Are you living with an anxiety disorder? You’re not alone.
Over 40 million Americans struggle with the symptoms of anxiety disorders every year, and most don’t seek treatment. And for those that do, medication side effects often stand in the way.
Fortunately, cannabinoids are an increasingly popular option for people who want a natural form of anxiety relief. Cannabidiol (CBD), in particular, has gotten a ton of media attention over the last few years due to its powerful anti-anxiety effects.
But CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid out there – not even close. There’s over 100 other compounds that can be extracted from cannabis, such as the infamous THC. So how does THC compare against CBD for anxiety relief? Keep reading CBD vs THC for Anxiety to find out.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is something everyone is familiar with – it’s a normal part of life. But when feelings of worry, fear, and dread become pervasive and interfere with life, that may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
There are many types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety disorders can affect your entire body, causing problems such as heart palpitations, headaches, irritability, insomnia, chronic pain, digestive troubles, and fatigue.
Using Cannabinoids for Anxiety Relief
Cannabinoids are substances derived from the cannabis plant, including THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and over 100 others. These substances interact with receptors throughout the body, mimicking neurotransmitters that regulate mood, pain, digestion, sleep, and various other physiological processes. As a result, many cannabinoids have anxiety-relieving benefits, with CBD being one of the most notable – in part because it’s gotten so much attention recently.
CBD vs THC: How Each Affects Anxiety
CBD has impressive benefits when it comes to anxiety. For example, a 2012 review of available human and animal research stated that CBD’s anxiety-relieving properties make it worthy of clinical trials.
Similarly, a 2015 review concluded that CBD has benefits for GAD, PTSD, OCD, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
This could be due, in part, to CBD’s ability to counteract panic responses by activating 5-HT1a receptors in the brain, as well as its interaction with receptors in the amygdala – one of the primary regions of the brain involved in anxiety.
CBD may also be able to regulate serotonin levels as effectively as SSRIs and benzodiazepines, two common types of medications used for anxiety disorder treatment.
On the other hand, THC may actually worsen anxiety. Despite the fact that many people use marijuana for anxiety relief, anxiety and paranoia are one of the most common side effects associated with cannabis.
Researchers aren’t sure how this works; it could be that some people are genetically predisposed to feel anxiety after ingesting cannabis. It may also be related to specific cannabinoids; THC is known to possibly cause or worsen anxiety, while CBD counters these unwanted side effects.
This is why high-CBD strains of cannabis are often more effective for those who experience anxiety.
CBD vs THC for Anxiety: Dosing
If you’re new to using CBD for anxiety, you’ll want to start small, such as 10mg a day twice daily, and increase gradually every few days, until you experience the desired relief.
Remember that unlike THC, CBD oils don’t cause a high, so the effects are much more subtle and may take a few days to notice.
Some people experience relief immediately or within a few days.
CBD vs THC For Anxiety: Potential Risks
The biggest potential risk of using THC over CBD is the psychoactive effects, including euphoria and potentially worse anxiety.
THC can also cause bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, sleepiness, and increased hunger.
CBD can cause sleepiness and dry mouth at high doses, but in general doesn’t cause side effects.
However, it can affect how your body metabolizes other substances, so you’ll want to discuss with your doctor before taking any new supplements, including CBD.
Neither CBD nor THC have been evaluated by the FDA for the treatment of any conditions, including anxiety.
THC is also illegal in many places, making it difficult to travel with THC extracts. Another potential risk is unknown ingredients and toxins.
Hemp plants clean the soil they’re grown in, absorbing any pesticides, heavy metals, or other substances. So it’s essential to know where your CBD comes from, and only buy from trusted vendors who test their products for safety.
Types of CBD and Where to Buy
You can find CBD in a range of products including tinctures, capsules, gummies, and vape liquids. These can be purchased online and in dispensaries.
THC products, meanwhile, are largely illegal and aren’t as easily accessible online, though they can be purchased in dispensaries in many US states. In some states, purchasing THC oil requires a prescription.
Whether you’re buying THC or CBD oil products, it’s important to know where your products come from.
As CBD’s popularity grows, some unscrupulous companies are hopping on the bandwagon and offering fake CBD or CBD products containing things you don’t want in your body, like pesticides and heavy metals. Always buy from trusted vendors who use organically grown hemp and test all products for purity, quality, and safety, like Every Day Optimal.
There are risks when taking any new supplement, including CBD.
While CBD shows a great deal of promise for anxiety relief in medical studies, it has yet to be evaluated in clinical trials or approved by the FDA.
Most people don’t report any side effects from taking CBD oil for anxiety, but if you aren’t sure how you’ll react, it’s best to start with a small amount, such as 10mg, rather than jumping right into a large dose. Always talk to your doctor before taking new supplements, including CBD.
Prescription requirements for THC and marijuana-related products vary depending on country or state.
CBD products can be purchased without a prescription in most US states.
Marijuana and THC products are currently federally regulated, but are available legally in certain states.
Drug tests generally don’t test for CBD, but most tests will flag positive if you’ve ingested THC. This can include the trace amounts of THC found in certain CBD oil products.
If you don’t want any traces of THC in your CBD oil, be sure to purchase only isolate CBD or broad spectrum CBD oil, and not full spectrum CBD products which can contain up to 0.3% THC by law.
Hemp-derived CBD oil products are currently legal in most U.S. states
Based on available research, it appears that CBD oil is better for anxiety relief than THC.