Does CBD help anxiety or make it worse?
This is a common question and it speaks to just how much bad product is out there in the market.
All the research points to CBD isolate having powerful anti-anxiety effects and yet, many people try CBD and find that anxiety can get worse or even result newly from the CBD.
How can we make these two opposite effects jive?
The research on CBD and the pathways are well established here.
Here are the reasons that CBD might make anxiety worse in probable order:
- Histamine response to full spectrum or other cannabinoids
- Bad product with contaminants, heavy metals, etc
- Insufficient levels of CBD
Let's tackle each of these separately starting with the most underappreciated neurotransmitter.
Histamine response to full spectrum or other cannabinoids
This is such a big deal. Most people think of histamine as only an allergic reaction operator.
It does do that and yes, it would respond strongly to contaminants and foreign entities in bad CBD.
But it also can respond to all the plant material and even certain cannabinoids (THC, CBG, CBN, etc).
40-60% of the population has histamine issues which increase as we get older and for women (when progesterone leaves the scene).
75% of these people are allergic to THC! This makes sense since THC pushes CB1 (receptor for anandamide) too hard and for too long. Histamine's role is to get chemicals and pathogens out of the body fast!
Here's the rub…histamine has a completely different role in the nervous system. It's excitatory!
In fact, it opposes GABA in the sleep/wake cycle. GABA is our brain's "brake" pedal and just happens to be the target for benzos (see CBD versus benzos)...the primary player for calm and sleep.
That's why the first anti-anxiety meds like hydroxyzine were…anti-histamines!
We see night and day differences in how CBD isolate and full-spectrum work for anxiety. See the reviews as an example.
If you don't have histamine responses to full-spectrum, great. If CBD increases anxiety, you have to look at this piece.
We did a full review on CBD isolate for anxiety here.
Then…there's just a really crappy product. A big chunk of the market.
Bad product with contaminants, heavy metals, etc
If a company doesn't post their 3rd party testing, run, don't walk.
It's that simple. When CBD started gaining buzz due to real research on anxiety (see CBD anxiety research), everyone and their mother started a CBD brand.
Lots of bad products. You definitely can't buy anything off of amazon (see can you buy CBD on Amazon).
Our 3rd party testing is available at the top of every page with the following aspects:
- Organically grown in the USA at FDA registered farms
- CO2 processed
- Third-party tested
- No THC (THC builds tolerance)
- No pesticides
- No heavy metals
- No solvents
- No mold
- No bacteria
These are the basic requirements that any CBD should test for and easily share!
You can't trust basic statements on quality. Test or nothing!
All of these issues will set off the histamine response we discussed above!
Then, there's a question of CBD levels.
Insufficient levels of CBD
This is not so much about making CBD worse as not helping with it.
There are products on the market with 250mg of CBD for a full bottle (1 ounce). That's about 8mg per dropper.
Good luck with that!
Research shows ranges from 50mg to 300mg and even higher.
Peak neurogenesis (the real star for long-term change - see CBD levels for neurogenesis) occurs at 300mg daily.
Studies on more serious issues can go up to 600-800mg daily including public speaking for people with social anxiety (research is here).
We have to be able to afford these levels so the cost per mg becomes the key metric.
We price our 6000mg bottles at 2-3 cents before discounts of 50%.
So a recap.
The difference between CBD helping or making anxiety worse can come down to:
- Histamine response to full-spectrum versus CBD isolate
- Bad product with contaminants and no 3rd party testing
- Insufficient CBD levels to match what research shows
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.