We already covered THC or weed versus CBD for anxiety here but the question comes up quite a bit.
What about hemp oil?
Is it better for anxiety?
There's a great deal of confusion in the market in terms of what does what.
We're going to clear that all up and rely heavily on NIH research to do so.
No marketing. No sales pitches.
Actual research for a change (about time).
There are many companies that are taking advantage of people's lack of clarity on CBD for anxiety.
Many brands out there are selling the equivalent of olive oil for $40-60 per 1 oz bottle of hemp oil.
Total ripoff and we'll explain why.
As consumers originally, we remember that feeling and made many bad purchases.
We'll see if you can avoid that expensive process and actually get help for anxiety.
There's amazing research on that front with CBD.
These are the areas we'll cover:
- Difference between hemp oil and CBD for anxiety
- Research on CBD for anxiety
- Research on hemp oil for anxiety
- What about full spectrum CBD in hemp oil for anxiety
- Best type of CBD for anxiety
Let's get started and clear up the confusion.
Difference between hemp oil and CBD for anxiety
First, both hemp oil and CBD come from the same original source.
That's the legal name for it in the US by law.
Essentially, it's cannabis with less than .3% THC.
We'll start with hemp oil since that's the easiest to process.
Basically, it's like your wheatgrass press.
They take the hemp and press it down for the oil.
It then goes through a refining process to remove anything that shouldn't be there.
The hemp plant has cannabinoids including CBD naturally in it.
These will remain in the hemp oil along with other substances such as terpenes, flavonoids, and Omega fats.
The terpenes and flavonoids are usually pitched as wonder-chemicals and they may indeed have some positive effects.
The issue is that they are at infinitesimal levels and you can actually get much more it from food.
For example, myrcene is a prevalent terpene pitched in full-spectrum and hemp oil.
You can get much more of it from thyme, beer, and mangos as an example.
They don't cost $40-60 per ounce.
Same story for flavonoids.
They're abundant in food.
For example, B-sitosterol found in hemp oil is all over the food we eat:
Some of these substances can be found in full-spectrum or hemp oil in parts per million.
Look...they can be good for you but hemp oil is an expensive way to get them when you can just have a good diet.
The other claim to fame for hemp oil deals with the Omega fats.
Hemp oil has a very good balance of the key 3-6-9 Omega fats which definitely has a positive effect on health.
That being said, olive oil is a great source as well along with fish oil.
Both are significantly cheaper than what hemp oil is being sold for.
The real "sales job" comes down to CBD.
There's so much amazing research on CBD (see CBD for anxiety as an example) and the hemp oil craze is riding that coattail!
How much CBD is actually in hemp oil?
They don't say.
We've even enquired with one of the largest brands for hemp oil (millions of bottles a year) and they couldn't (or wouldn't) specify CBD content.
Look...they have to run 3rd party testing to make sure THC levels are below .3% so they know how much CBD is there.
Our best estimate is about 8 mgs per 1 ounce (30 ml) bottle.
The research we study daily shows about 300 mg for serious anxiety.
Good luck swigging that hemp oil for anxiety.
That's the first disconnect...people don't realize that the levels of CBD used in studies are higher...generally 300-600 mg and you'll never get there with hemp oil.
Just check out how many mg of CBD for anxiety article for more research.
Hemp oil is great. We can't say it isn't good for you.
If you can buy a bottle of hemp oil for the same price of olive oil, that's a good find.
This is not what companies are trying to push, however.
You're paying a dollar for something that costs pennies.
An interesting article studied the long term effects of CBD on anxiety and found that 300 mg was optimal for neurogenesis...repairing brain mass in the anxiety circuit (see CBD and hippocampus neurogenesis here).
See our article on CBD and brain repair for neurogenesis .
What about research on hemp oil for anxiety?
See our article on meditation, excercise, and neurogenesis for anxiety.
Let's go there now.
Research on hemp oil for anxiety
Usually, you can type in a substance + an issue + NIH and get lots of studies.
For example, try googling "hemp oil anxiety NIH"
This should show dozens of studies on the effects.
So what comes up?
Studies on CBD!
Cannabidiol (the long name for CBD).
10 links on page one all for cannabidiol.
This is real research from the National Institute of Health.
No marketers. No companies.
Actual research is what we base everything on at IndigoNaturals (just check out our CBD and anxiety page or CBD and general anxiety disorder here).
Again, the big brands for hemp oil won't tell us how many mg of CBD is in their product but it's estimated at between 8 - 20 mg per 1 ounce bottle.
