One of the difficulties when it comes to CBD research — hemp was only legalized at the end of 2018, reducing scientist’s ability to find the best CBD ratio for anxiety
Roughly 40 million adult Americans have some type of anxiety disorder according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, making it one of the most common mental illnesses today. The good news is that anxiety is highly treatable, especially these days with the research findings with CBD and the ability for patients to find their own best CBD ratio for anxiety.
The bad news is that almost two-thirds of people who suffer anxiety — or approximately 63.1% — aren’t receiving treatment.
If a person’s anxiety is severe, seeking professional help is important to finding relief. A counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist can help determine the root cause, decide whether medications or additional testing are necessary, and recommend the best course of treatment. For more mild cases of anxiety, research suggests that the hemp plant extract cannabidiol (CBD) may help.
CBD and anxiety
In 2019, the Permanente Journal published a large case series involving 72 patients. For 47 of these patients, the primary concern was anxiety. The remaining 25 were primarily concerned with poor sleep. Most of the patients received 25 mg capsules of CBD daily, with some receiving either 50 mg or 75 mg doses in an effort to determine the best CBD ratio for anxiety. If the patient was more concerned with anxiety, the capsules were taken in the morning. If they were more concerned with sleep quality, the capsules were given after dinner.
After one month of taking CBD, 79.2% of the participants reported that their anxiety had improved. At the two-month mark, 78.1% still had improved anxiety levels, with these numbers holding fairly steady three months into the treatment. Researchers also reported that, overall, the CBD was well tolerated with only a few of the patients experiencing side effects such as fatigue and dry eyes.
This study echoes similar results published in Neurotherapeutics in 2015. In this case, researchers reviewed 49 preclinical, clinical, and epidemiological studies. Their review found that preclinical evidence was strong for CBD helping to ease anxiety, citing that more research is needed with regard to chronic and therapeutic dosing.
How CBD eases feelings of anxiousness
The 2015 review explains that CBD is thought to help with anxiety by the way it interacts with the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), serotonin 5-beta hydroxytryptamine receptor 1 (5-HT1A), and transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptor. These are the receptors that regulate anxiety-related behaviors and fear.
A piece of research published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2016 adds that there is also evidence to suggest that CBD might also interrupt memory processes, which may help reduce anxieties related to fear by changing the way certain memories are recalled. It might even enhance extinction, which is when associations with situations and bad outcomes are weakened, thus reducing their effects.
It should be noted that one of the difficulties when it comes to CBD research is that industrial hemp was only legalized at the end of 2018, reducing scientist’s ability to study its effects before that date. Plus, a majority of the studies previously conducted were on animals versus humans. While some crossover generalizations may be hypothesized, they are not definitive proof, meaning that more studies must be completed to have evidential results.
CBD types and the best CBD ratio for anxiety
A systematic review published in 2020 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine Research provided a compilation of 25 different human studies involving CBD, many of which looked at the best CBD ratio for anxiety. Almost all of these pieces of research involved oral CBD capsules and, based on their findings, were reportedly effective at reducing anxiety, especially at doses ranging from 300 mg to 600 mg.
Another 2020 analysis compared oral CBD capsules with an oral solution and oromucosal spray or drops. It found that oral capsules had the quickest absorption rate, resulting in a time of maximum concentration of 2.1 hours. This was less than half of the time for oromucosal spray which didn’t reach max concentration until 4.75 hours.
The one concern with oral capsules is first-pass metabolism potentially degrading some of the CBD and reducing its bioavailability. A 2019 study published in the journal Molecules found that when VESIsorb formulation technology is used, CBD bioavailability increases dramatically. It also allows for faster absorption with no safety concerns being found.
The bottom line
All of these studies seem to suggest that an oral CBD may be the most effective for patients who want to lessen their anxiety, with products using the VESIsorb formulation technology offering the best results in terms of bioavailability and absorption rate. Several of these pieces of research also involved participants taking the CBD on an empty stomach. Providing this guidance may help patients get the best results possible when attempting to determine the best CBD ratio for anxiety.