Marijuana. Weed. Ganja. Pot. Whatever you want to call it, there has been a lot of debate about the legality and medicinal uses of THC-filled products for over a hundred years. In the United States, many individual states have decided to flout federal law in favor of letting their citizens choose to partake in consuming marijuana, either recreationally or medicinally. This has led to a giant boom in marijuana production – and as such, the ability for science to finally get some answers.

One of the areas that many have been excited to learn about is the beneficial effects of CBD-containing hemp. This variety of marijuana flower, oils, and extracts does not contain any THC, which is the compound that makes you “high.” In fact, CBD has been shown to be the compound in marijuana that “works” medicinally, as studies indicate it may help with a variety of disorders such as epilepsy and seizure disorders. [9]

This all brings us to the big question: does hemp oil help with anxiety?

The Difference Between Hempseed and Hemp Oil

First, let’s talk about hemp oil itself.

Hempseed oil is a product that comes from the seeds of marijuana. This product naturally contains neither THC nor CBD. Typically, hempseed oil is touted for its beneficial effects in soothing skin conditions such as acne and rashes. It’s also a good source of fatty acids such as omega 3. [1]

On the other hand, hemp oil, or CBD oil, is often used as a catch-all term for products that contain hemp and possibly CBD. (If you’re not sure if your hemp oil has CBD in it, look for the words “CBD” or “cannabinoids” on the label). For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that all studies and statements about “hemp oil” refer to products containing measurable amounts of CBD, and vice versa.

So, What is CBD, and How Does it Work in the Body?

What is CBD? Does Hemp Oil Help with Anxiety?

Next up, let’s look at CBD. Understanding this chemical compound is key to answering the question, “Does hemp oil help with anxiety?”

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in marijuana. Whereas THC produces marijuana’s famous “high,” CBD is the chemical that is often touted to help with various mental disorders such as anxiety.

According to a study published in the scientific journal Neurotherapeutics, CBD works by binding with the cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CBR1) in your brain. The same study also showed that CBD interacts with the serotonin 5-HT receptor, as well as similar receptors. Many of the binding proteins that CBD acts upon have been found to help you process and regulate anxiety. [2]

Additionally, a European study involving 11 healthy individuals given 300mg of CBD daily found that CBD significantly decreased the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in blood plasma. Furthermore, human subjects given 600mg of CBD had even less cortisol at the end of the trial period. This study shows that CBD doesn’t just bind to brain receptors but has the potential to affect other bodily functions. [5]

How Does Hemp Oil Help with Anxiety?

Since research into CBD and other marijuana products is a fairly new field, there are still a lot of questions about the role CBD plays in alleviating anxiety. Due to increasingly lax state laws, there are also many studies working on finding the answers.

Study 1 – Hemp Oil Treating Anxiety Disorders

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/)

This is the same study, quoted above, that found which receptors CBD works within the brain. The authors of this clinical review also found evidence that CBD and hemp oil does help with anxiety, including: [2]

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Study 2 – Hemp Oil For Sleep & Anxiety

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/)

This retrospective study from 2019 examined the effects of CBD on 72 adult patients who went to a psychiatric clinic reporting either sleep or anxiety disorders. Patients received one dose of 25mg, 50mg, or 75mg of CBD per day (one patient with a history of trauma received 175mg of CBD daily). The study followed patients for 2 months and found that at the end of that time: [3]

  • Up to 79% of participants reported less anxiety or anxiety symptoms
  • Up to 20% of participants reported worsening anxiety symptoms

Study 3 – CBD Oil For Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder

(https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269881110379283)

An earlier double-blind study from 2011, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at the effects of CBD on individuals with generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD). By using functional neural imaging techniques, the study’s authors found that patients who received a 400mg dose of CBD, taken orally, experienced reduced anxiety levels.

The authors also found that those who had taken CBD had reduced brain activity in the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain (the parts of the brain that controls emotions and behavior). [4]

Study 4 – CBD Oil For Anxiety Treatment

(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S154431911930514X)

Furthermore, this 2020 review published in Science Direct of eight CBD-related studies found that CBD is effective at treating:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

The study found that hemp oil worked whether used alone or as part of a bigger regimen. However, this review also found flaws in the underlying studies; namely, that the doses ranged wildly from 6 to 400mg. Thus, the authors also recommended that more large-scale, structured trials be performed to establish a standard dose. [6]

Does Hemp Oil Help with Anxiety-Adjacent Mental Disorders?

Does Hemp Oil Help with Anxiety?

Hemp oil doesn’t just help with anxiety, however. Because of the unique receptors that CBD binds to, hemp oil containing CBD has been shown to help with other disorders as well.

For instance, several modern studies show that CBD can help with symptoms of PTSD. [7] Furthermore, one study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research discovered that CBD may have antipsychotic effects in individuals with schizophrenia. [8] Both of these studies also showed that CBD had fewer negative side effects than traditional drug therapies.

In Conclusion: Does Hemp Oil Help with Anxiety?

Although we’re still researching the effects of CBD and hemp oil on the human body, early studies indicate it can be effective in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety. However, more research is still needed to determine what doses are most effective for which disorders.

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References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/hemp-vs-cbd-oil
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
  4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269881110379283
  5. https://europepmc.org/article/med/8257923
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S154431911930514X
  7. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00502/full
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27267317/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7330185/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/

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