CBD for Depression and Anxiety: Your #1 Guide to CBD for Better Mental Health

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CBD for Depression and Anxiety: Your #1 Guide to CBD for Better Mental Health

In the UK, almost 20% of the population suffers symptoms of depression or anxiety. In fact, most people will experience acute episodes of depression and anxiety at some point in their lives. Thankfully, there are natural, non-addictive methods for easing your woes without the need for a prescription. 

As always, our articles are not a substitute for medical advice. If you are suffering from severe mental illness, please contact a medical professional for treatment. This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be a substitute for medical treatment. If you are currently being treated for mental illness, it’s best to check with your medical provider, GP, or pharmacist before supplementing CBD into your mental health treatment regimen. 

Depression and anxiety are remarkably common among the general adult population, and studies show that women are more predisposed to both illnesses than men are. Many people whose mental health symptoms are less severe or shorter in duration prefer to try natural methods for easing their struggles before resorting to medical intervention. 

And while medications like antidepressants are a great, proven method for treating depression and anxiety, particularly when used alongside cognitive treatments like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or talk therapy, some people don’t like how these medications make them feel. Some prefer not to alter their brain chemistry. Others are unable to take the medications for medical reasons.

Whatever your reasoning is, we’re here to tell you that CBD might be able to help. Emphasis on might—these claims are still being investigated, as research on the efficacy of CBD is still in its infancy. Regardless, CBD is safe to use, and you may find that it helps ease symptoms of depression and anxiety when taken correctly for a period of time. 

How does CBD affect anxiety?

You may have heard that illicit use of Cannabis sativa—the whole plant that CBD is derived from, which includes high concentrations of the psychoactive compound THC—can cause immense paranoia. 

This is true. 

But interestingly, when isolated from the cannabis plant’s high levels of THC, CBD on its own (and when combined with other terpenes and flavonoids in a Full-Spectrum or Broad-Spectrum CBD product) has the opposite effect. Strange, right?

Research is still ongoing as to why this is the case. It’s one of many seemingly paradoxical elements of the cannabis plant—that one compound can calm you down, while another can make your anxiety exponentially worse.

Still, while CBD research is in its infancy, one conclusion is remarkably clear: that CBD can, in fact, help lessen anxiety, be it an acute (short-term) episode or a long-term issue. 

In addition, CBD is not known to worsen existing symptoms of anxiety when taken at low or moderate doses.

How does CBD affect depression?

As with most areas of CBD research, the mechanisms behind CBD’s impact on depression are still unclear. What scientists do know, however, is that CBD interacts with the 5-HT receptors in the brain, which are responsible for producing serotonin—a chemical which is thought to be diminished in people with depression. 

Because CBD functions as a balance-promoting chemical in the body, it’s believed that CBD can affect depression by helping to normalise the function of these serotonin receptors in the brain.

In addition, CBD also helps to slow the breakdown of anandamide, an endocannabinoid in the body which acts as a chemical messenger. Anandamide (which is interestingly found in chocolate) is known to encourage good sleep, appetite, and memory, which all have a significant effect on mood stability. Improvement in these areas (especially sleep) is known to have a positive impact on the treatment of depression. 

CBD for Depression and Anxiety

Can CBD make depression and anxiety worse?

Essentially, no—not when taken at low to moderate doses (below 600mg per day). If taken in excessive amounts, you may experience heightened levels of anxiety (among other symptoms), but this is very rare. Moreover, you’d have to take quite a lot of CBD (well over 1,500mg) to experience any negative effects, and even so, it’s not dangerous and there’s no recorded evidence of any accidental overdose with CBD. 

For more information on this topic, see our other article: Can You Overdose on CBD? A Clear-Cut & Detailed Explanation

When it comes to whether CBD can make your depression and anxiety worse, there’s little evidence to suggest this based on the current body of scientific research. 

One study found notable evidence that CBD shows promise in treating a range of anxiety disorders, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder (PD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The most notable part of the study’s conclusion is that the CBD produced no “anxiogenic” effects—meaning it didn’t worsen any of the participants’ anxiety. 

It’s important to note that the study tested CBD on healthy subjects whose anxiety was artificially induced (as in, the researchers inflicted anxiety on the participants using different types of stimuli to evoke fear and nervous responses). The author of the study notes that in this instance, researchers can conclude that CBD is effective when used for short periods of time, but more research is needed on how CBD affects anxiety with long-term use. 

So in essence, no, CBD won’t make you feel worse. 

What type of CBD is best for anxiety and depression?

The type of CBD product (or, delivery method) you should use comes down to the types of symptoms you’re treating. Each delivery method follows its own time frame as it travels through your body, which benefits certain symptoms more than others.

