Can CBD Cause Anxiety?
Probably the biggest reason people take CBD is to reduce anxiety.
There are many other reasons with sleep and pain rounding out the top three.
Most people find us as a result of a side effect they get from other CBD.
But wait...isn't research showing that CBD can reduce anxiety?
Check out all the research on CBD benefits for Anxiety here.
It's extensive with a look at all the different aspects of what modern research knows about anxiety.
Then why do we get these common comments…
"I tried CBD for my sleep and I got anxiety"
"I used CBD brand X for my back pain and felt anxious"
Many replies follow this same pattern.
After a few follow up questions, we can usually figure out why their CBD is causing anxiety.
We also learn a lot about what's going on in their system which can lead to more relief.
Let's look at the follow-up questions since they get to the heart of why the wrong type of CBD can cause anxiety.
We'll quickly look at the research on CBD and anxiety (detail summary here).
The three questions we ask:
- Do you get allergies?
- What type of CBD were you using that gave you anxiety?
- What brand of CBD were you using when you get anxiety?
Usually, at least 1 answer to these questions (if not all) tells us everything we need to know.
Let's take a look at why.
First, a synopsis of what research is saying for CBD and anxiety.
Can CBD Cause Anxiety
An important note that is key to this whole subject (and CBD's effectiveness as well).
Almost 99% of the research on CBD is based on CBD by itself!
- Not full spectrum CBD
- Not hemp oil
- No "entourage effect"
The problem is that roughly 90% of the CBD available to people by brands big and small is not CBD by itself.
Everyone is pushing full-spectrum or CBD in hemp oil.
We focus on CBD Isolate because that's backed by research.
Learn all about the difference between full-spectrum and CBD Isolate (by itself) here.
More importantly, we walk through CBD isolate versus full spectrum for anxiety specifically here.
In research, CBD has a powerful effect to reduce anxiety across many different pathways:
- It helps to balance neurotransmitters (serotonin via 5ht pathways and GABA/Glutamate)
- It helps to balance hormones (estrogen, testosterone, plus others linked to anxiety)
- It helps to calm inflammation...especially in the brain (see cbd and neuroinflammation)
- It helps to calm the histamine response (really important for this subject)
- It boosts the growing of new neurons in the right areas of the brain (key for anxiety and depression)
- It helps calm the immune response including within the brain
- It helps calm the gut and microbiome (serotonin and GABA are partially produced by your gut bacteria)
Each of those links will take you to a details summary of research on that topic.
This research (dozens of studies at NIH) are all based on CBD Isolate!
So let's get to our questions based on that one, simple premise.
Do you get allergies?
This is our first question and it usually gets to the heart of the issue.
To set the stage…
- 40-60% of people in the US have allergy or histamine issues
- Women are harder hit
- Allergies get worse as we go over age 40 (perimenopause can be brutal)
The rate of allergies keeps growing across the US each year.
Allergic reactions are the result of histamine release in the body.
Learn all about CBD and histamines here.
The problem is that histamine has many roles!
Yes, it's tasked with getting bad stuff out of the body...FAST!
That's the swelling, sneezing, coughing, redness, etc.
It speeds heart rate, constricts different parts of the body, and speeds up everything.
The interesting part is what histamine does in the brain!
It's a powerful excitatory lever in the brain.
In fact, it's the main contributor to focus and wakefulness!
Think about that.
- Not enough histamine release and you're groggy, unfocused, and tired.
- Just the right amount and you're alert and wide awake.
Let's keep going along that scale.
What if we have too much histamine release in the brain?
What would that feel like?
Ratchet up the lever way past 10.
A histamine "storm" can feel like anxiety.
All the telltale signs are there:
- Quicken heart rate
- Blood pressure raises
- Constriction of vascular system "chest tightening"
Why would this affect whether CBD causes anxiety?
Check out the type of CBD you take for allergies and histamine issues.
Full-spectrum is basically a giant bottle of plant material with CBD added back in.
100's of substances that the histamine system can and will (for the 40-60% of population) react to.
We personally tried many full-spectrum CBD products to begin with and had all the standard allergic reactions including anxiety.
After 3 different (very big) brands, we tried CBD Isolate and they all went away!
That's why we started Indigo Naturals to begin with.
- One...a brand we could take for our families.
- But Two, finally, a brand made for the 40-60% of the population (especially older women) that are probably going to have a bad result from what the market is currently offering.
This was crazy to us after reading what the research had to say.
So that's our first question...do you get allergies? Also, what is your age (especially for women - see perimenopause versus menopause here).
This then goes to the next question.
What type of CBD were you using that gave you anxiety?
We showed you our cards on the question above but the allergy question leads directly to this?
There's so much confusion on CBD from the general consumer:
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Hemp Oil
- CBD Isolate
Not to mention oils, balms, vapes, and more.
Usually, we'll ask for the link to the product they bought and we'll research it for them.
They just don't know what they're taking.
99% of the time, the CBD they took which gave them anxiety makes it obvious why.
Even if a big brand with the right safety requirements is full-spectrum, it's chock-full with plant material.
This is sold as a positive but not if your histamine system responds negatively to it.
Anxiety isn't the only side effect from all this plant material.
We've also seen:
- Stomach cramps
- Heart palpitations
You name it...a host of allergic responses.
Again, when they switch to CBD Isolate, these tend to go away.
So our second question is to figure out what type of CBD oil they are using.
Finally, the question of what brand CBD is causing their anxiety.
What brand of CBD were you using that causes anxiety?
Here's the deal.
A good percentage of the brands on the market are terrible!
It's amazing to us how many companies are just trying to make a buck off of the popularity of CBD.
They don't have the safety precautions:
- Organically grown in the US
- CO2 extraction
- 3rd Tested
- No pesticides
- No heavy metals
- No solvents
- No bacteria
- No mold
- ZERO THC
There are some brands from China that could be downright dangerous.
Who knows what is in there.
That's the issue with buying CBD on Amazon!
We test our products both at the biomass level AND the finished product.
We test twice (our families are taking the CBD after all).
Keep in mind that CBD is not regulated by the FDA.
The 3rd party testing is essential!
We post ours online (link at bottom of page) for anyone to see at each product page.
It's that important.
We see some pretty bad side effects go away just by tossing the bad CBD products.
DO NOT put that CBD product in your body if it's not 3rd party tested (and readily available).
Those are the three questions.
Once we get answers, we can usually pinpoint why their CBD is causing anxiety (instead of reducing it).
Let us help you at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us your answers to allergies, type of CBD, and brand/product of CBD.
We'll research it for you.
We'll also likely find that you're paying way too much (per mg of CBD) for that histamine-releasing, anxiety-causing sham product.
It's frustrating but we've been there (our story here)
Master overview of CBD and anxiety pathways to look at various aspects we can directly affect.
Links to CBD and anxiety research with dozens of anxiety-specific topics.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.