated in the study, the primary concern of 47 patients was anxiety, and for 25 patients it was poor sleep.

Results showed that anxiety was decreased for 79% of the patients (57 people), while sleep scores improved for 66% (48 people). 

Researchers also noted that out of 72 patients, 69 tolerated CBD well.

Conclusively, a 2020 review analyzed all of the aforementioned anxiety-related studies and stated that CBD was generally tolerated very well.

CBD was also associated with minimal side effects, and the most frequently noted side effects were fatigue and sedation.

CBD Dosing for Anxiety

It’s generally recommended to start your CBD treatment with medium doses (15 mg or 20 mg of CBD) and observe the effects that the dose produces.

Some people will require less to achieve the desired effect, while others will require more potent doses (between 40 mg and 60 mg of CBD, or even more).

The precise reasons why this difference exists are poorly understood, but the current understanding is that it’s connected with age, overall health, and the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, through which CBD produces the majority of its beneficial effects. 

Struggling to dose CBD? We made an app that calculates your perfect dosage based on research studies. Find out more here.

If you’re using CBD oil, the correct way to take it is by dropping a dose underneath your tongue. 

Leave the oil there for about one minute, and then swallow it. 

It’s important to mention that CBD oil has a quicker onset of effects compared to CBD capsules, and is therefore probably better suited for anxiety, as it can calm you down more quickly. 

CBD and Other Medications (Drug Interaction)

It’s essential to mention that CBD is metabolized in the body by the same enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of a lot of other medications (both prescription and over the counter).

This enzyme is called CYP3A4, and drugs which are metabolized by it usually have a grapefruit warning on their packaging, because grapefruit juice also interferes with this enzyme.

If you use CBD and other drugs that are metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme, this can result in elevated levels of these substances in your system, which can be potentially dangerous, and should definitely be avoided.

About the author
Marco Medic

A passionate cannabis enthusiast, Marco mainly writes about the latest research on cannabis use in health.

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