For example, if you tend to experience bouts of panic or anxiety sporadically throughout the day (but not constantly), a CBD vape would be a great choice for you. This is because CBD E-Liquids, when vaporised and inhaled, allow the CBD to enter the bloodstream much quicker than with other delivery methods. With a CBD vape, you can use your vape at the first sign of trouble and feel the effects in minutes, which is excellent for those who suffer panic attacks. At the same time, CBD ingested this way tends to wear off quicker, so if your symptoms are an all-day affair, you may want to choose another delivery method.

If you’re looking to treat depression, low mood, or anxiety that tends to stick with you throughout the day, a good choice for you would be to take the CBD orally in the form of a CBD Oil, CBD Edibles, or CBD Supplements. While these delivery methods take longer to kick in, they also tend to last longer in the body than CBD that is inhaled.

The only type of delivery method which may not help with depression and anxiety would be topical creams, salves, or other external CBD products. While these products are great for athletes and those with localised pain, they don’t actually enter the bloodstream, so they won’t be of much help when it comes to your mental health.

RELATED: Which Type of CBD Should I Use? Top 4 Delivery Methods Explained

CBD for Depression and Anxiety

How much CBD should I take for depression and anxiety?

When it comes to CBD dosage, there isn’t a clear-cut answer that applies to everyone, which is one of the many reasons that CBD is under-researched. Scientists note that until a universal dosage is calculated for each illness it’s used for, CBD will be wildly difficult to implement in clinical settings. 

Everyone responds differently to CBD based on a number of factors, including weight, age, tolerance, metabolism, and more. This is what makes it so difficult to find your ideal dose.

In addition, it’s hard to tell if CBD is working for you right off the bat—but that shouldn’t discourage you from continuing to try it. This is because CBD tends to have a cumulative effect in the body, particularly when used for chronic conditions such as pain disorders and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. 

You may find that the following suggested doses are too high or low for your needs. Because CBD has an excellent safety profile, you’re free to experiment until you find the right dose for you. If you find that your dose is too high, or if you experience any negative effects, we recommend trying a 20mg dose and increasing it weekly until you find your sweet spot.

CBD Dosage for Anxiety

Research on CBD for anxiety has shown that doses between 300mg – 600mg per day had a positive effect on acute episodes of anxiety (as in, short-term bouts of anxiety). 

With that being said, starting at 300mg isn’t your best bet, especially if your anxiety symptoms are chronic or if you’re not a regular CBD user. As previously mentioned, CBD has a cumulative effect in the body, so you may have to take it for several weeks to notice its effects on your long-term problem.

If your doctor is unable to suggest a good starting dose for you, you can begin by taking roughly 50mg – 70mg per day, then increase your dose by 10mg to 20mg per week until you feel the desired effects. 

At a glance:

  • 300mg – 600mg for acute (short-term) anxiety
  • May take several weeks to see effects on chronic anxiety
  • For chronic anxiety, start with 50mg – 70mg per day, then increase dose by 10mg – 20mg weekly until desired effect is reached

CBD Dosage for Depression

When it comes to treating depression, research is still limited. Most CBD studies in our current body of research have been carried out using healthy participants, and depression is understandably difficult to “inflict” on healthy people in a clinical setting. Still, there’s concrete evidence that CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, which means that CBD shows real promise in depression management. 

There is no “ideal” dose range when it comes to using CBD to treat depression. Still, most research supports starting at a dose of 50mg per day, then increasing the dose by 10mg per week until the desired effects are reached. 

At a glance:

  • May take several weeks to see effects
  • Start with 50mg per day, then increase dose by 10mg weekly until desired effect is reached

A Word From CBD Green

While CBD is natural and is generally safe to use, it’s important to remember that it’s still a chemical compound, and you should take care when using it. Ensure you’re always buying your CBD from a reputable retailer (like us!), so you know where it’s coming from, what’s in it, and whether it’s been independently lab-tested.

As always, when it comes to treating any health problems (including depression and anxiety), your first point of contact should be a medical professional such as a GP or pharmacist. They’ll be able to help you decide if you’re a good candidate for CBD, and they can also let you know if there are any known interactions between CBD and your current prescribed medications. 

Again, this article is not a substitute for medical advice. When in doubt, consult a GP or pharmacist!

CBD for Depression and Anxiety
Written by:
Rachel Domanchich
Rachel Domanchich
A self-proclaimed American Weird Girl in London, Rachel is a 26 year-old content writer who uses CBD on a daily basis to help with mood, stress, and sleep. She loves researching the science behind CBD and translating the jargon into digestible articles for everyone to read. Outside of her writing, Rachel is a multi-instrumental musician, singer, wife, and mother of two black cats.

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