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Does CBD Oil help with anxiety or depression?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 20, 2023.

Official answer


More research is needed to determine if CBD (cannabidiol) is effective for conditions such as anxiety or depression.

CBD Oil is a compound that is usually extracted from industrial hemp. It contains no psychoactive properties and does not cause a “high” or euphoric effect.

Research has shown that CBD is effective for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, and it has been approved for this purpose. However, few studies have been conducted with regards to its effectiveness for other medical conditions. Published trials for anxiety and depression are summarized below.

57 male volunteers were assigned to receive either CBD (150mg, 300mg, or 600mg) or a placebo (pretend pill) before a simulated public speaking test. Those receiving the 300mg dose before the test (15 males) had lower scores on the visual analog mood scale and a lower heart rate and blood pressure during the test than any other group.1

A retrospective chart review (a look back through) of the charts of 72 patients given CBD as a supplement to other treatments for anxiety or sleep problems, found 79% (52 patients) reported decreased anxiety levels within the first month of supplementation (dosage range 25mg to 175mg/day) and these remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores also improved within the first month in 66.7% of patients but fluctuated thereafter.2

A ten-year-old girl with a history of sexual abuse, neglect, and marijuana exposure while in the womb experienced a decrease in anxiety and an improvement in sleep with CBD (25mg at bedtime and 6-12mg when required throughout the day).3

None of the above trials contained large numbers of participants or were well designed. Most other studies involved cannabis use, combination CBD/THC products, or animals.

Many manufacturers of CBD products have based their claims of an effect on cannabis studies; however, it is not apparent whether CBD by itself does have these effects. More studies are needed to determine if CBD is effective for anxiety or depression.

1. Linares IM, Zuardi AW, Pereira LC, et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Braz J Psychiatry. 2019;41(1):9–14. DOI:10.1590/1516-4446-2017-0015

2. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18–041. DOI:10.7812/TPP/18-041

3. Shannon S, Opila-Lehman J. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. Perm J. 2016;20(4):16-005. DOI:10.7812/TPP/16-005

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