This is a common question that takes us right back to the first time we tried CBD…many moons ago!
Many people expect something much different before they first take CBD.
There's still a huge association with cannabis due to CBD's cousin, THC.
CBD has actually been shown to cancel out many of the effects that most people think of when reflecting on cannabis as it counters THC in many ways.
When first taking CBD for anxiety, it's more a question of what you DON'T feel.
Anxiety is the key piece.
Unlike THC, CBD does not elicit a "high" and it does not affect thinking and motor skills.
CBD supports the endocannabinoid system we all have which is tasked with balancing other key systems:
- Immune system - inflammation - key to anxiety
- Endocrine system - including cortisol, our primary stress hormone
- Nervous system - powerful players for anxiety such as GABA and serotonin
This "balancing" act is what drives how CBD feels when taking it for anxiety.
Persistent anxiety is a state of imbalance in a few key systems (GABA, serotonin, cortisol, inflammation, etc) and CBD can help support our balancing system.
It supports a natural chemical in our brain called "anandamide" which acts as a backup stress response buffer.
CBD does this in a way where it doesn't build tolerance (like THC) but gives you a little extra support when these pathways are stretched.
So…how does this feel when taking it for anxiety?
Generally, the feeling that's the opposite of anxiety is grounded or calm. Not high or sedated (like THC or benzos).
It's really a loss of anxiety more than the addition of a feeling.
CBD can kick in within 10-15 minutes if you hold it under your tongue and there's a longer-term effect that builds over about 14 days (see CBD and serotonin).
Peak CBD hits around 4-6 hours so breaking it up into 3 times daily to feel the most effective for anxiety.
Again, during the day, you may actually feel more alert but not anxious. At night, you may feel sleepy since our natural 24-hour circadian clock is not affected by CBD (not the case with THC and sleep architecture).
We have a full review of the science behind CBD and anxiety.
So as a wrap, you can feel calmer and more grounded when taking CBD for anxiety.
This is due to support for GABA (our brain's brake pedal), serotonin (our master behavior manager), and a reduction in cortisol (primary stress hormone) and inflammation (critical to anxiety).
One note…histamine is a huge deal with anxiety (the first anti-anxiety drugs were actually anti-histamines) since it revs everything up in the brain!
We go deep into why CBD isolate (which calms histamine) is the better choice for anxiety long-term versus full spectrum which can actually trigger a histamine response.
See CBD isolate versus full spectrum for anxiety to learn more or just look at our reviews.
This is a big reason why some people go feel quite right after using CBD for anxiety.
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.