Hemp oil is mainly oil.
If anxiety research is showing 300 mg for both short and long term effects of CBD, it would take bottles of hemp oil.
There's also the whole histamine issue.
40-60% of the population has histamine (responsible for allergies) issues.
All that plant material...the very stuff that companies are pushing (flavonoids, terpenes, other plant material) is probably going to be an issue for a good half of the population.
Histamine is excitatory which means it eats up GABA, the calming neurotransmitter that benzos spike for anxiety.
That's a great segue for CBD research.
Research on CBD for anxiety
Hopefully, you still have the same Google window open for "hemp oil anxiety NIH".
That way, you can see dozens of studies on CBD (cannabidiol) and it's benefits for anxiety.
Rather than re-duplicate all those studies, you can get access to specific research by anxiety topic here:
- CBD benefits for anxiety
- CBD and general anxiety disorder
- CBD and GABA for anxiety
- CBD and histamine for anxiety
- CBD versus anxiety medications
- CBD and inflammation for anxiety
- CBD and stress for anxiety
We have dozens of in-depth studies on almost every facet of CBD research with anxiety.
We're passionate about it since we personally found CBD as a result of intense anxiety from perimenopause (that story here).
We'll summarize with this large scale study (finally) on CBD and anxiety:
Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. In this chart review, CBD was well tolerated in all but 3 patients.
Let's look at a hybrid between hemp oil and CBD next.
It's being pushed even harder than hemp oil!
What about full-spectrum CBD in hemp oil for anxiety
Everyone's singing the praises of full-spectrum CBD for anxiety.
Again, all the research is on CBD by itself.
See our article on CBD isolate versus full spectrum for anxiety.
Full-spectrum is essentially CBD isolate added back into hemp oil.
We've already addressed the hemp oil question above.
Here, the standard line is that the various cannabinoids (beside CBD) will boost the effects of CBD.
We would love to see the research for that.
They all use the term "entourage effect" to support this.
That term came from the original results that showed CBD helped to offset the negatives of THC!
Learn all about CBD versus THC for anxiety here.
It's fascinating that negating THC negatives is somehow used to sell expensive hemp oil.
Again, you can get the Omega oils from olive oil at 10 times cheaper prices and the terpenes and flavonoids are available in the food you eat...at higher levels!
Those items cost 20 times less than "full-spectrum".
Really, the benefit of the full spectrum is the CBD itself.
We've actually looked at NIH research on the pathways that the cannabinoids hit.
CBD hits all but one.
The others will influence 1-2 on average.
Only one hits the missing pathway but it may be habit-forming.
THC has its own issues, especially for anxiety.
If two cannabinoids affect the same channel, they will likely cannibalize that pathway.
We see that with CBD's blocking of THC's effect (the original root of the entourage effect) both in the liver and at CB receptors in the brain.
Full-spectrum is better than hemp oil due to the minimum level of CBD present but it's "benefits" are suspect based on research.
Oh and by the way, google "full-spectrum CBD NIH" and you'll get a host of studies on CBD itself or mainly THC.
THC has issues for anxiety and addiction so we want zero THC in our product (see THC versus CBD for anxiety here).
If we want to go based on research and not marketing, that leaves us with CBD isolate.
Best type of CBD for anxiety
So...what are our requirements for CBD for anxiety.
There's the bare minimum:
- Organically grown in the US
- CO2 processed (much cleaner)
- 3rd party tested (an absolute must!) we test ours twice
- Free of solvents
- Free of pesticides
- Free of heavy metals
- Free of mold
- Free of bacteria
Maybe most importantly, we need a verified and easy to read level of CBD in the product.
Watch out for "300 mgs of hemp oil" or "250 mgs of phytocannabinoids".
Worse we've ever seen is "250 mg of diols".
Not even sure what that is but they were charging $60 for it.
This brings up another point.
If research on anxiety is showing maximum long term effects (neurogenesis) at 300 mg, we need much higher levels than probably 80% of the products on the market.
1000 mg is a bare minimum.
There are so many snakey companies out there pushing 250 mg in a bottle.
That's roughly 8 mg per dropper!
This is a rip-off.
The crazy part is that they are charging upwards of $40-60 for this.
As an example, our 1000 mg is $60 (approximately 5 cents per mg….some of the best on the market).
The research on anxiety is for CBD itself.
Hemp oil is great if you want Omega oils in a good ratio.
So is olive oil...but much cheaper.
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.