A guide to Cannabis and CBD for Anxiety

Learn the research and use of cannabis and CBD for Anxiety.


Anxiousness and worry are a normal aspect of every person’s life. The severity of the anxiety or worry thoughts varies between individuals, and so does our ability to manage day-to-day anxieties. Anxiety is considered a disorder when it becomes excessive and difficult to control, and persists for an extended period of time, typically six months (as defined by the DSM-5).

Anxiety is characterized by these symptoms:

  • Edginess or restlessness
  • Tiring easily
  • Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank
  • Irritability
  • Increased muscle aches or soreness
  • Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep).

Many different types of treatments are used for anxiety. The two most common are; expensive therapies and medications. Typically medications have significant and potentially problematic side effects. Cannabis can be a safer and more effective method of treating anxiety symptoms.

Cannabis can also be used effectively in conjunction with traditional therapies, including medication. If you are considering using cannabis to manage anxiety symptoms consult with a doctor before discontinuing any current medications or therapies or adding cannabis to any current medications.


Some claim that cannabis can increase a person’s anxiety and for some people, this may be true. Therefore, it is important to:
(1) start with a low dose
(2) consult a doctor about your treatment plan and
(3) pay close attention to what types of cannabis products you are consuming. 

There is a different therapeutic effect on anxiety between THC and CBD cannabis products. Both interact with the amygdala in the brain which affects a person’s stress response, but CBD more reliably decreases this response. While THC can have the same, or similar effects, studies suggest there may be a ‘tipping point’ for THC and too much may increase anxiety in some people. 


Research suggests that CBD is more reliably effective in managing anxiety-related symptoms; therefore cannabis strains that are higher in CBD would be the most appropriate choice. Generally speaking, Sativa's are higher in THC, while indica’s are higher in CBD. Though researchers are uncertain as to whether or not pure indica or sativa truly exist, so be aware of your strain choices and always start with a lower dose when trying a new strain. 

Leafly has a great guide for determining which strains may be best for anxiety and other common mental health-related symptoms. This guide can help you have a better idea of what strains may be most effective and what to look out for at your local dispensary. Give these a try and see how they might be able to work for you. 


Treating anxiety is easier with CBD products. You don’t need to worry about the potential negative effects of smoking because there are many other ways of consuming CBD. These include; tinctures that are dissolved sublingually (under your tongue), oral capsules and other edibles, and you can even cook it into your favourite meals or added to your favourite drinks. 

Because CBD is binding to many different receptors throughout the body and not just in the brain it will be effective at a fairly low dose. At higher doses, those receptors can become saturated, so the remainder of the CBD will interact with other receptor systems, and that’s where you may start to see different effects.

Different routes of administration, such as vaporization, sublingual tinctures provide the most direct route for CBD to enter the bloodstream and therefore reach the brain more quickly. So, experimenting with different routes of administration can help to figure out the most effective method as well as dosing.

There is no universally accepted dosage for CBD but there are few things people should consider when figuring out the right dose for themself; 

  • their weight
  • the concentration of the product
  • the route of consumption.

A person should also consult a physician whenever possible and always start with a small dose and gradually increase until the most effective dose is found. 


CBD is effective in managing symptoms associated with anxiety as well as helping people deal with the triggers that cause panic attacks. Edibles are a more discrete and easier method of consuming cannabis products on the go. For example; adding a tincture to your favourite beverage or just a few drops under your tongue for quick relief. Edible gummies or chocolates are also a discreet and easy to consume method.